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When the Heavens Fall

(The Chronicles of the Exile #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  711 ratings  ·  145 reviews
The first of an epic swords & sorcery fantasy series for fans of Steven Erikson, When the Heavens Fall features gritty characters, deadly magic, and meddlesome gods.

If you pick a fight with Shroud, the Lord of the Dead, you had better make sure you end up on the winning side, else death will mark only the beginning of your suffering.

A book that gives its wielder power
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by Tor Books
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Jack Atkinson The next entry is coming this February and the next is late next year, which seems so soon. Which is amazing as this is one of the best reads I've had…moreThe next entry is coming this February and the next is late next year, which seems so soon. Which is amazing as this is one of the best reads I've had in ages.(less)

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3.68  · 
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 ·  711 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews.

I’m one of those readers who let this novel slip by when it was first released. A fact which seems odd, because – with its huge world, multi-thread narrative, and grimdark tinged story – it is exactly the sort of fantasy I tend to look for. And I never would have had a second thought about passing it up if I had not begun seeing reviews about it. Not all of those were five star reviews, truth be told, and some of the reviewers were not glowingly compli
Petros Triantafyllou
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Turner's debut is sporting a departmental line of structure rarely seen in modern fiction.

Pick a random fantasy book from your bookshelf. Turn it upside down. Read the summary. Now tell me the plot. No, wait, let me do that for you. You have a story told either from one or from multiple points of view, by several main characters. You follow the Protagonists' personal stories, and in doing so you sometimes witness a greater plot arc that involves the fate of an empire, or even that of a world. W
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
Although When the Heavens Fall didn’t knock my socks off, I’m still glad I read it. The elements that didn’t quite work for me were basic plot construction choices, which means the author had all of the world building, characterization, and writing skills, and even executed his vision to my satisfaction, he just didn’t give me a satisfying journey on top of it all. Because of that, I am super excited to dive into his second book and see how a new plot structure with a new cast of characters unfo ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Marc Turner’s When the Heavens Fall was a book that snuck quietly onto my radar earlier this year. I knew next to nothing about it beyond the official publisher’s description, and so as with most things shrouded in mystery, I was instantly intrigued and hoping it would score a surprise hit. In retrospect, my first impressions might have been different if I had kept my expectations more in line, but even after they were tem
Stefan Bach
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Seek not beauty in battle. Seek not beauty in death. Consider not your own life. If you wish to protect that which must be protected, then strike while your opponent’s back is turned.”

I knew next to nothing about this book. I knew of its existence and I knew I didn’t liked the cover. And that’s pretty much it.
Then, in a great anthology Evil is a Matter of Perspective: An Anthology of Antagonists, I have read a short story about water-mage pirate Mazana Creed. And, besides pirates and gr
Michael Fletcher
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Truly epic magical battles.

Highly recommended for anyone into epic fantasy with a dark edge.
Bob Milne
Jan 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-epic
While I hesitate to call this a throwback or reactionary fantasy, there's no question that When the Heavens Fall has a very late-80s/early-90s feel to it. From the characters, to the world-building, to the story, to the narration, Marc Turner's debut just feels like something I'd almost swear I read 25 years ago. That's not necessarily a bad thing - many of my favorite epics are from that era - but it will certainly present a challenge to readers who've become accustomed to something more polish ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
4.5 Stars

An excellent start to a fantasy series that I can’t wait to read more of. When the Heavens Fall was one of the better fantasy books published in the last few years that I’ve read.

First, the plot. It was actually a very simple plot, and that was one of my very few issues with the book. Ultimately, the book is about a powerful object and the convergence of various other factions in an effort by each to seize control of the artifact and the power it brings. But Turner makes the story so m
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-read-on-shelf
I was completely drawn into this world, multiple stories of unrelated characters facing different issues and challenges, dealing with the gods meddling with human affairs.

It is a 4.5 stars book for me, reminiscent of the Malazan Book of the Fallen with interesting characters, magic systems and gods.

Dec 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Can’t quite put my finger on why this book wasn’t a hit with me. It’s a weak 3 stars

-The world building was good, not great.
-good premise, exciting battle scenes
-The magic system was unique and well explained
-Pacing at times left something to be desired
-most of all the characters I feel weren’t well developed.

Could be my mood, or the books I have read lately have well developed characters and I don’t feel this one has been up to par on that end
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the best debut fantasies I've ever read. Turner is someone that will become a household name in the years to come.

4 out of 5 stars.
Tracey the Lizard Queen
Originally reviewed at:

Shamefully, I didn't pick this up immediately when it was released. I had noticed it on Goodreads, but I had many, many books to read. It was shelved, and joined the back of the line. Yes, I am an awful person. It wasn't until I met Marc Turner that I figured I better get to it.

When the Heavens Fall was compared to Malazan by another reviewer. This set off alarm bells in my head. I love Malazan, no not just love. When I'm reading a
Well, this started out well interesting world and four POV characters to guide us through it...but by the midway point it just seemed to be all show and no real substance. There's a Prince, a Priestess, a Guardian with Jedi-like powers (™ Star Wars), and a demi-goddess (?) who are all more or less on converging paths to defeat a crazy coot mage with his very own Precious (™ Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien). The problem is there is no real character development going on in 700 pages wo ...more
Feb 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Full Review at Tenacious Reader:

When the Heavens Fall by Marc Turner is reminiscent of Steven Erikson and Glen Cook. I think for readers looking for something new but love some of the older fantasies, this could be a good pick.

When I began this book, I have to confess I expected to love it. But I just can’t say that was the case. I still feel like I should have loved it, there are many great things about this book, but honestly I just didn’t. It was still
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fantasy Review Barn

All roads lead to Rome.

Mayot gets his hands on an object that gives him power to rival the gods. And it is quickly apparent he plans on using it. His presence turns into a magnet for everything to follow; a focal point for the entire cast to converge on for differing reasons. Some know exactly why they are heading to this man while some are driven there by factors beyond their control. But each soul that heads in his direction is drawn in completely; one way or another their
Mark Harrison
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really solid book. Essentially a quest story as four very different characters and their cohorts travel to try and win a Book of the Dead that has brought an army of the dead to life and threatens everyone. It is complex and jumps between the main characters a lot. All of the main characters are well drawn and I was fond of the resolute Guardian Luker and his assassin friend Jenna but the eccentric mage Mottle was by far the most fun. Should be read in long bursts if you can do it do as to keep ...more
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy, fantasy
I would not be the first to say that there has been a real explosion of fantasy literature in the last 5-10 years. Some of it is fantastic and some of it not so good, but we still enjoy reading and talking about it all don't we?

I came across Marc Turner by accident as I follow his UK publisher; Titan on Twitter and on Fantasy Faction there was loud chatter about a new author on the scene. Curious about an author writing a new epic fantasy series called, The Chronicles of the Exile, I purchased a
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
When the Heavens Fall
by Marc Turner is the author’s debut novel. This is a big swords and sorcery epic that seems to channel a touch of Steven Erikson. The story is catapulted into action by the theft of a magical book that is filled to the brim with magic; the Book of Lost Souls. As the mage who stole the book begins to explore its power over the dead it begins to drawn the attention of gods and men into an epic convergence of power. The story follows several characters from different corners o
Mar 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.3 I'd say.

The Book of Lost Souls, an ancient relic guarded closely by a circle of mages for centuries, has been stolen by the rogue mage Mayot Mencada through the subtle directive of the goddess Spider. The Book gives its wielder immense necromantic power, and Mayot’s ambition knows no bounds as he openly challenges the god Shroud’s rule over the underworld by raising the ancient dead and lashing out at any settlement near the Forest of Sighs, the curse
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting read. The best way I can describe it is:

- Worldbuilding as insane as Malazan: I chose the word 'INSANE' for a reason. This world is enormous; so much so that I often couldn't keep track of it. So many races and creatures and gods that it sort of made my head spin! Thankfully, unlike Malazan, the reader's ultimate enjoyment of the story isn't dependent on remembering every detail of the world.

- A story that reminds me of a great RPG: The plot is actually pretty simple
Laura Hughes
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I both love it and hate it when I enjoy the first book in a new series. I love it because I have the thrill of knowing that even when I reach the last page there’s still plenty more where that came from . . . and I hate it because what do you mean I have to wait until next year for the second one?!

After just a few pages I knew that the Chronicles of the Exile would be (yet another) series I’d be following. I’d seen this book reviewed on several blogs I follow, and was completely pulled in by the
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very nice (but not ~nice~) fantasy debut.

The most solid part of the writing was definitely Turner's feel for setting. Without going overboard, the descriptions of ruined temples and forests of undead were vivid enough to make me feel as if I were playing several levels of a Diablo game. It definitely felt more like a world-driven fantasy than a character-driven one, and given the right ingredients, I'm sometimes fine with that. This was one of those times.

As a huge fan of big and bad, and pref
James Schmidt
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
My review today is for:

When the Heavens Fall: The Chronicles of the Exile, Book One

by Marc Turner

A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

I have been meaning to read this book forever it seems but something always got in the way, another book, another review request, always something. I finally put everything else on hold and read it and I sure am glad I did. I immediately feel in love with this book. I felt so at home with this story and c
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply the best Fantasy novel I've read since Abercrombie's First Law trilogy and Jeff Salyards' Bloodsounder's Arc trilogy. Loved everything about this book. It gave me exactly what I crave.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent read for all fans of dark fantasy. Really wish I hadn't waited so long to read it but on the plus side there are 2 more books available in the series to date...very keen to see where the story goes next!
Scott  Hitchcock
The review will be highly Malazan-centric since there's a lot of parallels and the author himself has recognized Erikson as a major influence. There's also a lot of parallel characters: Hood/Shroud, Ardata/Spider, Antler God/Beast Gods......That does not mean the personality traits of these gods or their goals are the same.

The writing style and plot layout are much more Esslemont than Erikson. Things are generally laid out in a straightforward manner not laced with subtext and portents of thing
The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
When The Heavens Fall book review:

To me, there are 3 types of book. The books that pull you in right from the start and don't let go until the ending, the books that take you a while to get into but somewhere within the story turn into must reads and then there's the books that pull you in right away but ultimately you end up being disappointing in them.

For me this was the type of book that took me a while to really get into. The start was interesting but in the beginning it was just something
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it

Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date: May 2015

ISBN: 9780765337122

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5

Publisher Description: A book giving its wielder power over the dead has been stolen from a fellowship of mages that has kept the powerful relic dormant for centuries. The thief, a crafty, power-hungry necromancer, intends to use the Book of Lost Souls to resurrect an ancient race and challenge Shroud for dominion of the underworld. Shroud counters by sending his most for
Trevor Sherman
I had been hearing good things about this series for a while and really wanting to read it. So instead of patiently waiting till it was on top of my "to be read' pile I pushed the pile over and grabbed it. So glad I did But now I will be even further behind on my stack as ill push everything else out of the way Again when the next book gets here. For a Novel as broad of scope as this it took me a remarkably short amount of time to understand the world building, but at the same time it was not ge ...more
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: When the Heavens Fall [Dec 10, 2017] 79 55 Jan 09, 2018 06:38AM  

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Check out my website for a free audio short story:
Video trailer:

Marc Turner was born in Toronto, Canada, but grew up in England. He graduated from Lincoln College, Oxford University, in 1996 with a BA (Hons) in law, and subsequently joined a top ten law firm in the City of London. After realising that working there did not mix well with simple

Other books in the series

The Chronicles of the Exile (3 books)
  • Dragon Hunters (The Chronicles of the Exile, #2)
  • Red Tide (The Chronicles of the Exile, #3)
“A serving-girl leapt from Luker’s path as he strode along the corridor, his Will bunched tightly inside him. His footsteps set the floor shuddering, and the doors to either side rattled in their frames. His thoughts burned. Jenna alive should have cooled some of the fire in his blood, but the juripa spirits were simmering in his veins, and his face was hot like he could still feel the touch of the sorceress’s flames. He reached out with his senses, exploring the rooms to either side of the passage until he found what he was looking for. You should have run when you had the chance.
Stopping before a door, he unleashed his Will. The door creaked, buckled, exploded inward.”
“Well I haven’t. Forgotten, that is. In the dome, you admitted I’m the better shot.”
“Must’ve taken a blow to the head. Amazing the stuff people come out with when the world’s spinning.”
Jenna searched his eyes. “You’d take it all back, then? The things you said?”
Luker kept her waiting while he took a sip from the flask. “No,” he replied at last, holding her gaze. “No, I wouldn’t.”
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