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Murder of Crows (Book One of The Icarus Trilogy) [Kindle Edition]

Kevin Kauffmann
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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Important note:
As of March 6th, 2013, in preparation for the anniversary edition, Murder of Crows has been updated to reflect the current writing style of the author.  With the addition of 20,000 words, the help of a copy-editor, and taking into account the criticism from Amazon reviewers, Murder of Crows is now a much more appropriate beginning to the Icarus Trilogy.

You can find the compilation, which has all three books and an appendix discussing the creation, revisions and themes of the Icarus Trilogy at this address:
amazon.com/Icarus-Anniversary-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00CQRHHVA

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What would you consider freedom? For some, it's choosing their way to die. 
 
Murder of Crows is based in a not-so-far-flung universe where humanity did not reach the stars but instead found itself mired in corporate takeovers and local politics. In order to deal with overpopulation and pollution the governments of the world decided to tow asteroids from the Kuiper Belt into orbit around Earth, add atmospheres and transform them into miniature planets. While most of the asteroids were designed for colonization, Eris was destined for constant commercial warfare. Most people just call it "War World" after their favorite television show. 
 
The lower class thinks that War World is the best thing since the beginning of the universe. All of the soldiers are divided into teams and, in order to maintain rosters, each soldier is cloned prior to the games. When they die, their consciousness and memories are transferred into the new clones and the process begins all over again. What the rest of humanity doesn't realize is that each death and  resurrection is incredibly painful and disorienting. In addition, due to the costs of resurrection after their deaths each one of these soldiers becomes a slave to this cruel system.  
 
Rarely do any of them make it off the asteroid. 
 
The novel tells the story of Ryan Jenkins and his teammates from the Crows, one of the best teams in the system. Drawing on themes of grief, freedom and coping with an uncaring world, the story centers on the trauma these men and women experience as they die for public entertainment.  
 
Murder of Crows is the first part of Kevin Kauffmann's Icarus Trilogy, telling a loose interpretation of the myth in a future dystopia.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kevin Kauffmann (1987-)was one of those kids that would make up stories every day, creating worlds and adventures for action figures, old Transformers and even lucky stuffed animals. Then the real world came knocking and he forgot he loved to tell stories. After grabbing a degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, he remembered just what he lost.

The Icarus Trilogy is Kauffmann's first professional project and he started on Murder of Crows back in April, 2010. In July of that year, Kauffmann was told that his grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer, which caused Murder of Crows to become an entirely different project. In order to cope with his grief, Kauffmann's writing became focused on how his characters dealt with loss, both in the form of personal identity and actually losing the people closest to them.

His next book, tentatively titled The Fourth Horseman, is going through editing and should be released some time later this year.

Product Details

  • File Size: 525 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007ZKGQX8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,898 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story; Want to read the next two books :) May 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I downloaded this book because the author is a friend of a friend of a friend. The story is good and had me hooked to find out what poor Jenkins was going to experience next. I only gave 4 stars because the author tends to wander a little bit and it was hard sometimes to follow which character's point of view I was reading at any given point. One quirk that started to stand out and detract from the book were grammatical errors (conscious instead of conscience, for instance) and the author seemed to be stuck on the word 'towards'. It was used 158 times in a relatively short book, and started to stand out. I know, I know; I am a grammar Nazi. Don't flame me, I intend this as constructive criticism only. I do wish to read the rest of the trilogy, and only want to see the writing get even better over time. I think this author has bestseller potential and want to see him reach it.

P.S.- I can totally see this as a television series. Producers love scenarios where the characters can be killed over and over again ;)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good First Effort August 16, 2012
By Rhubarb
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This review is based upon the revised edition which was released just recently.

The plot is basically a good one, but it needs to be crisper, more clearly delineated. The characters are well-drawn and probably the biggest strength of the book is that characters' actions derive naturally and in logical fashion from who they are. Though I must admit at least one over-the-top actor is mostly just a caricature and hard to integrate as a player. One character introduced in the last few pages should have been referenced by name earlier in the novel, so that the actions in which he are implicated seem an integral part of the overall plot.

The setting is excellent. You can almost smell the cordite, kick aside the shell fragments, duck inside the blasted remains of a building alongside the fighters.

The biggest criticism I have of the book is the language. It is stilted: subject, verb, object. Subject, verb, object. They came here. He went there. They blew up this other thing. (You get the idea.) The author needs to make more use of apposite phrases, dependent clauses, metaphors, and so forth. He doesn't need to know the grammar terms, but he needs to make more use of the richness of English language in description and action. "Fancy" words need to be used correctly in context.

One specific complaint: the author uses the word "young" followed most often by "Crow" 221 times. And it's confusing. One fighter is young in years but more experienced; the other is older, but a newcomer to the games. The whole system of referring to the main actors is both confusing and boring and repetitive.

The stuff used to fight wars is "ordnance" not "ordinance".

I believe this author has major talent and I look forward to future novels from him. This review was written in the spirit of helping him improve and polish his work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique niche May 26, 2012
By Tyler K
Format:Kindle Edition
I've always been a big sci-fi fan, but what I appreciate about this book as much as anything else is that it is creative and complex. Kauffmann doesn't seem as preoccupied with catering to the fickleness of surface readers, instead exhibiting the conviction to explore a more intricately woven preface that evolves eloquently into Murder of Crows and the rest of the trilogy. Doesn't try too hard to stretch itself into the pages of more than one book, rather explores itself with the reader at a mature and invigorating pace. Just finished the first book, plan on reading the rest of the trilogy for sure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read! May 15, 2012
By bzak88
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't usually read a lot of sci-fi but I loved that this delves more into the characters and their psyches. I might call it "sci-fi light" as it has the advanced technology and space travel to qualify but deals much more with the human condition. Can't wait to read the next two books!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Novel!!!! June 22, 2012
By Patrick
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent book, very well written with an engaging story line and character development throughout. An interesting take on the commercialization of violence in a not so distant future and the ramifications of a violent culture. This book commands your attention and concentration, but rewards it with an engrossing character and story. Great read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story, not so good writing March 27, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story's not bad, but the lingo is super repetitive.
"The fuzz that was his hair" was slightly weird the first time, but repeating that same phrase over and over again just makes it bizarre (just one example.)
I'm not too keen on buying the other books in the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action & more December 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an enjoyable read for any fans of sci-fi. It is full of excellent portrayals of futuristic battles. There is violence, but I don't feel it was over the top. I feel these books would make an excellent series on the sci-fi channel. It contained deeper issues of possible futuristic technologies, such as clones and consciousness recording. The characters were relatable and full of individual personality.
I received the 1st two books for free, I will gladly purchase the third.
Looking forward to more good work Mr. Kaufman. Thanks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Murder of Crows" is the first book of 'The Icarus Trilogy' a Sci-fi space adventure by author Kevin Kauffmann. This Kindle e-book was a 380 Kb download (approx 228 printed pages) and sold for $2.99 at the time of writing this review. I obtained all three books while they were on sale (free).

Spoilers

This is the story of Ryan Jenkins, a young man who as signed a contract to be a soldier in the TV reality show, 'War World' which is set on an asteroid in space. The advertisement he saw extolled the glory, fame and the financial rewards... a better option he felt than the prison term he was facing for crimes back on Earth.
Little did he know he was trading one type of prison for another... how TV ratings were the only thing that mattered and the lives of the participants were an altogether secondary consideration (if even considered at all).

End Spoilers

Some thoughts on "Murder of Crows"...

A mix of Pros, Cons and Comments:

1.) another book in the 'Hunger Games" mold.

2.) a story that starts fairly traditionally with lots of action, battles etc. but the focus SLOWLY evolves over the course of the book to that of character development as our hero discovers things about himself, his fellow team-mates and the inner workings of the game. Not that there's anything wrong with some intriguing character building, but SLOWLY is the operative word here.
I just had this feeling that things could have progressed at a little faster pace... plus maybe a little to much repetitiveness of some similar situations.

3.) a bleak tale... a minimum of light or happy times... it started off dark and there was just never any sense of reprieve.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It's pretty good
The story itself is interesting, but the writing gets a little repetitive and predictable. Overall, an interesting read, but i don't think i will be reading the others in the... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Pen Name
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder of Crows
Good but very dark. Hope doesn't make much of an appearance in the first book but the story sets a great stage for the next two. Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Cox
5.0 out of 5 stars A future I can hate.
But not really, the author did a great job in the details but I feel as if his version of humanity is tweaked a bit too much. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Samuel Justin Noyes
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs editing..
The story was alright but it is in bad of editing. The thing that bothered me the most was the name switching back and forth. Read more
Published 1 month ago by K. Thompson
4.0 out of 5 stars I can easily see this being turned into a blockbuster movie.
It does get a bit gory in some spots, but it's not gratuitous. The characters all felt like real human beings, even the minor characters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Great original story lind
This is a pretty cool original story line for future society sci-fy. A lot of action and even the non action scenes move along pretty quickly. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I felt so bad for the protagonist...
...I've been in a similar situation, one that I cannot seem to escape from. This is a great book, and Kevin Kauffmann is an artist with words.
Published 7 months ago by Mark Henderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder of crows
This book was a little more dark than I thought it was going to be. That being said, it was a pretty good read. A bit repetitive. Read more
Published 8 months ago by pat
3.0 out of 5 stars I was hoping for a good story
Just finished the first book, not sure if I'm going to move to next one. Book was ok read, but one thing really ANNOYING that was the swtiching constantly between using First Name... Read more
Published 8 months ago by pheobe_s
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty sci-fi
The bad side of cloning. Kauffman has a different take on cloning which to me seems a bit more plausible considering the current state of pro sports. Read more
Published 10 months ago by soldner
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More About the Author

Kevin Kauffmann (1987-)was one of those kids that would make up stories every day, creating worlds and adventures for action figures, old Transformers and even lucky stuffed animals. Then the real world came knocking and he forgot he loved to tell stories. After grabbing a degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, he remembered just what he lost.

The Icarus Trilogy is Kauffmann's first professional project and he started on Murder of Crows back in April, 2010. In July of that year, Kauffmann was told that his grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer, which caused Murder of Crows to become an entirely different project. In order to cope with his grief, Kauffmann's writing became focused on how his characters dealt with loss, both in the form of personal identity and actually losing the people closest to them.

Now, in 2013, Kauffmann has decided to create an entirely new kind of story with The Forsaken Comedy, a series devoted to the Four Horsemen and their rise from Hell. The first book, From Hell with Love, has just been released, and the sequel, Ghosts of Earth, should be available shortly.

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