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Jack of Ravens (Kingdom of the Serpent #1)

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  327 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Jack Churchill, archaeologist and dreamer, walks out of the mist and into Celtic Britain more than two thousand years before he was born, with no knowledge of how he got there. All Jack wants is to get home to his own time where the woman he loves waits for him. Finding his way to the timeless mystical Otherworld, the home of the gods, he plans to while away the days, the ...more
Paperback, 414 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Pyr (first published July 20th 2006)
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Apr 05, 2012 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Sigh, another diappointing book for me in a string of disappointing books. The idea behind Jack of Ravens was interesting initially. Church is thrown 2000 years into the past with a magic sword and a giant to kill, and gets sucked into ancient mythology. I was interested through all of that, even when things turned from concrete to a bit out there, I kept going. Eventually, I no longer saw the point. Different beings and creatues enter, say their piece, or fight the main character, then a new se ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Despite the few issues that some readers might have with Jack of Ravens, it really is an incredibly well crafted book that is filled with very descriptive and lyrical writing that seems to bring Church and his journey to life in the reader’s mind. While the central story of tragically separated lovers is nothing new, Chadbourn’s telling of it is. This is a welcome addition to my fantasy library, and a book I will easily read again and again. Thankfully, this is the first book in a trilogy, so my ...more
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Frequent time shifting but good story
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, this read like an amateurish synopsis of a much better book. The writing isn't so much clear and accessible as it is plodding and facile. The characters have little in the way of depth or personality. The main character is yet another sad sack white man who's actually the savior of the world by virtue of...being a sad sack white man? I don't even know because there was just nothing to this character. Every woman and non-white character (all two of them) is a straight up stereotype. All the ...more
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review here:

It's a good read, even as it switches around much of the narrative from the prior trilogy. And we even get treated to a scene involoving Loki being corrupted by Spiders during th eBlitz. That alone made it interesting.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like all of the trilogies first books, this one kept me intrigued from beginning to end. Unlike the other two, the surprise factor was less but that's the challenge of multiple trilogies. Chadbourn was still able to keep me on the toes, with an unguessable ending and 100 questions that you won't get all the answers to yet. Another epic plot that I look forward to delving into more in the next two books.
I DNFED at page 136. I picked up this book because it was in Celtic Britain and involved the Tuatha de Danaan (spelling?). The plot itself seemed interesting, even though it was quite a generic "good vs.evil".

I DNFed because the writing was terrible. The character had absolutely no depth and no personality. I don't think he reacted properly to his situation at all (woke up in a strange time and then has part of his memories sucked out). I read the book because it sounded like a lot of the time
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
An engaging and challenging read with a very distinct style that lived up to the quote from The Times emblazoned on the cover, 'A sumptous feast of fairytale, magic, dark gothic horror and romance'.

This is the tale of Jack Churchill, 'Church', who finds himself transported mysteriously back to 100BC and a Celtic Tribe, far from the woman he loves. So begins a journey to discover his identity and to make his way back to his beloved. On the way we plunge through a number of different time periods,
Samuel Tyler
Fantasy should be fantastical in its very nature, but here lies the issue with the genre itself. If a book is too fantastical, what can you believe? For a fantasy world to work it must create its own set of laws and the author must tell the reader what these are, that way wonderful things can happen, but at least you know there are limits. ‘Jack of Ravens’ by Mark Chadbourn is a prime example of a book that sets no limitations and for this reason undermines itself. How can we possibly care about ...more
Oct 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody except idiots with no brains and illiterates...and anybody who hates it..
okay,,well this is my second review and i have finally decided to start writing reviews for all the god damn books i have ever read...quite a tall order...
well this review...even if its a review, will be more on my thoughts than piece by piece dissection of the prose and the don't expect much and of course...READERS BEWARE THERE MIGHT BE FEW SPOILERS...that done...back to topic.
I actually went for it as i had all the time in the world to waste AND that i had nothing remarkably sensibl
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not realizing that this was a prequel-y series to a previous series (the Age of Misrule) written by the same author, I was at first a little confused about who the characters were, but was able to quickly fall in the rhythm of the storyline and found that through introductions to new characters a lot of my questions about Church and the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons were answered. At times this book did read like a list of historical time periods and random factoids, but I really loved the wea ...more
Kathleen Dixon
A quote on the back of this book says it is "the answer to all those of us who've been moaning about by-the-numbers fantasy." Hmmm.

I think that the reason I didn't really enjoy this book is that there is too much in it. Or maybe I just don't like my fantasy to be written in a "crisp, accessible prose style (another quote on the back)". Though perhaps if I agreed with that quote . . . . For example, on one page I've just turned to at random there is 'Niamh said archly' and 'Church said redundantl
Penney Nile
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just completed reading this and its companion books, 'The Burning Man' and 'Destroyer of Worlds'. I found the three of them at the library, and I thought, 'Oh, I finally have gotten in at the beginning or the story!' NOT! Apparently, Church's story begins in 'World's End' from the Age of Misrule series (which I intend on reading as well'). The fact that I started with the middle in a series is nothing new for me... I got into 'The Belgariad' and 'The Mallorean' in the same way... which goes to s ...more
Noel G
May 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great stuff - i like the slow build ups in this series. I know many people that would get bored with it, but personally i find that it actually strengthens the character in your mind, which of course makes their actions and emotions all the more real and understandable.

As i read the second book first, i of course had a few surprises ruined for myself, but the story was strong enough to pull that through and still make it interesting. The story of how Shavi, Laura and Ruth come together and then
Alisa Hedden
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An epic fantasy adventure in the making. In a battle between hope and despair, creation and destruction, this demonstrates that lowly humans can actually affect the ultimate outcome. Spreading from our time back to before the building of Stonehenge and back again, spanning the globe from England, across America, into Italy, Vietnam and places in between. From our world to the Far Lands (as well as asking who really killed Kennedy). Showing that we are all tied together. So, maybe the ultimate qu ...more
This is the first in Chadbourn's sequel series to the Age of Misrule trilogy. The Brothers and Sisters are back; but only Church - Jack the Giantkiller - remembers even part of who they are. Sent thousands of years into the past, Church will have to play with the deadly and unknowable Tuatha de Danaan if he can have any chance of surviving to the present day - to be reunited with the woman he loves.

But beneath this suprisingly well-written fantasy sequel is a solid base of gnostism, mythology, a
{Oh my goodness. I FINALLY finish this book, and what do I see at the end? A darn cliffhanger after all that! ACK!}

I took this book up because the synopsis on its cover promised magic and fantasy. I did not expect to get an amazing plot, traces of English history & mythology, and legendary characters into the bargain.

[At current, I'm more than half-way into this, and I'm really loving this. Oh, what I'd give to read this book in one sitting(!), but I'm afraid I don't have the time to do so.
kindof follows on from Mark Chadbourn's previous trilogy - you _can_ read it without the previous one, but it'd be confusing.

it's a whirlwind trip through history for Jack Churchill, trying to get home to the woman he loves while saving the world, becoming several legends and doing his best not to get killed :)

i'm beginning to think i'd classify Mr Chadbourn's books as "magical realism", as they deal with our it could be, as a world where myths are not vague stories of long-ago but co
Cat Tobin
This read like an unapologetically Mary Sue-ish romp through someone's favourite periods of history, told in a sadly formulaic way: "Jack seduces the cool woman and the Celts are in awe of him, then his enemies screw it up and knock him unconscious because he's vulnerable, yo"; "Jack seduces the cool woman and the Romans are in awe of him, then his enemies screw it up and knock him unconscious because he's vulnerable, yo"; "Jack seduces the cool woman and the Tudor English are in awe of him, the ...more
Jane Jones
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot, it's a mixture of fantasy and horror, I am going to read the series again as I haven't read them for a while, anyone who likes Terry Goodkind, Neil Gaiman etc will enjoy this series, read them if you can, I have also read his Lords of Misrule series which are also good.
Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An average imitation of Holdstock and the research wasn't great - tends to regurgitate obvious Celtic mythology stuff.

The story is probably an interesting one, but I didn't like the style of writing.
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
A fascinating story. I really liked it. One thing though, one character was very foul mouthed, she used the "f" word a lot. I hate when I really love the storyline, but have problems like that. Thank goodness she was not in the whole book!
Jacinta Hoare
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2012
I struggled a bit with this book and found it easy to put it down to do other things. However I did like the fact that this was a departure from the fantasy formula that I have been reading lately.

Sep 14, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I did not like this book. I never really engaged with it and would not have finished it except I volunteered to review it for a committee that I am on. I thought it was choppy and it dragged for me. All the characters were whiny and the bad guy was called the Libertarian of all things.
Paul Sysiak
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really really enjoyed this but i wish he'd spread it over a few volumes and explored the characters more and the periods Jack found himself in. Also - disappointing with Veitch in the end....but you never know what'll happen in the next one - time being fluid and all!
Bronwyn Thomas
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wonderful, fantasy
Stumbled across this in the library one day and thought I would give it a go. I started it and could not put it down. Now I'm trying to look for more books by him but this is the only book by the author in my library system. Loved the book but now I'm crushed I can not find any continuation.
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A sometimes engaging vacation level book full of pat descriptions and plot holes.
Candice Lockyear
Fantastically gripping! I undoubtedly will read the next novels.
Sasha Rudic
Great idea. Poorly executed.
I liked it to a point. Maybe I should have read the other series first.I will read the next one in this series to see if it improves on this one.
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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

Kingdom of the Serpent (3 books)
  • The Burning Man (Kingdom of the Serpent, #2)
  • Destroyer of Worlds (Kingdom of the Serpent, #3)