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The Scar-Crow Men (Swords of Albion #2)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  134 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The year is 1593. The London of Elizabeth I is in the terrible grip of the Black Death. As thousands die from the plague and the queen hides behind the walls of her palace, English spies are being murdered across the city. The killer's next target: Will Swyfte - adventurer, rake, scholar, and spy.
Paperback, 402 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Pyr (first published January 1st 2011)
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I've had to take a few days to really process this book and get my assessment in order. This will be a tough review to write.

Let me first start off with I loved, loved, loved the first book. I told anyone who would listen about it and brought copies for friends. I'm not sure what happened with this series but had I read this book first I wouldn't have gushed about it. WAIT! That doesn't mean that I didn't like this book. I liked it, I didn't LOVE it. Here's why.

There didn't seem to be as much
When The Sword of Albion/The Silver Skull came out last year, I was very impressed: so much so that I rated it as one of my favourites of 2010. Fast paced, nicely scary and good fun.

In Book 2 things move on apace. It is now 1593, five years after the first novel. It is clear that things have changed since we last saw Will Swyfte and his compadres. Sir Francis Walsingham, the old spy master, has died and been buried in relative obscurity. In his place is Sir Robert Cecil, seemingly a less effecti
John Onoda
This is the second book in author Mark Chadbourn’s “Swords of Albion” series of historical fantasies. The author has a talent for testing and tormenting his characters, pushing them to the breaking point, thrusting them headlong into dire situations and creating situations when doom appears to be only minutes away. It’s all great fun and very well written, too.

The protagonist is Will Swyfte, “England’s Greatest Spy,” who is basically James Bond with a sword. His enemy is the Unseelie Court, visc
Goran Zidar
I really enjoyed the first book in this series and was looking forward to reading book 2 and continuing the adventures of "England's Greatest Spy", but I would have to say that this book was not as good as the first. There were a number of things which frustrated me and I found myself putting it down and reading something else instead (I actually started reading this before Pathfinder which I reviewed a few weeks ago). As a result it took me a long time to finish, but finish it I did and the con ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clare Neilson
The Scar-Crow Men picks up from the previous book a good 2-3 years after The Sword of Albion. The old spymaster passed away after falling ill, and his replacement seeks only to advance himself in the eyes of The Queen. Will is falling out of favour with him and his rival, the Earl of Essex. As is the way with spy novels, you're never sure who is going to be betrayed when and by whome, and to what degree. At times this can be frustrating, is there no one our hero can trully trust? This can be gra ...more
Ed Fleetwood
Chadbourne's Swords of Albion series is a work of genius. One of those chance discoveries on a bookstore display.
Though still thoroughly enjoyable, I enjoyed The Sword of Albion more than its successor.
I found the action somewhat disjointed, in that new chapters would begin in medias res having jumped forward in time. I'm assuming this was a pacing device; but I found it distracting. It reminded me somewhat of the original Resident Evil movie, where the action would jump from set piece to set pi
Rachel Nowakowski
This is a fantastic book. I love Mark Chadbourn and think he is the king of the weird and wonderful world. I thought the protagonists in this book were interesting and the storyline was exciting. I got quite engrossed in it and was itching to get back to reading it when I had to leave it and go to work. As with all the books of his that I have read, you are never quite sure whether it'll all come out right in the end and I do like that edgy quality in his work. Although his other books are set i ...more
Actual rating is 3.5 stars. This one was even darker than the first with lots of bad guys lurking in plain sight. My rating would have been higher but there seems to be no hope whatsoever in this book. The only thing that keeps it going is the forcefullness of the main character. He doesn't have any hope either but at least he has a purpose that he is unwilling to give up on. It was a tad depressing actually. Nothing wrong with that as it is but I try to shy away from those as they, you guessed ...more
David Marshall
This is a big improvement on the first episode, The Silver Skull, offering a very clever mystery within a mystery. Unfortunately, this cannot completely cover up the weakness in explaining the supernatural elements. It's all rather arbitrary at present. Hopefully, Chadbourn can address this in the third volume.
Grr - whats up with this (**)(*((* app. Lost the comments again because of a duplication caused because of another deleted comment in the middle of trying to save. Abbreviated - didn't like it as much as the first one. Third one only due to be published in 2012. Darker, gorier and more depressing than the first book with no humour at all.(Or else it was too subtle for me!)
Not the sort of book I usually read - but thought I would try it. I read about half of the it before giving up. I felt it was quiet well written but I am not a great lover of supernatural fantasy so although the plot historically was intriguing I found I wasn't actually enjoying it.
Oct 04, 2011 !Tæmbuŝu marked it as to-read

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Darshan Elena
I appreciated the first novel in the series, but this one seemed rather dull in comparison. After 70 some pages, I just stopped reading. That is rare but true in this case.
I like how Chadbourn weaves historical events; death of Marlow, rivalry between Essex and Cecil; into his fantasy. Looking forward to the next installment.
Part murder mystery, part supernatural thriller, wholly enjoyable. Looking forward to reading more of the series
Good spymaster story with Unseelie court as the main enemy of Elizabethian England.
Fiona Mcmahon
Another excellent book by a brilliant author. Love, love, love his books
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A two-time winner of the prestigious British Fantasy Award, Mark has published his epic, imaginative novels in many countries around the world. He grew up in the mining community of the English Midlands, and was the first person in his family to go to university. After studying Economic History at Leeds, he became a successful journalist, writing for several of the UK's renowned national newspaper ...more
More about Mark Chadbourn...

Other Books in the Series

Swords of Albion (3 books)
  • The Silver Skull (Swords of Albion, #1)
  • The Devil's Looking Glass (Swords of Albion, #3)
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