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Blood and Iron (The Book of the Black Earth) Paperback – March 11, 2014
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"The clear writing and fast pace make [this] a fun adventure of magic, political intrigue, and good old-fashioned heroes."
—Michael J. Sullivan, author of the Riyria Chronicles
"Sprunk’s world is fascinating and original, reminiscent of ancient Sumeria and Babylon…"
“An interesting magic system, complicated political scene, and loads of action make this Spartacus-with-magic a fun first volume in a new epic fantasy series.”
About the Author
More About the Author
Jon lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife and son. When not writing, he enjoys travel, collecting medieval and ancient weaponry, and pro football. Visit him online at www.jonsprunk.com, or on Facebook or Twitter.
Top Customer Reviews
Then ...Horace. First, this minor carpenter on a troop ship seems to a kid, then he is a grownup. He acts outraged at the actions taken by the guards against the slaves, as if he is completely unaware HE IS A SLAVE!!!
Then he discovers he has magic. Soon he is being walked through the front doors of a palace where he starts critiquing the art. This ships carpenter is now an art aficionado.
...when the main character is the worst designed character...oy.
And that is the true problem for me. Everything else hung together pretty well. Okay, having Jirom suddenly thinking about kissing his buddy Horace was a little odd, but it did help to motivate Jirom a little. Kinda simplistic, but whatever.
The training pit was interesting, but not very well thought out. The attack on the stronghold in the desert...if the Akeshians had magic and the Crusaders didn't, why weren't they cleaning their clocks?
But it all comes back to Horace, the middle aged manchild. Nothing about the character rang true for me. The pain of losing his wife and child, being lost in a land where he didn't speak the language, vast cosmic powers where everyone else struggles...it was all just a mishmash of backstory that left me bored.
A good book to me is one that when I hit the halfway point I can no longer put it down. I put this book down three times for days each time and had to struggle to finish out of a sense of duty.
Two stars because the writer does have some talent for linking words together, and his supporting cast was good.
While it starts of at a leisurely and plodding pace, the story of Horace and the intrigue of the Akeshian kingdom is actually quite engaging. Despite my best efforts, I found myself wanting to know what would happen to each character, how the interwoven plots would come together, and where they would go from there. I got sucked in. Now I need to read book two and find out more. Curse you Jon Sprunk...curse you for making me like this book!
While the characters can seem pretty one dimensional (and some of them truly are), others are painted in detail that belies their simplicity. Councilor Mulcibar, the slave Aylra, and the gladiator/slave Jirom were my favorites in the book. Shadowy sorcerers, a powerful religious cult, and courtly intrigue all have a hand in this novel as well. While not handled as deftly as some would like, they are all worked in together and with an appropriate smattering of surprises along the way.
Some of the plot points seemed a bit contrived, and I spent the latter half of the novel just wishing Horace would stop being such a depressed mope, but he redeemed himself toward the end, I am happy to report. Similar to his plight, (him being a castaway, then a slave, then an official of court) we are taken on a jaunt across the landscape between two main viewpoints- each with a distinct corner of the world to examine. Sprunk does this well and the shift isn't as jarring as I have seen in other novels.
Despite its flaws, I really did like this book.Read more ›
John Sprunk has crafted a very entertaining and interesting piece with this first in a series, at least I think it will be a series. Any way this is the story of Horace and the magic he discovers he has. It is an interesting journey that is full of fun characters and action. I have read other reviews about this being a slow read at first but I thought it was fairly well paced. When the action hits it hits and the characters are fun. I really enjoyed the process Horace goes through finding out about magic. This was a good book and I am looking forward to the one in the series.
The world building and pace are good. There are a lot of familiar themes here but they have been reworked enough that they are not dull. The crusaders vs locals themes are handled well and the author avoids the trap of a simple morality play which could detract from the action. There is a lot of political intrigue which does slow down the book and will probably annoy people who are looking for pure action/adventure.
Overall this is a good book and given that we do start to understand the protagonist at the end, I will be picking up the second book in the series.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Characterize were very vanilla. Outside of Horace a bit, no complexity at all.Published 7 months ago by Scott carter
I'm a fan of Jon Sprunk. That being said this is probably my least favorite book that he's written. But. I will read the follow up.Published 7 months ago by Kvothe
Blood and Iron is an engrossing novel of swords and sorcery. It’s tightly focused and complete, without a sprawling cast and endless appendix of subplots. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is amazing! I came across it at my doctors office in a pile of books labeled "free". Blood and Iron is a perfect mix of action, fantasy, drama, and love. Read morePublished 8 months ago by H. Ramsey
Review Originally Posted At: www.FictionForesight.com
A "Pull No Punches" 4 1/2 Stars! Read more
There is a significant leap in character development in this new series from Jon Sprunk over the prior. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ogre
I just got into reading as a hobby within the last year or two. I found this book in the library and it seemed to be just my style so i decided to give it a shot. Read morePublished 12 months ago by chase sparks