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The Dark Defiles

(A Land Fit for Heroes #3)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  4,077 ratings  ·  323 reviews
The final part of Richard Morgan's fast-moving and brutal fantasy brings Ringil to his final reckoning and sees the world tipping into another war with the dragon folk. And, most terrifying of all, the prophecy of a dark lord come to rule may be coming true very close to home ...
Hardcover, 488 pages
Published November 20th 2014 by Gollancz (first published 2014)
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Gary This isn't Harry Potter. It is absolutely an adult book with explicit descriptions of sex and violence. That is what Morgan writes. It's the finish to…moreThis isn't Harry Potter. It is absolutely an adult book with explicit descriptions of sex and violence. That is what Morgan writes. It's the finish to a trilogy that would leave Conan the Barbarian gibbering in a cellar. If you can't deal with that don't open the (if I'm allowed swearing here) fucking book.

But I agree with Eric - none of the above is gratuitous and there is no glory. It's there because that's the way the world works.

Oh, and it would be useful to read "The Steel Remains" and "The Cold Commands" first so that you have even the faintest idea of what is going on.(less)

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4.07  · 
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 ·  4,077 ratings  ·  323 reviews

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Alex Ristea
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fantasy, series
In the vast sea that is fantasy fiction, I'd (humbly) say that I'm an above-average swimmer. I feel confident—not in a cocky "I can handle anything" sort of way, but in that I will at least try anything and can reasonably expect to survive.

I've traversed the morass that is The Wheel of Time. I've tacked along the subtle tune of Rothfuss. I've ridden the comforting swells of Hobb, the whitewaters of Malazan, the unpredictable, unrelentless tides of A Song of Ice and Fire. I've even looked the mae
Mayim de Vries
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
“It is there, in the dark recesses, in the cracks through the surface of things, that you will find what you seek. Ask yourself instead how deep into the defiles you are prepared to go.”

In spite of my rating, the final journey to the Land Fit for Heroes was the only one I truly enjoyed. In fact, I surprised myself having so much fun up until the very end which was so terrible that it spoiled the whole trip.

OK, where were we? Our trio of anti-heroes is now aware that the antics they have been par
Mar 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
700 fucking pages of characters running around without any kind of definite closing. I loved the first book of the series, i tolerated the second book and the third book, this, it fucking pissed me off.

there were good things in the book, but the overall confusion of the plot and the useless characters stuffed in the book just dilute the good things and cover them with a sheen of bullshit that i just can't swallow.

reading this left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

i am so angry, i don't even wa
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I could hardly put down this dark sword and sorcery tale from it being so engaging and disturbing. At 700 pages I admit I had to put it down sometimes to sleep and eat and work. When I reached its satisfying conclusion, I settled on three stars to balance feeling guilty getting so much pleasure from all its outrageous anger and violence, betrayals and retributions, surprising sexuality, and thrills of battling dragons and monsters. But after a couple of weeks, I was still missing this world. I h ...more
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
If you made it this far, you probably like the tale and its hyperbolic elements. This last installment is not going to disappoint: the action is still very explicit, the story is a triumph of cynicism and excess, the character development reaches its apex and the author builds great tension across all the protagonists’ story arcs, delivering an epic finale and skillfully leaving some ends open to speculation.
I liked the overall experience with this story and its damaged characters. I particularl
started this and seemed a bit "interesting dialogue but who cares" and I started reading forward and then the ending which is really, really powerful so I went back to read it end to end; has some great stuff so far, though it is really dark no question about it

I finished Dark Defiles and on first read I felt it was very good - maybe not fully satisfying as I thought RK Morgan went a bit overboard in trying to do "anti-fantasy" so there were moments the book read like a parody where Ringil (or t
May 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, glbt
One long, rambling and vague (to avoid spoilers) review ahead.

I will have to think more thoroughly about what I have read and, possibly, re-read the series once more, but... I am disappointed. The book illuminates the flaws of its predecessors. I enjoyed the books both times I've read them, but that is the thing - you cannot judge a part of the whole completely until the whole is in front of you. Having read all the books now, I am left dissatisfied.

The lost opportunities are the first thing tha
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, owned-books
excellent !!!
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2014, fantasy
This was a bad book and a very bad ending to what I thought was a trilogy. Most of the book was pointless wandering around by characters I used to care about. It wasn't fun and it wasn't exciting. Then Archeth took on a quest that made no sense to me. I thought I was reading a story about...I have no Idea what I thought the story was about by this book, to tell you the truth, but the mystery of the Helmsmen and magic and the dwenda definitely not an endless trip back into steppes for revenge for ...more
Matt Watkins
Oct 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Final(?) novel in RKM's fantasy trilogy. The trilogy as a whole has some nice features: each novel tells a complete story and can be read stand-alone, though they do form a complete narrative arc across the trilogy as well. The trilogy is appropriately grim-dark for this particular age of fantasy; the heroes aren't actually, the monsters and mythology are menacing and interesting, and the violence is quite gritty. Two of the series's three main protagonists are gay, and the graphic depictions of ...more
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
Disappointing, at best. I really enjoyed the first book, and I enjoyed my first read of the second book.

Very little happens in the second book, and this one is even worse. The main characters spend most of the story slogging through pointless journeys that serve no purpose in terms of the plot. The characters don't develop in any meaningful way. In fact, all of them regress a bit by the end. The writing is repetitive and a bit bland in many places. How many times do we need to read about how sh
Jaclyn Hogan
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ahh, they moved the publication date! Ahh, no, no, no! Whhhyy?!

I received a digital ARC from Netgalley.

I waited forever for this book, and once I got an ARC, I waited another forever to finish it because I didn't want it to be over. (I also have what I call book specific ADD, but really I just didn't want it to be over.)

This might be my new favorite fantasy series. The world Morgan has built in these novels is so dense and multi-layered. We get enough of a glimpse to guess at some of the aspe
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last night I finished The Dark Defiles: I'm reading an ARC thanks to the publisher and it's a great conclusionof the Ringil Eskiath story.

As one would expect, this book which I rate as extraordinary, would be greatly weakened without reading the first 2 books but even if your memory is as dubious as my own, it should serve well enough to get you into this chilling conclusion.

Having said that, I will not put anything spoilerish here because I found this to be utterly absorbing and I would not d
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
I have to say, I am rather disappointed with this book. I quite enjoyed the first two parts of the series, but I feel like this one is not on the same level. The storytelling is needlessly complicated, he opens up tons of new questions, only to finish all of them of in the last 20 pages. The pacing in general is sub par, he builds up to a grand finale but compresses the finale itself to maybe 20-30 pages. Another point that quite annoyed me was the character development of the protagonist. While ...more
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Dark Defiles is the concluding volume of the Land Fit For Heroes, in this volume we begin directly after the events of The Cold Commands. Ringil Eskiath, Archeth, and Egar Dragonbane are back and in worse shit than before as the author manages to mix some heavy SF elements such as semi-sentient computers and aliens along with magic, battles and fantasy races. Richard K. Morgan manages to combine these different aspects and yet makes this story work. There's also the heavy action sequences al ...more
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you have not read Richard Morgan's trilogy A land fit for heroes, stop what you doing and get them and read them.

Incredibly good dark fantasy for grown folks, its a great read from top to bottom.

C.T. Phipps
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, grimdark

The Dark Defiles is the third and final novel of A Land Fit for Heroes, which has the interesting quality of being the first grimdark story that I recognized. I'd read A Song of Ice and Fire and The Witcher beforehand but it was the excerpt from this book which convinced me I wanted to explore the genre more fully. In the story except, Egar Dragonsbane beats a bunch of randy soldiers senseless for interrupting his brothel time.

I'm not going to lie: I have issues with the way Richard K. Morgan'
Arthur Zhang
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." And that's just the way Ringil "Angeleyes" Eskiath would have it. This book is an ode to the visceral pursuit of violence and carnage. Ringil rampages through the book, tearing his way into the annals of great fantasy.

Morgan (and in turn his character Ringil) is clearly someone who understands vengeance. Never have I seen such brutal comeuppance been served in a book nor have I ever been so perversely glad to see it. This book is sumptuously dark
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miloș Dumbraci
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'll be the first to say that I'm not a big grimdark fantasy fan. I like more optimistic worlds. And yet, I adore the Land Fit for Heroes trilogy. It follows the adventures of Ringil, Egar Dragonbane, and Archteth, old war hero friends who get drawn back through a long and winding road for one last quest.

When THE DARK DEFILES opens, right after THE COLD COMMANDS ends, they are being separated again thanks to a sudden war and an ambush. It's the final push for what the various greater powers in p
Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dtr, m-m, mainstream
After finishing this book a couple of days ago I still find it hard to put into words how I feel about it. At times it was a struggle to get through, the story is hugely complicated and I needed to re-read several sections in order to understand what was going on. However, all three books are packed with action and fantastic dialogue and I was rooting for Ringil, Egar and Archeth right until the very bitter end!
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
As always Richard K. Morgan is really good at fighting scenes and there are lot of them. All the book felt like adventure story on steroids as usual sword and sorcery were melded with religion and high tech. Main characters' characteristics were little bit too similar to each other, there could have been more diversity.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

La trilogía ha llegado a su fin. Al pasar la última página los «héroes» han cumplido, o no, su destino —o el destino ha jugado con ellos para cumplir los deseos y designios de otros—. Grandes desafíos se han llevado a cabo, mucha sangre se ha derramado, algunos corazones se han roto, unos cuantos escarceos amorosos se han robado a una vida inclemente, sorprendentes maravillas han sido desveladas, los secretos de los dioses han salido a la luz, extrañas magias —o reminiscencias de tecnologí
Steven Shaviro
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Dark Defiles is the third book in Richard K Morgan's sword and sorcery series (following The Steel Remains and The Cold Commands). I really enjoyed this book, got caught up in its intricacies and its length (nearly 250,000 words). We have the same heroes as in the previous volumes, the warrior Ringil (whose being gay has been a subject of controversy in fan discussions) and the half-human, half-alien Archeth. They are fighting a series of natural and supernatural ills in their barbaric world ...more
Apr 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a review of the Land Fit for Heroes series, so some spoilers follow.

I really, really wanted to like this series more. It has so much going for it: Morgan, one of my favorite sci-fi writers working right now, dipped his toe into the fantasy waters and produced a gritty, dark, fantasy-noir series that turned many conventions of the genre on their heads. The first book in particular is refreshingly original while still scratching the genre itch. Morgan handles swords and sorcery as well as
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This ain't no place for no heroes. Yes, i might have been playing some borderlands, but it's still a good tagline for this series. I've been a fan of Morgan since Takeshi Kovaks, so full disclosure, i'd probably read his alphabet soup. Also in the interest of full disclosure, i was allowed to review an ARC via netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
If you're a fan of grim antihero's cutting their way through a world with no sweetness and light to be found, you're in the right place. His cha
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
2.5 stars. Just really didn't do it for me. Very reminescent of Abercrombie's First Law trilogy but just, frankly, nowhere near as good. Characters in The First Law had real depth, and development, whereas many of the players in A Land Fit for Heroes seemed to have the depth of a piece of cardboard. Too (and two), far too much deus ex machina. Gil and Archeth, in particular, seem to develop new powers whenever and however needed. (Similar to why I prefer Star Trek over Star Wars - in the latter, ...more
Tar Buendía
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Es poco usual ver sagas en fantasía con protagonistas homosexuales. Esta fue una de las primeras cosas que me llamó la atención de estos libros, la búsqueda de algo un poco más plural. Finalmente por suerte encontré mucho más que eso y siempre he sido una especial fan de las historias de venganza.

La pega principal es que a veces se me hacía una lectura un tanto morbosa y Morgan para mi gusto divaga demasiado. La mayor parte del tiempo no tienes muy claro a dónde quiere ir a parar el libro y tie
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2015, favourites
Uncompromising, packed with action and intriguing twists, gritty, bleak and absolutely epic: A brilliant and utterly satisfying finale that was well worth the wait. Ringil - war hero, outcast, reluctant black mage and entirely unwilling plaything of the gods - might just be one of my favourite fantasy anti-heroes of all time.
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Dark Defiles [May 10, 2018] 8 29 May 10, 2018 06:58AM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Richard K. Morgan (sometimes credited as Richard Morgan) is a science fiction and fantasy writer.

Other books in the series

A Land Fit for Heroes (3 books)
  • The Steel Remains (A Land Fit for Heroes, #1)
  • The Cold Commands (A Land Fit for Heroes, #2)
“There should have been a better farewell. But in the end, there never is. And we take what meagre scraps we can find.” 26 likes
“What others believe is not my concern, unless they attempt to force it on me.” 9 likes
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