AUDIO

The Grey Bastards

digital download. 17:47 hrs. Books on Tape. Jun. 2018. ISBN 9780525635383. $95. F
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War with the Hisparthan Empire a generation ago left the Lot Lands as desolate, dangerous badlands, inhabited by small settlements of orcs, half-orcs, elves, and halflings, jealously guarding their borders against raids by the other races. The half-orc Jackal of the Grey Bastards grew up here, riding patrol on his warthog with his partners Oats and Fetching, under the command of the elderly ailing clan chief the Claymaster. Before the dust settles, Jackal will have to cope with betrayals of loyalty, carnivorous sludge monsters, mad centaur hordes, ancient divinities, sorcerous plagues, crafty wizards, and a coming war that may overrun the Lot Lands. Narrator Will Damron does an expert job with this title, bringing Jackal and his cohorts alive with a variety of subtle voices and varying accents.
VERDICT This high-octane, high-testosterone fantasy with dirty-handed but loyal heroes is in the vein of Joe Abercrombie's "First Law" novels, Richard Kadrey's "Sandman Slim" books, and Mark Lawrence's "Broken Empire," but it's less grimdark and more optimistic. ["This gritty debut takes the swords and sorcery trope to new heights; a must for epic fantasy enthusiasts": LJ 6/15/18 starred review of the Crown hc.]

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