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(The Wave Trilogy #1)

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  198 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The river Irenicon was blasted through the middle of Rasenna in 1347 and now it is a permanent reminder to the feuding factions that nothing can stand in the way of the Concordian Empire. Concordian engineer Captain Giovanni is ordered to bridge the Irenicon - not to reunite the sundered city, but to aid Concord's mighty armies.
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published March 29th 2012 by Jo Fletcher Books
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3.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  198 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The first time I heard about author Aidan Harte was last year when his novel Irenicon was shortlisted for the Gemmell Morningstar award for best debut. Talk about an impressive series starter. The book's historical overtones set in a fantasy world, along with a subtle touch of magic put me in mind strongly of the works by Guy Gavriel Kay, and if Harte's prose lacks Kay's poetic quality then he more than makes up for it wit
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
4.5 stars

Review Posted on Tenacious Reader

I love when a book that wasn’t on my radar comes my way and takes me by surprise. This is exactly what happened with Irenicon by Aidan Harte. I had heard of the book, recognized the cover, but honestly didn’t know much about it. When I took a closer look and realized that the main protagonist was actually female and the storyline sounded exactly like something I would normally enjoy, I had to give it a chance.

This book reminds me a bit of K. J. Parker in
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it

Full review originally at Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: Irenicon the word sounds mysterious and was unknown to me when I first heard of it. Its meaning, I discovered was a device or proposition for securing peace. Such an intriguing word and the debut from Aidan Harte also dripped intrigue from its blurb to the overall premise. The book is an alternate historical story with the central premise being that Christ never reached adulthood. Herod was successful in killing Mary’s son and thus the prop
Irenicon was a book that intrigued me by its blurb but the sample available read very YA-ish so I hesitated before getting a copy; the first 200 pages or so are actually interesting despite their somewhat YA style, but from about half on the book becomes a non-stop action thriller and I am not really a fan of such, so I kind of got very bored with it and just turned the pages to see what happens; there are lots of twists and turns for sure, but they left me meh and I have no intention to read mo ...more
[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.]
Apr 25, 2017 marked it as could-not-finish
Oh my goodness no. Nothing turns me off quicker than characters who think/say half the words in another language. That's not how that works. Also the prose sucks.
David Ledeboer
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Talk about your unexpected endings! Twists, turns, and “I didn’t see that coming” really describe the action in Aidan Harte’s book, Irenicon – Book I of The Wave Trilogy. The cover consists of what appears to be a group of rag-tag knights on horseback riding out to defend a kingdom, led by a Joan-of-Arc type character carrying a banner. So naturally I expected more of a medieval-type fantasy. Not nearly so!

Family factions of the city of Rasenna spar and battle for supremacy. Words and family nam
Flawed, unusual, great. There are elements of the things I loved about Guy Gavriel Kay about this - the strength of the setting (a strongly evoked northern Italy of Machiavelli) and the romantic brutality of character choices and consequences - but though Harte's style is equally poetic, it is sparse and pared back (sometimes cut too far, too close to the bone to give the necessary weight to the big moment that just went whizzing past). The characters are strong, floundering, human, drawn in vir ...more
Steven Poore
An alternate Italy, in an alternate fourteenth century, in a world where Jesus died as an infant and engineers have destroyed whole cities with tidal forces. Throw in a flag-based martial art, a city of towers, and water-based creatures called buio, and you've got concepts to die for.

But Irenicon doesn't quite match the sum of its parts. It's difficult to fully immerse yourself in the story as it skips through the POV of so many different characters, often in the same chapter. Rasenna as a city
The city of Rasenna is divided, in more than one sense of the word. Geographically speaking, the city is split in two by the river Irenicon, which was blasted straight through the middle of the ancient city using Wave technology, a major feat of engineering by the Concordian Empire to subdue its main rival.

Maybe more importantly, though, the people of Rasenna are divided into factions. Competing families on each side of the river continually launch deadly raids and vendettas against each other.
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating reshaping of late medieval Europe undergoing a very different Renaissance in a world where Christianity developed very differently after Herod managed to kill the Infant Jesus.
Mary is worshipped in stead and a world is very different without the selfless sacrifice of Jesus.
Rasenna is the setting of much of the story and the factions and infighting have resulted in their conquering by another powerful town turned Empire, Concordia. The book centres on the reshaping of Rasenna follo
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
I very much enjoyed this book, enough twists to keep you interested and a very different take on Christianity, (Jesus never survived infancy and his mother is worshiped instead) and medieval Europe.
A city divided must unite to defeat the enemy or be left in ruins.
great characters with their own personal and external conflicts to cope with, in a world that doesn't make anything easy for them.

one of my favorite books of the past 12mos and I'm glad it is one of the first of 2014.

onwards, to the w
Jenna R
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ohhh this book. First, let me say that I absolutely enjoyed reading Irenicon. After saying that, let me begin to unpack this whole situation.

This book was slow to get through for me, but that is because the entire first section of the book is absolutely and beautifully filled with world-building. Harte has a masterful skill with completely filling out this alternative universe fantasy Etruscan setting. Not only is the world building so thorough and believable, but Harte manages to establish a u
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Irenicon is Aidan Harte's debut novel. Aidan Harte has studied sculpting in Florence and currently works in Dublin. Prior to finding this new career Aidan was the creative mind behind the children's tv show Skunk Fu. What caught my interest of Irenicon was the combination of the synopsis and the cover. The cover of Irenicon features a set of medieval knights with banners and barded horses and the mentioning that this story takes place in the year of 1347, but a bit contrasting to the cover are t ...more
Diana Innes
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it
There were times when I wondered why I was bothering to continue reading this book. There were just as many times when I didn't want to put it down to go to work. It took twice as long as I expected to finish. It was satisfying enough that I went and got book 2 in the trilogy straight away.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific world-building, great set of characters, top-notch prose.....this was a pleasant surprise, I really enjoyed reading this novel. And bonus, first of a trilogy !
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
3,5 stars.

Irenicon is a book that had to grow no me. Not necessarily due to the story, but more because of the structure in the very beginning of the book. The first few chapters confused me immensely. I didn’t understand what was going on or what it was supposed to introduce me to.

More and more, as the story unfolded and the world building got more extensive, the story grew on me. A quarter in I was hooked.
It has been said about this book before, it is e
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a novel about a river.

No, really.

Decades ago, the river Irenicon tore through Rasenna, effectively dividing the city into two, and thoroughly terrifying its citizens. The feuding factions occupying the city more or less carried on with business as usual – working during the day, and attacking each other at night – but the river, a huge, relentless force that had torn so easily through their city, couldn’t be ignored, and their daily lives had to adjust to accommodate it. Since then, Rase
Irenicon has so many different elements. Alternate history of the European Renaissance variety, steampunk fantasy, understated romance, superhero battles, magical water creatures. It also has elements of religious allegory.

This book tells the story of Captain Giovanni, architect to the Concordian empire, and Sofia, heir to the city of Rasenna. Their lives intertwine when Giovanni is sent to build a bridge over the wily Irenicon river in Rasenna, a city dominated by two gangs. Decades ago, the Ir
Mike Gething
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another debut novel, this is one of the best out there. Siege warfare, political wrangling, romance (sort of), magic, mystery and plot twists, this book has them all. Set mainly in the city of Rasenna, in the mid 14th Century, the story centres around Contessa Sophia and Concordian engineer Giovanni.
Pros: Giovanni, a strong yet fallible character with a secret past. Italian-style city with its high towers and narrow alleyways. The Concord empire with the mysterious Apprentices. The Molé prison.
Fantasy Literature
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Aidan Harte’s debut novel Irenicon is a mostly impressive beginning to his WAVE trilogy; its richly detailed world, tense plot, and subtle mix of science and magic offset some issues of pace, structure, and character sufficiently enough that I plan on continuing right on with its sequel The Warring States, which just arrived last week.

Irenicon is set in a somewhat off-kilter Renaissance Italy, where centuries earlier Herod’s slaughter of children actually worked, killing Jesus Christ as an infan
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Less about the river, more about the fueding families of this city, Rasenna. (think Montagues and Capulets) This Italian fantasy focuses on the details of a city divided and an interloper from the conquering people trying to mend (or start, depending on who you're reading) the civil war.

Overall, I disliked the book for a number of reasons. I couldn't get into the story, I didn't care about any of the characters, and the style of writing confused me occasionally. The coolest part of the whole bo
Jun 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: spec-fic
c2012: FWFTB: river, Engineers, feuding, Concord, Wave. I found the heroine's age to be disconcerting and I couldn't help thinking whether or not an older heroine would have sufficed. I enjoyed the read though and although the world was not particularly unique, the belief systems and feudal systems were well built. I never felt that I had a handle on the magic element though. Again, a bit of a lull two thirds of the way through but then it raced to the end - a bit like a wave I suppose! The pris ...more
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
How do you fight against impossible odds? Twenty years before the opening of Aidan Harte's Irenicon, an unnatural wave ripped through the city of Rasenna and ended their resistance against the Concordian Empire. Since then, the city has torn itself apart as factions fight pointless, bloody vendetta. The heir is underage. The city's regents scheme and squabble. The beginning of the book is rocky, but if you stick with it, you'll be rewarded with a fantastic (in both senses of the word) vision of ...more
Ade Couper
hmmm.....bit of a curate's egg this.....

The plot's difficult to summarise, but basically we're in an alternative history where the church never gained the power it has in this world. We're in an Italian city-state which has been subjugated by the ruling city of Concord . We're a bit confused by all the internecine power struggles....

There are some good ideas in this book , & the set-piece battle that ends the story is very well-written . However , the book's at least 100 pages too long , &am
Erik Lundqvist
Feb 15, 2012 rated it liked it
There are a few things I did not like about Irenicon, but the last third of the book turned things around quite drastically,and left me with a positive feeling. At almost 600 pages Irenicon is a brick of a book, but it is fastidiously written brick. It stands out with its, somewhat surreal, world building and well rounded characters. If you want something a bit different to your traditional fantasy Irenicon might just be the book for you.

Read my full review
Diane Thompson-Bowen
Epic fantasy adventure! Full of stuff you don't understand and stuff you do.
It has a brand new world which is remarkably familiar. A new religion, again very familiar and the obligatory medieval setting.
The sort of book you want for a rainy afternoon or a duvet day.

It is part of a trilogy, so try to have the other two to hand.
Note to publishers, employ better proofreaders. My edition had a few grammatical errors.
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
"Inheriting a city full of anger, corruption, and fear isn't exactly what a future Contessa would want. Sofia Scaligeri desperately wants to change her home, but it seems impossible with all the enemies they face. When a Concordian engineer, Giovanni, agrees to build a bridge over the Irenicon, a solution starts to present itself. But with a deadly Wave coming, no one can tell who will survive." Full review at Fresh Fiction:
May 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This "world building" in this novel was phenomenal. There are so many characters, each so devious, that it was really only in the last 100 pages that I had a good inkling of how we were going to get to the end of the book. And I was wrong about which ending we were hurtling towards. This was a heavy but enjoyable read.
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Aidan Harte (b 1979) is a writer and sculptor.

His first novel, Irenicon, is published by Jo Fletcher Books, an imprint of Quercus Books. Irenicon is the first part of a historical fantasy trilogy.

He studied in the Florence Academy of Art. His sculpture can be seen in Sol Art Gallery in Dublin. He works in the classical tradition informed by the early 20th century expressionists.

He directed an IFTA

Other books in the series

The Wave Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Warring States (The Wave Trilogy, #2)
  • Spira Mirabilis (The Wave Trilogy, #3)
“...if a person could be unreasonable, a family perhaps, could a whole town? If certain altitudes inhibit respiration, might sufficient density of lunacy inhibit reason, permit prodigies, break rules supposed to be unbreakable?” 1 likes
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