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The Darkling Thrush
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The Darkling Thrush

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  912 ratings  ·  107 reviews
Fed up with his desk duty in the Imperial Arcane Library, book hunter Colin Bliss accepts a private commission to find The Sword’s Shadow, a legendary and dangerous witches’ grimoire. But to find the book, Colin must travel to the remote Western Isles and solve a centuries’ old murder.

It should be nothing more than an academic exercise, so why is dour — and unreasonably se...more
ebook, 1st Edition, 149 pages
Published April 5th 2010 by Loose Id (first published April 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,495)
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Breann
I always enjoy a character who sticks his nose where it probably doesn’t belong and gets into all sorts of trouble.

Colin Briggs accepts a job to find an ancient and dangerous grimoire, The Swords Shadow. Pretty soon into his search he realizes that he’s in way over his head and that he’s not the only one on the search.

This was definitely a paranormal book with some fae and magic, but there wasn’t much world building. We saw each experience through Colin’s POV and that was all we got of this wor...more
Feliz
What if there was magic in our world today? What if it was as normal to be a witch, or clearsighted, as it is for us to be good at sports or a musician? This is what Josh Lanyoon must have thought when he created an AU world with telephones, aircraft, and automobiles where "the Americas" are officially still called "The colonies", where people spend their lives transcripting books by hand or hunting famous lost grimoires, where there is a secret police in charge of suppressing or destroying book...more
Monique ~ Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews
Audio Book 3.5 Stars... OK! Narrator Max Millar was amazing, I loved his seductive tones:)
Lauraadriana
I have trouble explaining this book...I was fantasy for sure...but I also got a very steampunk feeling from it. It was enjoyable and entertaining and beautifully written...How does Josh Lanyon do it? I don't know, I'm just happy as hell he can.

In this world Colin Bliss is a book hunter from Boston(librivenator) of Magick books who is working in the London Bureau. He is young but well known for discovering a very obscure grimoire (book of Old Magick).

Out the blue he is hired (on the sly) to hunt...more
Vivian Archer
The book geek in me loved the premise of an outsider librarian going off the range after making a colossally bad workplace decision.

Colin Bliss, young, talented and naive makes a whopper of bad judgment call and then realizes he has to live with it for a year. A very long year. Until an opportunity presents itself and he decides to engage in some unsanctioned activities since, well...since he's been sidelined.

Septimus Marx, the scowling presence that always unsettles Bliss is the proverbial bad...more
Emanuela ~plastic duck~
May 24, 2012 Emanuela ~plastic duck~ rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Emanuela ~plastic duck~ by: itmfiddler
It was a bit more difficult than usual to enter the story because in a fantasy book it always takes me a while to learn the rules of the world created by the author, to memorize the names, items, places, but once I found myself comfortable, I wouldn't want the story to finish.

There are three elements that made this book great:

* books. No one needs to convince me that books are magical items and that they contain much more than what's on the pages. Sometimes I'm so engrossed in a book, I hang ont...more
Ami
3.25 stars
Positive: Wow for the fantasy thing. I must say the the description is quite good. It is intriguing ... the quest to find the lost legendary grimoire in the remote Western Isles. It's like I'm watching "Merlin"

Negative: I don't know, I feel like there is a disconnection between Colin and Septimus. If I expect some kind of romance, this is not it. I cannot really believe their relationship.

Still, if I need to sum up, I will go with intriguing
Edina Rose
Ebook and Audiobook reviews

ebook
Librivenator, librireddo, Vox pessimeres, veneficus...

I so love the vocabulary in this book!

Our 23 year old librivenator is so adorable in his youth and errors and naivete! Mix this with good looks, intelligence and self-deprecating humour and you've got someone I want to hear more about.

I would like to know how the relationship between Bliss and Marx evolves. They live in different countries, Bliss is doing an exchange program when they meet. Will Bliss st...more
Natasha
A two-star Lanyon from me? Never thought I'd live to see the day. But it is from 2010 and like all things, I think Lanyon has improved with time.

The writing is still marvelous. Extremely poetic and beautiful.

I had a harder time connecting to this story. I'm not sure Lanyon paranormal is for me.
JR
Oct 13, 2014 JR rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: you know who you are
Colin Bliss is a book hunter. Itching to get out of desk work and back into the field, Colin takes a private job to recover a witches grimoire that could spell the end of the world. Magister Septimus Marx is tagging along with Colin, but is he aiding or inhibiting Colin's quest?

This fantasy mystery caught me by surprise. I been plowing through Mr. Lanyon's catalog which has so far been mostly contemporary, with a few set in America of the past. This one sort of felt a little in the steampunk g...more
Kati
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lil' Grogan
An interesting change to Lanyon's usual work - the mystery of uncovering a historical artifact in a fantasy world. There were enough touches to make discovering the unique rules interesting. To me much of it read as a historical mystery. But perhaps the amount of work put here took away from the rest of the story.

Despite some interesting secondary characters, this was a very solitary adventure for Colin. In general, I thought the characters took a backseat to the plot itself.

So for all my talk...more
Betryal
This book is different from the works I'm used to by Josh that I've read, but I was taken back that I truly enjoyed the story. I will admit to having put it down once by no fault of my own and when I picked it up to resume reading it I was darn glad I had. There's the supernatural, other worldly beings if you wish to call them that and a whole lot of action and ignited suspense all wrapped up in to one unforgettable read.
Alyosha
Exciting. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I spent reading this, at times I even felt like my heart might beat out of my chest.

Fantastic world building, great setting and memorable heroes. I really hope there will be a sequel as I'd love to read more about Septimus and Bliss (who made it on the top ten on my favorite main characters list) and to learn more about the world Lanyon created.
Joy
It always takes me a few chapters to get into the flow of reading fantasy and this book was no exception--the ending more than made up for the slow start---once again Lanyon has given us a great story
Ije the Devourer of Books
I always enjoys Josh Lanyon's stories. I find his main characters to be interesting and engaging. I also enjoy the way these books have just the right balance of mystery and romance. The main characters always find love along the way and this makes for interesting reading alongside the mystery.

This is the first Lanyon book that I have read which has elements of the paranormal and which is set in a world that is similar to our world but at the same time different because of the presence of magic....more
Leanne
3.5 stars rounded up for the narration

I want to tie up Max Miller, and force him under torture, (with feathers and sex toys...and only if he protests, of course) to narrate everything on my favourites shelf. I love his voice and the way he uses it. Light and achingly vulnerable..or velvety smooth and sexy when it needs to be. His accents (Scots must be really difficult to pull off), excellent characterisations and completely unforced, relaxed style is brilliant.

Oh yes. The story? Perhaps not as...more
Joan
Oh dear. I wanted to love this, I wanted it to be a beautiful as Come Unto These Yellow Sands or Cards On The Table and all the other Lanyon books I have read, but somehow I couldn't get into this.

My fault maybe? I don't know. Perhaps a little too complex? Lanyon excels in writing pared-down prose and this just rambled a bit too much for me to really enjoy.

Two stars. It was okay. Not bad, but not one that I would pick up and re-read over again like Come Unto the Yellow Sands.
Lacey
3.5 stars

I'm not going to go through the plot because I think a lot of other reviews have already done that. Instead, I'll tell you that I loved the idea of a world similar to our own but where magic exists. I loved the plot of this story, and the adventure grabbed me from the very beginning. I was immediately swept away in the mysteries that Colin faced and the fast-paced action of the story.

However, there were a lot of loose ends and confusing ideas that left me really disappointed after finis...more
Alaina
I expected to like this book far more than I did, although perhaps my disappointment stems from my overall appreciation for Lanyon's work. When I read something of his that I think is good but not excellent, my disappointment is magnified more than it might be for other authors.

This isn't a bad book by any means. The world building is interesting, Colin, the narrator, is approachable and well-drawn, and the mystery is fun and exciting enough to keep you reading.

However, I would have appreciated...more
Trix
What kind of ending was that? I was so Not ready for it to be over.

(view spoiler)...more
Sath
Was quite suprised to find Josh Lanyon writing fantasy, but definately intrigued by the plotline. An arcane society that hunts for rare magic books and grimoires, and can see visions of a books previous owners or author by touching it. Thats a new idea that I had never heard of before. And it still had the usual Mystery elements that Josh Lanyon has in his books. On the whole was quite good. Only a little let down that the Romance seemed a little hastily developed, and the ending was a little an...more
Lee Brazil
SO many things to like about this story. Loved it. Great characters, sexual chemistry, neat mystery, logical and well thought out paranormal elements that add to or are intrinsic to the story - not just thrown in and irrelevant- all add up to a great read.
A.B. Gayle
Another of Josh Lanyon's stories I encountered initially as an audiobook. Once again, it kept me riveted for a long solo car journey.

The narrator's use of different voices and accents made the characters come alive. The plot bowled along merrily and kept my attention for the entire trip.

A friend had mentioned there was a Harry Potterish feel to the book. While there might be a reflection of Alan Rickman's, Snape, in the love interest, the POV character didn't feel in the slightest bit an escape...more
Shelby
I fully admit I’m rounding this book up a star for the concept of the premise and the quality of Mr. Lanyon’s writing. I liked the idea of this story much better than the execution. Too many things were introduced and never fully explained and everything ended a little too abruptly for me. The mystery was fun, the romance was under developed, but the idea of the word was bloody fantastic!

Colin Bliss is a book hunter with the Imperial Arcane Library on loan from the US colonial branch to the main...more
thelastaerie
Josh Lanyon's 2nd fantasy story and the treasure-hunting theme is emerging :) As always, Lanyon does his research homework, even in a fantasy setting, you can feel the authenticity and historical accuracy in it - if that makes sense! Or he simply just created a very believable fantasy AU version of something we are familiar with, that's not something that can be easily achieved, IMO.

Now the plot is not complicated, but there's great build-up and unfolding of the mystery, as well as the momentum...more
Kathy
Josh Lanyon has an uncanny knack for making any story immediate and real. Even though this story is very much fantasy interwoven with the ‘real’ world, I had no problem making the adjustment to the world Colin inhabited. In many ways I was reminded of the world created by Karen Marie Moning in her Fever series, although not as dark. It’s the commonality of the Fae and other ‘mystic’ creatures with a large dose of magick.

The Darkling Thrush is entirely riveting... as is the norm for Josh Lanyon...more
Kari Gregg
Intricate storyworld I want to visit again. And again.

Colin is a bit young and in spite of his professional gifts, a little on the green side both in his career and private life. That impressions is reinforced by his having crossed the pond, so to speak, to work away from home with people he doesn't know in a culture he isn't familiar with. Fish out of water meets and has a brief affair with a fickle, self-absorbed cad who is also his (married) boss -- with unpleasant results that push Colin to...more
Nina
Dec 19, 2013 Nina marked it as paused-or-abandoned
Everytime I put a book on hold, I feel like the worst person in the world.
I don't know why I fret so much about it, but I think that deep inside I know that I'm probably never going to go back to a book I DNFed - or at least it has never happened so far.

So what's wrong with the first Josh Lanyon book I didn't gush about? Nothing! It's actually good - in a way. It's very atmospheric and has an intriguing premise, so it sucked me in right from the start (as something involving books will inevitabl...more
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A distinct voice in gay fiction, multi-award-winning author JOSH LANYON has been writing gay mystery, adventure and romance for over a decade. In addition to numerous short stories, novellas, and novels, Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews awards for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner and a three-...more
More about Josh Lanyon...
Fatal Shadows (Adrien English Mystery, #1) The Dark Tide (Adrien English Mystery, #5) A Dangerous Thing (Adrien English Mystery, #2) Fair Game (All's Fair, #1) Death of a Pirate King (Adrien English Mystery, #4)

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