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Phoenix Rising (Balanced Sword) Paperback – November 6, 2012

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ryk E. Spoor is the author of Digital Knight, Grand Central Arena and, with New York Times best selling coauthor Eric Flint, two book in the Boundary series, Boundary and Threshold.  While earning his masters degree in Pittsburgh, Spoor became a playtesting consultant and writer for the Wizards of the Coast, the leading publisher of role-playing games and related novels. He now lives in East Greenbush, NY, working as a technical proposal writer for a high-tech R&D firm, and spending his nonwriting time with his wife and sons.

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Product Details

  • Series: Balanced Sword (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; Original edition (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451638418
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451638417
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,235,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ryk E. Spoor was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and has lived in South Dakota, Georgia, New York, and Pennsylvania. Severe asthma forced him to spend most of his childhood reading and, by the time he was six, writing. While he began reading fantasy such as Oz and science fiction starting with Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, it was his 5th grade teacher that sent him on the course that would make him a science-fiction author, by lending Ryk a battered copy of E.E. "Doc" Smith's Second-Stage Lensmen; this sent him on a reading spree that devoured every science-fiction book he encountered for the next ten years, and instilled in him the conviction that being a science-fiction author was the greatest possible profession anyone could aspire to.

At the turn of the 21st century, Ryk succeeded in achieving this ambition by first launching a clever plan to be published through the diabolical strategem of insulting Eric Flint in public. (Note that neither Eric nor Ryk recommend anyone else attempt his strategy.) Subsequently, Eric brought Ryk's work to the attention of Baen Books, culminating in the publication of Digital Knight, and subsequently two stories with Eric Flint ("Diamonds Are Forever" and Boundary). His next solo novel Grand Central Arena was released in April 2010, followed in June by the sequel to Boundary, titled Threshold. Most recently, his solo epic fantasy, Phoenix Rising, was released in November 2012, and the third book in the Boundary series, Portal, is to be released in May 2013.

Ryk Spoor is also Research and Development Coordinator for International Electronic Machines (IEM), where he has obtained funding for and directed/assisted in research into wireless MEMS sensor systems, power harvesting, smart video security systems, and other related fields; he holds several patents in these areas. He lives in Troy, New York, with his wife Kathleen and their four children Christopher, Gabriel, Victoria, and Domenica.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Karl-Johan on November 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
Phoenix Rising is at its core a quest fantasy with roots in Dungeon and Dragons, but it handles itself with intelligence and freshness. Both protagonists and antagonists are smart and think - even (and perhaps especially) when they happen to be wrong. Spoor also manages to give the right degree of hints to a richly textured world and its history - enough to tantalise and give depth, but not so much it drags the story. Anyone looking for a classic fantasy that still feels modern should hop to this story!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Reich on January 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The word "rollicking" conveys the sense of this novel very well. It is high-fantasy adventure with some comic undertones and extremely likeable characters. Even the lesser villains gain some sympathy, even from the avenging questor. The setting is a huge and detailed world, one that the author has been creating and exploring for many years. I usually don't like fiction (or gaming environments) where it is common for people to decide to be "adventurers." In this novel, this is fairly common and they even have a damn _guild_ But that didn't slow down the adventure for me much at all.

There is a lot of action and the end leaves the central characters with prospects of more to come. I hope the author continues this story for at least a few more books.

Speaking of the author. Don't let this Ryk E.Spoor business fool you into thinking a mere human wrote this book. Ryk is the pen name of a poisonous sea-creature who posts under his true name, Sea Wasp, on uesnet. However, he understands human motivation, and toad motivation, remarkably well, not even giving him any credit for being an invertebrate.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Creegan on January 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The primary plot arc of Phoenix Rising is one of the most classic in fantasy: Kyri Vantage must discover who killed her parents and avenge them. Most of the twists in the immediate plot are also very classic: a reason to accomplish this herself, the search for legendary aid (a weaponsmith, in this case), the blessing of a god, etc. The plot twists flow naturally from the world background; for example, the god needs Kyri at least as badly as she needs him, for reasons that make perfect sense in context.

All of that makes this a good solid read in the high fantasy quest mold, but what really makes this book shine is that the background is as detailed as the foreground. There are three supporting characters who have their own quests - at least as important as Kyri's but at most tangentially related to it. There are whole cultures we see only tangentially but receive the distinct impression the author knows in detail.

Finally, the main plotline is classic high fantasy, and really so are the quests of the secondary characters (which the author does not do the injustice of resolving as secondary plotlines.) The world, however, is anything but classic. The classic fantasy elements are there, but they're overshadowed by wonderful unique touches. The Empire is ruled by a Dragon Emperor, and his staff keeps ceremonial weapons by his throne room so that no one insults him by approaching him unarmed. One of the major secondary characters is a sentient toad who works magic in the style of a computer hacker. There's a scene involving a new sentient race, something which is unusual but far from unheard of in this world. And it all hangs together elegantly -- the premises of this world aren't quite the usual, and there are many more moving pieces than is typical, but if you accept the premises everything else fits nicely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W Jordin on January 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
Phoenix Rising (2012) is the first epic Fantasy novel in this series. It is set on the planet of Zarathan, the World of Magic. Only one large continent is known, but it is surrounded by countless islands of various sizes.

Civilization on Zarathan goes back a half a million years, but accurate records only go back to the last Chaos War. The oldest civilization was founded by the Dragons in the city usually called Zarathanton by humans. This old city still exists under the Sauran kings.

Humans are latecomers on Zarathan. They existed before the last Chaos War, but who knows how long they had been on the planet. Nonetheless, they are one of the most widespread species on the continent.

In this novel, Kyri Vantage is a tall girl who likes weapon play. Her parents were killed four years before under mysterious circumstances.

Rion Vantage is Kyri's older brother. He is training to be a Justicar of Myrionar.

Urelle Vantage is Kyri's younger sister. She is still a child.

Victoria Vantage is the Vantage children's aunt. She had been an Adventurer for decades.

Tobimar Silverun is the seventh child of the Lord of Waters. He is on a quest.

Poplock Duckweed is a Toad of Pondsparkle. He wields a mean dagger.

T'Oroning'Oltharamnon... is an Ancient Sauron. Toron is Marshal of the Hosts for the Dragon Throne and an Adjudicator.

Khoros is a wizard. He has been around for millenia.

In this story, Poplock is exploring a cave system near Pondsparkle and finds snake-demons. He sneaks past the guards and discovers that the snake-demons are summoning a high demon. He terminates the summoning snake-demons and leaves to report his findings.
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