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The Combat Codes

(The Combat Codes Saga #1)

by
3.99  ·  Rating details ·  574 ratings  ·  81 reviews
SPFBO Award Finalist for Best Fantasy Book (2020)

"We fight, so the rest shall not have to."

In a world where single combat determines the fate of nations, the Grievar fight so that the rest can remain at peace.

Cego is a mysterious Grievar boy forced to fight his way out of the slave Circles into the world's most prestigious combat school.

At the Lyceum, Cego will learn a v
...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published October 31st 2015 by Insight Forge (first published October 2015)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  574 ratings  ·  81 reviews


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Petrik
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


Fun, tense, and entertaining; The Combat Codes is an MMA-inspired sci-fi debut with heart and well-written combat scenes.

“A perceived weakness is strength, and a flaunted strength is weakness.”


I’ve been waiting to post this review for a while now, but after hearing there will be a new updated cover art for the series done by the incredible Felix Ort
...more
Kaitlin
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spfbo-2020
Combat Codes

*I read this as it's one of this year's #SPFBO finalists and I'm a judge*

This book is a surprise for me as I really didn't know what I'd think of it when I started. It's a book which is super heavy on fighting, especially Jiu Jitsu inspired fights, and that's not something I'd typically say appeals to me, but man the characters and plot drew me in and even the fight scenes I really enjoyed in the end too.

Cego is our main character and he's a young boy off the streets. He's a charact
...more
Mark Lawrence
I haven't read this book, yet, but it's a finalist in this year's Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, so it must be good!

See the finalist board here:

https://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/...
...more
FanFiAddict
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 7.5/10

Thanks to the author for a listening copy of The Combat Codes for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

We fight neither to inflict pain nor to prolong suffering. We fight neither to mollify anger nor to satisfy vendetta. We fight neither to accumulate wealth nor to promote social standing. We fight so that the rest shall not have to.

The Combat Codes is a love letter to martial arts with a dystopian sci-fi Ushiro Geri to the solar plexus. Darwin has w
...more
Lukasz
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
“We fight, so the rest shall not have to.”

The Combat Codes is set in a dystopian society where one-on-one, MMA style combat replaced war. It blends fantasy, sci-fi, cyberpunk, martial arts, and more.

Murray Pearson, a former Grievar champion, works as a scout. While looking for potential recruits in the slave circles, he spots an adolescent boy, Cego, with remarkable martial skills and honorable attitude. He introduces him to the Lyceum where promising teenagers learn martial techniques and compe
...more
S A M | The Book in Hand
Here are a few things you can expect from this book :

A martial arts inspired gem;
Excellent and raw fighting sequences;
Master and apprentice vibes;
Incredible military academy; and
Friendships and family.

On to the full review…

I started reading The Combat Codes on January 1st and it was such a great book to start my reading year off with! I LOVE martial arts in all of its forms so to see such a great Jiu Jitsu inspired SFF novel was super cool.

My experience reading The Combat Codes was one of nostal
...more
James
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5

Tremendous debut from Alexander Darwin. Best written hand to hand combat in all of the genre with original world building and a fast paced mysterious plot. He took legit Martial arts and made it the real magic of this world and it works. Will definitely be reading book two!
Jennifer (bunnyreads)
*This was one of our SPFBO semifinalist in our group. My review only. Links for team reviews and about the contest at the bottom..

*I actually won a copy of this in the spring and a thank you to Alexander Darwin for the e-copy. I had been trying to find time to squeeze it all summer. I was pretty happy to see it as a finalist so I could move it up my list.

***
This book surprised me. Don’t get me wrong, I did expect to enjoy it- underdog claws his way out of the slave pits to make it into combat sc
...more
Kristin B. Bodreau
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
ETA: Read a second time and found it as charming as the first, and easier to follow being somewhat familiar with the world. Will be heading into the sequel soon.

I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. Reading the description I didn't really expect to like it. I'm not into martial arts in the slightest and I was anticipating something needlessly violent and brutish. I was very wrong.

What I ended up reading was intricate, balanced and emotional. The Grievar, the fighters of the wor
...more
kartik narayanan
Nov 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Review coming in January!
Nils | nilsreviewsit
Dec 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: spfbo-6
Review to be posted on The Fantasy Hive for SPFBO 6
S A M | The Book in Hand
Here are a few things you can expect from this book :

A martial arts inspired gem;
Excellent and raw fighting sequences;
Master and apprentice vibes;
Incredible military academy; and
Friendships and family.

On to the full review…

I started reading The Combat Codes on January 1st and it was such a great book to start my reading year off with! I LOVE martial arts in all of its forms so to see such a great Jiu Jitsu inspired SFF novel was super cool.

My experience reading The Combat Codes was one of nostal
...more
Cameron Johnston
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you liked the power-progression fun of Cradle, Mage Errant, or Warforged: Stormweaver, then this will be for you! It's fast-paced, interesting, and features a low-key futuristic world of high-tech and low-tech single combat that I can't wait to explore further in the next book.
The combat (of which there is a lot of) is spot-on: realistic, brutal and detailed without getting overly technical. It hits the sweet spot between accuracy and fast pace. For me, I really enjoyed reading a book without
...more
Mihir
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it

Full review to be posted later

This book was quite different from all of the rest of the titles in my batch and it started slowly and was full of tropes. However it had heart and focused on Cego a young lad who’s discovered by Murray Pearson whose job as a Greivar scout is to unearthen hidden warriors. From then on we get a rousing tale wherein many one-on-one battles are fought. Plus with likeable characters as well as a mystery about the protagonist’s past, this debut story really grabbed my a
...more
Emily
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this in two nights during downtime at work. That is how good it was for me, I couldn't stop picking this back up between doing my job and not even after getting home at 6am from my 12 hour shift - I had to know more, delve deeper into this world.

Who knew reading such detailed descriptions of Ju-Jitsu moves would be so incredibly thoughtful, immersive, and leave you wanting more fights? Not me, that's for sure. This Sci-Fi with touches of the fantastical and a whole lot of...dare I say...h
...more
Zack Argyle
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Combat Codes is currently an SPFBO Finalist (one of my competitors!) and it absolutely deserves its seat at the table.

In this mashup of Ender's Game and Red Rising, Darwin gathers a few well-worn tropes and weaves them together masterfully to create a gripping, fast-paced story. As someone who wrestled for four years, every takedown released a flood of fond memories and every arm bar a memorial shudder. The fight scenes are flawless flashes of real-world brutality. Like Ender Wiggins, you read n
...more
Peter
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spfbo-6
We fight so that the rest will not have to!

What a book to kick 2021 of with! A wonderful blend of sci-fi and fantasy with some of the best fight scenes I have ever read. I was intrigued by the magic system, and a well paced exciting story is waiting for you. A more in-depth review will be available soon as part of the SPFBO.
Mark
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my usual reading material but . I quite enjoyed this one. Good steady worldbuilding, decently believable flawed characters. Excellent combat scenes written by an author who loves what he's writing.

A worthy contender in spfbo 6 finals.
...more
Jonathan Pembroke
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found Combat Codes to be an interesting read. The story centers around stylized combat between gladiators who fight on behalf of their nations, rather than allowing conflict to be decided by destructive wars. The Grievars--said gladiators--live by the Combat Codes, a bushido-style set of rules to uphold their honor and formalize their existence. As one might expect, that code is starting to break down at the outset of the story.

The book features two POV protagonists: Murray, an aging Grievar w
...more
Suzannah
One more SPFBO finalist to close out 2020!

The Combat Codes is probably the most martial-arts-based book I've ever read, including Liang Yusheng's BAIFA MONU ZHUAN. As such, it was a unique and enjoyable read - regardless of received wisdom that says an author really only needs to know slightly more than the average reader about the subject of a book, you can always tell when someone is really writing what they know. Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I'm told, forms the backbone of this book, but I really did
...more
TormIronhand
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Debut author Alexander Darwin really pleasantly surprised me with the Combat Codes. Heard about it first on the reddit's Fantasy sub, basically described as taking place in a dystopian world where hand to hand combat between champions determines political disputes between nations. Cool premise, but the story is really where this novel got me pulled in. It's fantastic, full of twists and turns with likable and realistic characters. And the action scenes really are fantastic.

I'd describe it as You
...more
Jon Adams
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sci-fi with a heavy dose of MMA. I dig it.
Steven Brown
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An engrossing sci-fi that pulls you in and all the way through.

(Edit. Read the next book and while it was good it did reveal that the series will not be based upon a ya protagonist set up completely in a school and him overcoming obstacles every year or semester. However it does give all the trademarks of it. So for those who like that type of series you will love this first book for those that want more you'll love entire series probably.)

It's surprised me to see that there was actually 5 years
...more
Charles
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An impressive debut indeed !

I have been reading self published fantasy books lately and it has been a blast. Always cool to discover a new good book/series and author.

The Combat Codes is a finalist in the 2020 SPFBO Contest and I would be surprised if it does not end up in the Top 3. This is more of a Sci-Fi/Dystopian book where nations resolve their disputes using combat duels between Grievar Knights. (There is no magic here as such)

It was a interesting and decent read for me where themes of ho
...more
Filip
Jan 10, 2021 added it
SPFBO Review of this one to come from the Fantasy Hive.
Kel
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
[ Overall Thoughts ]
The Combat Codes is the combat-centric story of a dystopian society where disputes, both on small and large scales, are resolved through one-on-one combat by a portion of the population called Grievar. It's engaging and fairly fast-paced, with detailed and interesting worldbuilding. The story is told in two POVs, one a retired Grievar and another a young apparent-orphan of unknown origin as he begins training as a Grievar. The two perspectives provide an entertaining mix betw
...more
Julia
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Story

This story is mostly fighting/combat set in a scifi universe. Older, retired fighter finds young hopeful in a fighting pit. Retired fighter recruits young fighter for a battle school. Young fighter is awesome. Retired fighter discovers why young fighter is awesome, rocks young fighter's life with the truth.

The obvious parallel is to Ender's Game - especially with a young boy going to a fight school, but more like if Ender had been sent to a Japanese judo school and learned to fight. It
...more
Andy
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I enjoyed 'The Combat Codes', the first book in a series by Alexander Darwin.

The story is set in a Sci-Fi world where wars no longer exist. Instead, any disputes that would previously have been settled by going to war, are now fought between regional champion fighters in mixed martial arts, known as Grievars. They fight so others don't have to. Murray Pearson, a former champion himself, now scouts for potential young fighters in the slave circles, recruiting them for the Citadel - a prestigious
...more
Blaise
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was provided a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review by the author. The experience I had reading Combat Codes was reminiscent of my teenage years watching a Bruce Lee movie with my father. Similar to the films, the energy, grit, techniques, and the spectacle of reading about hand to hand combat makes Combat Codes a triumphant debut for Alexander Darwin. Combat Codes is a SPFBO Award Finalist for Best Fantasy Book (2020) and I can say with great pride that it deserves every single ...more
Patrick Samphire
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-published
This is an incredibly compelling dystopian story that includes elements of both science fiction and fantasy. It's a society in which conflicts between nations are settled by single combat, and a whole section of society, the Grievars, are essentially bred to be these fighters. We follow a disillusioned former fighter as well as a new candidate with a mysterious background. This one of those books that will keep you up late at night because you just can't put it down. I downloaded the sequel the ...more
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Alexander Darwin is a fantasy / science fiction author with an unabashed reverence for combat sports. He spends his days getting humbled on the mats, staring at the unwritten pages of his next novel, and questioning the dumb luck that landed him his wonderful wife and two daughters.

Other books in the series

The Combat Codes Saga (3 books)
  • Grievar's Blood (The Combat Codes Saga, #2)
  • Blacklight Born (The Combat Codes Saga, #3)

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