Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Tattered Banner (Society of the Sword, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Tattered Banner (Society of the Sword, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Tattered Banner

(Society of the Sword #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  2,388 ratings  ·  127 reviews
Unique talent always attracts attention…

In a world where magic is outlawed, ability with a sword is prized above all else. For Soren this means the chance to live out his dreams.

Plucked from a life of privation, he is given a coveted place at Ostenheim’s Academy of Swordsmanship, an opportunity beyond belief.

Opportunity is not always what it seems however, and gifts rarely
Paperback, 372 pages
Published March 2nd 2013
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Tattered Banner, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Tattered Banner

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,388 ratings  ·  127 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I fell into this book expecting a breezy, swashbuckling adventure story; unfortunately, it is yet another book about The Grimdark Within Us All, and that's fine, it's just not what I wanted from this particular novel. I'd probably be less exasperated if the prose was worth the disappointment, but it's functional at best, with a rudimentary level of storytelling holding the floppy skeleton together. Soren did this, and then he did this, then he talked to Dornish, and then all of a sudden Soren's ...more
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
The book as a whole could have done with some tightening up. There was very poor sequencing and transitions in the later chapters and the story suffered because the author prioritised a climactic end over a realistic timeframe. The novel attempted to tap into too many sub genres: assassin, swordsman, coming of age, college setting... As a result it was unfocused and was never comfortable or convincing in any of the above. At best, it was a mediocre attempt at the already well covered tale of an ...more
Dec 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
This placed eighth on Buzzfeed's 12 Best Fantasy Books of 2013, which is why I picked it up. I am, honestly, a little disappointed. This series has promise. It really does. While somewhat formulaic, I enjoyed the Academy scenes, and the unusual characterisation of Ranph dal Bragadin, whom I thought was by far the most original and interesting character in the book - miles beyond Soren, who can do no wrong and experiences an astonishingly fuss-free, rapid rise, but who is apparently so thick that ...more
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads, my-books
Well done Mr. Hamilton.
There is more behind the story than one first think.

Excellent characters and twist and turns. Good choice of the ending which is not the expected big cliffhanger.

I look forward to read the next book in the series.
Carrie Mansfield

If I have learned a lesson from starting this book, it is that I will probably skip the 2014 version of BuzzFeed’s 12 Greatest Fantasy Books. This place is not great fantasy. It isn’t even good fantasy. It’s so dull that I couldn’t even finish it. Why?

I feel nothing for Soren.


Soren faces no challenges in this book. A merchant tries to beat him for thieving. A noble who is witnessing the event doesn’t call for the security in the area, but instead d
Pauline Ross
Soren is eighteen, trying to survive on the streets, when a theft gone wrong results in a street fight and a passing swordsman recognises some talent in him. He is taken to the Academy to learn to wield a rapier and be a gentleman. The early chapters are the usual street-boy-goes-to-posh-school affair, but fortunately Soren has the intelligence to keep his nose clean, so he’s not constantly getting into trouble. He also turns out to be something of a fighting phenomenon, not an unusual theme in ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
an excellent book good start to this series. looking forward to reading the next books in this series.
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
From my blog @ Reading Realms:

The book follows one character, Soren, through a pivotal slice of his life as he is plucked off the streets by a nobleman hoping to pull a diamond out of the rough. Though the book is in third person, for the most part, you experience the world from Soren out, with Hamilton's world growing as Soren becomes more worldly. This writing style offered readers the experience you can get from reading urban fantasy, but with a more classic fantasy feel. It fit well with th
D'Jasper Probincrux III
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I won my copy of The Tattered Banner in a giveaway here on goodreads a while back. Took me a while to get around to reading and reviewing it but here goes.

First off, the cover art and chapter headings are much better than that which I've come to expect from self published novels. Not that it has much bearing on the contents, but it shows no lack of effort on the authors part in writing and releasing this book, which for myself is always an issue in deciding whether or not to spend my time on a
Aldous Mercer
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, fantasy
3.5 Stars, rounding to 4, because there's something in here that stays with you for a while.

It feels very much like the bastard love-child of Dave Duncan's Paragon Lost and Modesitt's Scion of Cyador, complete with special-swordsmen and border-raids-by-barbarians.

Still, I enjoyed the writing. Took too damn long to start, but I'm very much a give me the conflict now, please, I can figure out the backstory on my own type of reader, so there's that.

Like Duncan and Modesitt's work, it'll linger.
Melissa McPhail
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy

The Tattered Banner is the story of Soren, an orphan who moves from stealing bread for his dinner to the relative excess of the Academy of swordsmen after he is seen defending himself in the slums of Ostenheim by one of the great Banneret swordsmen of their day: Amero, Count of Moreno.

The mysterious and enigmatic Amero sees talent within Soren and offers to sponsor him at the Academy. But Soren soon discovers that the Count’s benevolence has a price, and even before Soren’s time at the Academy i
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Tattered Banner by Duncan Hamilton is a different sort of fantasy novel and one that the reader can grow with. The events in this book span a lengthy period in the main character's life and therefore the plot reveals itself in bits and pieces and there is a good amount of rise and fall in the story. The reader never has a chance to get bored as the pace is quick and the story is thoughtful.

Reading through this novel, there are moments when you know what is coming for a long time, but it isn
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
A well written, entertaining read with enough unexpected twists and turns to make it very hard to put the book down. Mr. Hamilton has done a fine job creating a believable world with interesting characters and relatable emotions. ‘Tattered Banners’ is an exciting book which keeps the reader on their toes and is filled with adventure and excitement.
Soren, saved from a life on the street by a rich and famous swordsman, finds himself having to learn new skills in the Academy of Swordsmanship as we
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, read-2013, giveaways
I was lucky enough to win a free copy through the Goodreads First Reads programme.

An ambitious and entertaining debut novel, The Tattered Banner follows the story of Soren, who goes from eking out an existence scavenging on the streets to being given the opportunity to study swordsmanship at the prestigious Academy when a nobleman Soren attempts to steal from takes an interest in his skills. Soren takes to swordfighting like a fish to water, discovering a strange ability in the process. However,
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, reviewed
3 Stars for Story, 4 Stars for Narration by Derek Perkins = 3.5 Stars Total


The first story in the Society of the Sword is a simple swashbuckling tale and coming of age story of young boy. The story started off on a strong foot and kept my attention for the most part. As details were flushed out in setting and characters, it seemed like the writing becomes a bit frazzled and loses a bit of the clarity and purpose that is present in the start. I would highly recommend this story for y
Ian Hall
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Where do I start...
I was not expecting much from this book I bought it on a whim at 3am after a few drinks but i absolutely loved this book and the 5* I gave it is totally justified in my opinion. It centres around soren and his rise from the streets to a brilliant swordsman. The story itself is simply written so easy to follow. It is in the style of a rags to riches story. There is violence, duelling, a form of magic, a love interest, politics and betrayal. The magic isn't explained at all real
Gina Basham
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it

So fun. The story took some unexpected twists and turns. Siren is a unique character as he is both good and bad. If you enjoy fantasy you will love this. I can recommend. Gbash
M Hamed
Apr 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017, fantasy
it has this rudimentary.childish and unsophisticated flavor that we all like,but quickly forgotten
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
I just finished reading the Society of the Sword trilogy by Duncan M. Hamilton and need to share my thoughts while they're fresh. The series is available in one unit in audiobook form on Audible, which is what this review is based upon.

Duncan M. Hamilton is the author of The Wolf in the North series which is set in the same world as Society of the Sword and follows it. I've given much better ratings to those books and as a TL;DR I recommend you go read them instead of these.

I felt that this tril
Fr. Kyle
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it
It’s like a mix of Harry Potter, Three Muskateers, and Game of Thrones. It spanned a much larger period of time than I expected. I like those breaking expectations. A decent read. I’ll invest in the two follow-ups.
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it
I want to give this 3.5 stars simply because of Alessandra, the girl our MC, Soren loves.

The book was actually very enjoyable and I could barely put it down. Soren is a rather plain character, but the plot itself is swift and complex. Who the villain is isn't any real surprise and I was rather annoyed that Soren doesn't see it sooner. Overall, the sword fighting, orphan boy with the Gift and rise to prominence, scheming book was good.

Everything is covered in the story, and I think in the begin
Aaron Clarke
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Lots of promise but a few things that let it down. The pacing is off, for me. It seems as if the plot is something to continually push through, and this is at the expense of any serious character development, barring the main protagonist. In fantasy there can definitely be a tendency to bloat books unnecessarily, but in this case, I think some attention to character development - particularly ancillary characters - would have made the impact of some of those plot points stronger. As it was, inte ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having just finished Hamilton's "Wolf in the North" series, I'm diving into Soren's story. I was instantly sucked in as our character joins a martial training academy (think Hogwarts houses/training/dueling but with swords instead of wands!!). It is another fast paced adventure tale, that I devoured and am already on to the sequel. I love Hamilton's way of weaving historical themes into his fantasy novels. (i.e. Imperialism, Rome versus the Germanic tribes type moments, martial training, Renaiss ...more
Alexander Johnson
Soren the Swordsman

Meet our young hero, Soren. This trilogy is an interesting contrast to Duncan’s other trilogy following the life of a northern barbarian.

Instead, this trilogy introduces us to the fragments of the old empire. Sprawling cities filled with nobles, dueling, poverty and opulence. This book will hook you and keep you wanting to read the other two in the series as you find yourself rooting for our hero.

A definite must read for anyone who loves gritty fantasy (blood will be shed) an
Scott Wozniak
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
The plot was interesting but the writing was flooded with summaries of what happened rather than giving us the details and writing out the actual moment. For example, "he teased him about the girl for a while more" and "he could tell that they didn't really like him from the way they acted". Sometimes it's written well, and sometimes it reads more like a summary of a good book than the actual book. But the plot was interesting enough that I will read the second book.
Mervyn Cartwright
Nov 08, 2016 rated it liked it
A good, if predictable tale. It is also annoying to me that the word 'gotten' seems to stumble into sentences. It looks very lazy considering the obvious research and imagination that makes this's good read.
Marc Taylor
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a very jumpy story... while there's a LOT of potential here, the story doesn't dedicate enough time to the development of the lead characters or the surrounding world. While still on the enjoyable scale, it's not a Fabulous book 2.5 Stars if that was an option.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magic, fantasy
I have pass by this book many times just thinking it was another nameless self published author boy was i wrong. This was a great story. I loved Soren he was so human and fallible. I will certain continue on with the next.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A fun fantasy tale, set in an interesting world. The single-character perspective, the linearity of the narrative, and the sparseness of magic was a refreshing change from much of the genre. I'm looking forward to book II.
David's Book Meanderings
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Best book I've read in a while. So many fiction novels get caught up in the descriptions of the world, people's clothing, appearance, etc. Give me an adventure with good characters and a good plot with a little romance mixed in and I'm set. Looking forward to reading "The Huntsman's Amulet!"
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Book Ratings Refresh 3 31 Jun 08, 2013 01:01AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Broken Throne (Book of One, #5)
  • The Healing Spring (The Inner Seas Kingdom, #1)
  • Honor Bound (The Spare Heir, #1)
  • The Ritual (Theft and Sorcery, #1)
  • The Other Prism (The Broken Prism, #2)
  • Knight Esquire (The Young Ancients, #2)
  • Nature Mage (Nature Mage, #1)
  • Child of the Sword (The Gods Within, #1)
  • The Sorcerer's Vengeance (The Sorcerer's Path, #4)
  • The Light of Kerrindryr (The War of Memory Cycle, #1)
  • Journeyman  (A Wizard's Life, #2)
  • King of Ashes (The Longsword Chronicles, #1)
See similar books…
Hi, thanks for visiting my page. I’m Duncan, a fantasy author from Ireland. I love to blend my passion for Medieval and Renaissance history with the freedom of fantasy environments to create fast paced heroic fantasy adventures with compelling characters and high stakes—exactly the types of stories that I love to read, so I hope you’ll like them too.

You can find more of my online hangouts and my w

Other books in the series

Society of the Sword (3 books)
  • The Huntsman's Amulet (Society of the Sword, #2)
  • The Telastrian Song (Society of the Sword, #3)