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(The Nandor Tales #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  38 reviews
‘Exile’ is a fast-moving tightly-plotted fantasy adventure story with a strong thread of romance

Aron of Darien, raised in exile after his homeland is conquered by a treacherous warlord, makes his way in the world on the strength of his wits and skill with a sword. Both are sorely tested when he is impressed into the service of the Earl of Nandor to rescue his heir from c
Kindle Edition, 286 pages
Published April 15th 2016 by Phantasia (Tickety Boo Press)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  65 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Mark Lawrence
This book was given to me in the bar outside Bristolcon, which is where you'll find me on the one day a year that Bristolcon takes place. Author Paul Lavender gave it to me on behalf of the actual author Martin Owton.

I get given quite a few books at Bristolcon, most of them self-published (as I assumed this one was, though it turns out to have come from a small press). If I don't like a book I either don't review it or I focus on the nice things I can say about it. This book however is rugged en
C.T. Phipps
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grimdark, fantasy
There's always a tendency in fantasy to go big or go home and that's actually one of the biggest problems in the genre. Much like comic books, saving the world is something that happens every other week so it's hard to take stories where a ragtag band of adventurers stops the end of the world with quite the same gravitas as it deserves.

By contrast, some of my favorite stories are much smaller scale like the Dunk and Egg tales by George R.R. Martin. Usually, nothing is at stake so much as a lady
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Aron of Darien kills a notable swordsman in a bar brawl, and then has to serve the Earl of Nandor to make up for it. Nandor is out in the sticks or something because they don't have a lot of great heroes or money. They do have daughters who are both very attracted to Aron. You get the idea they don't have a lot of visitors coming through, and you see their different personalities through their advances. Aron is a very talented swordsman and these ladies are both very eligible. It sets up a love ...more
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very much enjoyed this "old school" epic fantasy that makes a great change from those Grimdark works that are so much in vogue. The Exile has likable heroes, endearing heroines, and even some romance (gasp) and the author has built a plot that deftly rockets along providing a suitable stage for the adventures of leading man Aron. The book balances the romance and the magical elements well with the action, including some great set-piece dueling scenes.
Patrice Sarath
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
For readers who like fast-paced fantasy, Exile is wonderful good fun. The young hero Aron is quietly competent, and the supporting players are fully realized. Exile is awash with dark magic, a hint of romance, and danger. Fast-paced and well-plotted, Exile is an engaging summer fantasy read.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I audiobooked this so my spelling may be way off – my apologies!

The book starts off with a moderately long prologue showing a Lord Torellan attacking a city even though he knows his King won’t approve of it, and he will likely be banished or worse. He bribed some clansmen into helping them, and in return all they want is a reasonable payment and for the invading army to kill every last Dorian soldier.

It then skips to a young man named Aron who’s having a drink in a bar, one things leads to anoth
Susan Hampson
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: author-reads
This is a real gem of a fantasy story, action packed, a little bit of love, a fair sprinkling of magic and characters names that I can actually pronounce and remember! When Aron fights and kills the Earl’s swordmaster, in a local bar, his punishment is to take the swordmaster’s place and train the men. Aron has real talent for fighting with a sword, far superior to the haphazard, fighting ways of the rabble he is given. The Earl strikes a deal with him. Go out on a rescue mission and return with ...more
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Aron of Darien, raised in exile after his homeland is conquered by a treacherous warlord, makes his way in the world on the strength of his wits and skill with a sword. Both are sorely tested when he is impressed into the service of the Earl of Nandor to rescue his heir from captivity in the fortress of Sarazan. The rescue goes awry. Aron and his companions are betrayed and must flee for their lives. Pursued by steel and magic, they find new friends and old enemies on the road that leads, after ...more
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-read
Exile is a self-published fantasy, the debut novel by Martin Owton. I received this book through TBRindr in exchange for my honest and fair review. Admittedly I was unfamiliar with this author or his novel, and I was able to read this book with no biases.

The brief synopsis tells us: “Aron of Darien, raised in exile after his homeland is conquered by a treacherous warlord, makes his way in the world on the strength of his wits and skill with a sword. Both are sorely tested when he is impressed in
Dave-Brendon Burgh
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-be-reviewed
Aron is the title’s exile, struggling to survive in a world in which basically everything except his talent with a sword and his sense of duty has been taken from him.

When we meet Aron, he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time – and pays the price for that by being pressed into the local Earl’s service, which not only launches the first novel’s plot and introduces us to most of the tale’s important players, but also gives us a good understanding of Aron. He doesn’t suffer fools, and yet also do
Luke Hindmarsh
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gdaf
I've read hundreds of fantasy stories over the years. There are so many clichés and examples of bad writing out there that when a decent, semi-original story comes around it seems better than it is. So I've taken my time before reviewing this book, chewed over my thoughts on it to be sure that I mean what I say.

The story starts with a prologue, setting the scene with the fall of Darien and thus giving some back story to the main character, Aron (though he doesn't make an appearance at this point
Michael Evan
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the expansive world of indie fantasy, it's easy to note the abundance of dark, edgy novels, with many authors attempting to out-shock their peers.

I'm a Grimdark fan, but I began my fairly late entry in to Fantasy fiction with Epic series like Sanderson's Stormlight Archive, and Robin Hobb and Pat Rothfuss' work so every once in a while a novel like Martin Owton's Exile, with its more classic style and themes feels extremely welcome and refreshing.

Without rehashing the overall plot extensively
Jennifer (bunnyreads)
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it

When Aron of Darien, dispossessed noble and swordsman for hire, gets in a brawl at a local pub in Nandor, the consequences have him leading a rescue for the Earl Baldwin’s heir, Maldwyn.

A successful rescue needs a good plan and those are only as good as the people who execute them. Unfortunately for Aron, the plan is non-existent, and the group of men that he is leading to execute said plan- aren’t exactly top-tier soldiers (or for that matter even interested in being led by Aron in the first
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is one of those serendipitous occasions, aka Dave De Burgh has a new version of one of his short stories out and offered one to me for review...having forgotten that I'd already reviewed it. :D So he then suggested Martin's work instead, and I figured what the hell, send it my way!

I'll tell you up front: this novel won't change your life. It won't give you any deeper sense of meaning, nor will it ignite a love of fantasy literature. Hear me out lol.

As I was reading it I had to stop myself
Pam Baddeley
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
An enjoyable fantasy in the traditional mode. Aron of Darien is forced to make his way in the world after his land is betrayed and his father, the ruler, and many other Dariens are killed. When the story opens, he is picked on in an inn by a braggard and drunk who turns out to be the local ruler's swordsmaster. Aron kills him and has to take his place in a daring raid on the castle of an enemy to try to rescue the ruler's heir. He has to deal with animosity, incompetence and malice in his subseq ...more
Jacob Rundle
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of Exile in exchange for an honest review. To start things off, Exile is a great example of a fantasy novel that leans more realistic side. There is a huge, world ending issue that threatens the people. Exile centers around a hostage problem.
The characters are relatable, and I love that when a good fantasy novel completes that task. We all want to live in a fantasy world, and when a book's world is makes the story even better.
There are themes that run through t
Craig Aird
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a well written, hard working fantasy novel that doesn't pretend to be something it's not. I found the story refreshing, even though it relies on familiar tropes. There were enough twists and turns to keep me going and I found the ending to be quite powerful and tragic.

Well played, sir.
Anna Maria
Apr 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Exile follows the story of a man called Aron, who he ends up in the service of an Earl. As Aron is a good swordsman, the Earl wants to send him on a mission to rescue his son, who has been captured by another city.

My feelings are mixed with this book. I didn't love it but I also didn't hate it. The writing was fine, the plot was fine, the world was fine, the main character was fine but still, I couldn't get that invested in the book. I'm not doubting the author's capabilities, I think he has som
Patrick Samphire
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-published
I was given an ebook copy of this novel by the author in exchange for a fair review. This did not influence my assessment of the book.

Some years ago, when his homeland of Darien was conquered, the swordsman Aron fled along with the noble he was sworn to protect. Now he finds himself having to make himself scarce after getting into too much trouble. He ends up in the out-of-the-way district of Nandor, where he is pressed into service of the Earl to rescue the Earl's heir who has been kidnapped a
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
'Exile' (The Nandor Tales #1) by Martin Owton.

This is the first book in the Nandor Tales duology. Falling under the fantasy genre, it is a tale of adventure and love (though the latter is not overbearing).

Aron, is raised in exile after his homeland, Darien is conquered by treacherous means. He manages to be a proficient swordsman over the coming years. Fate lands him on a dangerous mission of rescuing the heir of Earl of Nandor from the almost impenetrable fortress of Sarazan.
Honestly speaking,
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tbrindr
Excellent stuff—more on the sword end of sword and sorcery, and well written (prose that conveys the setting, but isn’t so stiff that it’s weird, nor is it plain old ungrammatical/poorly written). I especially enjoyed the bits of dry humour here and there. The setting is well done too; it’s not quite Ye Olde Standarde Medieval Castle with Knights &c, but a good riff on it, with enough politics and class dynamics to give context and motivation to the characters.
Also, praise the gods, this isn’t
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have very few things I require from a book 1) It needs to entertain me 2) It needs to have a solid pace and 3) I prefer it engage my mind in some way. As Meatloaf famously sang two out of three ain't bad. I call these types of books popcorn reading. It isn't going to fill you up but you might sit and partake all day long. If you enjoy sword play, adventure, and most of the old school fantasy elements then reading this will be time well spent. That might not sound like resounding praise but it' ...more
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hidden gem! Just what I needed to get out of reading slump. Fun and easy read!
L M Page
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As an introduction to fantasy fiction, I couldn't have started with a better book than this. The imagery painted by the author is exceptional. You see - touch - this story as it unfolds, and at every turn. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Jamie Edmundson
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Exile gets off to a great start, as Aron, the swashbuckling hero, is persuaded to get involved in a rescue mission. This is a localised, almost low key adventure at first, which makes it a refreshing read if you need a break from epic, multi-volume series. A real strength is the writer’s knowledge of medieval history, which informs the world he has created, without ever intruding into the storyline. The old fashioned, romantic style reminded me of English classics, especially Ivanhoe.

Owton write
Scott Kaelen
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
There is no doubt that “Exile” is a well thought-out, intricate, character-driven story of high calibre. I wanted – really wanted – to give it 5 stars, but a couple of things stopped me from being able to do so. Martin Owton has carved an intriguing fantasy filled with a plethora of characters; his story-telling skills, author voice and command of prose are unquestionably high. And yet… somehow I found it difficult to feel fully immersed as the conversations flowed and the plot developed. I WANT ...more
Andy Angel
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While I do share the current love of Grimdark in Fantasy Fiction I also enjoy the slightly lighter side of the genre as well. Exile, the first in a 2 book series would, in my opinion lean toward the lighter side of Grimdark - not too dark and not too fluffy, an excellent blend.

The story concerns Aron (the titular exile) in a tale of heroism and treachery which ends in some pretty epic fight scenes. He is employed by the Earl of Nandor to rescue his heir but betrayal changes everything. There is
Ed Nemo
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I am very torn on this book. I feel that the author did an excellent job of making interesting believable characters and even sold me on the time period. These things are honestly not easy considering how many big name authors miss the mark. Their writing was well above average and the peril felt genuine. I am giving this book a 4 star rating based on the quality of the storyline and writing...because...well, I didn't really care for it.

Their was very little fantasy in the book. There is a godde
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this heroic fantasy adventure. It’s a bit old-school, being neither epic nor grimdark, with touches of Gemmell and Leiber, and there’s a nice thread of romance. The characters are well drawn and believable and the plot rolls along with the pace and smoothness of an AMG Mercedes down a German autobahn. It’s not perfect; the setting is standard early medieval Europe fantasyland and the system of magic is nothing new. But you know, I don’t care about that, because the rest of it is ...more
Toby Smiler
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed reading this old-school heroic fantasy novel. Plenty of swashbuckling swordplay (and no little embroidery) takes place, and the author has created some likeable characters and some truly evil villains. The storyline moves along at a good pace when it needs to and allows our hero to explore his gentler side in his encounters with the strong female characters in the book at other times. A good helping of sorcery and magic (more please) rounds off this promising first novel. A g ...more
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Exile - sequel 5 4 Dec 05, 2016 04:29AM  

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