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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 (85 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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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.
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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 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.


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 was 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, 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 second book, Ghosts of Earth, was just released in February, and the finale, In Defiance of Heaven, will be out by Summer 2014.

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:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,465 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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8 of 8 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
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
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 1 month 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 1 month 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 2 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 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done
Well crafted plot with well developed characters. The story is dark, but I am looking forward to his next book!
Published 2 months ago by JMN
3.0 out of 5 stars Book 1
An easy read. Kinda hard to follow at first but it sure gets a lot better. Would recommend this to all who read sci-fi!
Published 2 months ago by Dacsm
5.0 out of 5 stars War World
depressing, horrifying....but a great book, I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series! If you like fantasy and sci-fi, I recommend it!
Published 2 months ago by Claudia Hendrikz
4.0 out of 5 stars 'The Icarus Trilogy'
Head to an asteroid for a sci-fi adventure, I liked this book with it's futuristic look at things. Fighting and clones make the reader wonder if something like what happens isn't... Read more
Published 2 months ago by p.s. winn
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid read
If you like sci-fi, moral conundrums, and shower video games then this is the book for you. A little slow and confusing to start and it just gets going when it ends which is... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mark Walsh
2.0 out of 5 stars 3/4 the way through and I quit in discust
Nasty, sadistic and repetitive! They die and are remade over and over and over. Very depressive book with action that is boring and a concept that is not well thought out.
Published 3 months ago by Frederick A. Squier
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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 was 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, and overcoming that pain.

Now, 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 finale, In Defiance of Heaven, has just been released, but Kauffmann hopes to have his next book, Ouroboros, out by Winter 2014, and is steadily releasing short stories about an immortal, insane imp named Rumplestiltskin III.

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