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Irenicon (The Wave Trilogy #1)

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  150 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
The river Irenicon was blasted through the middle of Rasenna in 1347 and now it is a permanent reminder to the feuding factions that nothing can stand in the way of the Concordian Empire. The artificial river, created overnight by Concordian engineers using the Wave, runs uphill. But the Wave is both weapon and mystery; not even the Concordians know how the river became co ...more
ebook, 388 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Jo Fletcher
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(showing 1-30 of 708)
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Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The first time I heard about author Aidan Harte was last year when his novel Irenicon was shortlisted for the Gemmell Morningstar award for best debut. Talk about an impressive series starter. The book's historical overtones set in a fantasy world, along with a subtle touch of magic put me in mind strongly of the works by Guy Gavriel Kay, and if Harte's prose lacks Kay's poetic quality then he more than makes up for it wit
May 28, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
4.5 stars

Review Posted on Tenacious Reader

I love when a book that wasn’t on my radar comes my way and takes me by surprise. This is exactly what happened with Irenicon by Aidan Harte. I had heard of the book, recognized the cover, but honestly didn’t know much about it. When I took a closer look and realized that the main protagonist was actually female and the storyline sounded exactly like something I would normally enjoy, I had to give it a chance.

This book reminds me a bit of K. J. Parker in
Apr 10, 2014 Mihir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Full review originally at Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: Irenicon the word sounds mysterious and was unknown to me when I first heard of it. Its meaning, I discovered was a device or proposition for securing peace. Such an intriguing word and the debut from Aidan Harte also dripped intrigue from its blurb to the overall premise. The book is an alternate historical story with the central premise being that Christ never reached adulthood. Herod was successful in killing Mary’s son and thus the prop
Irenicon was a book that intrigued me by its blurb but the sample available read very YA-ish so I hesitated before getting a copy; the first 200 pages or so are actually interesting despite their somewhat YA style, but from about half on the book becomes a non-stop action thriller and I am not really a fan of such, so I kind of got very bored with it and just turned the pages to see what happens; there are lots of twists and turns for sure, but they left me meh and I have no intention to read mo ...more
David Ledeboer
Mar 19, 2014 David Ledeboer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Talk about your unexpected endings! Twists, turns, and “I didn’t see that coming” really describe the action in Aidan Harte’s book, Irenicon – Book I of The Wave Trilogy. The cover consists of what appears to be a group of rag-tag knights on horseback riding out to defend a kingdom, led by a Joan-of-Arc type character carrying a banner. So naturally I expected more of a medieval-type fantasy. Not nearly so!

Family factions of the city of Rasenna spar and battle for supremacy. Words and family nam
The city of Rasenna is divided, in more than one sense of the word. Geographically speaking, the city is split in two by the river Irenicon, which was blasted straight through the middle of the ancient city using Wave technology, a major feat of engineering by the Concordian Empire to subdue its main rival.

Maybe more importantly, though, the people of Rasenna are divided into factions. Competing families on each side of the river continually launch deadly raids and vendettas against each other.
Flawed, unusual, great. There are elements of the things I loved about Guy Gavriel Kay about this - the strength of the setting (a strongly evoked northern Italy of Machiavelli) and the romantic brutality of character choices and consequences - but though Harte's style is equally poetic, it is sparse and pared back (sometimes cut too far, too close to the bone to give the necessary weight to the big moment that just went whizzing past). The characters are strong, floundering, human, drawn in vir ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating reshaping of late medieval Europe undergoing a very different Renaissance in a world where Christianity developed very differently after Herod managed to kill the Infant Jesus.
Mary is worshipped in stead and a world is very different without the selfless sacrifice of Jesus.
Rasenna is the setting of much of the story and the factions and infighting have resulted in their conquering by another powerful town turned Empire, Concordia. The book centres on the reshaping of Rasenna follo
Jan 06, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
I very much enjoyed this book, enough twists to keep you interested and a very different take on Christianity, (Jesus never survived infancy and his mother is worshiped instead) and medieval Europe.
A city divided must unite to defeat the enemy or be left in ruins.
great characters with their own personal and external conflicts to cope with, in a world that doesn't make anything easy for them.

one of my favorite books of the past 12mos and I'm glad it is one of the first of 2014.

onwards, to the w
Fantasy Literature
Aidan Harte’s debut novel Irenicon is a mostly impressive beginning to his WAVE trilogy; its richly detailed world, tense plot, and subtle mix of science and magic offset some issues of pace, structure, and character sufficiently enough that I plan on continuing right on with its sequel The Warring States, which just arrived last week.

Irenicon is set in a somewhat off-kilter Renaissance Italy, where centuries earlier Herod’s slaughter of children actually worked, killing Jesus Christ as an infan
Jan 07, 2016 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel about a river.

No, really.

Decades ago, the river Irenicon tore through Rasenna, effectively dividing the city into two, and thoroughly terrifying its citizens. The feuding factions occupying the city more or less carried on with business as usual – working during the day, and attacking each other at night – but the river, a huge, relentless force that had torn so easily through their city, couldn’t be ignored, and their daily lives had to adjust to accommodate it. Since then, Rase
Irenicon has so many different elements. Alternate history of the European Renaissance variety, steampunk fantasy, understated romance, superhero battles, magical water creatures. It also has elements of religious allegory.

This book tells the story of Captain Giovanni, architect to the Concordian empire, and Sofia, heir to the city of Rasenna. Their lives intertwine when Giovanni is sent to build a bridge over the wily Irenicon river in Rasenna, a city dominated by two gangs. Decades ago, the Ir
Nov 24, 2014 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5 stars.

Irenicon is a book that had to grow no me. Not necessarily due to the story, but more because of the structure in the very beginning of the book. The first few chapters confused me immensely. I didn’t understand what was going on or what it was supposed to introduce me to.

More and more, as the story unfolded and the world building got more extensive, the story grew on me. A quarter in I was hooked.
It has been said about this book before, it is e
Mike Gething
Feb 04, 2016 Mike Gething rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
8/10. Another debut novel, this is one of the best out there. Siege warfare, political wrangling, romance (sort of), magic, mystery and plot twists, this book has them all. Set mainly in the city of Rasenna, in the mid 14th Century, the story centres around Contessa Sophia and Concordian engineer Giovanni.
Pros: Giovanni, a strong yet fallible character with a secret past. Italian-style city with its high towers and narrow alleyways. The Concord empire with the mysterious Apprentices. The Molé p
Jun 15, 2013 Jasper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
Irenicon is Aidan Harte's debut novel. Aidan Harte has studied sculpting in Florence and currently works in Dublin. Prior to finding this new career Aidan was the creative mind behind the children's tv show Skunk Fu. What caught my interest of Irenicon was the combination of the synopsis and the cover. The cover of Irenicon features a set of medieval knights with banners and barded horses and the mentioning that this story takes place in the year of 1347, but a bit contrasting to the cover are t ...more
Mar 16, 2014 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do you fight against impossible odds? Twenty years before the opening of Aidan Harte's Irenicon, an unnatural wave ripped through the city of Rasenna and ended their resistance against the Concordian Empire. Since then, the city has torn itself apart as factions fight pointless, bloody vendetta. The heir is underage. The city's regents scheme and squabble. The beginning of the book is rocky, but if you stick with it, you'll be rewarded with a fantastic (in both senses of the word) vision of ...more
Jun 30, 2013 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spec-fic
c2012: FWFTB: river, Engineers, feuding, Concord, Wave. I found the heroine's age to be disconcerting and I couldn't help thinking whether or not an older heroine would have sufficed. I enjoyed the read though and although the world was not particularly unique, the belief systems and feudal systems were well built. I never felt that I had a handle on the magic element though. Again, a bit of a lull two thirds of the way through but then it raced to the end - a bit like a wave I suppose! The pris ...more
David Marshall
Feb 14, 2014 David Marshall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very impressive fantasy set in a mediaeval Italy where faith has been subverted as magic for military purposes.

May 30, 2015 Kaitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This "world building" in this novel was phenomenal. There are so many characters, each so devious, that it was really only in the last 100 pages that I had a good inkling of how we were going to get to the end of the book. And I was wrong about which ending we were hurtling towards. This was a heavy but enjoyable read.
Mike Aldred
Jul 10, 2014 Mike Aldred rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never write long winded reviews of books, my thoughts are if a book sounds good then give it a go. I liked this because it was an interesting concept. A mix of fantasy, action, magic what could be more fun.
Nov 03, 2014 Carl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic "Historical fantasy" set in an alternate "castlepunk" medieval italy. For a first time novelist Harte has a unique voice and an intriguingly different yet intuitivwe grasp of pacing and plot.

A great deal of lfun. Looking forward to books 2 and 3.
This book just never clicked for me. The writing didn't flow, and after 90 pages I still didn't care about any of the characters or what was going to happen. I didn't hate it, I just didn't care one way or another. And life is too short to read books you don't like so I stopped.
Dara Markowitz
Alternative renaissance Italy, mix of nature, mechanical, and religious magic , complex world building. Interesting to see where the sequel goes. Christ's birth?
Feb 12, 2014 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoying this, and impressed for a first novel. Very resonant of Anathem and His Dark Materials. I can see why some reviewers cast it as YA, but some of the ideas, or maybe where i think he's going, are pretty sophisticated if they are intended to be YA.
Ade Couper
hmmm.....bit of a curate's egg this.....

The plot's difficult to summarise, but basically we're in an alternative history where the church never gained the power it has in this world. We're in an Italian city-state which has been subjugated by the ruling city of Concord . We're a bit confused by all the internecine power struggles....

There are some good ideas in this book , & the set-piece battle that ends the story is very well-written . However , the book's at least 100 pages too long , &am
Dec 16, 2015 Blaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I admit, this book was well written but just was not my cup of tea. It started slow and I never really got into it. Started speed reading through it.
Aug 17, 2015 Cheri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't able to finish this one due to a slow start. I made it through sixty-some pages, but it was all set-up and I got impatient.
More a 3.5 star read, the end was just heartbreakingly perfect, exactly what was to happen, not an easy end but a right end.
Erik Lundqvist
There are a few things I did not like about Irenicon, but the last third of the book turned things around quite drastically,and left me with a positive feeling. At almost 600 pages Irenicon is a brick of a book, but it is fastidiously written brick. It stands out with its, somewhat surreal, world building and well rounded characters. If you want something a bit different to your traditional fantasy Irenicon might just be the book for you.

Read my full review
Jul 28, 2014 Samantha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Inheriting a city full of anger, corruption, and fear isn't exactly what a future Contessa would want. Sofia Scaligeri desperately wants to change her home, but it seems impossible with all the enemies they face. When a Concordian engineer, Giovanni, agrees to build a bridge over the Irenicon, a solution starts to present itself. But with a deadly Wave coming, no one can tell who will survive." Full review at Fresh Fiction:
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Aidan Harte (b 1979) is a writer and sculptor.

His first novel, Irenicon, is published by Jo Fletcher Books, an imprint of Quercus Books. Irenicon is the first part of a historical fantasy trilogy.

He studied in the Florence Academy of Art. His sculpture can be seen in Sol Art Gallery in Dublin. He works in the classical tradition informed by the early 20th century expressionists.

He directed an IFTA
More about Aidan Harte...

Other Books in the Series

The Wave Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Warring States (The Wave Trilogy, #2)
  • Spira Mirabilis (The Wave Trilogy, #3)

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“...if a person could be unreasonable, a family perhaps, could a whole town? If certain altitudes inhibit respiration, might sufficient density of lunacy inhibit reason, permit prodigies, break rules supposed to be unbreakable?” 1 likes
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