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Cold Iron

(Masters & Mages #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  2,817 ratings  ·  273 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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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  2,817 ratings  ·  273 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
John Gwynne
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this some time ago, and shared what I thought of it on Facebook and Twitter, but somehow I neglected to put my thoughts on Cold Iron down here. This is what I said:

Oh. My. Word.
Utterly, utterly brilliant. A masterclass in how to write modern fantasy - world building, characters, plot and pacing, all perfectly blended.
You might be getting the impression I enjoyed this book. For me this hit all the right spots. A gripping tale set within a fantastical but semi-historical world, characters
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“It is important to know that you can kill, evenly, ruthlessly, without pause to wrestle your conscience, because the world is full of people who will kill you if you prevaricate.”

This is the second fantasy book I have read by Miles Cameron. Coming straight from the Red Knight really highlighted the themes that are evident within these contrasting books. Where The Red Knight was a book of grim mercenary western-knights and gritty epic battles against fantastical creatures, Cold Iron is a book of
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
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!
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
Maja Ingrid
Dec 06, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
DNF at 22%

Sorry I just can't do it. Nothing with the book is especially bad, I just couldn't click with the writing, plot or the characters. I also read it on my kindle and I find it harder to finish a book I don't much like when I read it as ebook and not a physical copy.
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
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
Nils | nilsreviewsit
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
“‘It is important to know that you can kill, evenly, ruthlessly, without pause to wrestle your conscious, because the world is full of people who will kill you while you prevaricate.’”
Cold Iron by Miles Cameron is the first book in the Masters and Mages series, which is reminiscent of a classical high fantasy tale and coming of age story. It’s a methodically paced introduction to what is set to be a great new series.
The book centres around the main protagonist Aranthur, who is a student of
I really loved this book. The characters were diverse and well developed through the story.
The action and descriptions of the fights were colorful and educational. The plot is not straight forward and keeps you guessing.
I look forward to the next installment.

Actual Ratings:- 4.5 stars
J.P. Ashman
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review to follow...
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, magic
This was a bit old school for me. It reminded me of the Wheel of Time, also too old school for me!
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
4,5 rounded up.

This is my kind of book, really immersive, slow but eventful. The characters were great, the worldbuilding was great...
Aranthur is (apart from the prologue) the sole POV, but there are a lot of characters to meet along the way.

I haven’t had coffee yet and my head is nearly exploding from the effort of writing in English and thinking at all so bear with me.

Aranthur is a farmboy turned student who finds himself in the middle of almost every major event, he dives in head first and
 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.
Holly (The Grimdragon)
*Review originally published on 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 it down, p
Sep 17, 2019 added it
Shelves: own
Farmboy from an outlying province goes to the big city university as a threat shadows the status quo - but the complexity and panache with which Cameron writes eclipses the usual handling of a classic trope. The complexity and diversity of the setting is stellar, the pace moves right along, and the hero is a refreshing read on several counts: he succeeds through hard work, he's not a 'chosen one', and his engaging attitude towards his fellows (both rich and poor) and towards life has heart, and ...more
Reggie Kray
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a reread. And I am certainly glad I gave it a second go. This was definitely on par with Cameron’s historical fiction (in terms of quality). That speaks volumes. Loved the historical vibes!
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy, library
3.5 stars, rounded up because it's well-written and I want to read the rest of the series.
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.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book at the end but we had a difficult beginning together. The 1/3 of the book is a 5 star for me and I almost rated the book that overall. Upon reflection, I dropped it to a 4. I think the beginning of the book struggles with some pacing. There were some moments where I just wondered what the point was or where I wondered how I was still reading a book where nothing was really happening, at least to the main character.

There are, however, all these hints of deeper political i
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.
Barry Mulvany
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well I haven't experienced that in a while, I basically read this in one day.

It tells the story of Aranthur, a literal farmboy who has just spend the last six months in the big city, studying different subjects including magic. When we meet him he is returning home for the holidays when a chance encounter in an inn brings him to the attention of numerous influential people and from which his life is changed forever, though he doesn't know that yet.

This story seems a deliberate working of the cla
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 goin
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 may li
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
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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 (3 books)
  • Dark Forge (Masters & Mages, #2)
  • Bright Steel (Masters & Mages, #3)

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