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Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues

(Riyria #2.6 - Professional Integrity)

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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  558 ratings  ·  68 reviews
ROGUES. ASSASSINS. MERCENARIES.

Coin is their master, and their trade, more often than not, is blood. These are BLACKGUARDS.

Whether by coin or by blood...YOU WILL PAY.

Swift from the shadows, comes an 'edgy' anthology, edited by J.M. MARTIN, featuring sundry tales of roguish types—assassins, mercenaries, thieves—many of whom are already established in well-known fantasy seri
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Paperback, 738 pages
Published May 11th 2015 by Ragnarok Publications (first published April 26th 2015)
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Michael I don't want to speak for the publisher, but from updates I've seen all the books have shipped, so yes, if you still don't have it, reach out to…moreI don't want to speak for the publisher, but from updates I've seen all the books have shipped, so yes, if you still don't have it, reach out to Ragnarok Publishing as something got lost in the mail. I'm sure they'll get you a replacement copy.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.83  · 
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Michael
Apr 04, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm going to be adding comments as I read each story. And I may not read them in the order of the book. I'm going to skip around a bit. First and foremost I wanted to comment on the really amazing quality of the book - the layout and images for each story are fabulous, great job to Ragnarok for this fine book that I'm proud to have a story in.

Foreword by Glenn Cook - I liked it, he has a tendency to ramble a bit and get off topic but I do agree with him about what makes rogues and grey character
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Alissa
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
Great anthology! Very focused on the sword & sorcery, dark, epic and historical fantasy subgenres, most of the stories are pacy and feature interesting characters. There is drama and comedy, there are shorter and longer tales, there are different degrees of world-building and magic, and there is focus on action and psychology. Some authors truly have a gift for fitting compelling narrative and characterization in the short story format, and there are both stories which are more like an intro ...more
S.E. Lindberg
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: grimdark
Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues is Highly Recommended Dark Fantasy

Blackguard Theme: This collection is largely Dark Fantasy. As the subtitle says, this not just about Assassins--there are plenty similar lawbreakers featured: Thieves, Smugglers, and Mercenaries. As J.M. Martin clarifies in his introduction:
Blackguard, by the way, is actually pronounced ‘blaggard,’ as in haggard. The term seemingly originated from scullions and kitchen-knaves, in particular those in courtl
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Beverly
This is an excellent collection of short stories from an impressive group of authors. All of the stories involve anti-heroes so if you reading preference is Grimdark, you will love this book and it is a great way to be introduced to authors you have not read. I was not familiar with several of the authors but their short stories have peaked my interest in reading their major works.
Joseph
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: If you flip through the "Roll Credits" section at the back, eventually you'll find my name -- I backed this on Kickstarter back in 2014 or so.

Having said that, I am of ... questionable ... virtue when it comes to Kickstarter -- I tend to back lots of anthologies and magazines &c., which I may or may not subsequently read (or even actually have any intention of reading). But this was a remarkably strong anthology, and I would've felt that way even if I hadn't pitched in up fr
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Joel
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm still eagerly awaiting my hardcover and goodies, but the ebook shipped early and that gave me a chance to scope this out ahead of time. Other than a few spelling/grammar errors that slid through (misuses of your/you're, etc) it was a nicely polished package.

I will admit that, for now, I only read (in their entirety) the stories from authors/series I'm already reading/familiar with. I did skim some of the others, but I did not really understand what was happening. Authors such as Tim Marquitz
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C.T. Phipps
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, grimdark
Rogues are the best.

This is my personal opinion on the subject. Some people prefer paladins and shining knights but just about everyone I know likes Han Solo more than Luke Skywalker. Now, I like Luke Skywalker just as much as anyone else but there's just something about antiheroes which speaks to me.

A friend of mine said it was no coincidence that the nobility tended to favor stories of armored heroes fighting for noble causes while peasants liked clever people who used their wits to become ric
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Lord Nikon
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm going to be doing a rolling review of this anthology, updating after I read each tale...to give potential readers a clear view. The stars will come when I'm done them all.

Mainon - Jean Rabe

I've never read a Rabe book before, so this was a nice taste of her writing. I liked this, and it was a lovely and simple way to open the anthology. Straight to the point with a likeable protagonist and a simple story that will ease you into the book. Enjoyed.

Irindai - Bradley P. Beaulieu

This was absolute
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Geoff
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. There were a few tales that, to me, weren't quite as good as the rest, but that comes down to personal taste and concept of anthologies.
Recommended.
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
With anthologies one has the opportunity to sample the works of authors without the commitment of reading full books. This one encouraged me to try a couple of new-to-me authors. 2.5 stars.
Rob Hayes
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
One line review (as it is an anthology there will be 1 word per story):

Sneaky, moths, pretension, run, stabby, bromance, TROLLS!, twist, stabby, darkness, twang, stabby, world-building, STBY, origin, stick, ow!, stabby, hero, origin, origin, bang, viking, Gods, pointless, ummm, aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!


Now that's out of the way we'll get to the real review. Some good stories and some not so good. A few that I intend to follow up on and pick up some of the author's books, and a few that I intend to forge
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Carrie Mansfield
Blackguards is what I expected the G.R.R.M - edited Rogues anthology to be: a collection of fantasy stories centered around roguish characters. Right off the bat, that may be enough for some to go check this out. Other pluses on a pure structural aspect: It's also a collection of entirely new stories, a nice bonus as most anthologies are collections of previous works, and not new tales. I'll also say that unlike some anthologies, the introductions to the stories are nice and brief, never outstay ...more
Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom
Blackguards is pretty damn awesome!
I've always felt that most anthologies are only as good as their foreword and this one was written by GLEN COOK!! Nuff said. I also enjoyed the introduction by J.M. Martin. Mr. Martin really makes grimdark fans feel included, like were a family of sorts or maybe more like a band of outlaws. :)
Speaking of grimdark fans, Blackguards is the "must have" anthology if grimdark is your genre of choice.
As with the any well-done anthology, the reader should finish it
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Kenny Soward
Oct 03, 2014 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I really enjoyed this anthology, and I'm proud -- no, damn humbled -- to be part of it. It was a beast of a read and many of the stories left me feeling reflective and awed. Not only was being part of this exciting for me but also a great learning experience as I search for ways to improve my work.

Some of my favorite stories in no particular order include:
Lian Hearn's His Kikuta Hands
Mark Lawrence's The Secret
Peter Orullian's A Length of Cherrywood
Paul S. Kemp's A Better Man
Anton Strout's Scream
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Peter
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like every anthology a mixed bag, but overall some great stuff.

Some of the stories I like best:

Cat Rambo's story takes place in a Planescape like setting I enjoyed very much (for a story set in the same universe check Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

The Egil & Nix story by Paul S. Kemp delivers some old school swords & sorcery.

Jon Sprunk's "Sun and Steel" had a nice Black Company feel too it.

Mark Samyle's "Manhunt" made me want to visit his world again.

Of course, like with every anthology there
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Alina
Aug 20, 2018 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
A wide variety of short tales featuring rogues, thieves, brigands and miscreants, most of them established in well-known fantasy series, although there are some standalones too. Some of the authors I already heard of and read before, as well as being already acquainted to several of the series, other authors/series I didn't get to read yet.

I'll rate and write a few words of each story as I read them, so this review will continue to change until I finish all of the stories.


Foreword by Glen Cook (
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Paul
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Savoured my way through this one, taking my time but its really such a high standard. I have gone on to order two of the writers I hadn't read before books on the weight of the stories.
Special shout outs to Mark Lawrence, Bradley P. Beaulieu , Snorri Krisjannson and Lian Hearn as ones that have stood out but they are all fantastic
Bogdan
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very solid and impressive Anthology, on the same level with the Rogues Anthology by George R.R. Martin, with a lot of great stories and new authors to search for.

Now, the stories:

1. Mainon by Jean Rabe - Good one! An assassin is trying to protect a nobleman.

---2. Irindai by Bradley P. Beaulieu - Kind of a long one.

3. The Subtler Art by Cat Rambo - Interesting, about how to kill dictators or villains in their reacreation zone.

4. Seeds by Carol Berg - Mixed feeling about this one. A renegade
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Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Sep 12, 2016 marked it as to-read
Finally starting this one because I realized there is a John Gwynne short story in here.
Jasper
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
orginally posted at: http://thebookplank.blogspot.com/2015...

Fantasy is a very broad genre and when I truly think about it, my heart has always had that special place reserved for those EPic Fantasy stories featuring well rogues, assassins and the like. It's with these characatures or elements whatever you want to call them that you can write such a good story. They feature well in funny, humorous stories as well as those that have a much darker and grimmer undertone, or what is often seen is th
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S. Nash
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I love rogues.

This is a factor which needs to be considered before I discuss this book in any further length. I am a fan of scoundrels, ne’er do wells, thieves, assassins, courtesans, cat burglars, and con men. As long as they’re possessed of some degree of personal integrity and faced against people worse then themselves, I’m all for books about these sorts of
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Tom
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly great omnibus of some of the most questionable characters in literature to date. A must have for fans of rogues, bastards, liars, cheats, assassins and general ne'er do wells. Fantastic, I can't recommend it highly enough.
Matthew
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great collection of dark and twisted tales featuring some wonderful characterisation and gritty action. I didn't connect with a couple of the stories, but overall this is a great tome well worth buying for your shelves.
S.E. Lindberg
Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues is Highly Recommended Dark Fantasy Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues by J.M. MartinS.E. Lindberg rating: 5 of 5 starsBlackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues is Highly Recommended Dark Fantasy:: This collection is largely Dark Fantasy. As the subtitle says, this not just about Assassins--there are plenty similar lawbreakers featured: Thieves, Smugglers, and Mercenaries. As J.M. Martin clarifies in his ...more
Matt Braymiller
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'll admit I read this collection for one story out of the twenty-seven in it. That one story, while on my list of favorites, is not at the top of that list. That made it all the more satisfying to read.

I think it was the prologue to Rogues where George R.R. Martin said that while Luke Skywalker is arguably the hero of Star Wars, most folks prefer Han Solo because he's a rogue. There is something compelling about characters that live and operate outside the boundaries of polite society. I'm not
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Amanda
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
These installments are amazing. I love how you learn of a couple of authors you haven't known and I have to say I absolutely loved Rob J. Hayes story. I loved his books so much and he just is so witty and comical and a terrific author. I also loved the foreword by Glen Cook like Shawn's last collection the foreword being from Rothfuss then they are just awesome!

These stories are such a refreshing change of pace. I look forward to many many more.
Joe
Peter Orullian's story, "A Length of Cherrywood" was amazing. The character's dialogue was top notch and left me wanting more. The story itself was great. Byers, Dalglish, Gwynne, Lawrence, Sullivan and Kemp were the best of the bunch. The quality of the physical book is stellar.
Kevin
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
As with all Anthologies I do, I will rate each story individually, and then give the average score.

Average Score - 2.4/5 Stars

SPOILERS BELOW!!!!

"Mainon" by Jean Rabe
Expected that from the beginning.
I've read too many fantasy. Stories like these always ends in betrayal, although I expected the groom to be the back stabber.
2/5 Stars

"Irindai" by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Meh. I would have liked more focus to be placed on the Gods themselves, than a mortal pawn.
2.5/5 Stars

"The Subtler Art" by Cat Rambo
If t
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Ron
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology, ebook
“Stories have power. And shared stories grow with the telling.”

A self-referential collection of twenty-seven short stories promoting the various authors’ greater corpus of works: an infomercial in text. That admitted, this is a better-than-average anthology of stories about nearly famous (in their reality) lowlifes, many of whom aren’t so black as grey. A few only slightly tarnished. A bit of humor here and there leavens the batch.

“There isn’t much in life that counts for less than fair and shou
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Joe Slucher
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
When I read an anthology I'm looking to find some authors I like without investing a lot of time. The better known authors in the book (Anthony Ryan, Mark Lawrence, Michael J. Sullivan, Bradley P. Beaulieu) do an excellent job but most of the lesser known ones didn't inspire me to check out their other works. Many of the stories seem as though they might have been more enjoyable if I had a strong connection to the authors' works from which the characters came from. The only author I was unfamili ...more
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Worked at Caliber — publishers of The Crow, Deadworld, The Realm, Kabuki, and more — in the '90s; while there, Martin wrote 18 issues of the fantasy series, Legendlore, and co-created a game based on Todd McFarlane's SPAWN universe. Also an ENnie-award-winning managing editor for Privateer Press (2001-2005).

Martin edited the Stabby award-winning Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Ro
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Other books in the series

Riyria (7 books)
  • The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles, #1)
  • The Rose and the Thorn (The Riyria Chronicles, #2)
  • The Death of Dulgath (The Riyria Chronicles, #3)
  • The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter  (The Riyria Chronicles, #4)
  • Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations, #1-2)
  • Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #3-4)
  • Heir of Novron (The Riyria Revelations, #5-6)
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