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The Steel Remains (A Land Fit for Heroes #1)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  7,731 ratings  ·  713 reviews
A dark lord will rise. Such is the prophecy that dogs Ringil Eskiath—Gil, for short—a washed-up mercenary and onetime war hero whose cynicism is surpassed only by the speed of his sword. Gil is estranged from his aristocratic family, but when his mother enlists his help in freeing a cousin sold into slavery, Gil sets out to track her down. But it soon becomes apparent that ...more
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Published January 20th 2009 by Del Rey (first published August 7th 2008)
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I have too much to write about The Steel Remains to put it all into a coherent paragraph by paragraph review, so I am just going to ramble around a bit and write what I need to write.

Mind-Blowing: That's my instant reaction after finishing this book. But the mind-blowingness began in the midst of the first chapter. I intentionally slowed down my reading so that I could savour every word, but by the time Ringil came out of the grey mists with his dwenda lover, Seethlaw, and his lover's gang of fu
I wanted to like The Steel Remains so much more than I actually did. I was so looking forward to reading it. I've read two of Richard K. Morgan's science fiction novels, Thirteen and Altered Carbon and thought they were unique and amazing. Morgan takes sex and violence to a level I would never be able to tolerate in a movie and manages to glamorize neither. He reveals the damage violence does to those who commit it, even the bad guys. He really understands socio-politics and is great at extrapol ...more
5.5 stars. Richard Morgan is one of my favorite authors so needless to say I am a big fan of his writing style, his characters and his very gritty, violent stories. I thought this was a brilliant fantasy "noir" novel that was never boring. I thought Morgan took some real chances in this book (most notably the graphic sexual descriptions involving the main character) but Morgan has never been one to shy away from telling a story his way. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!

Voted to SFSite Reader's
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I loved his Sci-Fi stuff, but this fell flat to me. It felt like he was trying to break the cliches of fantasy novels but just doing the opposite of the cliche, rather than dig deep into the characters to make them real and believable. I wanted to love this book, with a gay male protagonist, but I never believed him as a character. Same for the other characters, they were missing heart and a sense of reality that could have take it from reverse ...more
Nov 13, 2011 Cathy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jim
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2009
A very interesting book. His website calls it noir fantasy. I guess I kind of get that. It's certainly not the lovely elves dancing under the moon kind of book. War, violence, intolerance, politics, and religion all play a part. There is a lot of crude language and some sexually explicit scenes. The main character. Ringil, is a self-proclaimed queer. If you find homosexuality, or outright heterosexuality, both in scenes and language, to be offensive, this is not the book for you. I actually foun ...more
When a man you know of sound mind tells you his recently deceased mother has just tried to climb in his bedroom window and eat him, you only have two basic options. You can smell his breath, take his pulse, and check his pupils to see if he's ingested something nasty, or you can believe him.

And thus begins The Steel Remains, a whirlwind of sex, violence and sorcery that sucked me in and left me wanting more 390 pages later.

Where other men see only the rim of the world, you must look beyond. You
Alex Ristea
This is going to sound like a total cop-out and the worst description ever, but if I had to explain this book it would simply be a "modern fantasy."

It's full of the world-building tropes (maps! magical swords! creepy demons!) that keep us coming back to the genre, but written in a style that hasn't impressed me this much since I first read Abercrombie's First Law trilogy.

There is swearing. Lots of it. There is blood. Lots of it. There is fucking. Lots of it. (See where I'm going with this?)

I kno
5.0 stars (would give it more if I could). Incredible fantasy novel by one of my favorite authors. Morgan's first fantasy novel is an outstanding accomplishment. Stands beside (1) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, (2) the Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch and (3) the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie as the most entertaining fantsy novel to come out in the last 5 years. Highly recommended!!
I've been a big fan of R. Morgan ultra violent, ultra dark and quite explicit novels since his extraordinary debut Altered Carbon. Though in his last novels the repetitions of themes, plot and gimmicks became a bit tiresome, in The Steel Remains Mr. Morgan moves to epic/adventure fantasy and reinvigorates said themes. While longtime readers of his novels will be less surprised at the twists and turns of this novel because of the echoes of previous works, there is a lot of new stuff here and the ...more
Sep 10, 2008 James rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Richard K. Morgan completists, fantasy haters
Before you ask, I got my copy of this book through, where the book is in print today. This is my habit with Morgan's books, rather than waiting another year for them in the United States.

Traditionally, in Noir, it's customary to have a protagonist who is morally compromised, but who at least tries to better himself/herself, the world, etc. Morgan seems to have missed that point with the utterly unlikable Ringel, protagonist of The Steel Remains. Ringel is an empty husk of a human be
Perry Whitford
Oct 02, 2011 Perry Whitford rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Richard K. Morgan has made quite a name for himself as a hard-edged, contemporary science fiction novelist, winner of a good number of the awards available after just a handful of publications. Here he tries his hand at writing a fantasy with a grim, visceral presentation and a couple of unusual, contemporary tropes.

To give due, The Steel Remains is fairly strong on narrative drive. However, it is simply horrid when it comes to dialogue. Clearly Morgan wants us to like his main characters - tho
Ben Babcock
Goodness, it’s been a long time since I read Altered Carbon , and nearly as long since I heard about The Steel Remains, Richard K. Morgan’s foray into fantasy, and knew I needed to give it a try. I was intrigued by the promise of a gritty approach to epic fantasy. Much like in the shooter genre of video games, the term gritty as applied to fantasy can get tossed around a lot without much accuracy. But I was pretty certain Morgan would deliver. In this respect he did. As a novel, however, The St ...more
Mar 13, 2010 Wealhtheow rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of badass warriors dealing with complicated political realities
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Lightreads
Basically, this book takes high fantasy tropes and screws with them. This is not a parody; it's not so facile. But the author has clearly read and loved a great deal of fantasy in his life, and knows the basic stories well. And when he grew tired of the easy answers and Light vs Dark epic battles, he created this.

The elves have left Middle Earth--but they were actually aliens, driven half-mad by their flight across the stars, and the half-Elven Princess they leave behind them is a black lesbian
End of the year reviews have me swamped, but expect reviews for all three books in this series soon! Until then: this novel is an incredibly original fantasy with a complex protagonist with a strong and engaging narrative voice. The secondary POV characters give the reader a glimpse of the complexity and intricacies of Morgan's world building, and once the plot grabs your attention it will not let go until the novel's end.
Marc Aplin
Sep 02, 2011 Marc Aplin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Joe Abercrombie fans
Recommended to Marc by: Jon Weir
The Steel Remains is an interesting book to say the least...

It seems to be the results of renowned Sci-Fi author 'Richard K. Morgan's' attempt to shake up the at times stale Fantasy Genre. In traditional fantasy we tend to expect a hero who is loved and admired, merciful, an honorable and triumphant past, women to swoon over him and of course; a noteworthy quest he must complete.

Well, The Steel Remains gives us a character who is pretty much immoral, bloodthirsty, hated among his people, gay an
If you're familiar with Richard K. Morgan's other works, you'll be pleased to know that "The Steel Remains" combines many strong points of his Takeshi Kovacs novels, but places them in a fantasy setting instead of SF. This is a very recognizable Richard K. Morgan novel - in an unrecognizable setting.
Ringil Eskiath, son of a wealthy merchant family, has made a name for himself in several ways before the start of the story. For one, he is a hero of a past war, in which humanity had to defend itse
Richard K. Morgan has made a career of taking the familar elements of science-fiction, breaking them down and building them into something that respects its past but it willing to challenge readers by trying something new. After a successful and award-winning run in sci-fi, Morgan is now turning to the world of fantasy to take the familar and make it new and fresh again.

"The Steel Remains" is the first of a new trilogy by Morgan. The story has the usual fantasy tropes on display--a hero with a g
This was my first Richard Morgan fantasy novel and it won't be my last.

Take 1 part grimdark add 1 part epic fantasy; blend well; bake 45 mins = bloody corpses, ghouls, sex-sexual violence, multiple races, broadswords, axes, politics and political maneuvering, potassium sorbate (to preserve freshness) and science-magic.

The book can fall into the occasional lull; however, as a whole, it is a strong 1st novel of a series. It is a no holds-barred introduction into a dark and epic world which has yo
The last line on the back of the book reads;
"The Empire owed them everything and gave them nothing. Now someone is going to pay."

That sounds like the beginning of a rebellion, doesn't it?
Like someone's pissed and seeking revenge?
Like someone has had enough of living off of a fading-hero status, of being spurned by their own family and society, of cheap fucks, of never meeting respect nor admiration, with no friends left to speak of?
Like someone is ready to take back what is theirs?
And that t
Emma Sea
I was not destined to ever read this book.

First I had a buddy read set up with Moss, for which I ordered the paberback from the other side of the world. It arrived about two days after Moss deleted her account forever.

Then I lent the book to someone, who subsequently had a bad breakup and had to walk away without her furniture, or my book!

So, I can see this isn't going to happen.
I debated whether I'd put 4 or 5 stars on this and am going with 4.5 at the moment. I was intrigued by the first chapter of this book and was a bit curious about the other plots/characters. Halfway through the book I hadn't decided if I liked anyone as much as Ringil and whether I cared about their plots because I kept being impatient to get back to him.

There are a lot of words thrown around in the book that honestly for about the first half were just that to me: words. Maybe I was just reading
This is such a difficult book to rate. It was hard to get into at first and one of those books where you have to concentrate really hard, just in case you miss something vital to the story.

I plodded through the first part of the book, sort of enjoying it and starting to get interested in the main characters Ringil and Egar. However, there were so many complicated names, titles and places, which I kept on having to bookmark, then go back to time and time again, it just got confusing. At this sta
Robin Hobb
An engrossing read. Sometimes fate just won't leave you alone. Excellent.
My full review:

I'm debating star rating on this. Beautifully written. Also, loved the ending. These make me want to give it 5 stars. But a few places slowed a bit for me, which might make me bump it to a 4. Either way, great book, would definitely recommend. May update with a full review at some point.
The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan kind of frustrated me. Much of it is good and interesting and different, and I appreciated that two of the main protagonists are queer, but for me the plot started to lose steam about 75% of the way through, around the Seethlaw section, and finally ended in an underwhelming way. The narrative tells you that it's tragic and all, but my response was basically, "Well. Okay, then." I wasn't feeling it. What makes it even more frustrating is that the book is involv ...more
5 Stars

Move over Takeshi Kovacs, I will take Ringil Eskiath as my hero to follow. I loved every bit of this book and was equally enamored with conclusion and the epilogue. This is Richard Morgan’s foray into the realm of epic fantasy, a huge leap from the futuristic cyberpunk that he has previously written. This book like all his book is an action novel done up to its setting. This means that his books are easy to chew up as they are never dull and there is little introspective time. It was just
David Monroe
Sep 08, 2011 David Monroe rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hardcore Richard K. Morgan fans, Folks looking for genre books w/ an lgbt character
Shelves: fantasy, glbt
There is a lot of edgy sex in this book, not unusual for a Morgan book. The twist here is the protagonist is gay. So if that bothers you, then this may not be the book for you. If like me, sex is sex and it doesn't bother you - well this still isn't the book for you.

I loved the hardboiled, neo-noir, cyberpunk grittiness of his SF Takeshi Kovacs trilogy Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, Woken Furies but his first foray into gritty, violent, fantasy falls flat. This book doesn't stick with you for l
Viciously gritty fantasy with a twisted sense of humor and queer protagonists. Retired soldier-aristocrat seeks his cousin, sold into slavery, and stumbles into imperial politics and a clash of elder races.

Well, damn. I was trying to think of a pithy way to get this book across. Because really, how do you explain a book whose major thematic movement is tied to an image motif of impalement – on spikes, on swords, on cocks, on doomsday weapons? Morgan has the remarkable trick of writing gaudy, gra
So that was...a book. I suppose. Just kind of a mess. Some interesting notions and concepts, but all tumbled together with no particular unifying tone. I didn't care about any of the characters - probably because the book wanted me so, so badly to care about them, and to care about them just so - and even less for the world/threat/big bad/coming war/something. (I don't really know what was going on. Due to not caring.) Also, Morgan - at least here - is extraordinarily bad at doing that basic thi ...more
Lars J. Nilsson
I had high hopes for this novel. I loved Altered Carbon and thought that if Morgan could live up to half of that book, but in a fantasy setting I'd be very happy. Unfortunately, he's not up to the job. In fact I'd go so far as to say that the book feels forced, driven by a few ideas clearly meant by the author to be "controversial" in the fantasy genre, creating a work which feels rather contrived. Let's see...

Sex. Homosexual sex. And heterosexual sex. I applaud introducing a gay main character.
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Flights of Fantasy: September 2014 - Fantasy: The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan 22 48 Sep 08, 2014 10:34AM  
From England 1 91 Sep 18, 2008 06:40PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Richard K. Morgan (sometimes credited as Richard Morgan) is a science fiction writer.
More about Richard K. Morgan...

Other Books in the Series

A Land Fit for Heroes (3 books)
  • The Cold Commands (A Land Fit for Heroes, #2)
  • The Dark Defiles (A Land Fit for Heroes, #3)
Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs, #1) Woken Furies (Takeshi Kovacs, #3) Broken Angels (Takeshi Kovacs, #2) Thirteen (Th1rte3n) Market Forces

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“When a man you know to be of sound mind tells you his recently deceased mother has just tried to climb in his bedroom window and eat him, you only have two basic options. You can smell his breath, take his pulse and check his pupils to see if he's ingested anything nasty, or you can believe him.” 9 likes
“...the tongues of men are not much leashed by concerns for accuracy or truth.” 5 likes
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