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Murder of Crows (The Icarus Trilogy Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Kevin Kauffmann
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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 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 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.


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As of March 6th, 2013, in preparation for the release of the anniversary edition of The Icarus Trilogy, Murder of Crows has been updated to reflect the new content. With the addition of 20,000 words,the help of both Amazon Reviewers and a copy-editor, and a more developed writing style, the book is now a much more polished experience and more appropriate beginning to the epic tale.

*AUTHOR'S NOTE* On 7/14/2014, I basically "patched" the book once more, taking into  account the criticism about confusing names and references, and also cleaning up the book to reflect my current style. It should be a better experience all around.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kevin Kauffmann 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, a sci-fi tale about futuristic gladiatorial warfare, was Kauffmann's first professional project, but he has since gone on to tell stories in many different genres.  His Forsaken Comedy, a dark fantasy trilogy about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse attempting to save humanity, has been praised for its reimagination of popular mythology, even considering the sensitive nature of the topic.  His latest, Ouroboros, was released this last winter, and has already been receiving high praise for its representation of hallucinogen use and self-destructive behaviors.

These days, Kauffmann is steadily releasing a series of absurd fairy tales starring Rumplestiltskin III, and he hopes to collect them into a single volume by Spring 2015.

Product Details

  • File Size: 676 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477478132
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007ZKGQX8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,408 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 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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9 of 9 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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7 of 7 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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4 of 4 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Explores deeper issues December 6, 2012
By Ben T.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The characters and story develop in manners that one might not expect. This story explores the idea of war as entertainment but on a deeper level it delves into the characters as they adjust to their situation. I don't want to give much away, but the idea of dying today and coming back tomorrow is not as easy as it seems. This story also digs into how hopes and dreams can be manipulated to the point that you become a slave to the promises with no real way out. Jenkins is the core character but every character in the story becomes important and continue to slowly reveal bits and pieces about human nature as a whole. I highly recommend this book and the entire story arc.
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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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars sucked me in
I don't know exactly why I couldn't put this book down but I really couldn't. The characters are interesting, especially the main one and his internal struggle with how his life... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Devon Paul Fischer
5.0 out of 5 stars did not expect this
Usually I would read a book like this is 2 days, but something about the nature of mankind in this book kept getting to me. Did I "enjoy" the death, torture and cruelty described? Read more
Published 2 months ago by Apryl N. Aguins
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sci Fi Series
Really well written sci- fi trilogy set in a vaguely post-apocalyptic, marginally dystopian future. Compelling characters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Spatlana McCool
5.0 out of 5 stars An asteroid devoted to war games
Instead of prison inmates can choose war games instead. Earn enough and buy your way off planet. Sell your brain maps to the Commision for their games and save your family. Read more
Published 3 months ago by anaheart
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Concept
Sci-fi is not a genre I read very often but the book description sounded interesting. The story revolves around Ryan Jenkins, a rookie slave soldier on The Crows team. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed the story, will read the series
It will be interesting to see how the author has matured since this volume.

I enjoyed the premises. Particularly liked the building of relationships. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mhope
2.0 out of 5 stars Droned on and on at a very slow and somewhat ...
Droned on and on at a very slow and somewhat non-evolving pace. I kept reading it to the end in the hope that all would be wrapped up but it never was.
Published 7 months ago by Mongo
1.0 out of 5 stars Constant shifts in perspective make this a jarring read, ...
Constant shifts in perspective make this a jarring read, pretentiously done. The concepts, while interesting, feel overdone. I don't plan on reading the next two.
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic dark apocalypse fantasy
What a ride! If you want a different apocalypse story that's dark, dreary, and surprisingly full of hope, this one is it. I can't wait to read the next one!
Published 8 months ago by MKH
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book and then get someone else to read it
I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long time. The writing is crisp and to the point. Sometimes you wish you could linger on certain subjects, but it serves to impart a sense... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

Kevin Kauffmann 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, a sci-fi tale about futuristic gladiatorial warfare, was Kauffmann's first professional project, but he has since gone on to tell stories in many different genres. His Forsaken Comedy, a dark fantasy trilogy about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse attempting to save humanity, has been praised for its reimagination of popular mythology, even considering the sensitive nature of the topic. His latest, Ouroboros, was released this last winter, and has already been receiving high praise for its representation of hallucinogen use and self-destructive behaviors.

These days, Kauffmann is steadily releasing a series of absurd fairy tales starring Rumplestiltskin III, and he hopes to collect them into a single volume by Spring 2015.

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