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

4.4 out of 5 stars 60 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, http://www.fantasy-matters.com/

"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, http://ofblog.blogspot.com/

"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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
FANTASTIC! Game of Thrones withdrawals helped me find this trilogy. And I am delighted it did. One reviewer wrote that it was hard to connect with one character. This, I did find to be true if book one, but did not lessen my interest. By book two, however, I clearly connected. By book three, I had that panicky feeling that I was reaching the end of my Acacia journey and would be searching for another fix and hoping Mr. Durham was possibly working on a book four! The complexity of the trilogy builds and builds, secrets within secrets...fabulous.The characters are brought to life...love them, hate them, love them again. For fans of GOT and certainly for fans of the Dune series. I do not believe you will be disappointed.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Note; This review assumes you have read the previous books in this trilogy, "Acacia: The War with the Mein," and "The Other Lands."

"The Sacred Band," the last of the Acacia trilogy, wraps things up nicely. Mena must contend against a monstrous (in every sense of the word) invasion, Dariel's still involved in what was called "The Other Lands" until now, Corinn continues to sing out magic, and returned from the dead Aliver is still under her spell.

As before, the tale is told from multiple pov's with cliffhangers often ending each chapter. This can be frustrating; in one case there is a more than 100-page gap before one of the threads is picked up again. But, because the author tries to keep the chronology intact, it's probably best not to jump ahead.

Of course, everything comes together beautifully at the end--maybe you'll think a little too beautifully. The solutions to several of the dilemmas the characters face may seem just a bit too pat; and some struck me as somewhat naïve and sentimental. But the author has his visions of how things should go; I have mine. The book is his.

Regardless, as before, there's much to like. I found Mena's adaption of guerrilla-war tactics intriguing; I smirked at the poor blundering League, whose tactics and arrogance lead once again to major ineptitude; and thrilled to the exploits of quasi-dragon Elya. (Speaking of dragons: spot the Anne McCaffrey reference!)

Note, too, that while Mr. Durham has certainly rung down the curtain on this saga, I see no reason why he can't return to this world he made. The survivors have quite a job ahead of them if they are to achieve their goals, and maybe the author will want to show us how they accomplish that. I for one hope he will.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The last of this trilogy lived up to the sweeping tale begun in book 1 and carried on so perfectly in book 2. The ending held wonderful twists and turns enough to satisfy my love of swashbuckling adventure, court intrigue and magic. No stock characters; no stereotypes, and the real world reflected in this fantasy one in bold, brilliant strokes. Loved it.
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