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Black Feathers [Kindle Edition]

Joseph D'Lacey
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Print List Price: $7.99
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Book Description

Black Feathers is a modern fantasy set in two epochs: the Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, and generations into the future in its aftermath, the Bright Day.

In each era, a child undertakes a perilous journey to find a dark messiah known as The Crowman. In their hands lies the fate of the planet as they attempt to discover whether The Crowman is our saviour… or the final incarnation of evil.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Known for such bloody good fun as Garbage Man (2011) and Snake Eyes (2012), D’Lacey strays from the horror genre in this ambitious dark fantasy, with mixed results. This first volume of a planned duology splits the narrative into two stories. The first takes place in the near future, when ecological damage results in not only global calamaties but also a military crackdown by the nefarious Ward. Prophecy decrees that everyday kid Gordon, 14, must find the enigmatic Crowman, a black-winged “dark messiah” who may lead the world into destruction—and, perhaps, rebirth. Gordon flees would-be captors through an apocalyptic world, and, though additional plot signposts would have been appreciated, it remains fast-paced, violent (so many gooey eye injuries!), and intriguing. The second story is more problematic. Set in “the Bright Day,” a simple but peaceful future, it follows young Megan as she undergoes a wandering, protracted tutelage to become the final Keeper of the Crowman’s story. Overall, this is fascinating but uneven. Let’s see what D’Lacey can do in next year’s The Book of the Crowman. --Daniel Kraus


"D'Lacey's passages are rife with urgency, and... its message on environmental issues, meticulous setting of scene, and successful intertwining of the characters' narratives makes for an engaging read."
-Publishers Weekly

“A bold beginning to a new duology from the brilliant D’Lacey – where two children embark on a search for meaning that is riddled with ambiguity about the nature of the saviour they seek and which, ultimately, provides a siren call to live in harmony with the land.”
- Alison Littlewood, author of A Cold Season

I highly recommend this to any fans of horror, post-apocalyptic type books. Loved it, loved it - I want the next one already.
-Thoughts of a Scot

"...full of powerful and beautiful passages that while written for this fictional Earth, are also very strongly advocating for us as a people to take better care of the Earth we live on."
-Wilder's Book Review

“Spectacular is the word I’d use to describe the novel. Nothing else can capture the reading experience.” 
-The Founding Fields

"It's dark and it's grim, but it's also magical...wondrous, even."
-Beauty in Ruins

Product Details

  • File Size: 610 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (March 26, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009MYA3OS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,534 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For a book in which very little actually happens in terms of plot development, Black Feathers was a fantastic read. It's the story of twin journeys, separated by untold years, and intersecting at the moment of the apocalypse which lies between them. What Joseph D'Lacey has crafted here is a story that's equal parts Stephen King and Robert McCammon, but with an environmental message at its heart, as opposed to a spiritual one. It's dark and it's grim, but it's also magical . . . wondrous, even.

The plot, as I mentioned, is deceptively simple. On the one hand you have a young boy by the name of Gordon Black, feeling from the martial law brutality of The Ward, and searching for a mysterious, messianic figure known only as The Crowman. On the other hand you have a young woman by the name of Megan Maurice, apprenticing herself to the village Keeper, and searching for the young boy from her dreams . . . who may just be The Crowman. Gordon's is a tale of apocalyptic horror, a struggle for survival in a world that is rapidly approaching its end. Megan's is a tale of almost epic fantasy, a coming of age story marked by dreams, prophecies, and magic.

Similarly, the world-building is just as simple, enough to set the stage and ground our expectations, but not to overwhelm the characters at its heart. We see a world dying around Gordon, marked by food shortages, civil wars, and environmental catastrophes - all of which takes place off the page. We see a world reborn around Megan, marked by medieval like struggles for survival, with only the barest glimpses of the world left behind. It's a smart move, with the subtlety of the landscape making the ruined city of the story's final set-piece work so well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Crowman is Coming April 15, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I hadn't really paid attention to Joseph D'Lacey's Black Feathers until Angry Robot revealed its cover and it intrigued me enough to check out the synopsis again. At which point it really grabbed my attention and I was pleased to get my hands on an ARC. Black Feathers is both an apocalyptic tale and a post-apocalyptic narrative, due to the two temporal strands that are woven together. I found myself equally caught up in both of them and I couldn't tell you which my favourite story arc was.

The apocalyptic strand of the story tells us of the life of Gordon Black. He is born in troubled times, as the earth is breaking down and global society is slowly being taken over by a totalitarian party called the Ward, that has shades of the Nazi party and takes corporate greed and consumerism as its lead ideologies. From the start there is something special about Gordon, who is seemingly always watched over by crows, rooks and other corvids. A sensitive child given to night terrors, he grows into manhood in a world that is slowly turning evermore nightmarish. What makes it even more disturbing is that Gordon is born in the year 2000 and some of the tale plays out in our current day. And while a lot of the elements enabling the complete break-down of society aren't as far along in truth as they are in the book, many of the things D'Lacey uses as indicators of the coming end are reflected in our world. The fact that as I write this we've just had the coldest Easter since 1964, doesn't really help to optimistically dismiss D'Lacey's vision as complete fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just the right amount of darkness and mystery for me March 30, 2013
By Ryan
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Angry Robot Books have a knack of finding some of the most different and bizarre fantasy books, and with Black Feathers by Joseph D'Lacey, they continue to push the boundaries of what we expect fantasy to be. Described by some as an eco-horror story with mythological and fantasy elements, Black Feathers is a pre and post apocalyptic story that is dark, brooding, and fascinating to read.

The thing that stands out for me with this story is the atmosphere of darkness, mystery and intrigue that permeates through the whole book. This is a bleak story, it is very heavy going, but it allows the small glimpses of positivity to stand out in contrast to all the ruin around it. The mystery and intrigue surrounding the the Crowman and the associate lore kept me glued to each page. I wanted to know more about the Crowman, the Keepers, the Ward, the Green Men, and D'Lacey just kept stringing me along all the way to end.

There were times during the book that I felt the author was a little heavy handed with some environmentalism messages (corporations and government = bad), and the the ending I think could have aimed a little higher and had some more impact, but these are pretty minor complaints when I compare them to much I enjoyed reading this story. There are also some reasonably graphic scenes - they aren't overly violent but they are vivid and visceral. I thought they were brilliant scenes, but I can definitely understand if they make others a bit uncomfortable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Apocalyptic Fantasy March 26, 2013
By Nyx
Format:Kindle Edition
Reviewed By Nyx @

This book was out of the norm for me, but even so I found it highly entertaining. It takes you through the journey of the Crowman from his birth to a young man.

The book is told in two alternating point of views, that of Megan in the future (or their present) and when the Crowman was born which would be around our time. At first I was a bit lost cause I hadn't realized the time difference I thought it was taking place at the same time for some reason, but once I had that figured out it went much more smoothly.

The way the book is told is like a tale. The life of the boy, the changing times, how he assimilates to this change. How his life starts changing once people start realizing he is the crowman, even though he himself doesn't know this. It tells the story of his awakening and it was a beautiful one. At the same time we are getting told another story of awakening but this one is about Megan, she also has to form a connection with the Crowman.

The overall pacing of the book is kinda slow, but not in a bad way. It's just how it's meant to be. During the second half of the book, things start picking up quite a bit when Megan has to go through some trials and The Crowmans powers and mission start coming forth.

All in all it was an entertaining read and I really liked getting to know these myths and I'll be reading the second to see what else awaits them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Apocalyptic Read
This is the first book in a series (of two, at the time of this review) and I received a free copy through of the second book. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!
Black Feathers was a very thought-provoking dark fantasy that I had a hard time putting down. Part dystopian, part fantasy, 100% engrossing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cherie Barstow
5.0 out of 5 stars Pre- and Post Apocalyptic Excellence
The story focuses on two characters, Gordon Black and Megan Maurice, who live in different eras and cultures. Read more
Published 3 months ago by D. de Burgh
3.0 out of 5 stars tough read for seeing movtivations
I guess I enjoyed this book, but found it a tough read when trying to understand the motivations of the 2 main characters. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Carol M. Fish
4.0 out of 5 stars A dark, cautionary tale
The birth of Gordon Black signifies the end of the world. Year after year following his birth, the world slides into more and more poverty and destruction. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Story that Hits with a Moral Hammer
This book follows two narrative paths, one is in near-modern times as Earth and life as we know it goes through an amazing metamorphasis from technology filled pollution to the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by N. Bilmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply fantastic!
In a time much like ours, the world is falling apart and Gordon Black is on the run for reasons he doesn't completely understand. Read more
Published 9 months ago by D. Schwent
4.0 out of 5 stars No solid ending, but definitely one to read
If one is into the horror genre, Black Feathers by D'Lacey is a book well worth reading. His prose is sophisticated and the message worth contemplating by us all: to consciously... Read more
Published 11 months ago by A_TiffyFit
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome, to a very dark place
Joseph D'Lacey's BLACK FEATHERS parallel story line places it in a league of its own. It is written in separate third-person POV styles for each of the two protagonists, Gordon... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Christopher S. Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarion Call for Change: Full of Hope and Fear
Science Fiction and Fantasy have always been the literature of both the subversive and the reactionary and dystopian and apocalyptic visions serve as metaphors for and meditations... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Anastasia McPherson
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More About the Author

Winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer, D'Lacey is best known for his shocking eco-horror novel MEAT. The book has been widely translated and prompted Stephen King to say "Joseph D'Lacey rocks!".

When not realising his fantasies on paper, he dabbles in Yoga and continues a quest for the ultimate vegetarian burger recipe.

He lives in Northamptonshire with his wife and daughter.

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