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On the Razor's Edge (Spiral Arm, #4)
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On the Razor's Edge

(Spiral Arm #4)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  189 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The secret war among the Shadows of the Name is escalating, and there are hints that it is not so secret as the Shadows had thought. The scarred man, Donovan buigh, half honored guest and half prisoner, is carried deeper into the Confederation, all the way to Holy Terra herself, to help plan the rebel assault on the Secret City. If he does not soon remember the key informa ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Tor Books
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Jorg Not recommended. There are four books in the series, and only the first one can be read as a standalone. 2-4 constitute a trilogy, with action…moreNot recommended. There are four books in the series, and only the first one can be read as a standalone. 2-4 constitute a trilogy, with action continuing from one to the other, even though each has its own main subplot.(less)

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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  189 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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picking up where In the Lion's mouth left the novel takes one on a wonderful ride in the author's superb Celtic-flavored universe; here the archaic language works again well (mostly) as the story is modern and generally standard so doesn't conflict as in book 2

While the general outline of the story ending is clear, there are a few twists and turns and enough surprises to keep one satisfied; very good series ending, though I think that the move from a purer space opera in the superb 9and best of
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
On the Razor's Edge is the fourth book in Flynn's Spiral Arm series. It picks up right where In the Lion's Mouth ended.
Bridget ban's daughter, Mearana the Harper, has left with the Shadow Ravn Olafsdottr and headed into the Confederacy. It is unclear whether she was kidnapped or went willingly. Bridget and a team of Hounds that she persuades to join her head into the Confederacy (and toward Old Earth) in pursuit. They all know that they are being lured into a war between the "Shadows of Name" an
Lily Ribeiro
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it
The author is clearly very talented. Much of the writing was enjoyable in an almost literary style, with much reference to bygone cultures, both real and fictional. I liked the character Donovan the best, with his multiple internal voices and the fact that he is in captivity at the beginning, and his enemy still continuously underestimates him.

The plot is surprising, interesting, and flows good enough that most of the time I knew what was going on.

I will say that there was a TON of name droppi
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Flynn really is amazing! I love his civilization drift here... His vision of the far FAR future is simply mesmerizing. I hope for many more novels in this series.
William Boyle
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Until we know that Schrödinger has cut the thread, all possibilities remain open!"
--Ravn Olafsdottr.
Ken Jurish
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the best book of the series. The characters are now (mostly) fully developed or, if not, you at least know who they are. The plot is fantastic, twisted, and mostly unpredictable. Loved the mashup of The Shadows as a weird, warped, twisted take on medieval chivalric orders. I still can't get over that and would love to read more. And boy, the science in the fiction just keeps getting better. This series was so good I'm sorely tempted to pick up another of Flynn's offerings. If you enjoy s ...more
Benjamin Kahn
Debated whether this book was a three or a four, but finally went for three. It was a little dull in the early going and needlessly complicated during the climatic sequence. I didn't enjoy it as much as the rest of the series, but it was still an entertaining read.
Ivan Šeparović
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really perfect ending for great story. Enjoyed reading it!
Johan Haneveld
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
And so I finish my 65th book of 2014 just before the deadline (with two not on Goodreads). That biographical note out of the way, on with the review. This was the fourth (and final?) novel in this series by Michael Flynn. And it's a fitting end to the story. I didn't like the third part (In the Lion's Mouth) as much as the first two, thinking it rather slight, though that may change on a re-read, as I suspect it sets up a lot of the resolution found in this book. It might work better, seen as pa ...more
Mary Catelli
The fourth of the Spiral Arm series. It's not a work divided up into four chunks, but the weight of the series before does supply more to this work. Also, there will be spoilers ahead for the first three.

It opens with three, as the opening line observes. First there is Bridget, who summoned together such Hounds as her message could reach. She tells them she summoned them for her daughter, and then that this is because a Shadow of the Confederacy spirited her away. She carefully omits that this w
Simon Dekker
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the fourth novel in the Spiral Arm series, which started with ‘The January Dancer’. In the first book we learn about several fractions having a ‘cold war’. In the sequels we follow a group of people who are involved by their liaisons to these factions. Where ‘The January Dancer’s’ plot is about an alien artifact and its mysterious powers, the other books of the series are about people. In ‘Up Jim River’ we follow the story of Méarana and Donovan buigh in the rescue of her mother Bridget ...more
William Bentrim
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it
On the Razor’s Edge by Michael Flynn

This is the 4th and final book in a series. I have not changed my opinion since I reviewed In the Lion’s Mouth, this book also did not stand alone well. I suggest reading the previous three , The January Dancer and then Up Jim River and then In the Lion’s Mouth before reading this book. Donovan, the protagonist, is still the key piece in the Spiral Arm politics. The black ops teams of the Confederation and the League each hope to use him for their own ends.

Henry Lazarus
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Michael Flynn has gotten award nominations for his far future tale of Donovan, a former revolutionary who was tortured by having his mind split into ten parts. It is a time of a hidden war between the Hounds of the League worlds , and the Shadows of the Confederation. The Names that rule the Confederation are also at internal war and Donovan finds himself On the Razor’s Edge (hard from Tor) because his lost memories hold the secret to a hidden route into the Secret City of the Names. A large par ...more
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure if my lackluster opinion of this book is the result of jumping into the series at the end (I didn't realize it was part of a series when I picked it up), or if it really was just a dull book. I felt the science fiction/fantasy blend was poorly done. The world is full of space ships and interplanetary travel, but the style of writing was high fantasy poetry. Throw in most of the characters having Scottish accents, and I just couldn't suspend my disbelief for this book. I didn't sense ...more
Mar 31, 2016 rated it did not like it
With a lot of potential by way of intricate plots, interesting characters, and unique settings, this book should have been much better than it was. Instead, it seems as if the author was attempting to meld poetry and prose with the unfortunate effect of leaving the reader simply confused. Every character seemed to have three different names, the sentences were needlessly bogged down with strange structures and multiple unrecognizable dialects, and the plot thrust was purposely hidden from the re ...more
Chen-song Qin
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the last book in Flynn's Spiral Arm series, and it wrapped up the story of Donovan/The Scarred Man nicely. In four books, Flynn traversed 20-some years and the entire eponymous spiral arm of the galaxy, showing us mind-controlling aliens, future human technologies (with no science!), the progress of history, and most important of all, human cultures and relationships. While the story of Donovan (mostly) came to a satisfying closure, there's still so much more left unknown in this rich un ...more
Joshua Zucker
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I still don't know why I enjoy this series so much, but I do.

This one had a lot more spy/intrigue/triple-crossing kinds of things.

There's still way too many fights between people who are way too superhuman.

The disguises and such are also superhumanly amazing but somehow that doesn't bother me as much.

Maybe I just really love the world, the future, the attitudes about humanity's Terran origins. Or the poetic writing style? Or the plot and the way it alternates between slow seeking and fast-paced
John (JP)
Jun 01, 2014 rated it liked it
The book is the final chapter in loosely held together series known as as the Spiral arm. It resolves the main mystery running through out the series who is the scarred man who who created him for what purpose. The story is another quest for the holy grail book, with all the attendant battles battles seances. If you like this sort of book then this story will appeal to you.
The book and series suffer from its use of ancient language and archaic forms of modern words. This use distracts from the s
Joe Slavinsky
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found this book, on the "new book" shelf, at the library. Space opera always appeals to me, and this book is that, in spades. A richly-imagined universe, interstellar travel, warring factions, and hidden agendas, all make for a good story. What I didn't know, is that this is the fourth, of the "January Dancer" series. Not sure whether I'll check out the rest, as there are a lot of Gaelic references, and I am among, what must be a small percentage of people, for whom the Gaelic/Celtic culture h ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-sci-fi
A good wrap-up to the series with plenty of questions answered and a few not as the action moves to Terra and the struggles within the Shadows and the Names. Donovan is dragged in as a symbol of the last failed rebellion and used as a pawn by friend and foe alike. His daughter and the Hounds chase him to Earth and the shadow struggles become real. He found many things dismaying and inspiring on this post-Terran earth, among them he may have found the answer to the nature of the artifacts that ar ...more
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
A pack of Hounds go deep into enemy space to rescue a harpist, and find themselves embroiled in a vicious coup attempt. There's an arid spot or two in the plot, but enough action to keep me turning the pages, particularly toward the end. Flynn's also a gifted stylist, like Jack Vance in that his prose is distinctive and recognizable---but a more entertaining storyteller, I think, with a lighter sense of humor and a fondness for clever little linguistic twists. Enjoyed this very much, and will li ...more
Paul Guinnessy
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
A continuation on the other books in the serious, Flynn delights in trying to imagine worlds in which the honor caste system of the 14th century could be adapted to help run interstellar governments. Reveling any more would be spoiling the many twists and turns in the story, particularly on who is double crossing whom…..
David Marshall
Aug 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
This is virtually unreadable with Celtic and other speaking styles replicated in dialogue and a plot that moves with the pace of a constipated snail.
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: space-opera, sci-fi
Fourth book in this tired series. I enjoyed the first two books but the last two limped (hopefully) to the finish line. Just not a lot going on in this one, and too many characters to really care about.
Ken Richards
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
A brilliant close to Flynn's Spiral Arm series, in which the truth of Donovan buigh's history is at last revealed and Hounds, Shadows, harpers and magpies converge upon Old Terra.....
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Real scifi, good story.
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, 2016
What a wonderful space odessy! My absolute favorite
Stephanie C
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Nov 11, 2017
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. Please see this page for the list of authors.

Michael Francis Flynn (born 1947) is an American statistician and science fiction author. Nearly all of Flynn's work falls under the category of hard science fiction, although his treatment of it can be unusual since he has applied the rigor of hard science fiction t

Other books in the series

Spiral Arm (4 books)
  • The January Dancer (Spiral Arm, #1)
  • Up Jim River (Spiral Arm, #2)
  • In the Lion's Mouth (Spiral Arm, #3)