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Scourge of the Betrayer

(Bloodsounder's Arc #1)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  2,684 ratings  ·  309 reviews
Many tales are told of the Syldoon Empire and its fearsome soldiers, who are known throughout the world for their treachery and atrocities. Some say that the Syldoon eat virgins and babies–or perhaps their own mothers. Arkamondos, a bookish young scribe, suspects that the Syldoon’s dire reputation may have grown in the retelling, but he’s about to find out for himself.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Night Shade (first published 2012)
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Sarah Only 53% of people gave it four or five stars according to the rating details. The reviews at the top of the review pages are only the ones with the m…moreOnly 53% of people gave it four or five stars according to the rating details. The reviews at the top of the review pages are only the ones with the most "likes". It has nothing to do with the overall ratings.

The rating details are in the little box at the top of the screen next to the 3.54 rating.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,684 ratings  ·  309 reviews

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Start your review of Scourge of the Betrayer (Bloodsounder's Arc, #1)
Mark Lawrence
So, I liked this book a lot. Jeff Salyards is a good story teller and the book leads you on easily - it's never a chore & that's an achievement right there. Most novels have dull spots, Scourge went down smooth and swift.

It's a book with plenty of violence, small scale frays take up a fair portion of the narrative - people aren't simply cut down and forgotten, the combats are detailed and protracted, there are no supermen here.

Scourge of the Betrayer's really novel aspect happens to be one that
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: grimdark fans
Oh man, that was compelling and original. I have a good feeling about this trilogy.

I came to the realization when I started this book that it’s been seven months since I read any full-length grimdark novel. I don’t even know why because grimdark is one of my favorite genres, but somehow I’ve been drowning in other genres for more than half a year. Let’s just say that this book was a damn great choice for me to mark my return to the genre. I first stumbled upon Jeff Salyards’s work in Evil is a M
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own, library, grimdark
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

Scourge of the Betrayer is one of those rare books. A novel that takes the familiar tropes of a particular genre, tweaks them ever so slightly until you (a long time reader) find that your expectations of that genre have been suddenly raised to a new level.

And how did Jeff Salyards do that, you ask?

Well, mainly, he did it by refusing to be confined by the familiar, formulaic pattern of grimdark fantasy. Where most “grims” cover their pages with equal parts gor
Jeff Salyards
May 27, 2013 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
This is the best book Salyards has written to date. No joke. In the interest of transparency, I have to confess I have a mad man-crush on the guy. In fact, some might accuse me of stalking him. Which is stupid to admit, I know--if someone ever took Salyards out, I'm sure I'd be a serious person of interest.

Anyway, the book is pretty good. Give it a look.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

UPDATED: Interview with the author

If you want to see a cool way to tackle dark fantasy, look no further than this novel. It'd been sitting on my shelf for a while, and earlier this month I finally picked it up. It didn't take more than a few pages for me to realize I was looking at a very special book.

Jeff Salyards' approach to storytelling gave me a very unique experience. For on
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
The blurb says: “A gripping military fantasy in the tradition of Glen Cook.”


Because: a meh and a bleh and a zzzz, oh my + I don't give a bloody shrimping fish about bloody shrimping anything + not a single engaging character in a 153,458 mile radius + Glen Cook my ass exoskeleton + the title is very mucho a lot better than its book + stuff.


Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, arc-review
Arki, short for Arkamandos, has been hired on as a scribe by a band of Syldoon, the most feared and treacherous soldiers in the world. Why did he accept this work? Well, it seemed a good idea at the time - he just wanted to get out and maybe see a little more adventure.

This may have also been the worst decision of his life.

As mentioned, the Syldoon aren't the kindest of people, nor are they even that pleasant to have a drink with (as we learn early on). They have some sort of plan, of which not
Mar 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-grimdark
I actually finished Scourge of the Betrayer last week, but it's taken me a few days to decide precisely how to approach a review. It's such an oddly structured novel, and one that forgoes so many genre cliches, I wanted to give myself time to separate the novelty of the reading experience from the story itself.

Most fantasy novels begin with a very clear explanation of who the characters are, what the story is about, and where the story is going; the author immediately defines a goal, a destinati
Scott  Hitchcock

A good opening book to this trilogy. I really liked the writing which flowed as did the story. This book feels like a Michael J Sullivan series where there's lots of things set in motion where the author is playing the long game. Thus I expect the series to get even better as it goes along.

Grimdark at its core there's really no heroes or anybody to root for. Just a lot of people with their own agenda. Our naive scribe might be the one as he tries to figure out the secrets of his companions
Dec 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2016, fantasy
So I had a hard time with this book. On the one hand, the writing is excellent, it's grimdark, and I always love some snarky characters. On the other, I just couldn't seem to get into the story. I will say I'm always scared to read books where I've read a lot of great reviews beforehand. Sometimes i think my expectations are just too high going in.

I don't have a problem being thrown straight into a book and taking time to have the story and the world revealed to me. I have read Malazan after all
Milda Page Runner
Very enjoyable grim-dark fantasy read. Awesome action/fight scenes, savoury cynical characters, plenty of foul language and black humour. Recommended for epic and grim-dark fantasy readers, especially Abercombie and G.Cook fans.

I could’ve chosen any scribe to record this, but I chose you. Among many. And you’ll have the rarest of opportunities to record something exceptional firsthand. For now, I’ll tell you this much. All empires crumble. All borders change. All kingdoms die. Where I’
Jenna Kathleen
Reminiscent of The Black Company, only better.
Arki's POV is unique in that he is not truly the protagonist; he is only recording what the main character, Captain Braylar Killcoin, is doing. Most of the time, Arki doesn't know what is happening, and therefore, the reader also doesn't know. Looking at the story through Arki's eyes is such great fun to try to guess what the motivations behind decisions are, and trying to discern when Braylar and the Syldoons are lying to him.
When reading darker fa
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Review from Tenacious Reader:

The final book in the Bloodsounder’s Arc recently released, and the number of trusted sources that not just recommend, but highly recommend the series just could not be ignored any more. What I have heard is this first book is really good, but the next two are amazing. So, I went into this with solid expectations of a good read, and hopes of getting started in a fantastic series.

So far, my friends have not led me astray. The s
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Updated summer 2016... bit of a review for this book and a bit for the series as a whole.

Really loved this book on a second reading. A superior Fantasy novel. Somewhat Grimdark. Kinda Sword & Sorcery. A wee tad like Joe Abercrombie. Mostly it's own singular thing. Character heavy with some terrific action sequences. Masterful world-building, slowly revealed without dense exposition or infodumps. Gracefully told. The opening book might appear a bit slight at first glance. It's not at all. Go ahea
Not bad, not bad at all.

Rating, 4.5

Despite the pretty low GR rating of 3.54, it was a fairly great first book. Not perfect ... but also without a dull moment.

Review to come ....
Nils | nilsreviewsit
4.5 stars

‘All empires crumble. All borders change. All kingdoms die. Where I’m taking you, you’ll witness the death of a body politic, the expiration of a way of life, the redrawing of a map. Something singular and priceless.’

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards is the first instalment in the Bloodsounder’s Arc trilogy. This is a book which I’d actually heard very little about, that is until both Laura Hughes and Petrik Leo recommended it to me. It actually took very little to convince me th
Mark Medina
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A decent enough book. Faced paced with plenty of fight scenes, and information about the world is slowly revealed as the book progresses. The lack of chapters was frustrating, but this is just a personal gripe. The ending sets p the next book, which I am now starting on. I am hoping the characters are built on and progress well.
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, owned-books
4.5 stars
very good debut
May 01, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Edit: Original review I tilted to 2 stars. Decreasing to 1 star to offset the authors own rating of 5 stars. Don't be a douchebag author and rate your own book 5 stars.

Scourge of the Betrayer... what to say?

To start with, I may be able to save you some time and money by revising the description of this story to 'Captain Killcoin orders somebody (usually, but not limited to, his own men under his command) to do something, they question his authority, and then we get 10 pages of Killcoin putting o
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of quest fantasy, military-based stories
Shelves: ebook
Book Info: Genre: Fantasy – Quest fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of quest fantasy, those who enjoy watching someone naïve grow and learn

My Thoughts: This book is told from Arki’s point of view, and as an observant young man and scribe, we’re treated to a much different view of the world than we would have if we were to watch these same events through any of the captain’s team. Watching the events as an outsider was quite fascinating, and I have to give the author props for main
Tracey the Lizard Queen
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2015-reads
Solid start to a very intruiging story. I particularly loved the first person POV. Often its quite easy to become de-sensitised to the violence and death in books, but this was refreshing in a sense that the main protaganist is just a lowly scribe completely unused to the soldiering life. A different take on military fantasy, and excicuted very well. I think I will like this series very much!
Feb 15, 2016 added it
I enjoyed this book, which is huge, not being a rabid fan of the grit and the grim. What made it outstanding was the choice of protagonists. Picture a young, naive (somewhat), scribe - educated but wet behind the ears - being hired by what amounts to The Black Company. His plunge into adventure is severe culture shock. But it made the book an edge of the seat read for two reasons:

The witty, black humor dialogue among the company cohorts. The very strange mystery behind their smooth talking capta
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, grimdark
How refreshing to read a fantasy book that's just over 250 pages. The book was concise, entertaining and intriguing. I'm dying to know more about Captain Killcoin. What is the secret with that flail he carries around? The story is told from the point of view of Killcoin's scribe Arki. Arki may not have realised just how dangerous this new job was going to be. Killcoin and his troop are on a mission and they are revealing very little to Arki. Luckily Arki loves to ask questions and that might hel ...more
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fantasy Review Barn

If I were a scribe who had spent my life dealing with stories from the dullest people in the world would I have taken the opportunity? Would I have dropped what I was doing and taken commission from a band of warriors? Syldoon warriors, men rumored to be the nastiest of nasty; would I have willingly gone with them with no direction and no assurances of what was to come?

Damn right I would.

This is a book that deals with the smaller scale by design. There is no epic war going on,
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Well, that was a pretty great first book to kick off the Bloodsounder's Arc series - and GR friends tell me that each subsequent book only gets better!
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books-own
I was struggling in the beginning to know who was who and what was going on. But halfway through I really started to enjoy this story. It got better and better and I am now really looking forward to reading book 2.
So, I finished this one. Based on that statement alone, it's 2.5 stars rounded down.

No plot, unlikable characters, a so-so narrator, and did I mention, no plot? I felt like the main character, dropped into the middle of a story with no idea what was going on or where it was going. Some sort of palace intrigue with a baron and a very young emperor, with spies and assassins. I think. I do know that the battle/fight scenes were quite bloody and gory, so there's that.

I hope this series gets better.
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good novel. I particularly liked the intimate writing, rich of details; the realistic approach to how a scribe perceives and experiences the life of soldiers and their skirmishes and battles; and last but not least the that we only get to know the bigger story in a very slow and fragmented way together with Arki. A lot of questions remain unanswered though, so bring on the second book!

4 stars
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The rest of you can do what you like with your hours. Drink, dice, what have you. Only don’t tussle with the city watch, don’t draw attention to yourself, and don’t spill any blood.”
Vendurro shook his head, “So, lock ourselves in our rooms is what you’re saying?”
Michel Avenali
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Actual rating 3.5 Stars

This is such an odd book to review because the parts that I perceived as having some flaws make sense to, and work well within the scope and vibe of the book. Weird huh?

I'll start off saying that this is a debut novel but it did not read like one, the writing is excellent, it's worth mentioning twice the writing was that good. Descriptive, atmospheric, with a really well realized sense of setting and tension. That being said, this book unfolds both its plot and its revela
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Scourge of the Betrayer [Oct 1, 2018] 31 32 Oct 06, 2018 02:04PM  
Grimdark Fantasy: Scourge of the Betrayer [Spoilers] 73 65 Sep 09, 2016 05:10PM  
Grimdark Fantasy: Scourge of the Betrayer [NO spoilers] 39 47 Aug 23, 2016 05:14AM  
Grimdark Fantasy: Scourge of the Betrayer - Author Q&A [Spoilers] 29 42 Jun 21, 2016 11:14AM  
/r/Fantasy Discus...: Author Q&A! 1 23 May 06, 2016 06:09AM  

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I grew up in a small town north of Chicago. While it wasn't Mayberry, with all the doors unlocked and everyone offering each other slices of pie and quaint homilies, it was pretty quiet and sleepy, so I got started early imagining my way into all kinds of other worlds and universes that were loud, chaotic, and full of irrepressible characters and heaps of danger. Massive explosions. Tentacled alie ...more

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Bloodsounder's Arc (3 books)
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