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The Vagrant

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The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape, carrying nothing but a kit-bag, a legendary sword and a baby. His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the sword, the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

13 pages, Audible Audio

First published April 23, 2015

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About the author

Peter Newman

9 books974 followers
Peter Newman co-writes the Hugo and Alfie Award winning Tea and Jeopardy podcast and is also the voice of the butler, Latimer.

His debut novel, THE VAGRANT, was published by Harper Voyager and won the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for best newcomer in 2016. It was followed by THE MALICE, and then THE SEVEN.

There are also two shorter stories set in the same world, available as ebooks. THE HAMMER AND THE GOAT (which is set parallel to THE VAGRANT) and THE VAGRANT AND THE CITY, which is set between books 2 and 3.

He has also written for WILDCARDS, and Fantasy MMO ALBION ONLINE.

He's currently working on a new series. Book 1, THE DEATHLESS, is coming out in the UK in June 2018.

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5 stars
1,830 (23%)
4 stars
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3 stars
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301 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,089 reviews
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51k followers
July 10, 2022
I really enjoyed this book. 'loved' may not be too strong a word. Best thing I've read in quite a while.

It's an original tale. Every review will mention that it focuses on a man (our 'vagrant') who doesn't speak, and his co-stars are a baby and a goat. More importantly, the man's non-speaking is backed up by a text that spends no significant amount of time in his head - so he remains an enigma, illuminated only through his interactions. A second story thread begins eight years earlier and proceeds to explain the parlous state of the world we're dropping into. This past thread advances by leaps and bounds, revealing the Vagrant's backstory and seeking to wed it to the present action. It's cleverly done and works well.

I should mention the writing. It's very good. Sharp, efficient, full of observation and pleasing turns of phrase. None of it wordy or over-wrought. The writing doesn't try to milk emotion from you - just shows you what's what and leaves the reaction to you.

The world is 'new weird' - demonic-types have entered the world through a breach and proceed to warp, corrupt, co-opt, and take-over. We have all manner of monstrous constructs and most people are warped to some degree.

The goat provides a welcome edge of comedy, as does the baby. Newman clearly knows a lot about babies. I suspect him to have been a new father at the time of writing!

Although the demons do terrible things they're so alien that they don't fill the role of 'baddie' in quite the same way that a person doing terrible things or seeking to end our heroes would. They compensate that lack of someone to really blame/hate by being diverse and interesting, focused on their internal fights as much as they are on taking over the new world they've entered.

I found the story intriguing and the writing's 'voice' a fresh and compelling one.

For me The Vagrant started strong, and kept strong. Endings are hard and I wouldn't call it the perfect ending. It's difficult to avoid anticlimax at the end of any tale and it wasn't wholly avoided here, but there was a lot to like. And it left plenty hanging for a sequel.

Looking at my friends' reviews and the general rating I see the book has got a good reception but not the acclaim I would have expected. I guess this might be because the lack of a (human) head to watch events unfold from doesn't allow us to bond with a hero and their goals in quite the same way we might in more traditional tales. Possibly the weirdness is too much for some readers. And some may seek tighter plotting rather than a sprawling journey punctuated by 'random' encounters. But I really liked the journey, seeing it as canvas onto which the characters and world could be projected. I enjoyed the slow reveal of backstory and agendas.

All in all, very good. Something fresh and new. Give it a try!

It's also worth noting that this is a swift read, a book of modest length at ~90,000 words, which makes a nice change after Big Fat Fantasies over-topping 200,000 words.

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Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
September 21, 2018
This is a very unique book because the protagonist, quite literally, never utters a word. I didn’t think this would work as a novel and I feared that it would come across as a little silly. It did, however, work tremendously, and the result was a protagonist who was somewhat of an enigma. His thoughts are impenetrable and his motives are not entirely clear. If the plot doesn’t provide you with reason to read this, then discovery what drives this mysterious figure certainly will.

One bad-ass protagonist

He is a daemon slaying, sword wielding, mute. So, he is somewhat cool. He is wondering the ruins of a destroyed world with a baby tucked under his arm and a goat on a leash. He has become the baby’s protector and his taking her up North for safety. It isn’t revealed till the end why he is taking her there or what he expects to do there. That’s the only problem with a protagonist who doesn’t speak: he leaves you with an excruciating eagerness to read the book quickly to discover exactly who he is and exactly what he is doing.

However, despite not being able to communicate verbally his character does begin to reveal itself. He is a good man, and essentially a hero, but only up to a point. His first priority is to the baby, and his second belongs to the goat that provides the babe with milk; he also has a sword that is shrouded in as much mystery as the baby. He is being tracked by legions of enemies and eventually the reader will begin to question: is it the sword they want or the baby? For me, this really drove the story forward.

Video game parallels

This reminded me of a cross between the Fallout universe and the Dragon Age universe. We have a futuristic world in which the inhabitants struggle to survive amongst the rubble, so similar to Fallout. We have evil monsters that come out of the ground that infect humans and use them to fuel their armies, so similar to Dragon Age. There is a lone wonderer style protagonist who is being played by hordes of enemies that are controlled by one super enemy that fuels the hoard, so a little bit of both. I’m not sure if the author purposely drew on these aspects, but either way it is a combination that works really well and is just quite cool.

Overall, this is a really different, yet really great, novel. I only have one criticism of the novel and that was the author killing of a certain character. I’m not a sentimentalist and I understand that sometimes characters do have to die, but I felt that the reasoning behind this was weak. It could have quite easily been done with a random character rather than one that I thought had a little bit of potential to do some good in this bleak world. It did knock my rating down by half a star. However, despite this criticism I did enjoy the book overall and I do recommend it to those that have a particular liking to the video games I mentioned.

The Vagrant Trilogy
1. The Vagrant - A very cool 4 stars
2. The Malice - An awesome 4.5 stars
3. The Seven - (Review to come)


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Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,613 followers
July 7, 2020
4.5 Stars

Read with my peeps at: The MacHalo Asylum for Mischief and Mayhem 😉

Right out of the gates in Chapter One!! I’m not saying what he has under his coat!!

It watches him with mismatched eyes. One canine, black in the poor light, unreadable, but the other a human one: it flickers in recognition. Somewhere outside the city a Handler watches, viewing the wanderer through their swapped orbs.

A bad ass mute, a baby and a goat walk into a bar. I know! That was corny but I had to!!

I loved the hell outta this book!! When I first started it I wasn’t too sure, but I was very intrigued. And so with that continuation, I found some beloved characters (Vagrant, Vesper, Harm, The Hammer and goat) and a great story. Of course, some of my characters die!!

I loved them all as I’ve said, but the goat and The Hammer (big ole female giant person thing) had a real special place in my heart.

Also, the humor in the book is awesome too.

I’m looking forward to the next books in the series. I’m going to leave this with some excerpts 😉

It is a short and brutal journey. The two men manage to climb with grunting ease, passing between them the baby, who contemplates sky and suns and other unknowable things.

They pull up the goat with a rope. She sways slowly, comments rarely, dark eyes seething, planning revenge.


From the tower, the Hammer emerges into the red and gold dawn. She is wearing her armour again. She has changed it, fixing the plates to each other rather than her flesh. At her side trots the goat, a bunch of yellow stalks spiking from each side of her mouth, whisker like.


'And what about this other feller, the quiet one?'
'Best not to ask.'
'Well if you ain’t the weirdest bunch I ever saw, then call me scav bait! Your friend is welcome to his mystery but I got to call him something, so if you won’t give me a name, I’ll give him one. What’s it to be, Harm?'
'You go ahead.'
Deke settles into the cockpit, chattering while the others clamber onto the wings.
'I think I’m gonna go with Scout. After m'dog.'
The Vagrant shakes his head as laughter bursts from Harm. Vesper soon follows his lead. Even the goat enjoys a quiet snigger.


By the time the goat catches up, a space yawns between First Circle and escape. The goat’s eyes narrow. She doesn’t slow down, glare fixed on her target. Hooves kick on pasteel, then air, as she sails over water, a meteor, malevolent.

Vesper points, delighted. 'G—-'

Her shadow falls across the Vagrant who turns, too slow to escape fate.


Happy Reading! 😉

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

BLOG: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot....
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,919 reviews10.6k followers
June 10, 2015
A sword-wielding mute, a baby, and a goat cross a post-apocalyptic landscape, heading for the Shining City. But will they reach their destination before the demonic horde on their trail overtakes them?

After reading about this book on Chuck Wendig's blog, I couldn't wait to dig in. However, at the time, Harper Voyager wanted $20 for the e-book. Since everyone knows that's horseshit, I held off until I found a new hardcover and I'm quite pleased with my treeware purchase.

The story of the last of the Seraph Knights is quite good, though on the surface doesn't look all that original. At first glance, it reminded me of Jay Posey's Three and Peter Brett's The Warded Man, with heavy doses of The Gunslinger. However, The Vagrant kicked my ass.

The way the story unfolds is masterful. You don't notice how much of the text in a lot of novels is dialogue until you come across a book where the three lead characters don't speak. As a result, it seemed like I wasn't making any progress in the book a lot of the time. The reading experience was a rewarding one, though.

Peter Newman's writing was superb and having to infer the Vagrant's nature and motives from his actions elevated the reading experience quite a bit. I never thought I'd get this attached to a nameless baby and a goat. The worldbuilding was interesting, mostly through the dialogue of the characters around the Vagrant and his gang. There were some infodumps in the form of flashbacks but they were easily digestible.

I don't really have anything bad to say about this book. It's a more difficult read than most fantasy books out there but it's also more rewarding. Four out of five stars.
Profile Image for Bookwraiths.
698 reviews1,041 followers
August 15, 2016
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

My rating is 3.5 stars.

The Vagrant! The title itself is intriguing, begging the question how a fantasy story could revolve around such a person. But then you begin to read the book, and it all becomes so clear that Peter Newman is channeling equal parts Stephen King’s The Gunslinger, Peter Ward’s The Warded Man, and McCormac’s The Road, as The Vagrant mixes the extraordinary elements of each of those books, creating something spectacularly addictive, which not only defies expectations but ignores all presumptions, as it knocks you right on your proverbial ass and drags you to a place you’ve never experienced quite this way before.

As the tale begins, the protagonist walks out of the shimmering heat of the desolate landscape. This mysterious mute a sword-wielding knight of some kind, who is on a quest with a baby and a goat in tow. The three of them traveling across a post-apocalyptic landscape toward the Shining City. Their every step forward dogged by demonic pursuers who have conquered and blighted this once peaceful and beautiful land. The world’s dirty carcass infested with the warped remnants of humanity and the slowly deteriorating technology of the time before the demons. The different factions of a huge, demonic host introduced, shown in all their grotesque splendor, their infighting described, and their warping of mankind explored. The ongoing journey of the Vagrant tense and revealing of his true nature. Continual interludes dubbed “Eight Years Before” filling in the background on how the demon infestation began, who the Vagrant really is, why he is carrying a baby along, and where they are determined to go.

While this description of the novel might remind many people of other post-apocalyptic novels from the past, what sets The Vagrant apart is Mr. Newman’s storytelling style. It is jarring at times, dark and depressing, sad yet joyful, simple but multifarious as well as demanding due to its protagonist, as a reader must search the non-verbal communication of this mute knight to determine his emotions, motives, and innate nature. The lack of dialogue turning from an annoyance at the beginning of the story to a masterful stroke by the end; Mr. Newman able to convey the deepest of sentiments and invoke the strongest of responses with a simplicity of words. The slightest expressions on our knight’s face saying more than ten pages of internal monologue ever could.

As for the worldbuilding, it is an integral and irreplaceable part of the story. Mr. Newman dropping a reader into the midst of an eerie and unnatural world, then gradually revealing it not a new idea but very effectively done. Each tidbit of information growing upon the other until a complex world begins to take shape. The search for answers to the how and why of this place nearly as compelling as the Vagrant’s journey. The demonic forces pursuing his small band even more ominous due to the lack of understanding of exactly why they are after our hero. And the author’s slow revelations of all the answers (or, at least, most of them) mesmerizing in its gradual unveiling.

While I usually have to weed down my criticisms about a book to a manageable number (Yeah, I’m a hater like that, I suppose.), the only one I really had with The Vagrant was the repetitive nature of some parts of his journey. Naturally, he is moving through a desolate, formidable landscape, which doesn’t transform too much from encounter to encounter, but several of his interactions with the demonic forces and with the dredges of humanity felt the same. Definitely, different events were transpiring, but they were so reminiscent in tone and scope to previous scenes that I felt like I was having déjà vu. Thankfully, though, this problem did not persist the entire narrative, resolving itself as our hero’s journey proceeded into new locales with unique challenges and fresh faces.

Reading The Vagrant was one of the more rewarding reading experiences I’ve had lately. It is a dark, unique, brooding (at times) tale, which still finds a way to incorporate immense beauty (both spiritually and physically) into its narrative. Sure, it was difficult to read, forcing me to keep my attention focused on the briefest of details in order to understand the goings-on of its silent hero, but that made the emotions it evoked deeper and more heartfelt. And, by the end, I found I was cheering for this quiet knight, a baby, a goat, and whatever castoff the Vagrant had picked up now to find some safety and sanity in a world gone mad. Highly recommended!

I received this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone
Profile Image for seak.
429 reviews473 followers
October 29, 2021
Hey, I have a booktube channel (youtube for book reviews, etc.), and I include The Vagrant in my Top 10 Underrated Books list here. Please subscribe if I earned it!

I actually accepted a copy of The Vagrant from the publisher knowing just about nothing about the book. The synopsis coupled with an intriguing, if somewhat cliche, cover (but wait, a baby?!?) sold me alone. This doesn't happen all the time and usually when this is all that sells me on a book, I end up about as disappointed as you can get.

That's why I scour blogs and Goodreads so regularly. I can't trust my gut reaction on these things...normally.

The Vagrant is a hard book to nail down. It involves a mysterious man, the Vagrant, who can't speak and who's on some kind of pilgrimage with a baby in tow as well as a goat he picks up. He carries a huge, mythical sword and it seems like he's trying to save the world or some such thing.

Right away, you're thinking, epic fantasy right?

Well, that's not quite it. It obviously also takes place in some type of futuristic landscape because there are neon lights and all kinds of other technologies the reader begins to meet along the way.

The closest I can put it is probably Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire series. A good mix of fantasy and science fiction and lots of dark, unspeakable doings. I think I can firmly put it in grimdark at the very least ... whatever that means.

In a book where the main character can't speak, I'm quite impressed at the degree of emotions I felt, almost on par with Janny Wurts, who really gets the feels out of me.

The Vagrant, as mentioned, is on a quest and many are out to stop him. Demons have taken over the land, corrupted the people with a taint, though not all, and submitted humanity to their wills.

With their own factions vying for power, the demons have different ways of subjugating humanity. However, they end up hurting their cause with all the infighting. Filled with grotesque monsters, one which has literally built itself out of masses of dead humans, The Vagrant is dark and twisted and make for excellent juxtaposition of the goodness of The Vagrant and those who follow in his wake.

The novel itself is broken into chapters with interludes going back to the beginning of the demon infestation, starting with "Eight Years Ago" and moving up to the present. One of the things that threw me for a bit was during these sections, the action would go back to the present without a chapter break in between. This only happened a few times and I found myself wondering if it was an accident. It's not a huge deal, just an odd thing I wanted to discuss with anyone who's read it.

Though dark, more likely because of the dark, The Vagrant emphasizes the light. The emotions were deep, I was amazed how deeply I felt for this character who can't even speak. And then there's the goat, who also can't speak (he's not some magic goat, just a run-of-the-mill one) which was probably one of my favorite characters in this book.

I can't recommend The Vagrant enough. It's different than anything else I've read. It's dark and brooding, but filled with so much beauty at the same time. Peter Newman is an author to watch.

4.5 out of 5 Stars (very highly recommended)
Profile Image for Ivan.
417 reviews277 followers
April 15, 2017
The Vagrant was delightful read.Not perfect but so fresh and unique that it's easy to overlook any potential flaws.

Lets start with the cast.We have mute protagonist, baby and the goat. Not a talkative bunch but that doesn't stop them from being well developed, even the goat (especially the goat).We don't get to see what's going on inside Vagrant's mind, we only get insight into his thoughts based on his reactions and actions.Later odd fellowship is joined by other characters, most episodic and one more permanent but all colorful and intriguing with one of the best side characters ever.

Story takes place in world that is combination of grimdark fantasy and post-apocalyptic sci-fi with a dash of pathos more common in heroic fantasy. Science fantasy isn't new genre but it's definitively not common.
In this world evil has won and humanity lost and it's getting overrun by demons.That sounds like Brett's Demon cycle but here they are not just faceless evil.Yes Demon=bad but it's not that simple. We actually get to experience story from PoV of several demons and see into their minds.They are alien to us but there have their hopes, fears and strivings within their own distinctive personalities and their own turmoil within the faction. Some of them even become likable.
Technological level of world itself is hard to guess, partially because humanity went to shambles but mostly because author is obscure with details of world itself.We only get few indications here and there.

Speaking of obscure, we don't get much detail of character's or looks either .We get few details but rest if left to imagination.I am great fan of that approach ever since I read Kingkiller chronicles. I don't like detailed character descriptions, instead I like approach where character description should only contain few distinctive details. So while Newman has strange writing style it is definitively one that suits my taste.

Flaws mentioned above? Well second half of the book isn't as good, pace slows down and end is bit anticlimactic but it doesn't ruin my overall impression.
Author 1 book358 followers
February 28, 2017
The Vagrant is an interesting format, and not one that you see very often, but very well executed, with multi-leveled characters & exciting action set pieces. The writing is solid, well-crafted, and in no rush.
In an alien infected, post apocalyptic world, a mute soldier is called to protect an ancient and powerful sword, and return it to it's rightful owners. But, unable to speak, and with no company but a baby and a goat, will he manage to successfully finish his task, or humanity is doomed to perish?

"Seeing the fate of its peers, the last of the great shapes moves quickly, the world already clawing at its edges. Unable to find a suitable shell, it weaves a cloak of corpses about itself. Skulls, feet and ribs marry uneasily. Withing the necrotic ball, the Uncivil is birthed."

Newman has a special talent in reinforcing the axiom that nobody is safe in his books at the most inappropriate of times, using though a technique of simulating the appearance of danger without actually jeopardizing his well structured plot. The post apocalyptic, "alien" infected world brings a serious and grim tone, while in the flashbacks we get to read the truth behind the invasion, and make the connections of how the world spiraled from post apocalyptic to fantastic & alien infected.

All in all, The Vagrant is a weird but amazing read,and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all new age-fantasy readers out there.

You can find more of my reviews over at http://BookNest.eu/
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,962 followers
February 9, 2017
I wouldn't say this was an endlessly engaging book about a mute, a baby and a goat, but the quality of the writing was such that I was lost in evocation, the magical spell of the text.

I was slightly worried that this might have turned into a paint-by-numbers fantasy with a clever mute with a baby and a goat twist, but no, it actually became a flowing, even lyrical quest of redemption and slow reveals percolating from the past.

I mean, demon hoards and intelligent singing swords are pretty awesome in any text, so I was pretty much all-in from that standpoint, but I think it became something special by the necessity of keeping the MC silent. From a writing standpoint, I was fascinated. All dialogue was carried by incidentals and sidekicks and the demons, strangely enough, and I was pretty well amazed by how much story was carried by the economical prose and the strong imagery.

When it comes to plot, it's pretty simple, but that doesn't really matter when the writing is this strong. I mean, hello, a knight on a quest of redeeming himself is chased by hoards of demons while occasionally dispatching them with the help of a Great Weapon, picking up hoards of refugees along the way and doing various Good Deeds. Of course, a good paladin stuck changing diapers and rescuing a goat is rather odd, especially when he never says a word, but my lord, it's pretty wild to see a novel pull it off, and do it well! :)

This one is going in a personal organizational pile of Notable Works, giving me a warm feeling of accomplishment not for having read it, because it was an effortless read, but for the fact that it was written at all, and it was very enjoyable. :)
Profile Image for edge of bubble.
247 reviews154 followers
May 11, 2017
I can't say I was in love with this book. But, like is such a mild word to describe my affection for it. Maybe strong fondness. Why does it matter that I find the right word to describe my feelings for it? I don't know, it just does.

The Vagrant reminded me of Ursula Le Guinn's A Wizard of Earthsea. The stories were nothing alike, or the writing. But, both are tales of journeys in a fantasy setting. Not tales of heroes defeating evil or delivering the world from it's fate, those are just a part of the setting. Expectations stemming from thinking this book is a typical grimdark fantasy/sci-fi, can result in losing the sight of the peregrination, and being disappointed in the ending.

I've gone into this book without knowing anything about it, except that the hero was mute and there were a baby and goat. At first, I was expecting/seeing very distinct factions of evil and good. As I progressed, I started to realise there were no good people or epitome of evil. Kindness and dignity swallowed by weakness and the most basic instinct to live. Arrogance and righteousness crushing the insides of honour and sacrifice. What are we in the last strains of our rope to life, if not selfish? Does that selfishness make us bad? What is our hold in goodness? Faith in structure? That can be forgotten or distorted with enough effort and time. Love? What happens when we love one person more than any other?

Vagrant was an unusual hero. Not only because he was silent throughout the whole story but also he was neither good nor bad. He just tried to be good. Sometimes succeed, sometimes failed. He acted stupid, he acted indifferent, he was clever, he was the hero.

His silence never bothered me and worked to show the author's genius with his words. Newman did not tell us things, he showed every feeling and thought, with his unsual and simple yet lyrical prose. Descriptions were one of the strongest points of his writing. Sometimes very simple, in accord with the feeling of the sentence or what he was describing. Sometimes long, but never confusing or suffocating.

Another thing that suprised me was that the author killed without flinching. But not for the shock factor. Every death took the story a little forward. All the blood that flowed painted something in his world. And it is a majestic world! I loved his worldbuilding.

Despite of all the grimness of the story, throughout the book, the dominant feeling in me was peace. It is a perplexing thing, even counting the soft and amusing moments that lightened the mood.

The baby and goat made this story more than a struggle for self control and survival. This will be a bit cliche but, they've added innocence amd simple pleasures. Their enjoyement of little things or little rebellions drove the grimness of their reality a little bit harder into me. And how amazing beings we can be, living and loving and laughing and mutinous in the face of bleak circumstances.

The interactions between the little one and Vagrant was a delicious source of humour. One scene in particular is my favourite;

A stream of bubbles appear on the surface of the water. Vesper points at the Vagrant. "Dada!"
Eyebrows raise, indignant. Vesper laughs and laughs...

There are a few things that make me don my bitchy glasses immediately, while reading. Two of them are, use of present tense and time jumps to tell background story. Both of which were used in here. And yet, this book withstood my bitchy glasses with dignity, and I have to admit that the author rocked the present tense writing, so I'm giving it the full ratings it deserves.
Profile Image for David Sven.
288 reviews445 followers
May 29, 2015
A lone wanderer, wanders across the desert
A lone wanderer, and a baby wander across a wasteland
A lone wanderer, a baby and a seeing sword wander across a post-apocalyptic..
A lone wanderer, a baby, a moaning, seeing sword with wings..no of course it doesn't see with it's wings!.. and a goat wander across

A lone Wandering Knight, cloaked in mystery, speechless, travels across an apocalyptic landscape. He carries in his possession an artifact pure and powerful - Gamma's Sword, a seeing, living weapon of vast power. Also in his possession is a baby, weak and vulnerable - and a goat- not so weak or vulnerable.

So we have four of our main characters right off the bat - none of whom can talk - and Peter Newman makes it work, creating an air of mystery that had me intrigued from the start.

This book is set in a post apocalyptic alternate world ruined in a war between god-like creatures ie The Seven - angelic beings who ruled a High Tech utopia and then the Infernal Horde which spewed from a breach in the world's crust and twisted everything it touched with its essence.

The setting reminded me a bit of the xbox/ps3 game "Borderlands" with a supernatural (or unnatural) twist. A combination of Hi Tech guns and biological augmentation, and mutation demonic knights and magic-like swords. It was pretty cool.

I also liked Jot Davies as an audio narrator who combined an understated narrator's voice with a ridiculously good range of character voices that really made the story pop.

I think the story gets a little lost along the way, but still, I enjoyed the adventures of the Vagrant and his travelling companions, as they travel north on a holy mission to save humanity...or something like that.

This is a fresh take on the Post Apocalyptic story from a debut author. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for more from this author

I'm giving it 4 stars

PS: I wan't joking about the goat. The goat is one of my favourite characters.

Profile Image for Stefan.
166 reviews224 followers
November 21, 2017
Book Vagrant is:
Miller's Mad Max 2 *


only without cars;
Del Torro's Pacific Rim


only without 5 storage high reptiles and
it reminds me a bit of Invasion of The Body Snatchers.


And in that world roams, without apparent reason nor quest, our main protagonist.
Who's mute.

"- Ooookay... A bit unconventional - but for sure writer did stick some blabbermouth as his companion who'll more than enoug..."

Nope. Main companion of our mute protagonist is - a baby.

- „Aha. Mhm. Hmm...“

But we have very amusing - goat.

- "What?“

Story focuses around mute Vagrant who in his arms - around post-apocalyptic wastefu*k of the world while fighting with his sword against demons and evil inhumans - carries a baby.
And there's a moody goat, with distinctive sense of humor, that hangs around with them.

-"Hmmm... Wait a sec... A goat? With sense for humor? I don't know what to think about that...“

I know. Think how will you move this in your schedule and start reading it. As soon as possible.
Because even though our three main protagonists among themselves - nor with anyone else for that matter - haven't spoken a single word, author managed to make them interesting to follow and care about.

Also, all those big, evil baddies in this book are neither that big nor evil.
Which means that he succeeded in making their motives, wishes, urges, fears, hopes believable and portrayed them in a way so that you will understand even their side.
Of course, you'll still cheer for the goat, but I want to say this: even though world in this book is really black - characters in it are significantly gray.

And maybe the biggest jewel of this book is authors prose. A man writes really well.

-"Yes, but still, a goat, man...“

There there, enough with the goat. Clean your schedule and see how you can fit this book in it.

Worldbuilding – 2.5 (3 if you feel generous or if you never heard of authors like Tolkien, Jordan, Howard);
Magic System – 2.5;
History and Lore – 3.5.

So, how come 5 stars if numbers are this mediocre?
Because author is good and promises;
Plot, characters and story are something fresh and different from everything I have read in EF genre (and other sub-genres where this belongs);
Because I liked it and because I said so. :D
Because experience while and feelings after reading cannot be measured with tactical-technical data.

*Usage of gifs in this review is one-time thing and non-repetitive in the future.
You hear that, Edge? :D
July 20, 2020

💀 DNF at 68%.

It’s Super Extra Quick Moderately Painful Review Time (SEQMPRT)! Yay and stuff!

Why this book could and should have been Slightly Very Cool (SVC™) but proved to be a Somewhat Agonizing Experience (SAE™) instead:

👍 It’s about a mute knight errand type guy, a baby and a goat (which, while not as potentially nefarious as my murderous children, still has an inborn ability for mischief and mayhem. And that’s a scientifically proven fact).

👍 It’s about a world that has been kinda sorta taken over by yummy demons, which is most scrumptious indeed. Because it is a truth universally acknowledged that demons do everything better.

👎 I don’t like post-apocalyptic crap stuff.

👎 I don’t like boring journey-type plots.

👎 The book is a disjointed, confusing mess. I’ve survived The Dragon Never Sleeps twice, so believe me when I tell you I know how gloriously glorious Confusing as Fish Confusion (CaFC™) can be. Here it’s not glorious, it’s revoltingly allergy-inducing.

Yeah, so far so good.

👎 Present Tense Narrative of Doom (PTNoD™). Unless you’re my boyfriend Jimmy Stark do NOT, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, talk to me in the present tense. I might slightly unleash my homicidal kids on you if you do. But hey, no pressure and stuff.

👎 It’s Skim Skim Skim Yawn Yawn Yawn Time (S³Y³T™)! Yay! This book is absolutely fascinating! Yay! It's all travel, kill some people, save some people, move along, repeat repeat repeat and stuff! Yay! It makes you feel like you’re reading the same chapter over and over again! Yay!

👎 I didn’t give a flying fish about the Super Extra Vague World (SEVW™) or the Mighty Super Flat Characters (MSFC)! Yay again!

All in all, I think you might possibly say I might not have liked this book very much. Maybe.

Nefarious Last Words (NLW™):

P.S. I don’t think I’ll be reading the next book in the series. Not sure why. Just a feeling I got.

[Pre-review nonsense]

Why this was positively fascinating.

Full review to come and stuff.
Profile Image for Philip.
498 reviews672 followers
May 11, 2017
1.5ish stars.

The premise is really cool. The dark tone is atmospheric and engaging. The sparse prose is pretty and had me entranced for a little while. Having said that, my experience reading this was much the same as it was while reading The Road (with which I've found this book has several similarities in style and content) but without any of the payoff. I eventually became disillusioned with the sparse, pretty prose and, within three or four chapters, found it to be frustratingly detached and inadequate. It works better in The Road because of that novel's simple allegorical message, purposefully stark characters and because McCarthy is honestly just a better writer.

In The Vagrant, I feel like we're supposed to find out who these characters are. We're supposed to figure out what's going on and why as details slowly unfold. I was never able to invest myself enough to care. It became such a chore to continue reading. Not to mention that the Vagrant himself is never as cool as I hoped he'd be. He's pretty cool. Fairly cool. Coolish. Coolish is not cool enough to carry what I ultimately found to be a boring novel.
Profile Image for Choko.
1,196 reviews2,583 followers
July 10, 2020
"...“To him the Seraph Knights are heroes from a time when childhood was more than the few moments between consciousness and disappointment.”...

This was dark, and bleak, and moody... The author relies much more on his expressive writing than the plot itself. It is simple and beautiful in its simplicity, but it is not for those without much patience. The story definitely unfolds itself slowly, in its own time and pace, and the world leaves you feeling hapless and hopeless... But there are small lights in the darkness. The Vagrant, holding on to his humanity by a thread, but ferociously. The boy who chose to follow him, Harm, who in his imperfection finds a reason to try to do and be better! The tainted child overtaken by the evil Usurper, nailed into its armor, but being shown a smidgen of kindness chooses to walk a less poisonous path...

"...‘There’s something else, too. I’ve never told anyone this but maybe you’ll understand.’
The Hammer lowers her voice on instinct, to whisper, uncharacteristic. ‘Secret?’
‘Yes. Will you keep it for me?’
‘Yes.’ She touches her belly. ‘Here. In deep.’
‘We’ve all had to do terrible things to survive. This world makes us cruel. I thought it was the way of things until I met him. He’s different. I don’t know how to explain it, it’s like he’s found a way to hang on, despite everything. But it’s precarious, you know?’
‘I mean, he’s holding on but only just, only with fingertips, and I can’t bear to let him fall. Does that make sense?’
The Hammer thinks. ‘No.’
‘I see him and Vesper together and I want to protect them from everything out there.’
‘Ah. Yes.’
‘And sometimes I have this feeling, that they need us to help them. And I think that if I can do that, keep them safe somehow, then maybe there might be some hope for me, too.’
‘I’m saying that if I stay with them, I might become someone else, someone better. And that person could have the kind of life I’d given up on.’
The Hammer’s face dips shyly. ‘And me?’
‘Yes!’ whispers Harm, fierce. ‘And you. All of us together.’
‘Good.’ She strokes the sleeping goat with a hand, unprotected.”..."

And then there is the Sword, the one which used to belong to Gamma, one of the Seven, the leaders of the World from before the Apocalyptical events took place. The Sword which allows itself to be handled by the Vagrant and protects the Baby, yes, baby which the Vagrant carries under his cloak... It is more than a little amazing the Baby survives as well as it does, I tell ya that... But the main reason for the baby's survival and far and away the best character in the whole book is - THE GOAT!!! That creature is stubborn and temperamental enough to make it through darn near anything. It might have had a bit of those demons in it, even if it wasn't tainted... Loved it!

The author does a great job for such a moody, bleak world, to make us care about a mute character we are not told what he feels, but shown! I love that! He gives more emotional interpretation of the actions of the baby and the goat, than the main character! That is just awesome to read. He obviously has a ton of creative talent and shows off his lyrical writing chops, and gets away with a very simple plot, but done really well. I am totally in love with The Hammer and the goat!!!

This book is not for everyone, but I would recommend you give it a try. What could you possibly lose, while think of the strange and darkly lyrical story you could add to your experiences:) Plus, who doesn't love babies and goats? 😈🦌🙂
Profile Image for Matthew.
381 reviews137 followers
April 26, 2015
The Vagrant tells the story of a lone Seraph Knight (The Vagrant) as he travels across a post-demonic and apocalyptic landscape with only a legendary sword and a baby for companionship. He must deliver this sword to the Shining City, the last bastion of humanity, if there is to be any hope of defeating the demonic plague. But the Shining City is far away, and the blasted lands are a very dangerous place.

I was lucky enough to be the recipient of an early ARC of the Vagrant many months ago. At the time I was blown away by the ambition and scope of the story, and following its release my opinion has only grown after reading it again in its final form. The Vagrant is one of the most fresh and compelling books I've read in years, with Newman weaving an imaginative and enthralling story that is set in arguably one of my favourite worlds since I read Frank Herbert's Dune a long time ago.

So what did I love about this book that warranted me giving it a full rating of five stars? Oh so many things.

The titular Vagrant is arguably one of the most fascinating protagonists I've come across in years. A mute, he doesn't speak (although he can sing, which reminded me of people with speech impediments who can't speak but sing beautifully without any trouble) throughout the entire book. Instead, he communicates solely via facial expressions, gestures and cues, and body language. In fact Newman does a superb job of showing rather than telling throughout the entire book, and it made for absolutely enthralling reading. I adored how the Vagrant interacted with those around him, and a simple thing such as a waved hand or a raised eyebrow drove the story along and made for such a wonderful and unique reading experience. The Vagrant's background as a Seraph Knight also remained mysterious right to the end, despite the use of flashbacks throughout the book. This for me added to his mystique and compelling nature, but may leave some readers who want things fully fleshed out disappointed.

I also loved the other characters in this book. Vesper, the infant on the cover, brought a real sense of innocence and fragility to the story. Her bond and relationship with the Vagrant is one of the highlights of the book. I adored how he watched over and protected her (as a stay at home father for my beautiful little girl I can relate) as they travelled, and I laughed out loud at parental moments like nappies that needed changing at the worst possible place and time. The constant struggle to feed and protect Vesper from both demons and humans alike was also incredibly vivid and real, adding a real tension as they travelled across the blasted lands. Harm was another fascinating character who joins the Vagrant and Vesper as they travel. His redemptive evolution into another surrogate parent of Vesper is wonderful, and made even more so by the fact that he is tainted by demonic energies. There are so many other compelling characters in this story, far too many for me to go into in this review. One however that has to be mentioned is the goat. A point of view character in some sections of the book, the goat provides many hilarious moments of stubbornness that made me laugh and shake my head at it all. I've had goats, and trust me they are infuriating buggers that somehow manage to find a way into your heart. The goat in the Vagrant is the same.

The world building in The Vagrant is also stunning beyond belief. Weaving together elements borrowed from fantasy, science fiction, and apocalyptic fiction, Newman has produced one of the most amazing and jaw-dropping settings I've read in many years. The blasted lands come to life before your eyes in a way that reminded me of Stephen King's Gunslinger, the Warhmmer universe (the forces of Chaos especially) and the Fallout games. I felt very alone and alienated playing those games, and I got the same sense of hopelessness and danger around every corner from this book. The blasted lands are gritty, dark, and incredibly dangerous, with the demonic hordes and their leaders changing the face of literally everything. The humans that survived the invasion are mostly tainted (some by choice), and deformed cities and ruins that pockmark the landscape are shadows of their former selves. In showcasing this ruined world Newman also describes what existed before the invasion, a world where an advanced civilisation reigned supreme. Sky ships traversed the skies, armoured tanks and trains powered over the land, and the power of the Seven and the Seraph Knights was unchallenged. This distinction between the two worlds is also what makes The Vagrant so addictive. I loved reading about the broken and tainted remnants of humanity cannibalising technology in order to try and eke out a vestige of their former existence, and the environmental changes brought about by the release of demonic energies alone made this book worth it.

The action itself is also top notch, and I licked my lips at the many battles and fights that unfolded throughout the book. The prologue, depicting the initial invasion from the Breach and the downfall of Gamma, was poetic and enthralling from the outset, and the fights that followed also were amazing and gruesome in nature. In fact I'd argue that Newman has a real knack for choreographing a fight scene (it comes as no surprise that he has a background in Drama), with his use of language, tone and emotion in these parts keeping me glued to the book from start to finish. The plot raced along at a fast pace, and at no stage did I feel that it laboured or slowed down. By the end of the book I still had many questions unanswered, but I felt that the foundations of what is truly going to be an amazing series had been well and truly laid.

To put it simply... I cannot find any fault with this book. I loved every single part of it. It is that bloody good! Newman has achieved something truly magical with this book in my opinion, and I haven't been as excited for a series since I first read Frank Herbert's Dune back in high school.

The Vagrant is a unique tale that is both wondrous and epic in scope and execution. An amazing debut, with an amazing future ahead. The Vagrant will now take pride of place on my bookshelves, and I cannot wait for more. An absolute must read!

5 out of 5 stars.


A review copy was provided.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,132 reviews309 followers
July 6, 2016
The Vagrant is a mute knight on a mysterious mission accompanied by a goat and a baby and travelling across a demon-infested post-apocalyptic wasteland. I would actually kind have liked to have been there when Peter Newman made his pitch to his agent because, even aside from the premise, a whole book where the main character never speaks is an interesting idea to say the least.

Newman also doesn't provide any insight to the reader by way of the Vagrant's thoughts or inner monologue either, but leaves it entirely to the actions and events that occur to tell the whole story. The reader is essentially dropped into that story and then must patiently work through it, peeling back layers in order to discover what lies its heart. Using short, economic sentences like fast moving brush strokes, Newman paints a rich and haunting portrait of a man in a world plagued by terrible things, who somehow still refuses to turn his back on those who need him the most, even when it costs him dearly to do so.

As the humans fight the demons that spread across the land, it doesn't bring out the best in them. Instead of remembering that the important thing is to help each other, many people think only of how they can help themselves. The lines between demon and human in some cases seem merely semantic. But while this is a very dark book, what keeps it from the realm of the depressing is the thread of hope that interweaves through the story. Hope that comes from trying, even if you don't know if what you're doing is ultimately going to make a difference.

It’s like I was sleeping through my life, carried along by the currents, and then all of a sudden I see somebody going the other way. I didn’t even know there was another way. And now I’ve seen it, I can’t stop wondering what it might be like to live differently, to be something else. You understand. I know. I could be telling your story instead of mine. For me, it began with a simple choice. It’s the same for you.
Profile Image for Olivier Delaye.
Author 2 books212 followers
September 23, 2020
Okay, so regarding narration I’m usually not a big fan of the passive voice, the present tense, and repeated flashbacks. I may be picky here or a bit of a quibbler but these are the things, among others, that really get my goat (and yes, there is a goat in the book, as many have mentioned, and she’s awesome). Now of course there are exceptions (Cormac McCarthy’s novels and Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy come to mind) and—drumroll please—Peter Newman’s The Vagrant is one of them. This book is downright amazing! I would, however, advise the squeamish readers out there to think twice before picking it up, as it is one of the darkest and grimmest Fantasy/SF/Dystopia novels I’ve ever read. Think Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and you won’t be wide of the mark, if you get my meaning.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world reminiscent of video games like Fallout and Wasteland, The Vagrant recounts the journey of a mute knight on a mission (yup, you got me right; the main protagonist is as silent as they come and speaks only once throughout the entire book, which as an author takes a lot of skills to pull off) and the extremes he goes through to achieve it. Now, as I said, this book is really dark—especially the first 9/10—and despite the welcome presence of a small bundle of joy called Vesper, the general feeling that seeps out of the pages is one of absolute desperation. Newman is not big on world-building, but his talent as a writer allows him to create incredibly lifelike—or more appropriately, deathlike—images in our minds with just a few well-chosen words, something which, again, requires a lot of skills to pull off. The world of The Vagrant is horrible. I think I would kill myself in a world like that, wouldn’t even bother to try and survive. Filled with demons and mutants, it is a world of pain and betrayal, of infernal corruption and doomed existence, of lost chances and hopeless struggle. The demons, which by the way are at the origin of the apocalypse (a bit like in Peter V. Brett’s The Warded Man), are the baddies here, and boy oh boy are they bad! In fact, they are so powerful and terrible that it is hard for me to even imagine how they will not prevail in the end. Short of a Deus Ex Machina, I really have no idea how Newman is going to turn things around in the sequel. Perhaps a Baby Ex Machina will do the trick… hmm, I wonder.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this book is worth reading, and, provided that Dark Fantasy/SF is your cup of tea, immensely rewarding. Kudos to you, Newman, you got me hooked!

Author of the SEBASTEN OF ATLANTIS series
The Forgotten Goddess (Sebasten of Atlantis, #1) by Olivier Delaye
Profile Image for David Katzman.
Author 3 books451 followers
October 16, 2019
This review is for all three books in The Vagrant trilogy.

The Vagrant trilogy starts strong. It has a unique style and voice…creepy, disturbing, weird and intense. It’s a surreal dystopian fantasy that lands somewhere between The Road and Spawn. I did enjoy it throughout, but as the series progresses it begins to lose steam stylistically and the weirdness becomes less inspired and the style more traditional. Of the three books, the first part The Vagrant really captured me, but then each subsequent book was a bit less compelling.

The worldbuilding establishes a human world (Is it Earth? Possibly.) in the aftermath of a huge confrontation between demonic spirits that emerged from a crack in reality, and an “angelic” force called The Seven of immortal silver beings with wings and living, singing swords. When the crack burst open, one of The Seven, Gamma, was sent to destroy the demons, however she was killed while her sword survived. The demons won and seep into the world—corrupting, absorbing, and twisting humans forms with “a taint” that mutates them. The remaining six immortals go into isolation after the loss of their sister.

The Vagrant himself is a human warrior who takes up the destroyed angel’s sword and sets out on a quest with his only companion an ornery goat to defeat the current leader of the demonic forces. Over time, it becomes clearer that these forces while appearing as angels and demons aren’t really representations of heaven or hell per se. They may have other-dimensional and magical abilities, but their aspects are by no means so black and white. The angelic immortals aren’t all-good but they do generally represent “law” (and conformity) while the demons represent more chaos than evil.

The Vagrant is mute and never speaks, but he can sing and when he does it enhances the power of Gamma’s sword allowing it to generate enough energy to block projectiles or emit forces. He travels through a surreal world that morphs around him encountering bizarre creatures that hybridize human and demonic aspects. The atmosphere is dark and post-apocalyptic, which is quite literally true here as it takes place after the demonic apocalypse that infected most of the entire planet. The sun itself above was split into two halves—a yellow sun and a blood red sun. Newman does a very nice job developing a disturbing atmosphere that lies somewhere between horror and fantasy. It has a knowing ambiguity, as if there is much behind the scenes we cannot understand. Book one ends with a satisfying conclusion and the unique style and atmosphere drove me immediately on to the rest of the series.

As the second book begins, Gamma’s sword is taken up by The Vagrant’s daughter who in similar fashion to her father goes on a quest against demonic forces. Like her father, she is noble and kind-hearted, but whereas he often seemed reluctant and dragged into doing the right thing…she is rather painfully naïve. Her character grated on me at times because she was so innocent.

As book two moves into book three, we find the story continues to focus on The Vagrant’s daughter Vesper. Her mission at this point grows even larger as she takes sides in a final confrontation between the remaining immortal angels and the forces of the demons. The story in part three has evolved to combine singular heroics and warfare with political and cultural struggles. Vesper’s role becomes a figure infrequently seen in fantasy, a socio-political actor—something more than just a hero who defeats a great evil in combat. It’s an interesting evolution but technically, as a story it all becomes a bit less interesting. The story has lost some of its edge, and I also attribute that partially to the lack of depth of Vesper and the world becoming too set and established in its nature. It’s no longer as surprising and twisted as it was in book one.

I had a few additional niggles…some of the characters, particularly Vesper’s “love interest,” are grating and their relationship seems hardly justified. And Vesper’s story becomes too didactic by the conclusion. But overall, The Vagrant trilogy is a unique contribution to the fantasy genre and especially book 1 comes recommended to fans for surreal, near-horror dystopias.
Profile Image for Jason.
1,179 reviews255 followers
May 29, 2016
5 Stars

"‘You’re confused. I know what that’s like. He did the same to me.’ Harm ignores the Vagrant’s silent question, keeps his focus on the giant Usurperkin. ‘I used to live in Verdigris but I left that life behind to follow a rogue Seraph and his baby. When I stop to think about it, I realize it’s madness but I don’t care. This new life is many things but it’s not poison.’"

After my reread a year later, my thoughts have not changed.

I loved The Vagrant by Peter Newman. This book deserves full marks because it has originality, it is dark without being vulgar or depraved, and it is filled with deep emotions even though there is very little dialogue. What could be crazier than a traveling lone, mute warrior, a tiny baby, a spirited goat, and a living sword. None of them can Talk!

Newman does an amazing job at both world building and character building of our protagonist through the dialogue of others and through the detailed writing of the situation at hand. I loved how connected I felt to the Vagrant and how Newman made him easy for us to read. His writing was fantastic and it made this story special.

The world is fantastic and it reminded me of one of my favorites The Gone Away World by Nick Haraway. The world is both futuristic, apocalyptic, and also old, all mixed into one. There are swords and bows, but also guns and bombs. There are neon lights, old trucks, and mention of flying dirgibles. Great stuff.

The pacing is fast enough that the book is tough to put down. The ending is satisfying. I look forward to reading more from Peter Newman and easily give this cool book my recommendation!

Quotes :

"In four steps the Vagrant has crossed the room, his blade stretching out for her across the desk. His mouth opens with the stroke, a mournful note blending with the sword’s voice, igniting the air lightning blue. Squealing, the half-breed leaps back, avoiding humming metal, shrivelling wherever flames touch her monstrous body. In her human hand she now holds a gun, ugly and battered and ready to kill. The Vagrant freezes. There is little cover in the cramped room and less time to think. He spins to the left, blade pointed downwards, silver wings reaching to protect his face."

"He answers with a long cry as he blocks, sadness counterpointing the wrathful resonance of the sword. The desk crashes to the floor, once, twice. Neither half touches the Vagrant. There is a flurry of movement, a mix of arms and sword, of man and half-breed, of bestial grunts and sharp song. When it is over, the Overseer lies prostrate and limbless, a grotesque pear-shape. He plunges the sword deep into her. Fire burns blue, devouring the corpse greedily, until only charred chunks remain. An eye closes."

I loved this book again. It is remarkable!

121 reviews57 followers
April 26, 2017
2.5 stars.

This book was a HUGE mixed bag for me, because a lot of the elements were so good, but other elements were just plain boring and not very well presented at all. It reminded me an awful lot of The Road, but again, certain elements I enjoyed more than The Road, other elements fell completely flat.

This book brings us into a world where the sun has (literally) been split in two. Two smaller suns now orbit each other, one red, and one white. I'm not sure how this happened, but it did. There was some kind of breach in reality, that caused demonic forces to be unleashed upon the world, bringing with it a Taint that mutated and distorted much of humanity.

And then we have the Vagrant himself. Nameless, wordless, carrying nothing but a baby and a sword. He is a man on a mission, though it is not clear what that mission is until roughly halfway through the book. Along the way he acquires a few other companions: a goat (who is almost a kind of comic-relief), a man named Harm (who befriends the Vagrant and helps take care of the baby), and the Hammer (who is a kind of female demonic-creature-thing).

If it sounds cool, it's because it is =]. The characterization, the concept, and the dark ambiance of the world is really, really fascinating.

Things I loved:

1. The relationships between The Vagrant, the baby, Harm, and the Hammer are just so good. I kid you not, at times I felt like I was going to cry while reading certain interactions, because there is a deep-seated goodness in each of these characters that gets brought out in the dialogue. This might seem like a GrimDark novel, but it really isn't. The Vagrant is as noble and heroic as any character you could read about, and there are no gray lines between right and wrong. The darkness here comes from the world itself, not from the protagonist or supporting characters.

2. The prose, though admittedly a little odd and minimalistic, actually enhanced this book for me. Many people might take issue with it, but I'm not one of those people. I really enjoyed that aspect of this book.

3. Conceptually, the idea for this book is something I love, and was immediately drawn to. Like.... Just look at the cover. ITS REALLY COOL. The name, the cover, the concept behind the book, the environment created in the story - I loved it even before I started reading. Something about a lone, wordless Vagrant (even the word sounds cool), carrying nothing but a sword and a baby, really drew me in.

Things I hated:

Sooooo, why am I giving this 2.5 stars? Everything I've said thus far makes it sound like a five star read! It should be a five star read, right?

Yeah, trust me, I am as disappointed as anybody, because this should have and could have easily been worth five stars. But for as many elements as were amazing, there were an equal number of elements that dragged the book down. Here's a few major issues I had:

The story was told from both a "microscope" perspective and a "telescope" perspective, which almost never works. Here's what I mean by that. Rather than using multiple POV's, the book was told from the perspective of the Vagrant, but then at random points throughout the book, the story switched back to an "eight years earlier" perspective, and told the BIG picture of what happened to the world, without reference to any of the characters in the primary story.

This was a big negative because it felt almost completely disconnected from the story about the Vagrant and the baby . And it honestly wasn't interesting at all. This part of the story was painted in really broad strokes, rather than letting us discover the world from the perspective of the Vagrant, and having these random gaps in the narrative took away from the Vagrant's story in many ways.

All at once, rather than this being a survival and lone-ranger-on-a-mission type of story, it was trying really hard to become Epic Fantasy, and it just didn't work at all. It messed up the pacing, it took away from the parts of the book you actually cared about, and turned it into an overall boring read.

I loved the characters, but didn't feel I had enough of them. I loved the concept, but didn't find it to be well-executed. I loved the writing, but for half the book the writing was sub-par while the other half was still fantastic.

It was frustrating. It felt like a book that I loved was being shoved into a book that I hated, and that basically ruined it for me.

Somebody else might read this and really enjoy it, but for me personally I didn't feel like I got what I came for, and I didn't feel like the author did justice to what could have been an amazing story =/.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, if you have any!
Profile Image for Phee.
571 reviews58 followers
October 13, 2017
A new favourite.

A mute man, a baby and a goat, that was all I had to hear about this book to pick it up. This is one that, I think, slips under the radar somewhat. People take one look at the synopsis and think that a mute protagonist isn’t going to make the reader care about him, his mission or the world he lives in.
How can you enjoy a character so much when he doesn’t speak? How can you learn his motive and his emotions. It shouldn’t work, but my goodness it does work, it works in such a beautifully unique and abstract way. The Vagrant doesn’t utter a single word, his means of communication are much more subtle. A look, an expression, his actions. His story starts eight years prior and is told through intermittent flashback chapters. Normally, time jumps are a real annoyance for me. I find they interrupt the flow of the story and break the pace. In the Vagrant however they are essential. They tell the story that the Vagrant himself can’t tell. Giving the reader a glimpse into what drives this badass hero forward. They start eight years ago and slowly come to the where the story began. The Vagrant as a protagonist has become one of my favourites. He does whatever is necessary to succeed in his mission to get the baby to the north. But he has compassion and makes sacrifices along the way. He saves those he can and protects those that need help. True heroic qualities in a man that is a complete badass with his own mysterious singing sword.

The world was built up slowly which I appreciated as I find a sci-fi/dystopian worlds hard to grasp, especially if the book starts out with an info dump. Which thankfully this one didn’t. The world itself felt to me a lot like a mix of the video games ‘Fallout’ and ‘Dark Souls’. (Two of my favourites by the way.)
It’s bleak, miserable and full of terrors and mutations. Beautifully written and very believable.

I would like to give a huge mention to the cast of side characters that made this book even more impressive. Whilst one of the deaths in this book didn’t make sense and left me feeling quite sad, the other characters and their stories were a welcome distraction. One of my favourites was the Goat. The damn stubborn Goat. Vital for the baby’s survival, there is no doubt her role is important. I was sure that it was going to get eaten very early on in the book, since reading though, I now know that goats are quite resilient.

I both read the paperback and listened to the audiobook at the same time to read this. Something I have been doing to help me with books I find more challenging, for personal reasons.
I would highly recommend the audiobook, Jot Davies narrates it and does a spectacular job. All the characters are distinct and well recognisable. The voice is also well suited to the story.

I’m so happy I picked up this book and it has now found a comfy place on my favourites shelf. Now I’m going to spend the rest of my day off playing Fallout.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,113 reviews345 followers
August 12, 2017
A silent warrior sets out on a dangerous path to reach the Shining City. All he carries with him is a baby, a powerful sword, and whatever meager supplies he has accumulated. Many tainted beings are searching to destroy the sword and only the man, The Vagrant, is able to protect and wield the divine weapon.

The Vagrant is a hard story to get into. First of all the title character doesn't speak. On top of that there is no internal dialogue that helps guide the story. Information is gathered from other characters along with flashbacks, but that's largely drips of information into a lake of a story.

The adversary in The Vagrant is rather vague. A breach has opened up in the world and the Seraph Knights along with one of the seven, Gamma, face off against the gaseous enemy that emerges from it. They are obliterated, but Gamma manages to wound the strongest of the enemy who becomes known as the Usurper. Before the sword can be destroyed a Seraph Knight flees with it.

The best way I can describe this gaseous enemy is that it's similar to the demons from the Supernatural TV series. Particularly early on before everyone and their mother had a demon killing blade. These gaseous enemies can possess living and dead people like the Supernatural demons. Doing so provides the possessed with a new personality and greater strength. They can also mildly alter others in a way known as the taint. The infected people can range from having full control of themselves to mindless pawns of the enemy. Many are physically altered as well.

Honestly I'm not sure I understand much else about what was happening in the story. The Vagrant seeks to reach the Shining City with the baby and travels from place to place doing good along the way even at the cost of ease and comfort to himself.

In the end The Vagrant is a story that took big risks with its storytelling and for me it didn't truly come together.
Profile Image for K.S..
Author 21 books609 followers
August 12, 2017
Not every day do I read a book that, in my mind, hits all the right spots.

The sparse prose won't be everyone's cup of tea. It flows well, relaying the dystopian atmosphere of the world perfectly, but it requires you to pay attention. The POV borders on omniscient...you even get a couple from the goat, which made me grin. I thought it was neat, something a little different, and for me it works well for the story this book is trying to tell.

Don't read it for the plot. Read it for the rich detail of the world, the exploration, and the mystery surrounding The Vagrant and the baby.

I've probably missed a lot because I speed-read, and I intend to go back and buy this book (which I borrowed from the library) so I can read it again.

Not for everyone, but definitely well-crafted. An excellent read.
Profile Image for Scott  Hitchcock.
779 reviews224 followers
October 3, 2016
A great world where fantasy, sci-fi, urban and dystopian are all blended together. I think the people who would love this book the best are gamers. It read like an epic quest combining demons, half-breeds that have been corrupted by a demonic pandemic, magic, modern artillery……..

The writer's style did seem choppy at first and I can see why it would put people off. I identified what it was and actually came to like it. He would form a sentence like: The knight commander walked down the street, cold, eyes glancing, calculating, fast moving. The sentence itself without context doesn't really tell the story. He would do this structure of different one word descriptors and commas one after the other. At first it was disconcerting. After a while I actually liked how it succinctly delivered the message without being overly verbose.

The thing I liked best was that mixed amongst the brutality, betrayal and greed there were acts of compassion for contrast.

There were a wide variety of unique characters including a baby and a goat which made it interesting along this dystopian setting where two distinct suns scorch the landscape. I did find it odd and at times distracting reading The Vagrant did this or The Hammer did that or The Usurper did that over and over again.

Overall a very unique book and setting worthy of a read.
May 19, 2021

This was a very special book. Very close to my heart to almost all of its aspects. I love post apocalyptic worlds and this one delivers. It’s a post war, demon infested technofantasy land. There are airships, guns, swords, sorcery etc. The Demon factions are not your typical mindless villain. They are an alien presence that actually tries to rule the ppl of the land according to their own means and cosmotheory. Others with iron hand, others with promises and charms. In this setting we follow The Vagrant in his flight towards the still free lands of the North.

He is a survivor of the war that brought all this apocalypse to the land. What makes him special is that he is a mute, wielding a special iconic weapon, and accompanied by a baby. Through some flashbacks we get to see how he ended in that situation. He is a weathered, sad and noble man. A figure from ancient epics. Solemnly journeying to his target carrying his burdens. His relationship with the baby is sweet and at times touching or hilarious. Through his odyssey he gets to meet many, a goat (!), demons, rebels etc, and kindness, lots of good humor and malice lurk in unexpected places. Many of these characters are really memorable, being friendly or antagonists. The author is capable to make u attach to characters with the minimum of words.

In general the writing is laconic. Very precise and meaningful. The whole time I felt like reading some alternative epic. About a legend of apocalyptic times. Grim gravity is always at presence. Pretty superb for me. Newman is able to build emotions with ease and present a very lively and imaginative setting. Managing this through main characters who are unable to converse is surprising and admirable.

The book could be a stand alone, but fortunately for me there are sequels and we ll be able to visit again this land and its special denizens.

P.s: I have to add that another positive aspect for me was that there are light references to social issues like how priviledged ppl treat refuges and generally low lifes. How ppl try to profit from the misery of war and poverty etc.
Profile Image for The Shayne-Train.
363 reviews90 followers
May 18, 2016
**DNF at 36%**

The idea is great, the writing is decent, and the concept of "a mute, a baby, and a goat go on a pilgrimage across a dsytopian landscape wracked by demonic wars" is incredible. But I can't do it. I just don't care enough about the peepz or the world to keep slogging through.

If'n yer gonna make a nameless mute be your third-person protagonist, he's gonna hafta be about 20% cooler.

Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,558 reviews2,312 followers
April 16, 2021
The Vagrant
By: Peter Newman
Narrated by: Jot Davies

This is a science fiction and fantasy book combined. I don't even know how to review this book because it is so different. I really liked it a lot because it was unique. There was no inner thought dialogue going on from the main character and the main character wouldn't or couldn't speak so the only progression of the story was from the action going on around him and dialogue from others. There is some flashback scenes to show the vagrant before the present time.

The main character was The Vagrant of the story. A guy on a mission and nothing was going to get in his way. He had a sword, a special sword of power that was feared and few dared to touch but wanted. He also was caring for an infant. The reader slowly finds out how he got the baby and the sword. He also has a goat to feed the baby milk.

The world building is awesome! There is talk of a space craft crash landing, people scavenging parts. But then a taint came upon the people. Unsure if it's related. But it seems there came some plague, there are monsters, and people that are using cybernetics and body parts. That part seemed fuzzy to me. But the city was not lacking. Chips in their brains, flying ships.

It was a trek that encountered many people, things, creatures, and situations. The vagrant is a Knight so he is bound to help where he can. It's a very enthralling read. I know you must be wondering how interesting can a man, a baby, and a goat be but it is an epic journey!

There are many memorable characters in here. Hammer and the goat are my two favorites. Hammer is a giant monster of a creature like a Big Foot. The goat because of her attitude!

Lots of action, emotions, imagination, and wonder in here! It's not for everyone. But I enjoyed the unique style.

The narrator was new to me and I found he was absolutely marvelous! A man of many voices! A baby...check! A monster...check! Men, women, creatures, anything... Perfectly... Check!!!
Profile Image for Jokoloyo.
449 reviews270 followers
June 2, 2016
Tried-but-not-for-me (borrowed the term from Liviu).

After finished this novel, I see it as a first novel of a series, it reminds me of Jim Butcher's Storm Front. But I like Storm Front better than this novel.

I don't mind unfinished plots or slightly growing main characters. But the perfect character (is it called Gary Stu?) of the main protagonist is not for me. If the main protagonist is not a mute, he is a perfect super hero knight defender of love and justice. The Baby and The Goat characters can easily steal a reader's sympathy from The Vagrant.

For my personal taste, this novel needs more humor. On another side, minor characters on this novel are too flat for my taste. I hope the flatness is due to introductory purpose for whole series.

I don't have issue for the setting, and I believe there could be a lot of more fantastic setting in next novels.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,811 followers
May 8, 2016
This is another that I'd call a slightly odd book. It doesn't fit neatly into any particular and recognizable sub genre. With a taste of the post apocalyptic yet also the feel of taking place in a totally different world than our own we get that introduction to a totally "new" place feeling. (Sorry for those of you who hate it when quotes are used that way. I'm simply using them as I'm sure the new place reference has been used this way elsewhere).

The Vagrant is apparently a mute traveler who seems as we meet him to be the last survivor of a powerful group known as the Seraph Knights. It's not a spoiler to say he seems to me traveling toward and to the Shining City across what is called in the synopsis a war torn land. His intent is to deliver a powerful sword to what is apparently the stronghold of the old order and maybe humanity itself. he travels across this blasted landscape with the sword, his few belongings, a goat and...a baby.

I found this an interesting book and plan to follow it up. That said it is a mixed bag writing, character and plot wise. there were times I found it rather yawn worthy and my interest wandered. I was in my "get on with it mode". There is (at least for me) sometimes a fine line between what we need to know about a world and it's people and simply telling me a little more "flavor text" than I'm interested in.

I say this as of course others may draw the line differently and love every word. (see A Song of Ice and Fire and Wheel of Time).

So as I wavered between 3 and 4 stars here I finally decided I had to go with 3. While it is a good read and makes my "I plan to follow the series" list it didn't strike me as really good. By that I mean the kind of "good" that makes me long for the next book. I generally give 5 star ratings only to books that are (FOR ME) exceptional. That means a 4 star has to be a very good book.

So a high 3, say 3.5 or maybe a gold 3 instead of a silver 3. I can recommend it. If you like fantasy I think it could be a good bet for you.
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