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The Relic Guild (The Relic Guild #1)

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  224 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.

It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir. The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a future full of promise. But when the Thaumaturgists, overlords of human and Aelfir alike, wen
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 18th 2014 by Gollancz
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Edward Cox Hello! Yes, it's called The Cathedral of Known Things. Currently going through edits, out next year :)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 22, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dark and gritty fantasy. Centred around a group of magically gifted people who are part of a cross between secret service and elite forces , following the Relic Guild across two times, the end of a war, and the restart of it 40 years later.
A good strong mix of characters and a nicely set up universe which promises a lot more as it is opened out.
Enjoyable while being dark.
Sep 19, 2016 Maryam rated it really liked it
It's a really good debut fantasy book.I enjoyed the story and the way it is told. It shift continuously between now and past when everything was ruined.Edward Cox knows how to engage the reader with the story.

The relationship between current Relic Guild members is processed very good, Old man Sam Picky, young Clara unsure about her powers and a little confused in the new world she has been dragged into and Van Bam the wise, calm Resident of the Labrys town. Vilains are very awesome too.Best of t
Dec 24, 2014 Mieneke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2014
Full disclosure, I like Edward Cox. We're friendly online and I was lucky enough to meet him last year in Brighton. The synopsis for his debut The Relic Guild sounded great, but you never know, right? Thus it was with a bit of trepidation that I started reading Ed's novel, because what if I didn't like it. Well, I’m pleased – and relieved – to say that while I had some issues with the narrative, The Relic Guild didn't disappoint and on the whole I had a great time with the story.

So let's just st
Oct 21, 2015 Murkypoke rated it did not like it
Once in a long while a book comes along that changes everything. A paradigm shifting book that effects everything around it. THE RELIC GUILD is such a book. Such never before read crapness, a total void of writing talent and chaotic thought spew, has permanently altered my conception of “bad writing”, “bad book” and “just how totally S**T can a piece of writing be?”.

Edward Cox is an author whom all others authors are seriously indebted to. They should tithe him or something. He has sunk the bar
Stefan Fergus
Nov 06, 2014 Stefan Fergus rated it really liked it
My review is here:

Very good debut fantasy.
Oct 13, 2014 Nina rated it did not like it
Bought it on the strength of the blurb (it sounded like it ticked most of my boxes!), but was utterly disappointed by the execution.

Did not enjoy the author's writing, and was disappointed by the execution of the ideas in there that had promise. Way too much exposition, way too much 'as you know', way too much recapping. Characters did not grow into themselves, and I struggled to 'hear' the voices of the main characters at all - they felt like there was very little to set them apart from each o
Mar 28, 2016 Denise rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
A promising steampunky fantasy debut. It took me a while to get into the story and find my way into the world, but I quickly found myself intrigued by the present and past storylines, getting sucked in deeper with each subsequent chapter. Great characters and fascinating worldbuilding - I'm eager to see where the story goes from here.
Lucy Hounsom
Aug 13, 2014 Lucy Hounsom rated it really liked it
There are many things to love about The Relic Guild. First and foremost, it neatly delivers the reader into a unique world – rare in the saturated fantasy genre – that’s peopled with a great cast of characters and a conflict spanning decades. This conflict has shades of the Biblical: the Satan-like Spiral – a being of higher magic – defies his Mother, the Timewatcher, in order to pursue his own ends. Some of his fellow Thaumaturgists sympathise and join him, obliterating their Thaumaturgic tatto ...more
Dec 23, 2014 Mark rated it liked it
This is the latest in a series of debut novels that Gollancz have promoted this year. For me, it’s not a completely successful debut but still quite an entertaining read.

From the back of the book:

“Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.

It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir.

The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a future full of promise
Lynn Worton
Nov 02, 2014 Lynn Worton rated it really liked it
This is an intriguing start to a science fiction/fantasy series. I really enjoyed it!

I was recommended this book by Amazon through their Audible division, due to my taste in science fiction and fantasy. I was intrigued with the blurb, so I downloaded the audio book. The story is narrated by Imogen Church, who has also narrated Bridget Jones's Diary. She did a fantastic job in bringing the characters to life. I loved her speaking voice, and her reading pace was perfect.

Peppercorn Clara is a youn
Tash Payne
Dec 01, 2015 Tash Payne rated it really liked it
Imagine Brandon Sanderson and Scott Lynch smushed together and you get Edward Cox. And it totally works. The world of The Relic Guild is incredibly rich and complex, spanning the entire colour spectrum from the murky browns of labyrinthine backstreets to the electric blues of deep space. I loved the idea of the Houses of the Aelfir being in some unimaginable realm accessed only through portals and the tiers of magic that put Thaumaturgists above Magikers. Also, 'Spiral' is the best name for an ...more
Jul 06, 2014 Gareth rated it did not like it
This book was not for me. I struggled through to pg 140 or so. It didn't convince me that the world was real, or could work at all. A labyrinth-town sealed off from the rest of the universe for 40 years, a town that previously relied on imports for its economy, a town of 1 million people with what seemed like no land to grow crops, a sewage system but no source of fresh water, no shape-changing magic people been born for 20 years but the main character has access to medicine which keeps her ...more
Lozzi Counsell
Oct 26, 2014 Lozzi Counsell rated it really liked it
Shelves: won-books
WON IN A GOODREADS COMPETITION.I really enjoyed this book and surprisingly felt the biggest connection with old man Sam! I would however split this book into 2 books.
Joanne Harris
Sep 29, 2014 Joanne Harris rated it really liked it
A terrific debut novel, with plenty of scope for expansion and some really good world-building. Most importantly, lots of fun. Looking forward to the next one.
originally posted at:

Another cracking debut brought to you by Gollancz. They have published some very exciting debuts so far with The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick, The Incorruptibles by John Hornor Jacobs and this month with The Relic Guild from Edward Cox. The thing that got my attention piqued was the mentioning of of course magic but also the reference of Thaumaturgy, this directly reminded me of China Mievelle and another great debut, U
Thea Wilson
'Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.'

The Plot Of The Story:
The plot of this book is quite a complicated one and it's hard to explain what the book is truly about without giving parts of the story away but I'll give it a go.

The Labyrinth.... a deep dark maze that was once a prison. At it's heart lies Labrys Town. Labrys Town was once connected to all the realms of the Aelfir through various portal throughout the town until a magical war broke out, the Genii (some of th
Tom Loock
Not bad, interesting unique world with intriguing characters, BUT ...

... the novel has the kind of opening assault I hate: Within the first few pages two handfuls of characters are introduced by name plus a multitude of (newly invented or adapted) terms like Relic Guild, Aelfir, Genii, Voice of Known Things, Timewatcher, Thaumaturgists, Great Labyrinth etc. So much/so many I almost gave up before the first chapter.

... had I known that this is the first book of a trilogy that ends with (view spoi
Dec 02, 2016 Tracey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once you get through the OTT descriptions of the Introductory chapter this is a good read. Quite twisty, with some interesting fantasy threads running through it. Will definitely look out for the next one
Sep 30, 2016 Dave rated it really liked it
Review originally published at Book of Bogan

The Relic Guild is a fantasy novel set in an interesting world, where humans are essentially trapped in a city which is both on the border of everywhere, and cut off from everywhere else at the same time. Labrys Town is a tightly controlled world, where magic is outlawed, and citizens live in fear of what might escape from the Great Labyrinth, a hangover from a time when trade between the humans, and the Aelfir was still possible. While this definitely
Sep 22, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it
Time for what I am sure many of you will consider a startling revelation – I’m a sucker when it comes to fiction featuring secret societies. I just can’t help it; I always have been and always will be a fan. I love the idea that there are mysterious groups working behind the scenes, trying to maintain the status quo and keep the blissfully ignorant masses safe. Add a genuinely evocative fantasy setting into the mix, and I’m in book reviewer hog-heaven*1

When Peppercorn Clara is first introduced s
Amy Sanderson
*Copy provided by the publisher as part of a Goodreads giveaway*

First of all, a confession: I have a real weakness for novels that take place in unusual settings, so 'The Relic Guild' was never going to have a hard time drawing me in. Whilst fantasies set in single cities are becoming increasingly common, Labrys Town is something apart, situated in the centre of an endless labyrinth, and apparently a realm in its own right. Once a hub of trade and travel, connected to hundreds of other worlds -
Dan Sutcliffe
Jan 05, 2016 Dan Sutcliffe rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann Powell
Sep 26, 2016 Ann Powell rated it it was ok
I haven't finished it yet, as I'm struggling with the two storylines which are 40 years apart. The characters are rather 2 dimensional and I don't have much empathy with any of them except Clara.
Sep 28, 2014 Hazel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, reviewed
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Edward Cox invents a new magical world in his epic fantasy novel The Relic Guild. Magic is a thing of the past. Since a great war forty years previously, magic has been banned. Back in the day the Relic Guild was made up of people with various magical abilities – empaths, illusionists, changelings – but a great war got rid of all those with magic, all but three that is. Marney, Samuel and Van Bam are the only surviving agents of the Rel
Sep 11, 2014 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received my copy of this book for free from a Goodreads giveaway.

I feel a little apprehensive giving this book three stars because I enjoyed it enough to give it a four. Objectively settling for a very high three, which would easily have been a four had it explored more of the world(s) and aspects of the story which were merely hinted at. Instead, we were mostly focused in and around Labrys Town, a town of humans located inside the Great Labyrinth who have been cut off from the Aelfirian House
Mar 13, 2016 Tristan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy, sci-fi
I picked up this book up on a whim. I picked it up because, to me, the cover was striking and interesting to look at. And then I read a little, then I read a lot. And this has now easily book a contender one of the best books I have ever read, certainly one of the best books I've read this year.

The plot devices within are fantastically drawn out. Edward Cox has found such a fantastic way of bringing the story along at a steady pace while dropping hints and snippets of bigger things to come, or t
Andrew Wallace
Oct 12, 2015 Andrew Wallace rated it it was amazing
It’s interesting that we start with the villains. They’re not labelled as such; they just seem beat-up and obnoxious after losing a war. This being contemporary fantasy the good/bad paradigm would be a surprise anyway but when we first meet the protagonists they are an obsessed telepath and an ageing bounty hunter chasing a prostitute wanted for murder through a weird maze as different coloured moons wheel overhead and strange beings emerge from the dripping walls.

When the prostitute finally get
Christine Jones
Apr 21, 2016 Christine Jones rated it liked it
The relic guild is a bizarre and unique new world where we are thrust into the action right from the first page. With strange vampire like creatures, demons, and monsters and flawed heroes presented right from the start, this book twists and turns with rare breathing moments. This is a page turner and can really keep up the glimpses into all that is fantastical behind the action.

Welcome to the Labyrinth, a strange world where magic is forbidden, with only the members of the Relic Guild permitted
Tom Lloyd
Jul 18, 2014 Tom Lloyd rated it liked it
Feels a bit disingenuous giving it a 3 stars, but I certainly did like it, and but for a few niggles it'd have been 4, so a 3.5?

The good? Well it's a very enjoyable epic fantasy in a noir-ish dystopian setting, emcompassing two time lines and dashes of vampirism and zombies - all neatly balanced despite it being a debut, with likeable characters and a fresh setting.

The less good? (bit spoilery) My main issue was with the blue avatar. It leads the relic guild by the nose and drives their side of
David Buchan
Oct 05, 2014 David Buchan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Relic Guild employs a complicated structure, interweaving current events with historical ones forty years earlier. Occasionally, timeline hopping can be disconcerting, but breathes life into what might otherwise be info-dumped backstory.

Initially, I found some sentence structures laboured until the story carried me away from stylistic prejudice. Relax and enjoy the ride.

Everything is set in a magically constructed labyrinth, which acts as a hub for teleportals to all the warring Aelfir world
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Author of The Relic Guild Trilogy (The Relic Guild, The Cathedral of Known Things, and The Watcher of Dead Time) published by Gollancz. Represented by Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.

Edward Cox began writing stories at school as a way to pass time in boring lessons. It was a hobby he dabbled with until the late 80's when he discovered the works of David Gemmell, which not only cemented his love of
More about Edward Cox...

Other Books in the Series

The Relic Guild (3 books)
  • The Cathedral of Known Things (The Relic Guild, #2)
  • The Watcher of Dead Time (The Relic Guild #3)

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