The Mark of Ran (The Sea Beggars, #1)
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The Mark of Ran (The Sea Beggars #1)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  281 ratings  ·  29 reviews
A stunning blend of visionary storytelling and majestic prose, The Mark of Ran is a new masterpiece of imaginative fiction. In this epic adventure, Paul Kearney records the voyages of a reluctant hero, a band of outcasts, and a quest into the unknown no one has ever dared before…

In a world abandoned by its Creator, an ancient race once existed–one with powers mankind canno...more
Paperback, 303 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by Spectra (first published 2004)
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The world is dying, seemingly forsaken by its creator. Mankind schemes, plots and wages wars across it, forgetting that another race once dwelled here. To some they where Angels, exiled for a long-forgotten crime; to others they were demons…

So starts the first book in Kearney’s new series, a tale woven with an eloquent style that is hard-edged and gritty. Set in a decaying world filled with legends and fragments of a glorious past, Kearney introduces his readers to fantasy on the high seas, the...more
Martin Belcher
I shamelessly picked up this book in my local Waterstones because the cover shouted out at me! I was very interested in seeing how a maritime ship based fantasy novel would go and I am really pleased I bought it!

A slow start soon speeds up gear into a real saltwater romp with plenty of action and some very interesting characters.

This is a fantastic read and the world that Paul Kearney has created is incredibly detailed with great depth and interest and I loved referring back to the map at the fr...more
Kearney's realistic description of the sea and the men who travel them make one want to leap onto a boat and sail away.
He accurately depicts a young boy's forlorn love grow into the hopeless love of a man. Kearney's writing has a pace which I really enjoyed. He did not breeze through his descriptions of landscapes, but rather you felt that you were there. However he did not linger overlong on describing a single view and this kept the story flowing on.
I enjoyed Rol's travel from denying his Bl...more
Sep 07, 2013 Anasylvia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fantasy Lovers
5 stars for me. I'm usually very stingy with my stars, but I definitely feel that this one deserved it. It was so good!! You know those books you read that when you finish them you wonder why they have been buried under a rock? Well those were my thoughts after I finished the incredibly good and sadly underrated The Mark of Ran.

In the land of Umer, The Creator and an ancient race of beings with untold powers once lived alongside humans. The Creator disgusted with what humans had become abandone...more
c2004. Recommendation from a book blogging site. Great read with all the elements that I love - the sea, magic, strong protagonist and great story told at a fast pace. After only a few chapters, I knew that this was a series I wanted to complete and promptly ordered Book 2. I was devastated to then find out that there was some sort of publishing rights issues and the 3rd book was never published and from what I have gleaned from the net - is not likely to be published. Boo Hoo. The blurb on the...more
Scott Marlowe
The Mark of Ran by Paul Kearney is the first in the Sea Beggars duology. As my mind wanders over the story and its characters, I'm not quite sure where the series title comes into play. The main character, Rol Cortishane, is at times without home or hearth, but never does he beg. He never needs to. Cast into the world after his guardian/grandfather is slain by an angry mob, Rol seeks out an old associate of his grandfather's in whom he finds a mentor willing to train him in the ways of his ances...more
Shawn Spjut
The Mark of Ran; Paul Kearney, 2005; Bantam Books

A writer has less than five pages to grab my rather short attention span, unless they are someone like Terry Brooks who's ten or twenty page introduction is almost always worth the wait. Paul Kearney managed to do it within two, by using the theory less is more; at least in the beginning.

For the majority of "The Mark of Ran", a first in what was originally intended to be a four book series, the author invests a considerable about of time developin...more
•Mlle Alice, pouvez-vous nous raconter votre rencontre avec Le Sceau de Ran ?

"Une fois encore, je dois cette rencontre à Livraddict et au Livre de Poche. La couverture et le titre m'ont attiré et après un peu d'attente, il a miraculeusement atterri dans ma boîte aux lettres. "

•Dites-nous en un peu plus sur son histoire...

"Rol est un jeune garçon de 15 ans qui vit à l'écart de tous avec ceux qu'ils considèrent comme sa famille. Ils vivent de la pêche et son grand-père lui raconte des histoires...more
The Review is originally available at Realms of Speculative Fiction

Paul Kearney might just be one of the undiscovered, rather than hidden, gems of fantasy fiction. His début “The Way to Babylon” (1992), two subsequent stand alone novels and a more traditional epic fantasy series “Monarchies of God” counting five books, all failed to bring a financial breakthrough even though these books were often praised by critics at least as competent efforts if not beyond that. His latest started (but never...more
Paul Kearney iembarked on an entirely new series, The Sea Beggars, and the first installment is ‘The Mark of Ran’ (Bantam Spectra, $12, 303 pages), and Kearney, like the authors of many new fantasies, is avoiding the sword-and-sorcery brand by putting primitive guns in his alien world populated (mostly) by humans.

The protagonist, Rol Cortishane, is not completely human, however, but like many of the best works of fiction, his background is part of a mysterious backstory that will be revealed alo...more
Charlene Roberts
I had picked up the 2nd novel of this series purely out of curiousity. The combination of seafaring with a fantasy element intrigued me.

Glad I went with my gut instinct! Paul Kearney's "The Sea Beggars" series has a wonderful fantasy element intertwined with life at sea and the men who live and die in it.

The hero is Rol Cortishane, a young man driven from his home to fend for himself. He eventually finds his uncle, who raises him to be an assassin, and is trained by the beautiful, but cold Rowen...more
I almost gave up on this, but Steven Erikson's glowing jacket quote made me stick it out a little longer and I reached the beginning of the sailing section, which kept me hooked.

The writing is good, but I didn't like any of the characters, at least not for a while. There is a lot of unpleasantness in the first sections of the story and no charm. But then there is some thrilling sea action, some man against nature, some naval battles, and so on. Good action.

I also liked the way the Magical Orphan...more
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]I very much enjoyed it. It's the first in a series, so includes a certain amount of coming-of-age narrative: our hero, Rol, sees his family massacred, gets trained as an assassin, and becomes a successful naval warrior. The contrasting environments - especially the city where he gets his training, and a long desert interlude in the middle of the naval section - are very vividly realised. Possibly this demonstrates my own ignorance, but I felt...more
Not quite as 'seafaring' as I'd hoped, certainly doesn't compare to something like David Weber's "Safehold" series. Also, I was never able to pick up on why it is called "The Sea Beggars" series. Still, it was a decent read and I'll certainly try and lay my hands on the second volume,
This Forsaken Earth. I would like to see how this ends. A third and final volume was/is planned - Storm of the Dead (forthcoming in late 2012.)

I read that the series was dropped by the original publisher after the...more
Not great. Drawn in like others by the cover endorsement by Steven Erikson, but giving up at the half-way point. Plot, characters, and setting all seem very thin, and the author uses some very unconventional language as well as 20th century idioms...all of which is to say that this book just didn't work for me. Promising idea, poor execution.

And FWIW, I don't believe in candy-coated reviews, especially not on a user site such as goodreads. If you want bloat and hype, there's always enough of th...more
Travis Littlechilds
I don't know what took me so long to read this. I'd seen it in goodreads recommendations, and by people on reddit, whose other reviews I trusted - but it took almost a year before I opened it.

It was awesome. The authors writing style is easy-reading, and it's character based story. I did feel like the main character lacked motivation, but I think that tends to happen more in this type of story *("Who am I, it's a mystery?")
Brennan Griffin
Paul Kearney is regularly lauded as one of the best fantasy authors around, but for some reason, he just doesn't quite gel for me. Still, I would definitely take this above 90% of the Tolkien ripoff/mock feudal/quest fantasies permeating the shelves. With his settings in worlds that give off a palpable sense of decay, he has something in common with Tim Lebbon, and has enough original takes to keep me engaged throughout.
Nicole Hanson
I sure enjoyed this book. I have never read pirate fantasy before, and at first I was a little unhappy with the character development (main character turned into someone I wasn't sure I could respect), but as the story wears on, the world becomes richly textured, the characters deep and interesting, and I found myself having to look up words, which is unusual, but highly rewarding for me.

Loved it.
Carolyne Thrasher
Excellent world building. I haven't read much fantasy in the last 20 years. It seemed to all be basically the same story over and over. In a sense so is this novel. However, the approach was refreshing and the writing style easy but not dumbed down. I just checked book 2 out. I hope it is as good as book 1.
The Mark of Ran is a bleak, stormy take on the 'poor boy finds his destiny' trope. The tortured lives of the main characters felt raw and convincing. My main complaint is that the story seemed chopped off abruptly, without building to a clear climax (a la Robert Jordan).
Cross between Elric and Master and Commander I would say. A real page-turner and yet some of the sailing descriptions are really in depth and technical, but you still know what's going on.

Looking forward to reading more by this author.
A stunning blend of quality storytelling,characters,action. I really like his prose too, it stands out compared to most modern fantasy authors.

If you like gritty,heroic,military fantasy then Paul Kearney is a must read.
I read this book back when I lived at the McGreggor apartment, I plan to re-read it and then read the second installment.
This one was enthralling. The second less so but still entertaining. I look forward to the 3rd.
This was a pretty enjoyable read. It took me awhile to stumble through the sailor jargon.
A classic fantasy tale but well written with an interesting naval aspect coming into it.
This book was very interesting. I liked it. I may even check out it's sequel.
Marc Henderson
A gritty fantasy full of twists and turns
Nov 03, 2010 Morgan added it
It was a good book but it leaves you hanging
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Paul Kearney was born and grew up in Northern Ireland. He lived for some years in Copenhagen, then spent two years in America before returning to Britain in 1998.

Paul Kearney was born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, in 1967. He went to a local grammar school, and then to Lincoln College, Oxford, where he read Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and Middle English and was a keen member of the Mountaineering So...more
More about Paul Kearney...
The Ten Thousand (The Macht #1) Hawkwood's Voyage (The Monarchies of God, #1) Corvus (The Macht, #2) Hawkwood and the Kings (Monarchies of God, #1-2) Kings of Morning (The Macht, #3)

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