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A Darkness Forged in Fire: Book One of the Iron Elves Mass Market Paperback – May 26, 2009
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Konowa Swiftdragon, once commander of the Calahrian Empire’s renowned Iron Elves, is now a disgraced ex-soldier. Though elvish, Konowa is more comfortable with metal and fire than with nature and, like all the Iron Elves, was marked at birth for an ill-omened destiny by the malevolent Shadow Monarch. When a prophetic Red Star falls, awakening lost magic, Konowa is recalled to find it with a new regiment of Iron Elves—except this bunch is the dregs of the military and not even elves. Their journey is plagued by monsters and an unforeseen rebellion, but the worst is to come. The Shadow Monarch’s play for the Star is a ruse masking another intent that Konowa doesn’t see until too late. An earthy, sardonic antihero, Konowa stands uneasily at the crux of a complicated network of loyalties while flanked by a large, colorful cast. Though knotty political machinations confuse the beginning, they eventually add richness to Evans’ militaristic fantasy world, in which magic users mix with musket-wielding soldiers. A truly worrying conclusion hooks readers for book two. --Krista Hutley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A masterful debut -- if J.R.R. Tolkien and Bernard Cornwell had a literary love child, this would be it." -- Karen Traviss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Legacy of the Force-Revelation and City of Pearl
"Fascinating...combining the best touches of fantasy and military storytelling." -- John Ringo, New York Times bestselling author of the Legacy of the Aldenata and The Council Wars series
"A thrilling epic from beginning to end, filled with wit, intrigue, and twists and turns reminiscent of Glen Cook's The Black Company. A grand new entry in the field of fantasy masters!" -- Richard A. Knaak, New York Times bestselling author in the Dragonlance, The Dragonrealm, World of Warcraft, and Diablo series
"A fantasy in which the gritty realities of war and politics are as important as the magic -- and all are handled very well." -- David Drake, national bestselling author of the Lord of the Isles and Hammer's Slammers series
"Imagine Napoleon's armies invading Middle Earth, mixing gunpowder with magic, monsters, and heroes. The Iron Elves will march across the landscape of fantasy and claim new territory. Chris Evans gives us an entertaining debut, with the promise of more great adventures to come." -- Charles Coleman Finlay, acclaimed author of The Prodigal Troll and Wild Things
"I'm always thrilled by seeing a new author press the boundaries of the conventions of fantasy. Chris Evans does just that -- taking the broad sword and sorcery archetypes and placing them squarely in a new and exciting environment." -- R. A. Salvatore
"An earthy, sardonic antihero, Konowa (Swift Dragon) stands uneasily at the crux of a complicated network of loyalties while flanked by a large, colorful cast...A truly worrying conclusion hooks readers for book two." -- Booklist
"Evans's first novel heralds the launch of an outstanding military fantasy series unlike any since Glen Cook's beloved "Black Company" series... Strong storytelling, a compelling cast of heroes and villains, and a keen knowledge of military tactics of the Napoleonic era make this a priority purchase for most libraries and a splendid read for fans of both sf and fantasy military adventure. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
A Chance Beginning (Shadow's Fire )
Evans' worldbuilding has a lot of potential, but unfortunately, this book falls down on the plot. After a series of increasingly confusing viewpoint chapters (a squirrel who isn't, an Viceroy who is official...maybe, a zombie who really wants to bum a smoke), the story settles down and introduces us to the protagonist Konowa, who has been summoned from the woods he hates to rebuild the regiment he abandoned to kill the Viceroy...the old one, whom he already killed. But he needs his unit now because evil trees and a witch are involved.
And then...the book spends the rest of its time detailing Konowa's efforts to build up his old gang of Iron Elves. There's a battle, but it's really more of a distraction than an ending. Please notice how the very title here says: BOOK ONE. Evans means it; you're not going to get any sort of satisfying conclusion in this book, this is more the equivalent of an individual TV episode rather than a fully formed story. Even if you think this might be your pot of tea, I would recommend waiting until the next one or more in the series comes along before buying.
But there were other aspects that didn't work for me. There is NO chemistry in the romance, none. I thought no one reacted realistically to the odd things happening around them and I thought the battles went on and on and on.
I think I'll probably read the next one in the series, since it's in my library and I can do so for free, but I'm not really racing out to get it as soon as possible.
Yeah, I agree with the main character - my patience is now at an end before anything 'real' happens.
ACT i = Introduce Main Character - show struggle with his past - show other characters dislike of him and/or disbelief that he is who he says he is - and travel ... a long time ... to get to the next place only to ... travel a long time again -
The character has a cool name and the novel has an interesting concept, but I grow weary and tired from Fantasy novels that have 5-10 pages of action, followed by 90 pages of walking and talking to fill up space - is the 100K word count so difficult to achieve, we have to wander and reflect for pages at a time before we get to the meat of the story and the purpose of the characters?
CONCEPT = great idea and, as I said, I liked the Main Character that everyone else in the book seemed to hate - but the story itself, the dialog and the 'movement' was lackluster and therefore, this goes into the 25% complete pile to be read no more ....
With a new even nastier viceroy in place having locals killed on a whim, the Shadow Monarch grows stronger threatening the empire. Desperate for sound military leadership, Konowa is asked to return to duty to lead the fabled Iron Elves. However, he finds his unit is not the same as these are simple men not elven warriors and their commander is an idiot who is heir to the empire. His mission is to retrieve the Red Star that has allegedly fallen somewhere to the east and heralds a special magic that has returned. His allies are elfkynan witch Visyna Tekoy who like her brethren hate elves and empires, and the most untrustworthy profession of them all a reporter Rallie Synjyn. Revolt is in the air fostered by the Shadow Monarch who also goes after the Red Star.
Though somewhat by the writer's 101 standardized book for high fantasy quest, Chris Evans uses contradictory traits to make his key cast members seem fresh and different; for instance the disgraced Konowa wanders forests, but unlike the stereotypical elven he loathes woodlands, etc. The story line is fun to follow even when the hero grumbles every step of the way. With the premise that my enemy's enemies are my allies but still my enemies, A DARKNESS FORGED IN FIRE is an engaging saga.