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The Sacred Band: Book Three of the Acacia Trilogy Hardcover – October 4, 2011

56 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Acacia Series

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for The Sacred Band:

"The Acacia trilogy soars.... The knock against heroic fantasy is that much of it devolves into a simplistic story of good vs. evil set against a backdrop of pale reflections of feudal Europe. But the best examples, like the grandly sprawling Acacia trilogy by David Anthony Durham, serve as a powerful rebuttal of this criticism. His final volume, The Sacred Band—following Acacia (2007) and The Other Lands (2009)—provides a deeply satisfying conclusion to an ethnically diverse series in which Durham has proved just as comfortable exploring the uses of power as conjuring up strange magic.

   Acacia is part of the Known World, existing between northern aggressors and southern sorcerers. At the center of a story covering more than a decade stand four heirs to the legacy of murdered Acacian emperor Leodan Akaran.... [Dariel's] many adventures, including exploration of a mysterious abandoned city, evoke the best of classic swords-and-sorcery. Meanwhile, fans of fantasy battles will enjoy following Mena as she heads north with an army to repulse the primary threat to Acacia, the semi- immortal Auldek people. A midair fight between Mena’s bird-dragon and another creature also results in a breathless and riveting scene. Queen Corinn, however, occupies the center of The Sacred Band.... Readers may not always like her, but they will never forget her."—Jeff VanderMeer, Washington Post

"Durham brings his sci-fi Acacia Trilogy to a satisfying close. Samuel R. Delany meets Cormac McCarthy meets J.R.R. Tolkien as the striking and subtly powerful Corinn Akaran settles into queenship over the Known World just in time to take up arms with the Other Lands.... [Durham] takes time to paint scenes in words that other writers might brush away...and [his] pages are full of thrilling action that would do Tolkien proud. A close, yes—but with wiggle room for more Acacian adventures. At any rate, on the strength of this installment, Durham’s many fans will be clamoring for more."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"This triumphant conclusion to the Acacia trilogy vindicates Durham's resurrection of a major character in 2009's The Other Lands. Corinn Akaran, queen of Acacia, used her ever-growing magical powers to revive her brother Aliver to aid her defense of her kingdom. But there are no simple resolutions to the challenges facing Corinn and her siblings, and the gap widens between the means she employs and the ends she pursues. Durham provides a graphic and chilling look at how far Corinn is willing to go to advance her cause as she brutally massacres opposing armies, and that's just the beginning. A smooth plot, Corinn's well-developed character, and Durham's stellar prose and rich imagination will have many traditional fantasy fans hoping for future books set in this turbulent world."Publishers Weekly (starred)

"The conclusion of Durham's trilogy...ties the threads of these separate stories unto a satisfying climactic world-changing battle. Strong writing, intriguing characters, and a richly detailed background—along with the possibility for future development of Durham's scenario—make this fantasy epic a winner for those who enjoy large-scale fantasy along the lines of George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series.—Library Journal

Durham’s sprawling epic fantasy trilogy comes to an end with this final volume. ... Readers who began the Acacia trilogy with the first book, when the Akaran siblings’ father was overthrown by a warlord, will find themselves immersed in this absorbing, far-reaching conclusion and the many story lines it wraps up."Booklist

"[The Sacred Band] made for a wonderfully fun, often surprising, but never forced reading experience that I hope others will see as progressive as well, since Durham's voice is one that epic fantasy needs."Fantasy Matters,

"The final pages bring full circle the promise of the earlier volumes, making The Sacred Band one of the most satisfying and fulfilling epic fantasy conclusions that I have read in recent yearsThe Sacred Band is easily one of the best 2011 epic fantasy releases and it is one that I highly recommend to readers here."The OF Blog,

"There were moments during The Sacred Band when...I was transported back to
summer days in the non-air conditioned house of my youth with no diversion beyond
the book in my hands. In that regard, the book and the trilogy proved transcendent to me.... As fantasy epics go, the “Acacia” trilogy is a direct and worthy descendant of Tolkien."—Drew Gallagher, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

“Provides the best of both worlds: epic world-changing conflict and touching character-centered story. What else could you possibly want?
Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Wise Man’s Fear, a #1 New York Times bestseller

Praise for Acacia:

“A truly epic fantasy . . . with a rich world and nuanced characters. Superbly written.” —Fantasy Magazine

About the Author

David Anthony Durham received the 2009 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer of Science Fiction for Acacia and The Other Lands (the first two volumes of the Acacia trilogy). Author of the historical novels Gabriel's Story, Walk Through Darkness, and Pride of Carthage, he was handpicked by George RR Martin to write for his Wild Cards series of collaborative novels.

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Product Details

  • Series: Acacia Trilogy (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307739681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307739681
  • ASIN: 0307739686
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,265,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Anthony Durham (born 1969) is an American novelist, author of historical fiction and fantasy. Durham's first novel, Gabriel's Story, centered on African American settlers in the American West. Walk Through Darkness followed a runaway slave during the tense times leading up to the American Civil War. Pride of Carthage focused on Hannibal Barca of Ancient Carthage and his war with the Roman Republic. His novels have twice been New York Times Notable Books, won two awards from the American Library Association, and been translated into eight foreign languages. Gabriel's Story and Pride of Carthage are currently in development as feature films. Durham's most recently released book, Acacia: The Sacred Band, concludes his epic fantasy Acacia Trilogy. His next novel, The Risen, is about the Spartacus slave rebellion in ancient Rome. It will be published in May 2016. He currently teaches for the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing, and he lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Brett on October 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Sacred Band" is the third and final installment in David Anthony Durham's "Acacia" Trilogy, as well as the best book of the three. Although not perfect, Durham improves upon the characters fleshed out so well in the second book, fixes some of the issues that were present in the first and second novels, and decisively concludes the story with emotional impact.

The book picks off not very long after the ending of "The Other Lands", with a narrative centered around the Akarian siblings. The Auldek are marching north and west to the Known World, with the intent of destroying its inhabitants for the sake of finding death and rebirth. Corrin Akaran, the Queen of the Acacian Empire and an increasingly powerful sorceress, plans to stop them - and to do so, she wields her magic in a way that I can't reveal because of the spoiler risk. Mena Akaran, her younger sister and great warrior, leads an army northward into the heartland of their ancient enemy (the Mein) to prepare for battle. Across the sea in the "Other Lands", Dariel Akarian is led westward to meet his destiny - and a fate that will re-shape the lives of the slaves left behind by the Auldek. Interspersed with these character arcs are a plethora of minor character stories, ranging from the traitor Rialus, to the scheming Leagueman Sire Dagon.

One of the issues with the previous installments of this series was Durham's tendency to lapse into his "omniscient historian narrator" voice, whereupon he would go into detail about the setting even when it didn't fit with the character point-of-view knowledge, or harmed the pacing. This is largely rectified in "Sacred Band", and use of the "exposition narrator" voice is fortunately limited.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bookmark Billy Bob on March 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Here you go, fantasy fans... Durham has created an absolutely awesome story that is the best I've read in years! I really can't say much more than what's already been said by both professional critics and fellow readers - other than this: take note, THIS SERIES IS FINISHED! Yes, a beginning, middle and ending, unlike others (i.e. Song of Ice and Fire... hell, my life - or more likely his - may be over before George R.R. Martin finishes up with this and I'll never know the conclusion. Which is why I won't even start it in spite of rave reviews.)

Dig into this one knowing that the quality is top-notch and there *will* be a conclusion! Thanks again, David Anthony Durham - anything else you write will be at the top of my reading list.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stefan VINE VOICE on October 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The most pleasant surprise about The Other Lands, the previous book in the ACACIA trilogy by David Anthony Durham, was that it broadened the scope of the series tremendously. Ushen Brae, the setting for a large part of the action in that book, proved to be a complex and interesting place, with its non-human Auldek tribes, several strata of human Quota slaves (from a warrior caste to an organized "Free People" resistance movement), the mostly extinct Lothan Aklun race, and a rich and fascinating history. The Sacred Band doesn't expand the series' fantasy world to the same extent as The Other Lands did, although it does reveal some inland areas of Ushen Brae that were previously unseen. Rather than expanding the world, The Sacred Band instead builds on what came before, reveals a few new and interesting details, and brings the various plot lines to a satisfying conclusion that, at the same time, leaves the door open for possible future stories set in this world.

As The Other Lands ended, the Known World seemed poised on the brink of climactic change. Queen Corinn's magic had grown stronger and stronger, culminating in the shocking resurrection of her brother Aliver. The newly freed Santoth were on their way north, claiming that Corinn's magic posed a threat to the world. The League of Vessels still had its claws in various plots, despite the failure of its Ushen Brae gambit. Mena had been given a task that seemed impossible and borderline suicidal: halt or at least slow the advance of the Auldek, who were marching across the frozen north with a huge army to invade the Acacian empire. And Dariel was still in Ushen Brae with the Free People, who thought he might be their savior, the Rhuin Fá.

Does The Sacred Band bring all of these threads to a satisfactory conclusion?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. M. Kemp on March 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
The first book in this trilogy stands alone, like many other trilogies. It is not until you get into the second book that the larger story starts to get told here. This final book resolves it all and completes the story very well. And what a fascinating story it is. The story lines deal with so many interesting topics such as how ultimate power corrupts, how money and profit can corrupt, how people can treat others as slaves, how addiction is a powerful, powerful influence over people. Ultimately, this is a story about redemption and righting wrongs.

The multi-layering of the story lines and the backdrop of four children having to take over a kingdom that was built on terrible corruption of power. The sister who extends the corruption, the idealistic brother who wants to extinguish it, the younger sister warrior, and the younger brother who hates the League (purveyors of the slavery and addiction to the world).

I really enjoyed the flow of the books, the build up and finally the resolution. This was a very satisfactory read. My only qualm is that there are a couple of times when I felt what should have been hard to impossible were conveniently easy - makes it easier for the author, but a tad bit difficult to swallow for the reader.

Outside of those couple of instances, this is a wonderful book. Highly recommended. Makes you think while being entertained.
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