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Cold Iron

(Masters & Mages #1)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  838 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Aranthur is a student. He showed a little magical talent, is studying at the local academy, and is nothing particularly special. Others are smarter. Others are more talented. Others are quicker to pick up techniques. But none of them are with him when he breaks his journey home for the holidays in an inn. None of them step in to help when a young woman is thrown off a pass ...more
Paperback, 437 pages
Published August 30th 2018 by Gollancz (first published January 11th 2018)
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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  838 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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Sebastien Castell
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Here’s my problem with epic fantasy: why should anyone learn a thousand names of places, peoples, languages, and various swords, tools, and cutlery, only to discover it was all just window dressing laid on top of the same worn-out narratives? Cold Iron by Miles Cameron’s answer is because sometimes all those things are so well thought-out, so elegantly formed, and so interconnected with the story itself, that they transcend narrative decoration and instead become a deep, convincing, and entirely ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I’ve always felt like I missed out on something big when it comes to Miles Cameron, not having read his Traitor Son Cycle. And while that series is still on the to-read list, when I found out about Cold Iron, the first book his new series called Master and Mages, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to finally experience this author’s work for myself and see what the fuss is all about.

As such, I had no idea what to expect
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 stars

Aranthur is just another student on the way home for the holidays, but the inn in which he chooses to break the journey turns out to be the very wrong place, and it’s certainly the very wrong time. The bloody episode that follows has ramifications which spread vine like through the narrative, including significant changes for all those who happened to be there. For Aranthur, it sets the path of his life thereafter, throwing him into the heart of political intrigue of the highest sort.

Cold Iron is set in a faux Byzantine ((City, naming, people, old aristocratic families jockeying for power) milieu with magic that has been "freed" by "hero" Tirases a millennium ago to be used by almost anyone in small but essential ways (heating water and houses, controlling fertility etc) which led to a better life for many; there are a lot of familiar elements (the magic academy, the farmer student of middling talent to start with etc combined with a lot of the historical fiction touches fro ...more
Hiu Gregg
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Cold Iron is the first book in the new “Masters and Mages” series from Miles Cameron, author of the Traitor Son Cycle.

Coming into this book, I was mostly familiar with Cameron through reputation only. I’d heard that the Traitor Son Cycle was a great fantasy series, but I’d never experienced his books for myself. You guys know how those TBRs can be.

But after reading Cold Iron, I wish I’d made time to read some of Miles Cameron’s books much earlier.

Cold Iron is a bit of a throwback to classical fa
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review from TenaciousReader:

So, I want to lead with that I really enjoyed Cameron’s The Red Knight, However, while there were parts of it that I loved, there were also areas where it seemed to lag and there were so many characters that even for an epic fantasy, it felt hard to keep up with all of them at times. So even though I wound up loving the story over all, the pacing issues in Red Knight caused the sequels to fall down my priority enough that I nev
Nicholas Eames
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this. Cameron writes a lot of historical fiction, and it shows. His world feels so incredibly real, which makes the fantasy elements seem more wondrous than books where such things are commonplace. Aranthur's story--which includes both a student's poverty and an academic's slow but inevitable progress--is extremely compelling. I'm looking very forward to seeing how high he climbs--and how often he stumbles along the way!
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
For lots of different reasons, authors often feel the need to change their name when writing different stories. For Stephen King it was Richard Bachman, for Tom Holt it was (and I think still is) K J Parker.  In the same way, perhaps, it is not a great secret that Miles Cameron is also historical writer Christian Cameron. He’s not entirely new to Fantasy writing, though. I really liked The Red Knight, the first in the now five-book series, The Traitor Son Cycle, although its rapidly changing poi ...more
J.P. Ashman
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review to follow...
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
DNF - Damn I am in one heck of a reading slump. Not grabbed at all. Heard great things so will try and come back to it.
James (ObservantRaven)
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Shortly after I started reading Cold Iron I was thoroughly engrossed and realised I was nearing the 30 page mark but had yet to see a new chapter so I flicked forward a bit and noticed that indeed Cold Iron didn’t have chapters in it. This shocked me slightly as I have not experienced this since I last read a Terry Pratchett book (which has been quite a number of years) and writing a fantasy book without chapters is no small feat. As I continued to read the book I became increasingly impressed b ...more
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic-warrior
The Fight Scenes

The Fight Scenes were amazing! The weapons were many and meticulously detailed but you didn’t feel you were being lectured they were just presented well within the flow of the story. The MC's rise was unhurried and his grasp of fighting was methodical. He learned and applied what he was taught - no magic sword and 2 days of training here.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
More please! Straight up heroic fantasy with a fixed POV set in an interesting fantasy world vaguely similar our own.
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For me, the name ‘Miles Cameron’, and the words, ‘five stars’ go together practically every time.
While this is a big departure from what we are used to with The Traitor Son Cycle, Cold Iron is stuffed to bursting with Cameron’s unique style.

This is a coming of age tale that feels more like traditional fantasy than perhaps his other works. Also, rather than a cast of over 20 POV’s this tale is told (bar the prologue) completely from Aranthur’s point of view, it lets readers settle into the mind
While I still dislike Gollancz for their continuously poor copy-editing - especially with regards to Cameron's works I never find less than dozens of typos/formatting errors, and far too many instances of dialogue where character names are mixed up (one that stands out in Cold Iron is a priest telling someone off and then glaring at 'the priest', ie addressing and then glaring at himself, apparently).

But as usual, Cameron's story and writing is amazing, and it looks like Masters & Mages is
Christian N
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Let’s get it out of the way. Cold Iron is an excellent book. Miles Cameron is a great author. You need to read this book. While you’re at it, read all of his other books. They’re just as good. Cameron writes swords and armor like no one else. His fight scenes are the greatest I have ever read. I’ve even learned some important life lessons from his work. GRRM could learn quite a bit from Cameron. This is my review.

1. Superb world-building
Cameron’s world building is some of the most convinci
Holly (The Grimdragon)
*Review originally published on my link text*

“Superb,” the man in the black cloak said, and slammed his dagger into the young man’s temple, killing him instantly. The blade emerged from the other temple with admirable precision, and the man in the black cloak supported the corpse all the way to the floor, stepping away from the flow of blood. Then he filled the secret compartment with his deadly secret, wearing gloves; one tiny jewel skittered away across the table and he tracked it down, picked
H. P.
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-sf
I was a huge fan of Miles Cameron’s Traitor Son Cycle, the first fantasy by an experienced historical fiction writer. I loved that series, but Cold Iron, book one in Cameron’s new fantasy series, may very well exceed it.

It is also a very different book, though, so read on for my thoughts on Cold Iron. And this is a book that left with as many thoughts and feels as it did entertained.

This new Masters & Mages series is different enough from The Traitor Son Cycle that—as good as both are—you ma
Adrian Collins
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed by The Grimdragon at Grimdark Magazine.

"Superb,” the man in the black cloak said, and slammed his dagger into the young man’s temple, killing him instantly. The blade emerged from the other temple with admirable precision, and the man in the black cloak supported the corpse all the way to the floor, stepping away from the flow of blood. Then he filled the secret compartment with his deadly secret, wearing gloves; one tiny jewel skittered away across the table and he tracked i
Aug 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Gave up on this book, not only because I wasn't enjoying it, but because it felt pretty racist.

At one point, when talking about people from a part of the world where the people are a mix of races, they are called "mongrels". A hostile racist sailor saying that is one thing, but for the protagonist - who is one of these people - to also refer to his people as "mongrels", like it's nothing, and not a highly offensive way of describing people of mixed heritage.

Then, not too much later, when seeing
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Cold Iron is a story about a young man learning magic and sword fighting and having adventures in a magical analogue of Constantinople. The story is set a thousand years after the magical equivalent of an industrial revolution, where a legendary figure democratized magic to the point where every single household had the ability to clean water and make fire and use contraception, which had remarkable societal effects on a worldwide level.

The author initially focuses on the protagonist, Aranthur,
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Well 4.5 stars actually. I really did enjoy this, not having read the author before (even though I have The Red Knight sitting waiting for me to pick up!)

The story is about Aranthur, a student (previously farm boy!) learning how to wield magic and things. He learns how to sword fight; he gets caught up in every political manoeuvre you'd every wish upon a hero; he falls in and out of love (on numerous occasions); he learns how to think for himself; and he learns how to work things out in a logica
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece of a coming of age story, set in a beautiful, historically inspired city, equal parts Constantinople and Venice. Following Aranthur, a farm boy moved to the big city to study magic at the academy, Miles builds a rich, multicultural world filled with tradition and politics, and an outstanding magic system, which we find is as vast and varied as the many cultures who use it. As usual, Miles paints a complex visual tapestry filled with unique characters, clothes, weapons and city stre ...more
Mark Romero
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another adventure by Cameron. The pacing and magic were suspect but the characters and world were enjoyable. Cameron loves to introduce a lot of elements which I like but some people may find to hard to follow. To be fair, the ending really salvaged this book from a 3 star rating. A rating I thought it was destined to receive after plodding through the first 100 pages.

On a side note from the story, the map (I love maps) was terrible. I'm left wondering if the artist read the book or the places
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it

As always when reading the work of an author I've never encountered before, I began Cold Iron with an open mind.

I found the pacing to be perfect, the main character to very very likeable and the worldbuilding to be utterly fantastic.

I also found the description of the mixed-race Aranthur as a "mongrel" to be an unacceptable choice of word for a book being published in 2018.

"Arnauts were a race of mongrels, all the shades of the earth. Aranthur himself was betwixt and between, like most of his
Sam Davis
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Christian Cameron strikes again with a well-crafted military novel. Set in a kind of fictional Constantinople/Venice, Aranthur enrolls in a magical university and finds himself embroiled in multiple conspiracies. I loved every aspect of the young man’s education and would enjoy returning there! What a great book.
Jeremy Jackson
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. I needed a book this good! It pulled me out of my reading slump in the penultimate week before the new year.

Cold Iron follows the rise of Aranthur, a foreign student at a magical academy who gets embroiled in intrigue on a grand scale. This novel used its tropes gracefully- the protagonist is a farm boy with great ability, attends a university for magic, etc. yet it came across fresh; this served to comfort me enough with familiarities to settle in while keeping my interest throughou
I'll try to get my review up as soon as possible. I loved this book so much!
Asha - A Cat, A Book, And A Cup Of Tea
I've been a big fan of Miles Cameron since I met him at a Gollancz event and really enjoyed talking to him about swords and herbs, so when I saw his latest book was up on NetGalley, it was an instant request for me. Cold Iron is a coming-of-age fantasy in the classic style - though it's got some very clever things to say about life, politics, and swords, it's not going to impress those who don't normally read male-authored epic fantasy.

First things first - if you don't like detailed sword fights
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
So, my best advice is don't go into this expecting to experience Cameron's usual effervescence. It's certainly the most flatline of the plots I've read of his- it has some blips of excitement here and there, but it's generally fairly uneventful. Some of the lulls become almost painful in their plodding..

I'm not saying slow burners are a bad thing, but I usually find I need to be genuinely invested in the MC's progression and evolution to keep me interested. I can honestly say, I felt no emotion
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Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect info 6 40 Oct 25, 2018 06:29AM  
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Miles Cameron is an author, a re-enactor, an outdoors expert and a weapons specialist. He lives, works and writes in Toronto, where he lives with his family. This is his debut fantasy novel.

Other books in the series

Masters & Mages (2 books)
  • Dark Forge (Masters & Mages, #2)
“He could take some extra fencing lessons. He was in love with his sword, purchased in a used clothing market on a whim. With his rent money, because he was a fool.” 0 likes
“Boasting is a way of saying you are weak,” 0 likes
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