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In the Company of the Dead

(The Sundered Oath #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Only a fool crosses a god, but Ellaeva and Lyram will do anything to get what they want.

Chosen as a five-year-old orphan to be the Left Hand of Death, Ellaeva has nothing to call her own—nothing except a desire to avenge her murdered parents. Her duties leave her no time to pursue the man responsible, until both her work and revenge lead to the same place—the lonely castle
Published April 25th 2016 by Evolved Publishing
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  64 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Aug 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
“She was always in the company of the dead”

The beginning of this book seemed slow to me, as with many fantasy books it took me awhile to get used to the world and the characters. The fact that both main characters were in a dark place when the story started didn’t help.

I got used to the world though, i managed to learn all about the secondary characters and when Lyram and Ellaeva finally met everything became more interesting. The setting, though dark, was perfect for the characters
May 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
here, let me just explain the entirety of this book in 2 sentences

priestess in a fantasy novel: oh my what a dashing young man i have been thrown into this situation with. if only i hadn't taken a vow of chastity
me, slowly peeling out my own eyeballs: yes, if only

why. W H Y. WHHHYYYY. The book sounded so amazing and half the time was spent on an awful love triangle and the other half was spent on ...idek, the slowest and most boring siege plot line of all time. Throw in the fact that the main ma
Victoria Sandbrook
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, ebooks, arc
The convoluted politics of men and gods traps a lone-wolf priestess of death and an exiled nobleman in a remote castle during a siege. Alliances are forged and broken in this springboard to an intriguing series.

**WARNING: Some content below is more spoilery than I'd prefer, but I can't do justice to the book's strengths without it. I don't reveal actual plot points, but if you want to be taken for the full ride, skip to "Editor-Brain"**

Writer-Brain: 4/5 Stars.(view spoiler)
Naturalbri (Bri Wignall)
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a proper epic fantasy. WE are given a great plot, but the most important part is the detail. Like any truly great epic, this book is filled with depth and a detail, to create not only a story, but an entire world.

From the start, Ballintyne builds a world round us, with enough detail to really make you feel as though you have stepped into the world. It doesn't stop there. We are also given a cast of characters, who fit the plot, but also fit themselves. They are whole, and created entire
Daniel Cross
Apr 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: about-to-read
Overall, the novel spends a lot of time with ‘setting the scene’, that is, it builds the scenario and world first before really giving the reader any real action. The first half of the book is rather slow and some perseverance is needed. The second half however, is blistering in comparison; there is action, intrigue, and justice! The author has managed to add many different elements of magic and these work very well, they are detailed brilliantly and have a real purpose to them. The God(s) play ...more
Ken Hughes
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
The best thing about a siege is that everything is liable to happen.

Ciara Ballintyne writes adventurous tales that revel in their sense of sheer fun, and IN THE COMPANY OF THE DEAD takes that to a proper battlefield-sized fantasy. Between the gallant but disgraced general and the priestess of Death And Justice, the tale gives us rampaging undead, the schemes of vast nations and small-minded men, holy powers, true love denied, and the clash of armies. All the good stuff.

First among equals here mi
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-beta-prize
I received In the Company of the Dead as a review copy from the publisher, Evolved Publishing. The gifting did not determine the review/rating, which reflects my honest opinion. While the story itself was a little longer than I felt necessary (a couple tangents I don't feel added to the plot-- in fact they poked the line of credibility-- Yes, ironic as we have sorcerers and necromancers here), the writing was excellent and kept me up most the night so I could finish. Great characters and detaile ...more
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
*** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review of it. All of the opinions stated in this review are solely my own and no one else’s. ***
In the Company of the Dead Book One of the Sundered Oath by Ciara Ballintyne is a story centered around a young woman, Ellaeva, who is a priestess to the death goddess Ahura and Lyram Aharris, an exiled noble who is grieving the loss of his murdered wife. Ellaeva is looking for the priest of Rahmyr who murdered her parents and in her quest
Rebecca Sarah
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James Latimer
Apr 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: indies
I can't remember why I picked up this book, I'm glad I did. I must have been attracted by the central siege-with-hidden-dangers plot summary, and it definitely delivered on that. The writing style is a bit on the wordy side, for me, which slowed the pace down in places - mostly at the beginning - and I had a few quibbles with the tactics (though I don't claim to be an expert) here and there, but I enjoyed the tension and the mystery, and the interaction of the two flawed-yet-heroic main characte ...more
Jessica Bronder
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ellaeva is a Battle Priestess and on the hunt for the priest that murdered her parents. But being a priestess means she has to follow the orders of the goddess Ahura, those orders are to save a man that will be greatly needed in the future. Lyram has been banished after striking the prince. He spends his days drinking himself into a stupor over the loss of his wife. Lyram finds his castle under siege and thinks it is because he is third in line for the throne. But it really is a plan to take out ...more
Margaret Day
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a really engaging, fast paced, multi-layered epic. The world building was original and believable. The MCs were 3 dimensional and engaging, the story kept the pages turning.
My only criticism was at the beginning it was slowed in places with too much analysis, I'd rather work it out for myself, but maybe others don't.
All in all it's a world I'd like to return to and characters I'd like to meet again. It's a great read.
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Couldn't get into it. Very slow and political. I didn't read more than a few chapters before it was just too dull for me. It could speed up and become better later on. Given free copy of this book for an honest review. ...more
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was interesting. it was fast paced and at times i had to wrack my brain to remember what character was who. It had a lot of love to hate villans though and that was so much fun. I enjoyed the characters. I didn't think it needed to be quite as long as it was only because some places seemed to drag for me.. But overall the storyline was good and the characters were good :) ...more
Dee Krull
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
In the Company of the Dead
Ciara Ballentine

Review by Dee Krull

This story has a little of everything; mystery, intrigue, forbidden love, valor, magic and action packed battles. The author has done her research and it is very well written. It makes you laugh, cry, and a few of the scenes were downright scary.
In times of dragons, Gods and Goddesses and dark magic you have to be on your guard and if you live in a castle when men and women alike, wielded swords to save life and limb, life is hard a
Maria Reynoso
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of In the Company of the Dead in exchange for my honest review. I absolutely loved this book. It started off slow while weaving the background of the characters and the area. The back stories to all of the characters, castles, and gods were fantastically researched. We are introduced to Lyram, a noble outcast who drinks away his woes and Ellaeva, a Battle Priestess who has come to aid Lyram. Ellaeva and Lyram have to work together while fighting against their attraction in orde ...more
Lauren Jones
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A faint smile curved her lips, though it held no mirth. “Few like me, Lord Aharris. People aren’t fond of those who are prepared to do the hard jobs that they themselves fear to do.” Wasn’t that the cold hard truth? Recriminations abounded after the Siege of Invergahr, with many people telling him what he ought to have done. Easy to offer an opinion afterwards, when they weren’t present at the time. Someone had needed to make the decisions. That someone was him, and there were no good choices.

Chris Sanford
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ballintyne has done an excellent job weaving the indepth, backstabbing nature of politics and of the gods in this stunning beginning of this Dark Fantasy Series. Although a battle/ siege story it does not get so wrapped up in the battle to drag the plot. The characters development and descriptions throughout help drive the mystery of the story as well as the pace. Ellaeva, the goddess of death's Battle Priestess, is in a great struggle between her need for revenge and her duty to the goddess. To ...more
Debbie Elholm
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. I read this book in 2 days! It was that good. For some readers, they may think this is a slow moving book, but keep reading. Ballintyne builds her world slowly, allowing you, the reader, to understand and know the characters, the gods and the politics. When the castle is under siege, the action really cranks up. I knew who the necromancer was before our heroes figured it out. Maybe, it's because I read a lot of mysteries. While I'm not ...more
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In the Company of the Dead was absolutely fantastic. This story line had me guessing from beginning to end about what was going to happen next. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were written with such depth and description that you feel as though you are right there with them while reading. I could not put this book down. This is definitely a must read.

Ellaeva was chosen at five years old to be the right hand of death. She grew up with people fearing her and no family. Her passion
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Ellaeva, a Battle Priestess avoided or shunned by the world, and Lyram, an outcast drunken noble. When they find themselves on the same side defending Lyram's beseiged castle, they become reluctant allies who must find out who is beseiging Lyram and why does this person want him dead? Ballintyne's knowledge of castles and seige machines and techniques were quite good, as were her battle and fight scenes - bloody and awful. Just what you would expect from a Battle Priestess ...more
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! After reading some trashy romance novels for the past several months it was so nice to dive into a good epic fantasy tale. I can't wait to read to the next book.

It was a long book, but I really like that. The author took her time building up her world. It was a bit slow for like the first half of the book, I will admit that. Personally though the author managed to keep my attention through that with the introduction of the characters.

And oh the characters! No bland, generic ch
Jessica Mitchell
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Revenge is all Ellaeva knows. Fueled by it since she was four years old. She is on the hunt to get her man, the Rahmyrrims. She is known by many names and the main one would be the priestess of death. So when she gets information about a possible sighting, she has no choice but to follow through. What she wasn't planning, was to help a exiled military advisor stay alive too.
Lyram was the main military advisor of the king. Till a little alteration in court. Now on at a border castle. He must wait
AK Mama Reads
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a great fantasy with sweeping scenes full of mysticism and excitement. I found myself immediately drawn into the mysterious world Ballintyne paints, and wanting to know the story behind some of the more obscure characters and places that are referenced. Although there were a few times that I was just about holding my breath, I wouldn't call this a nail biter in the sense of psychological suspense, but more of an intense and multi-layered fantasy rich with seemingly real problems, and re ...more
Della Jackson
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a book. It has a lot going fo it. Fast past,love,hate, mystrey. I could not put the book down. The way it was written it is toke you are there and can see everything, and can hear what it going on. Not my usual read. But, if you want to see what all the fuss is about,grab your copy and your favorite drink and turn the world off you wot want to miss anything. Lol
I received a free copy for an honest.
Tabitha Ormiston-Smith
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In the grand old tradition of High Fantasy, this dark and doleful tale cannot fail to please lovers of Tolkien, Jordan and Mallory. It harks back to the Good Old Days of fantasy, when heroes were heroes and were concerned more with honour and the eternal than with sex and witty one-liners.

Caught in a tragic juxtaposition, a hero and heroine tread out their doom, although at the end of the book, a slight ray of hope pierces the gloom. I could hardly put it down.
PJ Lea
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
An epic tale of fantasy, death and betrayal. A very long book, though it is worth reading every page.
Fascinating characters with complex emotions and interactions. Full of intrigue, gruesome battles, and magic, with an undercurrent of passion and rage. A thrilling introduction to this epic fantasy series!
*This was an ARC, my opinions are my own.*
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it
A fast-paced, enjoyable read with interesting characters to root for.
M Beal
rated it liked it
Jul 29, 2017
rated it liked it
Apr 22, 2018
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