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(Dragon Apocalypse #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  408 ratings  ·  82 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 mission as a holy duty and

Paperback, 416 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Solaris (first published January 29th 2012)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  408 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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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 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
My original Greatshadow audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Stagger and Infidel are bounty hunters searching for highly prized dragon bones.  While chased by pygmies, Stagger accidentally stabs and kills himself with his bone knife,  and is transformed into a ghost tied to his knife, he must go where it goes.  Infidel, the beautiful warrior with impenetrable skin and unnatural strength, mourns his death, not knowing Stagger is still following her.  She joins a strange band o
Dec 19, 2011 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 rated it it was ok
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, a
Whilst being chased through the jungle by pygmies, Stagger and Infidel have no choice but to jump off a cliff into the water. Unfortunately Stagger accidentally stabs and kills himself with his knife. He then becomes bound to the knife and has to go where it goes. Infidel, is distraught but gathers up his knife and flees. She needs a job so joins a quest to slay the mighty Greatshadow, but the gang of unlikely accomplices have there work cut out for them trying to slay an elemental Dragon.

I hav
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I really enjoyed this one. On the surface, it's a classic fantasy romp, with an inventive cast of characters, each of which has a special skill of some kind, on a quest to slay a dragon. Even just at this level, the book is great fun, and really well told, with a lot of good action and clever turns. The magical system of the world, however, provides philosophical depth to an otherwise light-hearted romp. Members of different religions and sects see the world differently, and can thus perform dif ...more
Terry  (TBC)
Jun 09, 2017 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.
Jay Collins
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it
3 stars, this book at times was almost a 4 star book but as it continued it slipped back to a 3 star book. I am even on the fence if I wish to continue with the series. I did like some parts but I was confused by some of the characters abilities and found the author trying to do too much when it came to what abilities characters had. I was not a big fan of the ending and that also took away form a 4 star book. I am unsure of my feelings on this book and would have a hard time recommending it to ...more
Jan 20, 2012 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 about. Told in ...more
Luc Reid
Dec 29, 2011 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, i
Jul 10, 2012 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
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like fantasy, dragons, and a band of rogues with a mission, I think you will enjoy reading or listening to “Greatshadow” which is the first book in “The Dragon Apocalypse” series. The book is written by James Maxey and the audiobook edition is skillfully performed by Jake Urry. Take pieces of “Lord of the Rings”, “NeverEnding Story”, “The Da Vinci Code”, and “Ocean’s Eleven” and you get a small taste of what you can expect in Greatshadow. Strap on your seatbelt as this is an action-packed ...more
Jun 17, 2012 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
Elena Alvarez Dosil
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Greatshadow, who dwells in the Isle of Fire, is one of the called primal dragons. His power is the power of fire, which he can use to spy on men, control them, and even kill them. The Church of the Book has decided to send a mission to slay Greatshadow, and has enlisted twelve member on this quest, but their backgrounds are so diverse, that tensions grow amongst the group.

Even though I like fantasy, I am quite picky with this genre, and I found that many fantasy books do not fulfill
Melissa Hayden
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

4.5 stars
A cool addition in listening to the audiobook for me, we get small sound effects! There's a noise that matches the waterfall, lightly in the background to give us the feel of the story with the narration. I enjoyed the sly or laid back, knowing voice of the clientele at Black Swan that he used. Very fitting of the characters! I found I really enjoyed Jake as the narrator fo
Leserling /Belana
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Jake Urry does it again!

My first book narrated by Jake Urry was a psychological thriller, and his way of narrating really got to me. I then listened to his performances of an occult thriller series; so when I found out that he was the narrator of Greatshadow, and fantasy being my favourite genre, I absolutely ‚had‘ to listen to it.

Now, the brain is a funny organ: when starting Greatshadow, at first I couldn’t help picturing Harlan Ulrich, the main protagonist from the occ
Herman Gigglethorpe
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Greatshadow seems sort of like a heist story to me. A bunch of unsavory characters gather together, form a plan, and try to kill a dragon. Or so they think. . .

There are many characters, and a high body count to go along with it. Stagger the ghost drunk is the narrator, but Infidel the superpowered rebel princess is the real lead. She gained her powers by eating ancient dragon blood while escaping a forced marriage to another major character, the paladin Lord Tower. Father Ver
Amber Bedgood
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
When i first started this book I didn't really have any expectations. The Publisher's Summary on Audible was pretty lean and didn't give many details in their synopsis. But I decided to give it a try anyways. First off Jake Urry's voice. Very very distinctive and dramatic. I had recently listened to another title he narrated so I was prepared for it but still it takes a bit of getting used to. His voice makes this kind of story perfect however. He does the voices of all the characters effortless ...more
M.E. Garber
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm glad I made it past the opening, which seemed very slow and static, with the protagonist watching everything and doing nothing--it almost killed my interest. BUT...I give the author credit for trying something very hard and taking a huge risk with this opening, because while Stagger is the POV we're in, the protagonist of the story is really Infidel, his female companion.

The story starts as little more than a D&D type escapade, but eventually digs deeply into morality, theology, love, s
Colin Rowlands
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting set of characters, a novel twist for the narrator and an entertaining writing style results in a book that despite being the first part of a series more than stands on it's own merits rather than the collective ones of that series.

The narrator within a book not being the main character can sometimes detract from a story if the author doesn't get the tone quite right, but thankfully that is not the case and the nature of that narrator makes for an interesting change too
Bradley (AudioShelf)
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is not the typical book I would listen to. But since I was given a code for this book by the narrator, I decided to listen to it and give it an honest review.

I thought the writing was clear, concise, and imaginative. I did find myself bored in most chapters, but I was satisfied with the ending and the fact that I grew somewhat attached to the characters by the end of this 15-something hour long audiobook.

As for the narration, Jake Urry was the ONLY reason I continued listening. His voice
Terri Wilson
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
**This review is in regards to the audio**
Complicated plot lines always intrigue me because it challenges my brain to remember everything. And when done right, it’s awesome. The story line for this book was done right. It was an intense action pack story about dragons and warriors. Right now, I’m on a dragon kick, so this book came along at the right time. The author’s world building is well-developed and it was easy to see the story unfold as if I was watching a movie. I think listening t
Melanie Lewis
Jun 07, 2017 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
I received this #Audible #audiobook in exchange for an honest review via #LibraryThing.

TBH, the first 30 minutes or so of the book, I was not fact, I almost DNFed this one.

I am glad I didn't.

This was a very entertaining reminded me a little bit of Eragon, but for adults. It was adventurous, funny, and all-together captivating!

I loved the different characters in the group...their powers were fantastic and really pushed the book forward in regards to k
May 22, 2017 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, Sta
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I found it randomly mentioned in a Reddit post about romantic fantasy.

I definitely wouldn't suggest this if you want romantic fantasy, so I feel that person was way off with that suggestion. Yet, I am so happy to have read it.

The magic is fun. It's not like Sanderson where it all makes perfect sense with proper rules but it has some limitations and there are a lot of forms of it. The characters are all likable and interesting, I wanted to read more instead of skim
Oct 19, 2012 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
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like a good dragon tale every once in a while to break up the routine. This one is a little different and quite interesting as it portrayed the last of the dragons as Primal, meaning each dragon corresponded to an element. Fire, water, cold, you get the idea. Humanity was a bit paranoid about Greatshadow they felt he was watching them via every flame that existed throughout the realm and they wanted to put an end to it, or him. The King collected a dozen warriors of various skills and sent the ...more
Victoria Haugen
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow, super fascinating, complex but wonderful fantasy. What a world the author creates!
I was immediately drawn into this rich world, and loved listening to the adventures of Stagger and Infidel.
What a story!
Great narration by Jake Urry!

So many interesting things going on, I don't even know where to start. Best listen for yourself!
I think everyone would really enjoy this tale, and want more!
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have vol
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Q&A with James Maxey: Is Infidel's portrayal sexist? 2 13 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

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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