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Scourge of the Betrayer (Bloodsounder's Arc) Hardcover – May 1, 2012
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"Scourge of the Betrayer is a fascinatingly lateral take on quest fantasy. The strangely flawed Captain Killcoin and the curiously naive scribe Arkamondos intersect in unusual and interesting ways as they deal with politics, combat, and a peculiar costly form of magic. A gripping read, this is a fine opening to a series I'm looking forward to continuing to enjoy." --Jay Lake, author of Mainspring and Green
"Gritty, gripping, and layered with surprises." --Howard A. Jones, author of The Waters of Eternity
"I've long been a great fan of novels that play and experiment with the standards of fantasy, and Scourge of the Betrayer comes as no exception. Salyards not only executes the tropes of the genre skillfully, but he knows just when and how to surprise the reader by veering AWAY from any expectations we might be developing. Readers of traditional fantasy and sword-and-sorcery definitely should give this one a look; I'm impatient for a sequel already, myself." --Ari Marmell, author of The Conqueror's Shadow and The Goblin Corps
"A tale of terror and bloodshed, set on a fascinating world, told by an interesting narrator. What more could you want?" -- Mike Resnick, Hugo and Nebula award winning author.
"[A] fascinatingly lateral take on quest fantasy. A gripping read, this is a fine opening to a series I'm looking forward to continuing to enjoy."
― Jay Lake, author of Mainspring and Green
About the Author
Jeff Salyardsgrew up in a small town north of Chicago. While it wasn't Mayberry, it was quiet and sleepy, so he got started early imagining his way into other worlds that were loud, chaotic, and full of irrepressible characters. While he ultimately moved away, he never lost his fascination for the fantastic. Though his tastes have grown a bit darker and more mature over the years. Jeff lives near Chicago with his wife and three daughters. By day, he is a book editor for the American Bar Association; by night, he will continue to crank out novels as long as there are readers willing to read them.
Top Customer Reviews
With this single blurb SCOURGE OF THE BETRAYER had been elevated to Must Read status. This quote has also set the bar almost impossibly high for poor Mr Salyards. Abercrombie and Morgan? Yeah, good luck buddy! Oh, wait...
Small town scribe Arkamondos finds himself in way over his head when he accepts a commission from the enigmatic Captain Braylar Killcoin and his rugged band of Syldoon warriors. As the company of battle hardened killers embarks on a secretive mission at the behest of the Empire, Arki discovers there are far worse things in life than the mundane histories of millers and merchants...
Enter Arkamondos the scribe, more commonly known as Arki. The tale is told from Arki's first person perspective, putting a less world weary and more naive narrative to the adventures of bunch of professional soldiers. This is the first wise move on Salyards' part. I've read plenty of books about bloody-minded anti-heroes, but few from the point of view of an inexperienced bystander.Read more ›
After finishing the book, the only thing I could think of was where is the rest of it. Very little was revealed by the end. I won't give any spoilers away, but because the main character (the scribe Arki) is not privy to the groups secrets, neither is the reader. The other members of the small group repeatedly say, you really haven't told him much have you? Well the reader by the end doesn't know much either. Small events happen throughout the book, but there is no overarching story that is wrapped up. It feels like the book had the last half just chopped off.
I understand the book is meant to be the first in a series, but at this point, I don't know enough to know if I want to read the sequel. What we are given is very well written, and I think I might like the series, but there was very little substance to the current story. The characters are interesting, at least what we know of them. Having everything delivered from the point of view of a noncombatant is different. I thought I would like the concept, but I think it's the reason the book fell short. It severely limited the reader's knowledge of the bigger picture.
Some of the last few lines explain it all:
"there is nothing large or grand in the things happening here. [...] They are small and shadowy. [...] unknown to all but a few key players."
Arkamondos, Arki, is a bookish young scribe and archivist who is offered a job by the feared Syldoon Captain Braylar Killcoin. By edict of the Empire the Syldoon parties must have a scribe along to record their activities. Arki accepts the job and finds himself drawn into a world of murder, politics, and adventure like he's never seen before.
This is a well written fantasy set in a medieval like time frame and land. The story starts slowly and follows Syldoon soldiers as they try to politically shake up a region. The reader is thrown right into the world and is left to struggle to piece together what is going on, just like Arki is.
We hear most of the story from the archivist's (Arki's) point of view. Arki is very sheltered and untried. He has a bitter history, but finds out that his history is nothing compared to the horrors these Syldoon soldiers have faced. Arki is a bit hard to like and relate to; he is just so naive and so tentative at times. It is interesting to watch how he changes throughout the story though.
The most interesting character in the book is Braylar Killcoin who is a mysterious character with many secrets that are slowly revealed as the story progresses. One of Braylar's most interesting aspects are the mysterious weapons he fights with that seem tied to his very soul. Braylar is moody and adds a lot of sarcastic humor to the story; he is by far the most interesting character here.
All of the other characters are well done and have interesting backgrounds too.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book starts slowly but draws one in steadily. It is the first in a three book series...which really is one long book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Pandora
I like wow just 5 sitting and done. Starting the sequel soon best fantasy I have read in years. I'm now a fan.Published 3 months ago by Ron S.
Great book. The choice of telling the story from the scribe's POV, is in my opinion, a stroke of genius from Jeff Salyards. I'm diving straight into the second book!Published 3 months ago by S.S.S.
I'm a huge fan of Jeff Salyards Blood Sounder's Arc series. It's some of the most refreshing grimdark military fantasy I've read the past decade. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Benjamin T Kong
Dark and intense, nice to see that the main character is flawed and a bit of a coward for once.Published 5 months ago by Johannes Thiel
3/5 Rating Review posted first at https://mylifemybooksmyescape.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/backlist-burndown-scourge-of-the-betrayers-bloodsounders-arc-1-by-jeff-salyards/... Read morePublished 7 months ago by DJ