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Greatshadow (Dragon Apocalypse #1)

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  330 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Greatshadow is the primal dragon of fire, an elemental evil whose malign intelligence spies upon mankind through every candle flame, waiting to devour any careless victim he can claim.

The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay the dragon once and for all. But tensions run high between the leaders of the team who view the miss

Paperback, 416 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Solaris (first published January 29th 2012)
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This was my first ever dragon book, it is also the first book in a four-part series called The Dragon Apocalypse. But it works perfectly fine as a standalone.
Told in first-person, the narrator isn't the protagonist, making this quite an original way of relaying the story. Stagger, the narrator, actually dies right at the start of the story. Following his long-term companion around in ghost-format, Stagger tells the story of Infidel, a super strong female mercenary, and his secret love interest.
Ranting Dragon
May 20, 2012 Ranting Dragon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: janea
Greatshadow is the newest offering from James Maxey, best known for Nobody Gets the Girl and The Dragon Age Trilogy. It’s the first installment in The Dragon Apocalypse, with book two, Hush, scheduled for June of 2012.

Our protagonist is Infidel, a magically overpowered woman working as a mercenary and occasional thief. She has super strength and is impervious to most damage. When her closest friend dies, she decides to take one last big job so she can retire in style. Her best chance is to join
Bob Milne
Dec 19, 2011 Bob Milne rated it really liked it
Greatshadow, the first book of The Dragon Apocalypse by James Maxey, reminds me in so may ways of the TSR quest-driven novels I cut my fantasy teeth on so many years ago. More specifically, it reminds of Forgotten Realms adventures by the likes of R.A. Salvatore, Ed Greenwood, Troy Denning, and Douglas Niles. Before anybody takes that the wrong way, let me assure you that's absolutely not a criticism or a complaint - I have fond memories of those adventures, and Maxey rekindled that same kind of ...more
Jan 23, 2012 Donna rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Between the set-up information and the slightly clipped prose style, it took me some time to get into this book. I totally loved the middle third, about high-powered heroes making their way through a hostile landscape while dealing with the tensions among their group. The ending wrapped things up very neatly, but felt a bit overcomplicated to me.

I liked the heroine, Infidel, though I wish she'd been a little less objectified. All of the secondary characters were really interesting, and I wanted
Theresa (TBC)
Jun 09, 2017 Theresa (TBC) rated it it was amazing
Not my usual genre but I enjoyed this.
Fantasy & always moving story.
Jake Urry as always did a great job narrating and keeping the story flowing with life.
Jan 20, 2012 Mieneke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2012
The first in a new series by James Maxey, Greatshadow managed to be both a very original book and a rather familiar one. Let's start with the original part. The book had a very original take on the narration. While the protagonist is Infidel, she is not the narrator; no, that place is beholden to Stagger, her erstwhile – and currently very dead – partner. This approach is one I hadn't seen before and one that's very effective in keeping us appraised of happenings Infidel couldn't have known abou ...more
Luc Reid
Dec 29, 2011 Luc Reid rated it really liked it
Sword and sorcery superheroes

Narrated by the ghost of a deceased drunkard, Greatshadow shows off the strengths I've come to expect in James Maxey's writing: it gushes with cool ideas brought to life; it moves at speed through unexpected and intriguing plot turns; and it features sympathetic characters who are larger than life and twice as flawed.

Some of the phenomena in this book rank with the most fascinating I've seen in any story anywhere: a chamber constructed of false matter, invulnerable a
Jul 10, 2012 Mo rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I've read in a while. Perhaps because I was hungry for some good old fashioned sword and sorcery, perhaps because this book does sword and sorcery in a unique way. The characters are drawn perfectly for my tastes, without too much told or too much left out. The unique narrative perspective is well done. I personally enjoyed the religious undertones (and overtones), from the Zen-like grandfather to the overbearing, ridiculous religious zealots. Maxey is deft with the religio ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Thimbleberry rated it really liked it
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this from a giveaway at The Ranting Dragon for their June book club. I say 'lucky' both in winning the drawing, and because I might not have read it otherwise. I won't tell you how long my backlog of books-to-read is, but since this was sitting on top of the pile I was able to actually get to it :)
While this isn't a book that will change you world, is was vastly entertaining. Take your usual cast of quest characters in a world with some interesting non-h
Melanie Lewis
Jun 07, 2017 Melanie Lewis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible-books
What a book! Mr Maxey has the most wonderful imagination. The characters, Infidel, Stagger, Aurora are so brilliant, each one is so carefully thought out and brilliantly drawn. I loved The Goons. There is absolutely everything in this story; fantasy, romance, love, hate, betrayal, dysfunctional family relationships, the whole range of writing genres. As if the genius writing is not enough, the book's level is raised to an even higher stratosphere due to the narration by Jake Urry. How he manages ...more
May 22, 2017 Alan rated it really liked it
In my search for new books at great prices. I found the Dragon Apocalypse collection on Kindle - 4 books at £0.99 what could go wrong? This is the first of the books - I separate them into individual books, because I don't like reading four books yet only getting one marked off on good reads, plus of course each book should be reviewed individually.
So, What do I think of this book? Excellent, fast moving and a fantastic fantasy.
The characters are really enjoyable. Infidel our heroine, Stagger w
Simona Nielsen
Jul 23, 2017 Simona Nielsen rated it liked it
Audiobook review: Story - 3 stars - Narrator Jake Urry - 5 stars.

For strong fantasy fans this book might just be the catch. It didn't work for me though, as it didn't contain the elements I want in a fantasy novel. It was way too dark for me and I'm also very hard to satisfy when it comes to this genre. However, if you love fantasy, this book has a lot of strong fantasy elements, so you might not think the same as me. Jake Urry did a great performance, as he is a master in dark stories.
Jun 10, 2017 April rated it really liked it

: James Maxey

This is an interesting dragon book. Lots of adventure and suspense in this novel. In all honesty, it wasn't my cup of tea. Those listeners that are big into fantasy will probably love it.

The narration was well done. The characters were well portrayed. Jake Urry is the reason I finished this book, his voice style is fantastic.

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."
Mar 19, 2012 Abhinav rated it it was amazing
You can find the full review over at The Founding Fields:

Shadowhawk reviews the first novel of the Dragon Apocalypse series by James Maxey.

“It’s very rare to find a novel packed to the brim with heart-pumping action, laugh out loud humour, and a protagonist who wants cake. Greatshadow is a brilliant book.“ ~The Founding Fields

Its not often I come across a novel that makes me giddy with laughter in the middle of some tense scenes between characters, when ev
Feb 03, 2012 Rosina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book through Goodreads First Reads.

I'm really happy I won this book, as honestly, it probably would have taken me forever to get round to it otherwise. That would have been a shame, as I really enjoyed this! From the cover and description, I was expecting an epic, high-fantasy novel. This wasn't what I got, but I'm actually kind of glad. Instead, this was a fun, quirky fantasy that separated itself from the norm. I haven't read any Terry Pratchett (shame on me) but from what I know,
James Marsh
Aug 30, 2011 James Marsh rated it it was amazing
James Maxey, author of Nobody Gets the Girl and the Dragon Age Trilogy (Bitterwood, Dragonforge and Dragonseed) makes his triumphant return to the world of fantasy publishing with his own unique spin on the classic fantasy trope: a team of a dozen adventurers join forces to slay a mighty dragon.

But being James Maxey, he has plenty of surprises and twists along the way.

Greatshadow is the primal dragon of fire, a giant lizard big enough to show up on a map. Over the course of thousands of years
Mar 04, 2012 David rated it really liked it
DISCLAIMER: After seeing a post on Mr Maxey’s blog, I volunteered to provide a review and was sent a preview copy.

Greatshadow is a very ambitious book that aims high and, for the most part, gets there. When I read the premise of the novel I was intrigued and penciled it in as something to keep an eye out for, hence why I leapt at the chance to get an advance reading. I had read one of Mr Maxey’s earlier books and, while I had found it a bit rough around the edges, I had really enjoyed the fast p
Rob Slaven
Jan 24, 2013 Rob Slaven rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads, fantasy
As a slight variation to a usual theme, I received this book as a result of a GoodReads giveaway but somewhat indirectly. I won the third book in the series but the author was exuberantly kind enough to send the entire series. Despite this wonderfully kind consideration, my candid opinions follow below.

It is difficult to begin without resorting to cliche, assuming that the opening about winning a book in a GoodReads giveaway is not already cliche. Maxey's work, to sum it up, has a touch of every
Jan 16, 2012 CluckingBell rated it really liked it
I received a copy for free through GoodReads’ First Reads.

It was a pretty fun read, and there was a lot that I admired about it. I appreciated that the descriptions of place and people were vivid without being florid. The author gave enough information that I could visualize a person, place, or thing while leaving enough room for interpretation that my imagination never got tripped up by unnecessary and trivial details. Personally, I think that makes for a much richer reading experience.

Aug 05, 2012 James rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favorites, fantasy
This book has made it onto my favorites bookshelf, something that is happening less and less often these days. I loved this.

This is probably best classified as a "quirky" book. Though it involves many staples from the fantasy genre, they are all given a fresh, new, light. Maxey writes in an engaging way and one that drew me in instantly. Just the right amount of humor, questing, action, plot building, backstory, and intrigue to keep every page engaging and interesting. Even a little romance that
Nov 14, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it
Shelves: spec-fic
c2012: FWFTB: mercenary, superhuman, dragon, quest, fire. Ok, so with the words picked out of the blurb, it would be so easy to dismiss the book out of hand thinking that it was one of the tired sword-sorcery-quest type stories. It is quite different, a different sort of POV, a different sort of heroine and a really great story to boot. Gail Z Martin has once again managed to encapsulate my own thoughts with her recommendation "Non stop action, memorable characters and a cleverly imagined workd ...more
Mar 12, 2013 Kristin rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, meh
Writing: 3
Story: 2
Satisfaction: 2

I really liked the narration style of this book but plot-wise ehhhhhh. And the last couple chapters were even more ehhhhh than the rest.

So the narrator dies in the first chapter - which is pretty neat - and then spends the rest of the book as a ghost/spirit who can sometimes regain form if the knife that he's attached to is dipped in blood. The main character, nicknamed Infidel, is a treasure hunter who has unnatural strength and impenetrable skin. Take those aw
Erin Penn
Jun 03, 2015 Erin Penn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fantasy, Action-Adventure
World creation of the primal dragons is great. I love why they became what they are and look forward to future books of the Dragon Apocalypse. The three systems of magic ruling the world, blood, weaving and dreams, plus the multi-religious powers with each being right in their own way add another level of flavor to the story.

And then the uniqueness of the point-of-view character keep pulling me forward. It is not every day the POV dies in the first chapter. Truly an inspired twist that was never
Gavin Gates
Mar 11, 2012 Gavin Gates rated it really liked it
Greatshadow straddles the line between serious story telling and a light hearted fast read almost perfectly. I knew that this book was due to be released and then was very happy to see it turn up in my review pile. Maxey has made a great choice to put the tale across in a third party sense through the eyes of a ghost who is connected to a weapon being carried by the magically enchanted super strong and almost indestructible Infidel, possibly my new favourite heroine/anti hero. The setting is pre ...more
Nov 28, 2011 Elise rated it it was amazing
If Chuck Norris had written a fantasy novel, this would be it. It's written in a rare 2nd person perspective, told from the point of view of the main character's partner. It sounds like the standard mythical story we've all heard about, but less likely have read. (I certainly haven't read any novels specifically about this) of dragon slaying for the reward of the beast's treasure, but it's a lot more than that. It's unique, unconventional and jam packed full of goodies. There's a colorful cast o ...more
Oct 19, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
This book is in the top 10 of my favorite new reads of the year. I know, I’m being blunt. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was chewing through 50-100 pages a night and only put it down when I was too fatigued to read any more. This book turned me into a little kid – I didn’t want to sleep, or do the dishes, or get dressed. I simply wanted to read this book. Infidel is a kick-ass 30 year-old woman who is the true heroine of this tale. She is fascinating, flawed, and trying to do the right thing ...more
Mar 02, 2012 Ambereen rated it really liked it
Infidel is a warrior who (after the death of her only companion) opts to take part in a dragon hunt against one of the most-feared dragons that inhabits the land. The people that makes up the rest of the dragon hunting party are a colorful crew, each with his or her own unique ability.

Although this is supposed to be a romantic fantasy (which it is), the book also contains some rather philosophical content as to the reason for existence and where people originated from. The book was exciting and
Jan 06, 2013 Shannon rated it liked it
I received my first read book free from goodreads giveaway. I enjoyed this story very much it is full of adventure and fantasy, from dragons to pygmies! The story was a pleasant surprise it also includes romance which may interest anyone who loves a good romance as well. I will continue on with the series the charecters are interesting enough to want to know what happens next. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a decent fantasy story that's not over top with drama, or creepy way out fanta ...more
Sep 19, 2016 Ron rated it it was ok
Well I actually finished this book so I guess I can't give it one star. That said I really wish I put it down earlier. The author takes so much time describing the naked female form that there aren't many words left for anything else. This book doesn't know whether it is a classic fantasy party quest story, a light easy read, or a dime store romance novel. While attempting to be all of those it succeeds at nothing.
Sara Summers
Oct 10, 2012 Sara Summers rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A terrific start to a series I hope to read more of. Maxey did a great job making charming characters with interesting backstories. My biggest complaint is the lack of the cover character, Infidel, throughout the book. She's full of wit and charm, but due to reasons explained in the book, she is unable to show those characteristics for most of the book. Aside from that, this book was fantastic, and I'm really looking forward to the sequels!
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Q&A with James Maxey: Is Infidel's portrayal sexist? 2 11 Aug 13, 2012 09:32AM  
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I've been an avid reader since I first picked up a book. Luckily, I was within biking distance of three different libraries growing up. I was a skinny kid. If only I had maintained that link between biking and reading, I might be a skinny adult.

I'm also a writer. I wrote my first book as a kid, an adventure about pirates and ghosts. When I was a teenager, I used to write superhero adventures. The
More about James Maxey...

Other Books in the Series

Dragon Apocalypse (4 books)
  • Hush (Dragon Apocalypse, #2)
  • Witchbreaker (Dragon Apocalypse, #3)
  • Cinder (Dragon Apocalypse, #4)

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