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Talion: Revenant [Kindle Edition]

Michael A. Stackpole
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The man he is sworn to protect is the man who butchered his family.

Justices—the select of the Talions, endowed with fearsome magick and lethal martial skills—roam the Shattered Empire, crushing the lawless and championing the oppressed. Their word is law and their judgment binding on highborn and low.

Nolan is a Justice born in what once was the free nation of Sinjaria. Orphaned in the war of conquest with the nation of Hamis, he traveled to far Talianna and secured the right to become a Justice. Now, years later, the Master of all Talions has a dangerous assignment for Nolan: he is to guard the life of the king who destroyed Sinjaria and slaughtered his family. Alone, Nolan ventures into the political maelstrom that is the court of Hamis to stop an assassin even his Masters think cannot be slain...

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Stackpole says this is actually the first novel he ever wrote. It sees the light of day now because of his track record in the Battletech and Star Wars series, and it is as good as many an author's tenth novel. The protagonist is a Talion Justice, an administrator of justice who is still functional and feared long after the emperor who founded the Talions and the empire they served became dust. The plot consists of two parallel strands, one concerned with the Talion's training, the other with his current activities, duties, and often-as-not perilous adventures. The first strand is particularly well spun and lends considerable depth to the character, but overall, the book displays intelligence, originality, the superior narrative technique familiar to readers of Stackpole's other work, and that most essential of qualities--the impetus to keep the reader turning pages. Roland Green

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I unrolled the yellowed map Orjan had given me in Tashar and squinted at the huge dolmen halfway up through the pass.  Three stones supported a large, flat triangular slab.  I checked the map and smiled.  The dolmen was the last landmark on my map.  Just up the slope, through the last narrow pass in the Tal Mountains, was Talianna.  I'd made it.

I rolled the map back up and jammed it over my shoulder into my pack.  I picked up my walking stick and marched forward over the uneven, rocky ground.  I was so close to my goal I could feel it just beyond the horizon.  The pass would open up and there it would be, Talianna, the home of the people who brought justice to the world.

A smile crept onto my face.  I was eager to be done with my journey.  A thousand miles and five months before, I'd left my family's home in Sinjaria and set out.  At first it seemed a foolish mission.  I was not even twelve summers old when I started, and the journey began without any real planning.  I knew Talianna lay west and north, so I headed into the Darkesh and just kept walking.

Hiking that last mile I knew all the other miles had seemed long and lonely and dangerous.  Even so, try as I might, I couldn't bring to mind the particulars of any one mile when I thought the journey would be ended prematurely.  The times I came across signs of outlaw bands, as in the forests of Cela, I hid. When I found a farm or village, I traded work for space near the fire and as much food as I could get.  And when I got sick I was lucky enough to meet someone like Orjan who took care of me.

The last hundred yards of the pass rose very steeply and forced me to crawl forward on my hands and feet.  I carefully picked my hand- and footholds because I did not want to injure myself so close to the goal I'd worked so hard to reach.  I had to make it in good health or the entire journey would be wasted.

Halfway up the slope it occurred to me that the Nolan who started the journey would never have even attempted a climb like this, nor would he have been able to complete it.  I'd not filled out during the trek--there was not enough food along the way to let me do that--but I'd grown harder.  I'd worked my childhood chubbiness off and I'd grown an inch or two.  If I continued at that rate I'd surpass my twin older brothers and perhaps even my father.

I reached the top of the hill before I could catch myself up in thinking about my family.  I pulled myself onto the hilltop and collapsed.  My chest heaved and labored hard to suck in enough of the thin mountain air to sate my body.  A bit dizzy, I lay back and, drunk with success, just started to laugh.  Finally I regained enough strength to roll over onto my hands and knees.  I levered myself up and the Tal Valley unfolded below me.

I'd never seen anything so green before.  Deep, dark living green covered the valley floor.  From the patchwork of cultivated fields in the south and west to the forest at the base of the mountains upon which I stood, this valley was the verdant treasure my father had promised our farm would one day become.

The natural wonders of the valley paled to insignificance, though, when compared to Talianna itself.  Star within a pentagon within another pentagon, Talianna rose up, a gleaming white stone city full of strength and power. Massive white marble blocks made up the walls and buildings.  The outer siege wall stood twenty feet tall, while the inner pentagon soared up to half again that height.

The central star was the most magnificent building I'd ever seen.  The walls of each point sloped in and up to form a pyramid at the star's core.  The pyramid itself had a flat top and a flagpole set in the center of it.  A plain black flag writhed and snapped in the breeze because here, in the Tal province, it needed no ensign.

I stood there and shivered.  I took a deep breath and let it out slowly through my nose.  I had arrived: I'd reached my destination.  I'd finished my journey and the time came for me to decide my destiny.

I opened a pouch on my belt and fished around in the bottom of it for a small, leather-wrapped packet.  I untied the lacing and took out a single gold Imperial.  It had been my family's treasure and was only to be used in an emergency, but even it had not been enough to save them.

It was an old coin, so old I could not read the inscription.  Bright and clean as the day the mint struck it despite its antiquity, it bore no signs of use or wear.  The words on the coin were old and although I knew how to read, I could not make out what they meant.  Still I did recognize the face on the coin.  It was Emperor Clekan, the first emperor, Clekan the Just.

I weighed the coin in my hand.  I relished its coolness, and reveled in the fact that it no longer seemed heavy.  I swallowed once and flipped the coin high into the air.  It spun and spun, flashing spears of sunlight off in all directions.  As it fell to earth again I caught it in my open right palm. Clekan's profile glowed in the sunlight.

I smiled.  "It's decided.  I'm yours."

A shadow blotted out the sun.  I twisted to my right and caught a flash of white and brown descending through the blue sky.  A high scream deafened me and something hit me hard in the back.  I felt the shoulder straps on my back pull, twist, and snap as I smashed into the ground.

I landed hard on my chest and had the wind knocked from my lungs.  I bounced once and flipped onto my back.  I lay there, arms and legs splayed out, while I tried to breathe and scream.  I tried to swallow enough air to stem the suffocating feeling in my chest, but my body would not respond.  In addition to my breathlessness, my back complained of the impact and the jagged chunk of rock beneath me.

I felt someone grab my shoulders and pull me off the rock.  "Don't try to move. Is anything broken?"  The voice was young, about my age, and as nervous and scared as I felt.

I shook my head and opened my eyes.  A sandy-haired, brown-eyed boy wearing a brown jerkin with a white hawk in flight stenciled on the left breast stood over me.  With my response to his question he calmed almost instantly and that calmed me.

"I'm an Elite novice."  He reached down and took hold of my belt.  He lifted up, arched my back gently, and forced air into my lungs.  I didn't breathe much in, but it cooled the burning in my chest nonetheless.  He lowered me, then lifted again.

The numbness centered in my chest faded.  I nodded at him and tapped his arm twice.  He let me down and crouched beside me.  "Can you feel your legs and toes?"

I took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly.  I squeezed my eyes shut against the pain of sore ribs.  I drew my knees up and flexed my toes.  "Yes, I can."

The Talion novice rocked back on his heels and smiled.  "I'm sorry for what happened.  I passed my trial today and took Valiant up for a flight.  He saw something and stooped.  It wasn't until the last second I saw you.  No one's supposed to be up in these mountains during Festival."

I tucked my legs under me and came up into a sitting position.  The sharpness of pain in my back drained away, but it still felt pretty sore.  That's when I saw Valiant for the first time--the blur of color I saw before he hit me did not count--and I paled.

The Elite caught my reaction and smiled.  "Don't be afraid of him.  He's not even full grown yet."

Valiant was an Imperial Hawk.  Its belly was white and dappled with dark brown, while the wings and back were light brown.  It stood, hobbled and hooded, about twenty feet away from me and shredded my pack.  From talons to the top of its head it stood about six feet high, and when full grown would be able to take cattle the way a kestrel takes varmints.

My mouth went dry.  "The, ah, that's what hit me?"

The Elite nodded.  He hefted my coin and flashed it in the sunlight.  "I think he saw the flash and went for it.  You shouldn't be up here.  How did you get past the patrols keeping Festival people out of this area?"  He handed me the coin and I returned it to my pouch.

"I came in from the north.  I'm coming to be a Talion.  My name's Nolan, Nolan ra Sinjaria."

The Talion's eyes narrowed, then he stood.  "I'm Erlan ra Leth, though I've been in Talianna since just after I was born.  Come on."  He reached down and helped me to my feet.  "You've got to sign in by the end of today or you can't try to join during this Festival."

I looked down at the valley below.  "I can't climb down there by the end of the day."

Erlan smiled.  "I know.  I'll fly you down."

Product Details

  • File Size: 846 KB
  • Print Length: 467 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: (April 14, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,498 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome March 31, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In the afterword to Talion: Revenant, author Michael Stackpole states that this novel initially went unpublished because, at 175,000 words, it was too long for an unknown author. Whoever said that must have not read the book, because the problem is that it is too SHORT, not too long! This is one of those titles that you just don't want to end, and that make you seriously depressed when you realize there is no sequel, even by another author.
The world that Stackpole has created in this stand-alone adventure is original, detailed, and has incredible potential. His characters, as always, are so real that you start wondering if you actually know them. This novel, like Once A Hero and I, Jedi is told from the first person perspective. This isn't an easy way to write a good novel, but Stackpole certainly makes it seem that way. The protagonist is Nolan, a Talion Justice with a tragic history that has some serious scores to settle. The story switches between his time training as a Talion and his missions as a Justice. At first this might be a bit confusing, but you will soon get accustomed to it, and it quickly becomes apparent that the author has turned this potentially unwieldy scheme into an elegant and pivotal element of his tale.
Some fantasy authors write works that are what I like to call 'borderline romance,' with an obvious love scheme that is typically invincible and an almost fairy-tale style of storytelling. Don't expect this from Stackpole. Talion: Revenant is traditional purebred fantasy, and it doesn't get much better than this. If you are even remotely interested in fantasy, or just a very deep, compelling story, then look no further. Summon your tsincaat and pick a good Imperial hawk- Talion: Revenant will certainly sweep you off your feet.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy Done Right May 12, 2004
Michael A. Stckpole said this was the first novel he ever wrote. As an aspiring author I have to say, I wish my first efforts were this good.
Fantasy books are very difficult to write for several reasons. Far too many people have tried to ride Tolkien's momentum. Consequently, many books feel like the author was afraid to try some original ideas. Conversely, some go so far off of the path that it's difficult to identify the work as fantasy. Then you have repetitive characters and plots, thin worlds, and thousands of undefined theologies. These are just a few of the snares waiting for aspiring writers.
Stackpole deftly avoided all of these traps, and gave us a book that is a plain and simple good read. The story moves at a good pace. Characters and lands are very well defined. And, it's easy to understand, and identify with the main character Nolan.
To me it's quite amazing. This story has many of the elements that one would expect to come off as repetitive, and maybe even a little cheesy. There's a beautiful princess in it for crying out loud. But, with a slick plot, frequent and well thought out fights, and exceptional characters this story pulls it off.
My last thought goes out to Mr. Stackpole. I'm sure he's heard it before, but one more won't hurt. How about a sequal?
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revenant Risen November 26, 2004
Michael Stackpole's first novel, Talion: Revenant is a fine addition to his bestselling fiction. Though written in 1986, it was only published a decade later, but is a fine fantasy offering nonetheless. While superficially, the plot appears to be rather stereotyped (A boy, who witnesses the brutal killing of his family by Hamisian raiders vows to exact vengeance on the lands of Hamis), interest rarely, if ever wanes. This is created primarily through the intriguing web of politics weaved through the plot and the creation of multi-dimensional characters, particularly the main character, Nolan ra Sinjaria. Rather original ideas involving magic enhance the effiacy of Stackpole's writing.

A "Talion" refers to one in service to the Shattered Empire, which in Revenant is comprised loosely of several states. Talions take on a diverse range of roles, from riding mythical hawks to the feared Talion Justices, whose duty is to uphold the law, empowered with the ability to draw the souls from a body. Written from the first person perspective, "Talion: Revenant" details the experiences both of the main character Nolan as a Novice Justice in training and a Justice pursuing bandits throughout the Shattered Empire. Without revealing too much of the plot, a conspiricy is soon revealed, and as a Justice Nolan seeks to uphold the law in a divided nation. While Talion: Revenant is not a short read, spanning 175,000 words and in parts slows in pace, Michael Stackpole masterfully weaves politics, adventure and magic into an absorbing read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Example of Heroic Fantasy January 1, 2003
Michael Stackpole's Talion: Revenant is the first novel he wrote, but that is hard to tell once you read the book. This is a well-told heroic fantasy with believable characters and fast paced action that keeps the pages flying by.
One might call this story the study of a hero, because ultimately, Nolan, a Talion Justice is just that, a Hero. The novel opens with Nolan, an experienced Talion Justice, in pursuit of bandits led by the rogue Morai and Nolan's eventual disbanding of the group. The novel then switches to years earlier as Nolan arrives at the gates of Talianna, the home nation of the Talions, with aspirations of becoming a Justice. He wants to ultimately right a wrong that befell him, the killing of his entire family by the King of Hamis in his conquest of nations.
The novel takes place in the world of the Shattered Empire, a loose band of nation policed by the Talions-an elite police nation. The Talions are divided into Warriors, Wizards, Archers Lancers and the Justices, which are the highest ranking of the Talions. The rest of the novel switches between these two view points, that of Nolan as a full Talion Justice in the midst of his missions and Nolan's growth and development through the land of Talianna as he pursues his goal of becoming a Talion.
The novel also has interesting creatures, the giant Hawks that are used as mounts by the Talions, Jevin the Fearleen, one of Nolan's Talion companions. Fearleans are Stackpole's version of ogres. And of course the undead nekkhit, the basis for Nolan's ultimate assignement. The nekkhit possess the bodies of the dead, and is being used in an attempt to take the life of King Tirrel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome book well balanced between relevant history and present action. Love it!!!
Published 1 month ago by gabriel hutchinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing book, hope to see a sequel
Published 1 month ago by Robert A Combs
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and unique fantasy world has been created by ...
Very interesting and unique fantasy world has been created by Stackpole. If you are looking for a well written novel to escape into for a weekend, look no further. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Eric
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Still waiting for more
Published 3 months ago by Phillip
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done story
The story line borrows from the Star Wars Jedi warrior theme but does it in a way that is very entertaining and keeps the reader engaged in the story. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Asmith
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought it FOUR times!!!!
I have a paperback copy(It is currently lost somewhere among my thousands of books which is why I bought an ecopy originally). I also had an ebook copy on a previous computer. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Beverly Lee Pickett
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, Unique Tale
The only con about this book is the universe its set in. The only con about that universe, is that this remains, for now, the only book set in it.

Its got humor and wit. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Obviously an early work by this author
Lots of holes and backtracking to fill in the blanks. Too many new ideas are introduced as needed to complete the story.
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!!
Exceptional! I couldn't put it down!! Highly recommend this book and as a result of how much I enjoyed it will definitely read his other books..
Published 5 months ago by Derek McClure
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, old school style fantasy
This is the second book of the author I have read, and I highly recommend it. Linear in its form, it is an old fashioned 1st person tale full of action and suspense. Read more
Published 7 months ago by ivan brewer
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More About the Author

Michael A. Stackpole is the New York Times bestselling author of over 40 novels, including I, Jedi and Rogue Squadron. He's won awards in the realms of podcasting, game designer, computer game design, screenwriting, editing, graphic novel writing and novel writing. He lives in Arizona and frequently travels the United States attending conventions and teaching writing workshops. His website is

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Finding good fantasy novels.
I would recommend Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series. His style is very similar to Stackpole's, if slightly darker. Nice romance in there, without the sex scenes. I would also recommend Stackpole's own Dragoncrown War Cycle trilogy and it's prequel, Dark Glory War. If you liked Talion: Revenant,... Read More
Apr 13, 2010 by Jack Tripper |  See all 3 posts
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