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Minstrel (Tir Athair #1)

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  55 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Arriving in the royal city of Cynegil just after the good king’s death, Liam and his traveling troupe face arrest for entertaining during a time of mourning. The new king, Riordan, offers them a choice: play for the court as he demands or be punished for the crime. With little recourse, they acquiesce. While the troupe entertains within the hall, Liam witnesses the dissens ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by R.J. Reign Press (first published November 2nd 2013)
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Community Reviews

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May 30, 2014 J. rated it it was amazing
I’ll freely admit that, up until recently, I was burned out on the fantasy genre. I’d read so much fantasy as a teenager that I’d memorized all the tropes, could see all the plot lines ten pages in, and seen all the thief/wizard/warrior permutations a hundred times. That being said, Minstrel was a wonderfully refreshing reintroduction to the fantasy genre.
Ms. Ames’s debut novel takes fantasy back to the basics and gets it right. Our hero, Liam the minstrel, is part of a wandering troubadour gro
Lara Hays
Apr 22, 2014 Lara Hays rated it really liked it
Minstrel felt more like a historical novel than a fantasy novel, and as an avid fan of historical fiction, I was totally okay with that. While it took me a few chapters to get into the story, the main characters - Liam, Molly, and Shamus - developed organically and wholly and the plot was naturally developed as well. Minstrel is a smart read with sophisticated themes and plots, well-developed characters in a setting that reaches through the pages and grabs the reader. I could feel the sun and sm ...more
Dec 27, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I don't normally read fantasy books but am so glad I read this one and may have to give the genre another go. It has everything you could possible want in a tale : Love, mystery, betrayal, heart stopping action sequences. The world created by Marissa Ames contains characters that are multi-dimensional and it was easy for me to loose all track of time when reading about the trails and tribulations of Molly and Liam.

If you like fantasy then please add this to your collection you won't be disappoi
Nov 05, 2013 Beth rated it it was amazing
The wonderfully engaging story of a peaceful kingdom’s fall into chaos is shown through the experiences of Liam, a traveling troubadour who finds himself trapped in between two princes fighting for control of the kingdom. Liam’s sense of justice and loyalty slowly pull him into a series of difficult choices, and his desire to simply move on to safer lands proves to be an impossible dream. His trials are masterfully told by Ames, and I only have one word of caution: this is one of those tales whe ...more
Rebecca Fyfe
Sep 30, 2013 Rebecca Fyfe rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story! Marissa Ames has created a multi-faceted world full of interesting and multi-dimensional characters. I couldn't put the book down until I finished the story and then I was sad that it ended because I wanted to remain lost in that world a while longer. I loved the book!
Kevin Hammond
Jan 05, 2014 Kevin Hammond rated it it was amazing
I was a little unhappy that this ended. The world the author created is very full and well defined. the kingdom and its politics, the organization of it, elements of the religion and the social strata- everything was so clearly laid out that it felt like a whole world was created from the ground up.
Having such a vast world to play around in, the writer kept to the story and laid out a really involving plot. there were no real tall tales in this kind of fantasy with heroes and magicians or grand
Jan 07, 2014 Lori rated it it was amazing
Minstrel by Marissa Ames is a detailed and insightful medieval historical-romantic fiction which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. As a student of medieval literature, I appreciated the in-depth description of the setting and characters. The author used her extensive knowledge of medieval times to truly capture the life of medieval people and the danger of court intrigue. All the characters, from the minstrel and his acting troupe, to the knights, ladies, princes, and peasants are richly drawn. The ...more
May 08, 2014 Desinka rated it liked it
I wasted to read a fantasy so at first I was quite disappointed to end up reading a historical book set in an alternate Ireland. It was a slow starter and I was on the verge of giving up but then the story picked up and I got interested in the characters. While the characters were well drawn out and likeable, I couldn't connect to any of them emotionally. The story was interesting enough but it lacked a major conflict and the events occurred rather conveniently. I felt no excitement about what w ...more
Lisa Shambrook
Apr 10, 2014 Lisa Shambrook rated it it was amazing
A powerful and captivating story set in medieval Tir Athair. Strong, fully-fleshed characters drive this tale, drawing you into a world where everything is about to change.
A minstrel and his band of players arrive in Cynegil, grumbling and penniless, and hoping to perform to gain enough to eat. It’s not going to be that simple…
Ames pulls no punches and plunges you deep into a kingdom suffering upheaval and change. Her narrative leads you, through the eyes of the minstrel, amid turmoil as Liam i
Jun 24, 2014 Danna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
I love a book with some good adventure without being gruesome and gory. This fit the bill, historical accuracy, believable characters and descriptive writing filled it out and made it more than just a fluff read. It started off ok (not too griping) but then once you get attached to the characters and your emotionally involved as the real action starts it becomes very gripping (so the first part took me way longer to read than the latter). I like to read multiple books at a time and at one point ...more
Dec 12, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it
My Review: This a fascinating book focusing on a minstrel and his band of performers. It is based mainly from the common peoples point of view of the corruption of power. After the death of the king two brothers vie for power of the kingdom. As usual the common people get caught and squeezed in the middle. I loved the ups and downs the main characters Liam and Molly faced as they danced in and out of the royal intrigue.

The only thing I am confused about is the prequel. I waited the whole book fo
Sophie Moss
Jan 10, 2014 Sophie Moss rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This is a lovely debut novel. The hero, Liam, is a likable character caught in a difficult situation. The writing is crisp. The descriptions are beautiful. The author obviously spent a lot of time researching the time period, because the historical details come across as completely authentic. I have never read a book about a minstrel, and enjoyed learning about what his daily life might have been like. It's always fun to learn about new people, places, and time periods through a piece of fiction ...more
Travis Bow
Jun 22, 2014 Travis Bow rated it liked it
A pretty engaging story with sword-fighting, a love triangle, and plenty of medieval-era trivia set in an imaginary (yet non-magical) world.

-A pretty fast pace, for the most part. The middle third of the story got a little slow--it seemed like the first climax had been reached and there was a lot of waiting to see where the story would go next--but things picked up again when Liam traveled to the north.
-Unusually low on angst, with spare, straight-forward writing. Not much whining or dwel
Oct 04, 2013 Russ rated it really liked it
Ames creates convincing characters that are easy to care about. She puts them in everyday situations couched within a larger than life dramatic setting. She then weaves their small interactions that affect the vibrant world of Tir Athair. I particularly enjoyed that the hero in his journey not only had a love interest but a "bromance" of sorts as well, which is integral the the story and the world of Tir Athair.
Spencer Stoner
Jan 28, 2016 Spencer Stoner rated it it was amazing
I came into this story with a healthy dose of skepticism. I like fantasy and science fiction and thought that this looked right up my alley. The only problem was that there were no wizards throwing fireballs or mystic beasts or anything of the like but after the first couple of chapters I found myself hooked on the characters.

I was so attached to them, in fact, that towards the end things got so dramatic that I was ready to throw the book across the room a couple of times because I couldn't see
Mar 23, 2015 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Minstrel starts out with a cast of familiar archetypes - the mysterious woman, a rebellious prince, and a band of musicians that have struck out together to earn their bread and hopefully some coins playing in towns around the land. But just when the reader settles back for another comfortable medieval Robin Hood story, Marissa Ames gives us an unlikely hero in Liam -- the minstrel -- who thought he was doing well enough when he managed to escape the starving streets of his childhood by learning ...more
Margaret Fisk
Jul 08, 2015 Margaret Fisk rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Originally published on Tales to Tide You Over

This novel is subtitled A Ballad of Lies, Deceit, and Redemption, a pretty accurate accounting of what you'll find within the pages. The story focuses on Liam, a minstrel who has been raised from poverty through a king's proclamation and trained as a musician. He makes his living traveling around with a band of performers, but never are the pickings better than in the king's city. Only the first thing they learn is that the benevolent king has died a
Aaron Engler
Jan 27, 2014 Aaron Engler rated it really liked it
Minstrel is a tale of a man caught up in a web of politics, ambition, and romance that reads more like gripping historical fiction than typical fantasy fare.

The titular character comes into town during the time of mourning for the recently passed king. There was no clear line of succession, so one of the two sons, Riordan, seizes power while the other is galavanting around in the North. When the other brother, Seamus, returns, he recruits the Minstrel, Liam to write a history, claiming he wants
Sep 04, 2014 Eric rated it really liked it
If I'd read this book without knowing the author, and then asked me to guess, I'd have gone with later-day Stephen R. Lawhead (and I consider that a compliment). Mixing cultures, and taking the adventure off in unexpected directions - the protagonist is not The Chosen One, or anything like that, just a guy who can do more than he has been, and he knows it, but doesn't really look for more than that out of life.

The middle bogged a bit, with a little more "telling," especially about building the
LaDonna Cole
Mar 26, 2015 LaDonna Cole rated it really liked it
A time set apart, this fantasy suspended my disbelief so well that I didn't even feel like it was a fantasy. I felt I was in another time and place.
Michael Wombat
Jul 02, 2015 Michael Wombat rated it it was amazing
An exciting read that draws you in quickly and will keep you up till 3am if you let it.
Feb 12, 2016 Vakil rated it really liked it
A different type of fantasy novel. Rather than facing the dangers of magic and dragons, the real enemy here is politics and starvation. I liked it, but I wasn't drawn into it like I would have been with a more fantastic story.
Jan 23, 2015 Angela rated it really liked it
Incredible detail, fabulous writing, thrilling adventure.
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Using details from a lifetime of research, Marissa Ames entertains both adults and teens with tales of action, adventure, and a little romance. Her novels Minstrel and Vassal immerse readers into the medieval-based fantasy world of Tir Athair. She is currently working on Huntsman, the third novel in the Tir Athair series, and collaborates with many worthy writers on diverse anthologies. In her rea ...more
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