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The Infernal City (The Elder Scrolls #1)

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  1,521 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Four decades after the Oblivion Crisis, Tamriel is threatened anew by an ancient and all-consuming evil. It is Umbriel, a floating city that casts a terrifying shadow–for wherever it falls, people die and rise again.

And it is in Umbriel’s shadow that a great adventure begins, and a group of unlikely heroes meet. A legendary prince with a secret. A spy on the trail of a vas
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Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by Del Rey (first published November 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Dirk Grobbelaar

Another wind was starting up, and on it something unbelievably foul.

I was introduced to Greg Keyes via his Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series (Book 1: The Briar King), which I thought was bloody magnificent. It looks like most of his other stuff is tie-in fiction, so I didn’t immediately get around to sampling any of it, because I wasn’t familiar with the source material, with one or two possible exceptions.

Enter The Infernal City: I was keen to read more Keyes, and frankly I was sold by the cov
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K.
I picked this up because I adore The Elder Scrolls, particularly Morrowind and Oblivion. It's a fantastic read, though even as a fan I found the prologue a little confusing. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys The Elder Scrolls games, and at least has some understanding of the plot, though it would be best to play III and IV through most of the way before reading. It is definitely not a book I would recommend to a generic fantasy fan, as there are many references to races and lore, story ...more
Alice
It took me a while to get into this book, mainly because most of my knowledge of the Elder Scrolls comes from playing Skyrim (and reading plot summaries for Morrowind and Oblivion). Still, it was nice to see an author making use of the rich setting which the Elder Scrolls provides. I'm surprised, and slightly disappointed, that only this author has written for the franchise.

Stylistically, the novel is a bit of a mess. The worst offense is how the author flips between point-of-view characters. T
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Jason
Apr 11, 2010 Jason rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Elder Scrolls fans; fantasy readers
I am an Elder Scrolls addict. I was introduced to the video game series with Daggerfall in my late teens, and own every game and expansion pack that has been released for DOS or Windows.
When I heard they were releasing a novel based on the world of Tamriel, I was both excited and terrified. Most of the books that are based on video game, movie, or other “popular” franchises aren’t very good. But I had to give it a shot.

Summary
Forty years after the events of Oblivion, a mysterious floating city a
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Elle
If I could give this a 1.5 star rating, I would. It's a one, its lone saving grace in my eyes being the fact that it's based on one of the greatest video game series of all time. I love The Elder Scrolls - love, love, love them - and have since I was a wee Leila and Arena first hit the shelves. That said, I couldn't get into this novelization of the events which occurred in Black Marsh following "Oblivion." Video games are a touchy thing to try and transfer to other media to begin with - the mov ...more
Michael
Four stars because I have had my head embedded in Elder Scrolls V for months, but three stars for anyone who has never played a TES game. I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting the story was, especially with the many references to the lore from the games. Also, this is the best molecular (alchemical?) gastronomy based fantasy I've ever read.
Paul Harrison
I came into this novel not necessarily knowing what to expect. I'm a huge Elder Scrolls fan, but the series left me wanting with Oblivion. In no small part, this is due to that game abandoning what I feel is the strength of the universe: The bizarre. Daggerfall and Morrowind were spectacularly weird, involving transhumanist demi-gods, giant robots powered by souls, and you get the idea. I've always been a sci-fi reader, and there aren't any other fantasy universes that have grabbed me as hard as ...more
Kristen
I had such high hopes for this when I ordered it. A book about the world of Elder Scrolls! Lore! Adventure! A female hero! Everything I wanted and loved in one book!

But, unfortunately, what I found was... awful.

To put it simply, it was like a really badly written fanfiction about the Elder Scrolls games. A REALLY badly written one. The dialogue was very modern for being set in a more medieval world, the characters were pretty bland and it pained me to read a paragraph each time I tried to pick i
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Lucy Cokes
This book is fantastic for the Elder Scrolls obsessed person but not so much for a fantasy reader. The world of the Elder Scrolls could indeed make a wonderful fantasy series, if it were properly explained and things...but the book itself is great, I found myself smiling at references to say, Umbra, and Morrowind, but was dissapointed to find out that Vvardenfell itself had been destroyed. How dare they! And this is more of an aesthetic point, but I swear my cover was really weak and floppy, if ...more
Janne Varvára
I started playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on my boyfriend's xbox last summer. I wasn't really a gamer, but it was such an esthetically beautiful game, and also, BF set the difficulty on low. But I got good, and I love the game, as a fantasy world that forces me to focus, and therefore works as a form of escapism.
BF got me a controller for my laptop for my birthday, so now I use Steam to play it at home.

It's a wonderfully detailed fantasy world, and one that doesn't quite resemble any other,
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Moontyger
I liked this book, but I have two big caveats about it:

1) It assumes that the reader knows the world of Tamriel and, further, has played or at least knows the plots of both Morrowind and Oblivion. The references to events and characters in those games, not to mention to places, races, and general terms unique to the setting go completely unexplained. This is fine for a fan like me, but I suspect anyone new to Elder Scrolls fandom would be lost. Personally, I think it's a mistake; this was a cha
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Robert Beveridge
Greg Keyes, The Infernal City (Del Rey, 2009)

How on Earth did it not occur to me when I first read the description for this a couple of months ago that “the first of two exhilarating novels” meant this was the first in a series? I try to wait until most, if not all, of a series is out before reading it these days (George R. R. Martin has taught me well). Not that I would probably have listened to my own advice in this case had I read that correctly. Elder Scrolls novels? I'm going to hop on that
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Anton Himmelstrand
Rarely has a book with so many flaws carried itself so well, engaging my interest despite not presenting something particularly unique. I would hazard to describe THE INFERNAL CITY as an entertaining book, though not a particularly memorable one.

Greg Keyes draws on the rich mythos of the Elder Scrolls game franchise with its history, magical rules and varied vistas. It would be easy to pander to the well-initiated fans, but the author manages to successfully tread the line between old and new by
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Daniel
Nov 20, 2014 Daniel rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: only hardcore fans, if at all.
Recommended to Daniel by: I found it on the internet
Shelves: fantasy
I am a huge elder scrolls fan. I have played every game in the series to some extent, excluding the side titles like "Redguard, Battlespire, and ESO." So when I heard that there was a book about it, I got excited! I bought it on kindle and started reading. What I found was no where near my expectations. The storyline was very original and unique, the characters are colorful, and there are many details. I can really imagine the characters in the realm of Morrowind, running through various realms ...more
John Munroe
The Infernal City

When I first picked up this book I did not know what to expect. If someone who knew nothing about The Elder Scrolls Game read this book I think they would be a bit confused, luckily I do know the story of the game and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the book. Even though I am not big into reading, I had trouble putting this book down it was so enjoyable. The story development was excellent, the character development was intriguing. The plot of the book was a bit farfetched
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Mack Moyer
I was excited about The Infernal City because the Elder Scrolls game series has been giving me nerd-love sexgasms since I was in high school. If you’ve never played the games, the world of the Elder Scrolls involve the following things (all of which are awesome):

--A nation of bigoted and angry Dark Elves who own slaves, live around a volcano that has a demon inside it, not to mention a large segment of their population are millennia-old wizard-fascists who reside in fortresses made of mushrooms.
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Synnøve
okay. So, if you don't like or know something about the elder scrolls universe, you wont enjoy the book. I have mixed feelings about it. In the beginning it was just a bit boring, but as I got to know the characters, it was really fun. I love reading about adventures like this and, yeah, its just really fun. Anyway, I lost some respect for the book because of the sometimes, in my opinion, bad writing and awkvard moments. The ending was not very statisfying, but I'll reread it and maybe I get it ...more
Aaron Dawson
What impressed me most about The Infernal City was how little Greg Keyes relies on his audience having a positive predisposition on the book based solely on the source material. In fact, you don't even need to be aware of the source material to understand or appreciate the book. It stands well on its own, which is probably the best comment someone can give a book that's a spin-off of another medium.

I went into the novel expecting a cash grab; an uninspired Bethesda-commissioned piece of work pu
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Karine Darnessy
Il s'en ai fallu de peu pour que ce livre soit une déception. Les 150 premières pages ont été une torture, je n'accrochai ni à l'histoire ni aux personnages. Pourtant fan de Skyrim..., je n'arrivai pas a retrouver l'univers dans lequel j'ai passé un nombre incalculable d'heures. Heureusement passé ces 150 pages tout c'est débloqué comme par magie, j'ai enfin eu des repères et un peu d'action. L'histoire en elle même n'est pas rose et assez violente par moment, surtout le passage de l'invasion de ...more
Eri
Pekelné město je jedna z knih, kterou bohužel ani dobrý konec nezachrání.
S nadšením jsem se do knížky pustila, přestože z TES mám nejradši soundtracky a obrázky a zbytek mi moc neříká, a ve hře jsem se nedostala za výrobu postavy xD Njn, víc mě baví o světech číst, než hrát. No zpátky ke knížce.
Předem můžu říct že je to kniha napsaná především pro hráče TES a kdo o hře neví nic, musí si hodně domýšlet. Chybělo mi tam občasdné povysvětlení situace: ať politické, nebo snad jen popis postav, který
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Eli
Better than I expected a book based on video game IP to be, but not as good as Keyes' other fantasy fiction. If you're a fan of Keyes but not so much a fan of the Elder Scrolls video game series, I wouldn't recommend this book. If you are a big Elder Scrolls fan, then it's definitely worth reading.
Claudiu
Nothing inheretly bad about this book, yet nothing really good about it either. The story amounts to little more than a bit of character building and setting up pieces.
Not a bad book, but it won't shake your world either.
Here's hoping the next one is better.
Viktor Vik
Asi jsem ideální cílovkou pro tuhle knihu - nejsem ani naprostý laik co se světa TES týče (cca vím jaké mezi sebou mají jednotlivé frakce vztahy, co a kde je Black Marsh, Morrowind, Skyrim, proč argoniánci fakt nemusejí dark elfy apod.), nicméně nejsem ani natolik zdatný odborník, abych vnímal případné nepřesnosti a chyby v knize (jména daedrických princů fakt z hlavy nedám). Takže za mě dobrý - děj je poměrně svižný, chvilku jsem si zvykal na jednotlivé postavy, ale nakonec fajn. Attreb mi možn ...more
Matt
It was cool to get a glimpse into the written world of Tamriel, but I think it just fell short of something that makes The Elder Scrolls so memorable; the customization most likely. Keyes wrote a fantastical story with intriguing conflicts, but as with most novels, there is no room for customization. I should've known I wasn't to get the same experience as I get with the games, but I suppose I held out home. It's not like this was a "go to page XYZ for this and ZYX for this."

Overall, I truly enj
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Joseph Griggs
I believe this book is years after the Daedric Oblivion gate "situation". Its a so-so read. The second half is better than the first, but overall the book is mediocre. I never really felt very attached to any of the characters, and the book has a way of making city killing mass murder seem... blasé. The author also has some odd word choices such as debouched that just seem out of place from the background of the rest of the novel. If you really enjoyed the Elder Scrolls universe, you'll probably ...more
Joy
Well written epic S&S with a nice twist in "big bad" coming to take over the world. Large variety of humanoid characters. Read like an RPG story.
Squid
I have been an Elder Scrolls fan ever since I had been introduced to Skyrim. The Infernal City makes great use of all the lore the Elder Scrolls series allows. The main plot is unique and has been mentioned in the video game Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in dialogue with Ysolda. When doing the quest to retrieve Sleeping Tree sap, Ysolda mentions several rumours about the origins of the Sleeping Tree. One of them is a piece of Oblivion broke away leaving a floating island in the sky, but Ysolda says th ...more
Hilary Bush
I enjoyed this quite a bit, and felt like it was in the same spirit as the game, and had the same feel as Oblivion, which I have been obsessed with since it came out. However, something I didn't like was that I forgot at moments that it even took place in Tamriel, and sort of ruined the magic of reading something about this world. I also wondered a lot if this story was supposed to be canon or not, since I didn t recall anything about a floating city in Skyrim before the great war. But I also li ...more
Jacob Norman
The book was pretty well written. My only problem was there were points where I was confused about the dialogue, like who was saying what. It was hard to follow. The plot was really good though, with twists I didn’t see coming. The characters were interesting, even though they weren’t developed much. There backgrounds weren’t explained much, even though the author hinted at things that had occurred to them, such as Sul losing his wife but not really explaining much about what had happened to her ...more
Peter Greenwell
Wow Greg Keyes, what did I just finish reading here? Quite frankly, this story is awful. There's no charitable way to put it. It comes across as very amateurish fan fiction and there's probably ten thousand Elder Scrolls fans out there who have some skill in writing, including myself, who are thinking they could do a lot better.

I'd give this book a zero rating but that's not possible. The one star is for the setting. Shame on you Greg Keyes, I know you can do better than this. Much better. This
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Gregory Keyes is a writer of science fiction and fantasy who has written both original and media-related novels under both the names J. Gregory Keyes and "Greg Keyes".

Greg Keyes was born in to a large, diverse, storytelling family. He received degrees in anthropology from Mississippi State and the University of George before becoming a fulltime writer.
He lives in Savannah, Georgia.
More about Greg Keyes...
The Briar King (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #1) Conquest (Edge of Victory, #1) (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #7) Rebirth (Edge of Victory, #2) (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #8) The Charnel Prince (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #2) The Final Prophecy (Star Wars: New Jedi Order, #18)

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"'Probably' mad at you?" Annaïg exploded. "You tried to kill me!"
"Yes, I see now how that might upset you," Slyr said.”
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