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Black Wolves

(Black Wolves #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,569 ratings  ·  291 reviews
For readers of Brent Weeks and fans of Netflix's Marco Polo comes a rich and inspired fantasy tale of warriors and nobles who must take the most desperate gamble of all: awaken allies more destructive than the hated king they hope to overthrow. Kate Elliott's new trilogy is an unmissable treat for epic fantasy lovers everywhere.

An exiled captain returns to help the son of
Paperback, 780 pages
Published November 3rd 2015 by Orbit
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David Casperson It's like Game of Thrones in that it is epic fantasy, it weighs in at 700+ pages, it concerns royal succession, and the story is told from multiple po…moreIt's like Game of Thrones in that it is epic fantasy, it weighs in at 700+ pages, it concerns royal succession, and the story is told from multiple points of view.

It's unlike Game of Thrones in that it's a stand-alone novel (although set in the world of a previous trilogy). It's more concerned with personal relationships and less concerned with military combat than Game of Thrones.

It's sunnier than the Game of Thrones series. Generally speaking, it's clearer who the "good guys" are, and that they manage to overcome the adversity that they face although there are exceptions.

It's structured quite differently from straight-forward jump-between-threads style of George R.R. Martin. In this story, there is a 40 year gap in the middle, and the reader only gradually fills in what happened during the reign of King Atani, almost like a retrospective mystery novel.

It's also clear that Kate Eliot is asking her readers to ask questions about the political and religious structure of her society, whereas George R. R. Martin takes his societies as a given backdrop.(less)
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Third person, multiple POVs. You can read a sample on Amazon or Goodreads.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,569 ratings  ·  291 reviews

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Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Black Wolves was a fantasy focused on political intrigue, mystery, and a bit of action. It was a character driven story but both the plot and the worldbuilding had plenty of depth to them. I'd not say it was a fast paced book but it had enough happening that the story held my interest!

This actually reminded me a lot of better version of Sam Hawke's City of Lies. It had a similar feel and dealt with a lot of the same themes and topics. Both had a heavy focus on intrigue and issues caused by both
Robin (Bridge Four)
The Black Wolves blends a variety of cultures with political intrigues and a touch of magic in this world.
“Dannarah, never forget that a king wields many weapons, and some of them are men. The soldiers I command are sometimes kinsmen but most, however valuable, are expendable in the service of victory. Do not deploy them lightly, or incompetently. Do not waste them, because the best ones take far more time to train than they do to die. But never mistake them for something they are not. Do you
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, epic, review-copy
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/12/07/b...

Kate Elliott is on fire this fall with the release of this first novel of a new series, set in the same world as her celebrated Crossroads trilogy. What can I say, but Black Wolves is a sweeping masterpiece that will leave fantasy readers spellbound. Coming in at nearly 800 pages–all jam-packed with richness and beauty–this epic novel sank its talons in me and kept me enthralled for days on end until I finished it. No qu
Sherwood Smith
Nov 16, 2015 added it
Shelves: fantasy
Copy provided by publisher

If I’m not certain I’ll want to read a book, I jump right into reviews, even go for spoilers if I’m extra unsure. But if I know I’m going to read a book, I avoid all mentions except pub date.

So it was with Black Wolves. I opened this book having no idea what it was about, only that it was a Kate Elliott epic fantasy. What I expect from a Kate Elliott book is interesting worldbuilding, interesting women as well as men, and a complex storyline with the kind of emotional r
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
This book was 780 pages in the ARC I poured into my eyeholes because Kate Elliott writes long books full of feelings and description of foods and the inner lives of women and excellent, complicated politics in shades of gray. And friends, I now wish I could unread ALL 780 PAGES so I could immediately pour them directly back in through a fresh reread. If you know how I read epic fantasy (with a notebook and pen and a page of notes for almost every character because they're so long/big I get easil ...more
Ken Liu
I blurbed this book:

"On a vast, colorful canvas, Kate Elliott has drawn dozens of characters who act and react with poetry and grit. Lush and textured, by turns moving, exciting, playful, and contemplative, BLACK WOLVES is a masterpiece that soars with an epic soul."

You're truly in for a treat. This is wondrous.
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
An Asian-inspired epic fantasy with a huge cast of characters and exploring generational social and political upheaval.

The Hundred is a small and largely coastal area north of the hug Sirinakian Empire and relatively recently saved from warring demons by a nobleman from the Empire who has set himself up as King of the Hundred. We get an introduction to Captain Kellas as he gets assigned to be the head of the King's son's personal guard as well as the King's daughter Dannarah who desperately want
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Review from The Speculative Herald: http://www.speculativeherald.com/2015...

Black Wolves may be a daunting read as it is a massive book and I know sometimes readers are deterred by that. The thing is, though, it is also a massively impressive book. Scaling it down would be a disservice to the story and quite honestly the story deserves to be read. I have not formulated my ‘best of the year’ list, but I can tell you this book will appear on it as it is easily one of the best epic fantasies I have
My first read of 2019 and I’m already prepared to earmark it a spot on my best of 2019 list! I picked this book up because Kate Elliott is coming to a local convention (and by local I mean on the other side of the country) as a guest of honour in June, and I wanted to have read a copy before I attended.

If you haven’t already guessed, I really loved Black Wolves. Looking at the size of the book, it’s quite a daunting read. At almost 800 pages, it’s a huge book, but it has an epic, all-encompassin
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it
For most of the book I loved it, the characters and the world were rich... quite a few times I was on the edge of my seat. One scene in particular had me raging at one of the characters.

The book started dragging for me in the third (?) act... and never really picked up again. It wasn't boring or dull but it wasn't "good" either.

What I liked/loved:
the Reeves and Eagles
Different creatures/cultures/peoples of the Hundred

What bothered me/didn't like:
The time jump from when Kellas
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the better epic fantasies you'll read this year. Also, the protagonists are senior citizens, which is fantastically awesome. ...more
Massive, and oh so good. An epic fantasy with two older protagonists and interesting women. A story that starts, gets you invested in the characters, then jumps forward forty four years later with several new characters to meet. And complex, political maneuvering and treachery and giant eagles!! And did I mention the older characters, both of whom are active participants in moving the story forward, while the women, one of whom is significantly older than typically seen in speculative fiction, a ...more
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you've read my previous reviews for this author, you'll have noted that I was very disappointed with how her Crown of Stars series ended, so this book was very much a 'last chance for this author' read. This is a five star review, so obviously Kate Elliott pulled it off and I recommend this book to everyone, right? Well - yes and no.

From the back cover:

Twenty-two years have passed since Kellas, once Captain of the legendary Black Wolves, lost his king and with him his honour. With the king mu
Paige  Bookdragon

I don't know what to say. Review to come.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
Kate Elliott never fails me. She consistently writes fun, thoughtful, original fantasy, featuring diverse and interesting characters of both genders, and set in complex, textured worlds. This book is no exception. It must be said, however, that the beginnings of her series are consistently and painfully dull; I was about 200 pages into this one before it convinced me.

Black Wolves is the first novel in a new epic fantasy series set in the world of the Hundred, which also featured in the Crossroad
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Once the beloved captain of the King’s Black Wolves, Captain Kellas retired in disgrace and wants nothing more to do with court politics–but when the king summons him to his palace and involves him in a feud between his two wives, Kellas feels duty-bound to step in. Dannarah, the great-aunt of the current king, is a reeve, bonded to a giant eagle and entrusted with watching over the land; but all is not well in the reeves’ halls… Sarai is a member of a rich but distrusted minority; disgraced thr ...more
But whatever Jehosh might be, he did not have his grandfather's brutal possessive streak, the will to prevent anyone else from tasting a nectar he wanted to keep for himself.

Jehosh loved the pursuit.

His grandfather desired control.

Atani had carved a different path for himself, cut short far too soon.

Rep: East Asian based setting, female bi character

Kate Elliott is the supreme ruler of fantasy (yes, even better than Melina Marchetta, blasphemous though that may be). George R. R. Martin has no
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Not giving this one a rating as I didn't even get halfway. I can hardly believe I am reading the same book as everyone else looking at all the glowing reviews. Reminds me of watching an Asian movie with a really bad dubbed translation. The language and writing just felt weird in so many different places that it was too much of a struggle for me to immerse myself in the story. And then the story jumps about forty years into the future and almost the entire cast of characters up to that point are ...more
Che Adventure
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is my 4.5 star review on Black Wolves by Kate Elliott.
Aug 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Normally I love Kate Elliott. The worldbuilding is incredible, the characters tend to be shades of grey rather than all good/all bad, and she always has strong, independent female characters with minds of their own.

And all of that is here too, along with a variety of characters spanning decades, a key plot point unfolding from multiple viewpoints - each of which seems to be the truth and perfectly reasonable - and showing the long-term effects of a conquered land, along with inhabitants, culture
Book Riot Community
Probably the most intriguing epic fantasy world since Nevèrÿon. I’m definitely still a fan of the quest/heroic battles/grimdark/etc types of fantasy novels that are recommended and celebrated, but there’s something about the way Elliott plays with power and change and culture in Black Wolves. Like Nevèrÿon, and The Grace of Kings (released earlier this year), Black Wolves is challenging the traditional ideas and scope of epic fantasy. I’ve seen folks calling this the best fantasy novel of 2015, ...more
Monica **can't read fast enough**
I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to reading book two. The only reason that I can't give this five stars is that it took about 150 pages for me to start loving the story, but it will still go on my favorite reads list because when it grabbed me it kept me wrapped up until the very last page.

Where you can find me:
•(♥).•*Monlatable Book Reviews*•.(♥)•
Twitter: @monicaisreading
Instagram: @readermonica
Goodreads Group: The Black Bookcase
Patrick St-Denis
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Mea culpa: I haven't read anything written by Kate Elliott in over two decades. This is long overdue, I know. And I have no excuse. I read the Jaran books back in the day, but nothing else since. I have bought every single Crown of Stars installment as soon as they came out, yet I decided not to start reading the series until it was complete. Did the same thing with the Crossroads trilogy. So yes, I should have at least read King's Dragon and its sequels a long time ago. But for some reason, som ...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Eagles, demons, and an epic game of thrones, will Kellas and Dannarah figure out who killed King Atari before King Jehosh loses his throne?

Opening Sentence: “The whole business stank of rotting fish.”

The Review:

Dannarah, Kellas, Sarai and Lifka are the four major point of views throughout this novel. Dannarah is a reeve (eagle rider), she used to be the Chief Marshal until her nephew, the King, relieved her. Kellas used to be the Captain of the
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bingo16, 2017
Black Wolves does something pretty bold in the beginning.
In the first ~90 pages we get Atani, Dannarah, Anjihosh and Kellas as our main characters. They're well-fleshed, dynamic, interesting and compelling. Other secondary characters appear and provoke intrigues, revelations and other actions that promise a lot of tension and conflict later.

Atani and Dannarah are great siblings, complementing each other very well. Kellas is also great, the spy/assassin member/secret leader of the deadly Black
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I stuck it out for 100 pages before I called it. I may someday try to go back and finish this, but right now I just can't justify spending another minute of my life slogging through it.

My first issue with this book is that it promises a Chinese (or alt-China) setting and aesthetic, but very little in the book is actually Chinese. Nobody has Chinese names, and in fact nobody has names that are consistent enough to make me think they belong to the same ethnic groups.

The author uses the word "Qin"
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, reviewed
3.8 Stars

Mix of Audio & Print Review:

This book is hard to review because I have conflicting responses to it. I enjoy stories more in print but hardly have the time for it due to a busy life. Audiobooks have been a great compromise and allow me to continue taking in new stories by ear while I do other things. Richard Ferrone is a good narrator. I would like to listen to him tell another story but he was not the right fit for this one. This story has a solid base on Asian culture. There's a twist
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is everything I hoped that it was going to be and more.

Most of the events of Black Wolves are set about 60 years after the end of events in the Crossroads Trilogy. Kate says that you don't need to have read Crossroads in order to understand what's going on in Black Wolves, and while I think that's certainly accurate, and you can and should absolutely take the author at her word, I think you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't read Crossroads first. There's a ton of socio-polit
Alyssa Louie
This book is a murder mystery at the heart of a political thriller wrapped up in an epic fantasy setting.

It's been decades since Commander Anji saved the Hundred from the internal conflict that ravaged it's people by killing the demons responsible and bringing the chaotic political factions to heel under his strong hand. Now his grandson is king and conflict is again brewing; the first stirrings of a succession war are beginning to surface in the palace, and there is unrest in the population as
Let the rating read 4.5

This book came as a surprise. The scope and complexity of the plot were an order of magnitude greater than what I had imagined either from the blurb (which is totally inaccurate) as well as the initial chapters.

Kate Elliott has gotten quite a few things right in this book. She has constructed a very interesting and varied cast of characters, she has built a complex, layered and interesting world, she tells her fascinating story through an intricate and detailed plot - but
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As a child in rural Oregon, Kate Elliott made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction, often with a romantic edge. She currently lives in Hawaii, where she paddles outrigger canoes and spoils her schnauzer.

Other books in the series

Black Wolves (2 books)
  • Dead Empire (Black Wolves, #2)

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