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Dragon's Trail

(The Outworlders #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  416 ratings  ·  86 reviews
"I didn't come here to sell my soul. I came here to buy it back."

Once dubbed “The Deadliest Man Alive,” Jarrod Torrealday is a former Olympic saber hopeful and medieval weapons expert banned from competition for killing another fencer in a duel. He now scrapes by as a stuntman and technical consultant for low-budget fantasy films.

A young sorcerer from another world offers
ebook, 384 pages
Published September 30th 2016 by Oxblood Books
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  416 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spfbo
This is one of my SPFBO reads and I have to say this was a mixed one for me. At first, I thought it was an urban fantasy as it focused on our modern-day world, but as the story went on it became clear that this was actually a portal fantasy with the main character being essentially stolen from Earth into another world (a classic medieval one) where he is asked to train the people of that world for an upcoming war.

This book had a lot of potential, but I think for me it just never clicked. The hu
Angel Leya
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fantasy, sword & armor lovers
A thoroughly entertaining read!

Once a near celebrity between his skills in fencing competitions and the starlet he was dating, Jarrod's involvement in a duel left another man dead and his life in ruins. So when a sorcerer from another world drags Jarrod home with him and offers him and his friend jobs in their war, it's a bit of a dream come true.

This other world is beautiful, with it's different moons, mythical creatures, and medieval type society (with remarkably better hygiene), and it seems
Assaph Mehr
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I came across Malik's work through one of his writer's columns which resonated with my experience, and grew very curious to see the results of Malik's efforts. I picked up Dragon's Trail at the soonest opportunity, and enjoyed it tremendously.

What to Expect
An epic fantasy story, wherein a modern-day protagonist is taken from Earth to another world to act as a champion. We are with him as he learns about the politics, culture, and conflicts of the world. Occasional shifts to other point-of-views
LJ Waguespack
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this book, a first time reading of this authors, strong writing skills. While not something I would ordinarily choose to read, as this book combines two timelines, a present world, and an ability to travel to another world and time. Joseph Malik does an incredibly creative and impressive job of conveying those conditions and abilities with impressive ease. I was immediately captured and enthralled by the story. The author succinctly wrote the story with impressive ease of estab ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dear God, please have someone make this into a movie or a TV series immediately.

Imagine Deadpool running amok through Game of Thrones. Dragon’s Trail combines the “magical-other-world” plot of Magicians, the political machinations of Game of Thrones, and the scientific and technical elements of Jurassic Park, and then turns a horrifically yet hilariously violent Deadpool-style antihero loose in the middle of it. This might be the most fun fantasy novel I’ve ever read. Maybe not the funniest – th
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The new king of worldbuilding.

This blows away every “hard fantasy” I've read. It feels completely real, even though there’s a good dose of magic.

I want to say that again: it feels completely real.

I approached this one with skepticism after reading a comment on a forum about readers contacting this author asking if the book was actually real. I’ve got to say, though, I get it, now. At some points, you do start to wonder if the author has been there. It's unsettling. The details are faultless. Th
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
First published on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

Dragon's Trail is book 1 of The Outworlders series by Joseph Malik from Oxblood books.

Scratch beneath the surface of any hardcore LARPer/SCAdian/fantasy/dragon bookworm and you'll likely find someone who deep down really wants to believe that it's possible to hop worlds into a dragon/magic/fantasy realm. Frankly most of us would be up for being a peasant in one of those stories and I bet you most of us would allow ourselves a 5 minute freak out and then
Pat MacEwen
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever wonder wandered around a RenFaire, or hang out with the Society of Creative Anachronism and wonder what you'd do if somebody offered you (or trapped you into) a jaunt into the midst of the real thing? In this novel, first of The Outworlders series, that's exactly what happens to Jarrod Torealday. He's a master swordsman who was forced to kill another fencer in a duel, and then barred from competition worldwide. He's also an expert on mixed martial arts as well as medieval weapons and tactic ...more
Oct 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, firstreads
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

A fencing master/martial artist/stunt man/adrenaline junkie is summoned to a high fantasy world, where he is to defend the world against a wizard, who was originally from the fantasy world, but lived on our earth for a while, then went back, and took over a province, once ruled by his family.

Now he's scheming to take over the world.

Our hero bumbles around, killing the occasional mook, then the bad guy kidnaps the princess. Bad mistake.

Fairly good example of
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Received from Oxblood books and Netgalley for honest read and review.
The premise looked really good for this, but I got a bit confused with going back and forth all the time between world's and different characters.

I could not finish this one,not for me
Dennis Stevenson
Realism in fantasy

I enjoyed this book a lot and found the gritty realism refreshing. I would even say i learned a little about medieval arms and armor along the way. I will definitely be reading farther in this series.
Peg McMahon
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So good I read it twice

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not your average reader. I've been around long enough to develop some unique preferences in fiction. But if,like me, you grew up with Star Trek and Lord of the Rings, this might be a book you would enjoy. It's got a flawed wise-cracking disgraced ex-Olympian and ex-stuntman hero - with issues - leaping into a world far, far away and leading a rag tag group of companions in an epic battle of good versus evil. What's not to like?
Al Burke
Well worth checking out - review to come.
Sara Robinson
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Tense, intelligent, fresh, and very, very funny. There are shudder-up-the-spine moments and stand-up-and-cheer moments, all delivered with dialogue and descriptions so smooth and polished it’s as if they were turned on a lathe. The world he describes is so convincing that I expect we'll eventually see a subReddit devoted to finding it.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My honest review is that five pages in I suspected that this might the work of an establishe
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sword geeks, Historical Fantasy readers, Hard Fantasy readers, Realism geeks
Shelves: hard-fantasy
Fantastical realism on an unprecedented scale. Hard fantasy of the first order. A masterful work.

Full disclosure: I met Joseph Malik a few years ago at a fantasy convention where he was demonstrating various combat techniques and speaking as an expert on military strategy. He is a brilliant and articulate speaker, with a seemingly endless reservoir of knowledge about the finer points of making war. I have also seen him shoulder-throw a man in full armor while wearing a jacket and tie.

When I lea
Russell Gray
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A parallel world story more gritty than the usual fare that is very well written and entertaining throughout. Compared to most fantasy authors, Joseph Malik is very informed on fighting and medieval history; and it shows. While it doesn't reach the lengths of Tom Clancy-esque detailing, some readers might find themselves skimming at times as weaponry and armor is described with intricate detail. While I thought it was a little excessive, I also found it refreshing after reading many books where ...more
Seregil of Rhiminee
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Joseph Malik's debut novel, Dragon's Trail, is the first novel of The Outworlders fantasy series. It's a captivating independently published novel that takes readers on an exciting journey into another world.

When I began to read this novel, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from it, because Joseph Malik was an unknown debut author to me, but I soon found myself enjoying what I was reading. In my opinion, this novel is surprisingly compelling, because it's re
Dragon's Trail is such a great fantasy novel! I really enjoyed it! It was captivating from the first page and what really pulled me in was the language used in the book. It really made me feel in that medieval time period. I do think though, that there was a lot of stuff happening at once in the beginning, which was a tad overwhelming.

Jarrod is a wonderful main character, he is courageous and strong with some humor to him which really lightens up the story. There is so many well-developed char
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

If you're looking for some high quality fantasy (or fiction in general) by an indie author, then put your brakes on and have a seat, because you have reached your destination. Joseph Malik combines masterful prose and an intricate, exciting fantasy plot to create an incredible first book in Dragon's Trail.

Where do I even begin?

This hard fantasy, written with great attention paid to every last detail. Malik's writing is both effortless and finely wri
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dragon's Trail is kind of everything I wanted in a bloody fantasy epic: gritty and violent, earnest and sincere, witty and cinematic, and grounded with the perfect amount of real-world historical and technical fact. Any one of those would have made this a solid read, but together they make something really special.

There's this ring of authenticity to this world that elevates it above usual hack-and-slash fantasy; the swordplay techniques alone thoroughly hooked me, but the entire book is litter
Lisa Lenox
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an unexpected treasure this is! A different take on the "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" tale (sans Arthur), our hero-Jarrod-is a disgraced Olympic swordsman who is hired by a wizard from another world to assist in a war. In a 21st century-meets-the-medieval-world tale, our hero becomes truly heroic. Helped along by his home-world friend Carter Sorenson-a Viking ancestor of epic proportions, Jarrod makes good use of his martial skills in his new home. Their chief foe-and the reas ...more
M. Colleen
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having been an avid reader of all sorts of fiction (particularly historical & fantasy) for 5+ decades, I can honestly say I've never read a book quite like Dragon's Trail. The humans, the other humanoids, the animals, the realm, the humor! All are compelling & addicting. Did I need to look up descriptions & photos of some of the uber-complex weaponry, military gear, & martial arts moves described by Mr. Malik? Absolutely! But that's part of the allure of this book. It challenges the reader's ima ...more
Kay Ling
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I read the synopsis: a sorcerer from another world hiring a hero from ours, I knew this was a book I had to read. I'm a fan of portal stories. There's something appealing about being able to step through into another world and travel back and forth at will. My own novels are portal stories, although very different from this one. This book reminded me a bit of Michael Sullivan's novels, in that the characters are humorous and likable, the dialogue is witty, and the situations the characters ...more
L. Rice
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I’m torn between a 4 and 5 star here, call it a 4.5, LOL. It’s strength is in some ways its weakness... badassery. It’s a bit like watching John Wick, I find myself enjoying those movies even as I roll my eyes at parts of its over-the-top nature. And yet, like the Wick flicks, that’s exactly what they’re intended to be, so I try not to judge against the author succeeding in writing the story as intended. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but by the end I was kind of used to the ...more
Caroline Walker
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Fantastic! The perfect meld of Medieval and 21st century technology, fighting, and politics. Have you ever wondered what would happen if a modern knight became a medieval knight? Well you need to read this book.
The fighting scenes were vivid with the perfect attention to detail.
The pace is a bit slow-going at first but gradually builds and picks up speed with some unexpected twists and turns.
I absolutely love books that have the small details that paint a picture for you but without going craz
Justine Tringham
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really loved the technical details about fighting in armour. I loved the clever understanding of why tech hadn't progressed and really enjoyed the management of intrigue where Earthlings totally have the upper hand not because they're better but there's just so much more of us red in tooth and claw. If you're wanting deep character development, not so much, but hey I've got teenage daughters and I don't need that when I read a book. Would moan and say female characters weren't well developed b ...more
E.G. Stone
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dragon’s Trail by Joseph Malik is a fantasy techno-thriller, which is to say it is a mash of two genres that rarely get seen together. The magical nature of fantasy—with elves and men riding about on horses, wielding swords—combined with the detail-oriented techno-thriller, which uses technology to solve whatever horrid problem is facing the main character and the world that particular day. This story follows two people from Earth: Jarrod, a former fencing and martial-arts master who now works a ...more
Ron MacQuarrie
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rare find indeed

It's been a long time since I have enjoyed an epic fantasy as much as this one. Malik has a great knowledge of not just medieval combat but of the weapons, the metallurgy, the armor, and as far as I can tell, personal combat experience to back it up.
He kept me reading without a break until it was done. That doesn't happen often either. I really hope he's going to be around for a long while because he shows every sign of becoming one of the best. I think I'm going to go read it
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting merge of the current world to a medieval world via a magician created portal. It is fast paced page turner that I wanted to keep reading. A bit of a military techno thriller meets sword and sorcery (well more sword than sorcery). A little struggle with keeping some of the various characters and locations straight as there are may along with the political slant that runs through it. Overall a great book in a little bit of a hybrid genre. Look forward to seeing where he takes this w ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dragon's Trail scratches a particular itch. An olympic fencer / martial arts wunderkind is recruited by a wizard to come to the wizard's world to save it from a big bad guy who was also from earth. It is super-violent and fetishes medieval arms and armor. It is also compulsively readable. It reminded me of Conquistador by Stirling or the Merchant Princes series by Stross, but with added viscera and gore. ...more
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In addition to fiction, Joseph Malik writes and lectures on advanced intelligence theory and asymmetric warfare for the U.S. military. He has worked as a stuntman, a high-rise window washer, a computational linguist, a touring rock musician, and a soldier in the United States Special Operations Command.

He has been a longtime panelist and demonstrator at fantasy conventions, speaking as an expert

Other books in the series

The Outworlders (2 books)
  • The New Magic (The Outworlders Book 2)

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