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Kings of the Wyld (The Band #1)

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  8,103 Ratings  ·  1,538 Reviews
Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best -- the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk - or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an
Paperback, 502 pages
Published February 21st 2017 by Orbit
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Popular Answered Questions
Nicholas Eames Heya!

Legit question! To begin with, I actually don't believe there are any especially wise people in this book! It's sort of about people making…more

Legit question! To begin with, I actually don't believe there are any especially wise people in this book! It's sort of about people making unwise decisions in the name of friendship, family, and love, so--Wait! ....nope. No wise people. Moving on!

I'd say most of the main characters have a shade of horrible in them: one's a murderer, another a drunk, Gabe is a negligent father (or has been, until now), Clay has a brutally violent nature he can't always suppress. Moog's probably the best of the bunch, if you don't count obsessive fixation and arrested development as flaws =) I certainly didn't go out of my way to make the women worse.

The thing is, KINGS OF THE WYLD is about five male friends, an old mercenary band, that get together after a long retirement. Does it have enough women in the book for my liking? No, it doesn't. That's just not the story I was telling. Will I do better in future books? You're goddamn right I will!

Alas, when your five protagonists are male and it's important to you (in this case, me) to feature women as well, they've gotta be antagonists. I tried to give every 'bad' character, male or female, a sympathetic side, and I'd even argue that Jain (outside of being a bandit) is one of the best and most moral characters in the whole book. Also, one of the most dangerous and deadly characters, Larkspur, is by no means evil. She's just looking after herself and no one else--something I believe is justified by her past.

Minor spoiler: I intentionally tried (by way of Matty's words later in the book) to give Matrick's wife, who had five children with other men, a legitimate reason for doing so. She felt unloved, and cheated of the man she thought she was marrying. While his friends cast blame on her, Matrick knows inside that he's just as shitty a husband as she is a wife.

I like flawed characters. And I like when someone who does something bad has a justifiable (even to them) reason for doing so, and I'd say this applies to both my male and female characters. Although my core 'band' is made up of dudes, I think the female characters that surround them are funny, flawed, adorable, badass, powerful, vulnerable, resilient, capable, and awesome. The story may not be about them, but it would suck without them.

Diversity, inclusion, and representation (especially in the fantasy genre!) are important to me, and if I'm lucky enough to make a career out of writing, it will be a career that works to forward all of those things. Having written a book about five male friends, I can assure you that its sequel, BLOODY ROSE, will feature women far more prominently, though none of them will be (just as none of us are) perfect.

And come to think of it, no one in that book is very wise either.

I hope this addresses your question! Thank you so much for asking it, as I really do appreciate the chance to address this very important topic. (less)
Nicholas Eames Hi! Thanks for the question!

I've signed with Orbit for three books, and though each story is very standalone (different bands in each) there is…more
Hi! Thanks for the question!

I've signed with Orbit for three books, and though each story is very standalone (different bands in each) there is nonetheless a complete story arc running through them, in that the events of books 2 and 3 are predicated on what happens in book one.

That said, I'd love to do some offshoot stories with various characters, and very possibly a prequel (or short story collection) featuring Saga someday.

Hope that clears it up! Thanks again for asking.


Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every fantasy fans
Recommended to Petrik by: Melanie
Every avid fantasy reader, pay attention and let me do you a favor. Make sure you read this book no matter what. As of now, I’m calling Kings of the Wyld one of the best fantasy debuts of all time.

Imagine this: legendary rock bands that have disbanded, such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin or Nirvana, come back for one more tour. Now replace the rock bands and concerts with mercenary bands and killing monsters. I won’t go into any details on the music allusions, but it’s ubiquitous throughout the wh
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
This book freaking rocks! ❤

What can I even say? You can read the tons of glowing reviews about this book. They are all true!

These mercenaries were the it band back in the day. Now they are old, most of them settled down with a kid or kids, and haven't really gotten together in awhile.

Clay has plans with his wife and little girl until Gabriel comes to his door asking for Clay's help. FYI: Clay's little girl, Tally is precious and pretty bad to the bone we find out later.

Anyhoo, Gabe wants to g
James Lafayette  Tivendale
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I received a free copy of Kings of the Wyld in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Nicholas Eames, Nazia, and Orbit Books.

Saga were a world famous band containing five legendary mercenaries who were feared, respected and completely admired. Bards' sang their praises, ladies wanted their babies, and children wanted to emulate them. Essentially, everyone throughout the lands of Grandual knew the tales of this crew's awe-inspiring exploits when they tackled the unbelievable danger

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is such a beautifully crafted adventuring mission that surrounds a charming band of mercenaries, as they travel from town to town, on foot or sky ship, prepping for what is likely to be their last tour. And these towns are filled with, and surrounded by, every type of fantasy creature and monster that you could ever wish for: Centaurs, Treants, Owlbears, Direwolves, Ogres, Goblins, Kobolds, Gorgons, Wyverns, Chime
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ by: Petrik
While reading this book I made the following status update, and as I progressed through Kings of the Wyld it only became more true:

You know when you've tried a bunch of different soup brands that all have delicious looking labels but taste like shit, and finally you find a soup that tastes as good as it looks? That's how reading this book feels.

This is because I've read Fantasy books where the primary thing people tell me in their recommendation is "It's really funny."

Books like Traitor's Blad
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to ☽Luna☾ by: Petrik

"And so it goes, thought Clay. Life was funny, and fickle, and often cruel. Sometimes the unworthy went on living, while those who deserved better were lost."

This was a buddy read with everyone.

Well, I’ll be a kobold’s cock ring, this book was so incredible. Kings of the Wyld made the inner rocker in me want to go to a heavy metal concert and headbang until I get a headache because I'm hardcore. That's seriously how good this book is. I was meant to be in a 35 year book slump but my slu
edge of bubble
massive buddy-read with cheaters who started the book early amazing people.

The cake is a lie.

Looking at the reviews, I could find just one review under 4 stars rating and I know only one person who didn't fall head over heels in love with this book. So welcome to my verra bitchy lonely I liked this book, but over all, it was a disappointing experience review.

I adored KoW for the first 100 pages or so. The feelies every word evoked, the adorable humour, the interesting setting and most of all,
TS Chan
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to TS by: Petrik
Shelves: physical-owned
Update 21 Feb 2018: Happy Birthday to KOTW! Removed the 0.5 stars and decided to give this 5 stars outright.

In a year full of impressive fantasy debuts, Kings of The Wyld earned itself a top spot among the greats.

As I have not been gaming for almost two decades now, a lot of the RPG and Final Fantasy references did not click with me. Regardless, I still had an awesome time reading this book. Unlike Ready Player One which I found to be enjoyable mainly because of the 80s pop culture references,
Petros Triantafyllou
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I may be taking a risk here, what with being still on March and all that, but I'll declare Kings of the Wyld debut of the year.

Clay Cooper leads a peaceful and quiet life. He takes some shifts in the City Watch, he drinks a couple of beers in the King's Head, and spends some quality time with his wife and daughter. Or at least he used to. Because right now he's robbed, hungry, on the road, and trying to do the unthinkable; re-unite his old mercenary band called Saga, cross a forest full of ever
Michael Britt
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Michael by: Petrik
Shelves: favorites
This book. THIS FREAKING BOOK! Man, I'm blown away, yet again, by another book this year. It's been a pretty amazing year of books, and this one comes very close to topping that list.

"Hit it like you hate it."

I'm convinced that Canada births some of the most gifted Fantasy writers. You've got Steven Erikson, Sebastian de Castell and now, added to that list, is Nicholas Eames. This is, quite possibly, my favorite debut novel. Right behind Traitor's Blade by Sebastian de Castell and Theft of Swor
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-fantasy

"Get the boss, this bunch looks like trouble."
'And they do. They do look like trouble, at least until the wizard trips on a hem of his robe.
He stumbles, cursing, and fouls the steps of the others as he falls face-first onto the mud-slick hillside.'


BRILLIANT. So. Damn. Brilliant. 

Alright, my mind is all over the place at the moment to write anything coherent so let me wrap this up by saying that if you’re on the fence about reading this little gem - get it together and READ. IT. 

Just a little
Sebastien Castell
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
No spoilers as the book isn't out yet, but this is a terrific read for fantasy fans who enjoy a mix of old-school adventuring told in a modern voice and with a rock and roll flair. Nicholas Eames knows how to take the tropes of heroic fantasy and simultaneously revel in them while often turning them on their head. Lots of fun to be had here.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites, funny
Full review now posted!

Man, this was so much fun!!

First of all, I love 80s rock. Like, a lot. Seriously, the soundtrack of my childhood consisted largely of Queen, Journey, Styx, Foreigner, and other bands of their ilk. Saturday mornings are still meant for “Your Love” by The Outfield and “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield.

So, when my friends started gushing about a fantasy novel filled with musical references from one of my favorite eras, and promising that it was funny to boot, I added it to
Scott  Hitchcock
This book would be the fantasy partner of the sci-fi book Ready Player One in that there's a myriad of references to pop culture, D&D, gaming, music of which a lot derives from the 80's. I got a lot of them. The ones I knew but couldn't quite place drove me mad.

The book reads like a D&D quest and our characters either had the cheat codes or an endless supply of quarters to make it through to the "battle of the bands" and get their names on the high scores list. That said the writing was
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
We are each what the past has made of us.

What a peculiar book. When I started reading “Kings of Wyld” I was a bit distracted, couldn’t connect to the characters and felt like reading a random book, hah even thought of putting it on hold and read some other time. Putting my crappy POV aside, I was surprised as this book is really well written and it feels so. Though the story is not so unexpected or new (It reminded me of Joe Abercrombie), it’s quite quick-paced, it has monsters, peculiar hist
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
I read Kings of the Wyld as part of a Buddy Read with my favorite Goodreads group, Fantasy Buddy Reads (where the author even showed up to say a few gracious words – how cool is that?!). This is one of those unique books that got devoured as soon as it came across my radar. If you have any knowledge of my colossal TBR pile, you know that most things that land on it sit there for 5+ sometimes even 10+ years before it gets read. The premise for Kings of the Wyld sounded so interesting, I couldn’t ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Then again, that was the point of being in the band, wasn’t it? A tiger, however fearsome, could be hunted into a corner. It fought alone, so it died alone. But to hunt a wolf was to constantly look over your shoulder, wondering if others were behind you in the dark.”

If you plan to do one thing this year, start a band! Sorry, got a little excited there. I meant to say; read this book!

This is a year of many great debuts so far and I think it is safe to presume that this will be one of the bes
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-shelf, fantasy, humor
A battle of the bands! A total rock out with their cocks out. Well, swords, anyway.

I wasn't at all sure what I was going to make of this. I mean, epic fantasy is all great, but I was worried that it was just going to be another cookie-cutter, however well-written.

Not so!

In fact, it reads like a novel of aging rockers getting their lives out of the gutter to go on one last tour, not only recapturing the time that they were once the best of the best, but going out in a real blaze... just as long
Kings of the Wyld is an engaging and fun adventure where a band of mercenaries whose days have passed are coming together for a final time to rescue the daughter of their frontman.

This is an impressive debut which walks a fine line between epic and grimdark fantasy interspersed with humorous elements.
It's a great tale of friendhip between mature characters who are in for something they might be way too old for.
Although there is constant humor and a bunch of more or less well disguised pop-cultu
Liam Degnan
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
"But life, Clay knew, didn't work that way. It wasn't a circle; you didn't go round and round again. It was an arc, its course as inexorable as the sun's trek across the sky, destined at its highest, brightest moment to begin its fall"

3.5 Stars: ✰✰✰ . Full review is now up! Let me know what you think =].

Two things before I even write this review: I really try to not be a "contrarian". Meaning that I try to never be that guy who bashes a good book just because everybody else liked it and s
Esmerelda Weatherwax
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible book. It had everything I look for in a fantasy book, heart, action, humor, fast paced action, likeable characters, diverse characters - top notch in every way. full review soon

Clay Cooper is an old mercenary/sword for hire who’s been in retirement. He has a nice life with a wife he loves and a daughter he adores. He’s visited by an old friend who used to be in his mercenary band and is told his friend’s daughter is in trouble. She’s trapped in a city that’s under
Sarah (thegirltheycalljones)
Shamelessly editing this review on the sole purpose to remind you of the existence of this book. Christmas is coming, you know what to do! You're welcome.

I always say that I hardly ever give 5 stars to a book straight after finishing it, because I like to be sure, and 5 stars cannot be given lightly (yes, I'm such a pain in the ass sometimes). Well, screw it, screw my former 4 stars, this one gets a 5.

Also, I swear way too much below.

Well, how fucking enjoyable was that!
For the simple reason th
Stefan Bach
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
“Time is a circle. History a turning wheel.
And here it is, turning and turning, grinding us all to dust.”

A band. A mercenary band. A great, vicious company of killers.
Fast-forward 19 years: a bunch of gangly limbed old fu*kwits whose place is in a retirement home. Not rummaging through wilderness chasing ghostly heroes of their former selves…

But first – book cover and a nod to an awesome artist called Richard Anderson whose art can be found on various book covers from Brian Staveley's The
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Humor can be a tricky beast, as I often say. What works for one reader might not work for another, and what works one day might not work the next. Picking up something labeled “fantasy humor” is therefore always something of a crapshoot because I never know how it’s going to play out, and unfortunately the last couple of years have seen more misses than hits. When I started Kings of the Wyld though, I had a feeling it was
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
Excellent first book from this debut author! A band of mercenary brothers past their prime reunite to save their leader’s daughter (a mercenary herself). While Full of humor and sarcasm, don’t let this book fool you, as it’s full of heartwarming and dark moments in equal measure. A true swashbuckling adventure and a breath of fresh air in a genre that often stagnates with the same old tropes being told again and again. Highly recommend for those that are new to the genre of fantasy as
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favourites
wooppp! another book that goes into my favourites of the year! 😭🙌🏽

also, this cover is one of the best covers I’ve ever seen! I kept admiring my paperback 😭

Every time I think about this book I get sad. Ugh! It’s actually finished? Nicholas Eames’ imagination and writing skills have blown me away. Like honestly, I’m in awe. There was never a dull moment in the story, never a time when I felt that things were going slow. Someone was always either being reckless, or stupid, or getting into petty fi
Michael Sliter
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving Kings of the Wyld 4.5 star (but I always round up!).

Kings of the Wyld is fun. The whole concept, a humorous, musical themed take on aging mercenaries, probably shouldn't have worked. And yet, between witty dialogue and lovable characters, including those picked up along the way, Kings of the Wyld succeeds.

If you try to read this as a serious fantasy book, prepare to be disappointed. There are certainly some emotional moments (which really fall flat and feel forced, early on, as if Ea
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Kings of the Wyld turned out to be one of the better fantasy debut books I've read in the last few years. I was not blown away by the blurb so my expectations were middling going into this story but I have to say that turned out to be a plus for me as I ended up pleasantly surprised by how awesome this one turned out to be. Nicholas Eames has an engaging writing style and he played the worn out mercenary trope to perfection!

The story was interesting enough. The legendary mercenary band Saga are
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great debut, great story, great characters, great humor, great foes.
If you are looking for some cool reads, this is definitely the greatest suggestion I have at this specific moment!
Deborah Obida
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, fantasy
Honest? Honest is boring, his old friend might have said. Comfortable is dull.

Wow,talk about originality, this book is so original, I've never read anything like it before. I love the world building,crazy but humourous and loyal characters, amazing plot,magic,action and an ample lot of mythical creatures, what more could you ask for in an epic fantasy. The banter is so funny that I could not help but highlight 63 notes in a 544 page book. The book is also diverse.

And then came the cyclops.”
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The Band (3 books)
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“Among them is a renegade king, he who sired five royal heirs without ever unzipping his pants. A man to whom time has imparted great wisdom and an even greater waistline, whose thoughtless courage is rivalled only by his unquenchable thirst.

At his shoulder walks a sorcerer, a cosmic conversationalist. Enemy of the incurable rot, absent chairman of combustive sciences at the university in Oddsford, and the only living soul above the age of eight to believe in owlbears.

Look here at a warrior born, a scion of power and poverty whose purpose is manifold: to shatter shackles, to murder monarchs, and to demonstrate that even the forces of good must sometimes enlist the service of big, bad motherfuckers. His is an ancient soul destined to die young.

And now comes the quiet one, the gentle giant, he who fights his battles with a shield. Stout as the tree that counts its age in aeons, constant as the star that marks true north and shines most brightly on the darkest nights.

A step ahead of these four: our hero. He is the candle burnt down to the stump, the cutting blade grown dull with overuse. But see now the spark in his stride. Behold the glint of steel in his gaze. Who dares to stand between a man such as this and that which he holds dear? He will kill, if he must, to protect it. He will die, if that is what it takes.

“Go get the boss,” says one guardsman to another. “This bunch looks like trouble.”

And they do. They do look like trouble, at least until the wizard trips on the hem of his robe. He stumbles, cursing, and fouls the steps of the others as he falls face-first onto the mud-slick hillside.”
“But what does a mirror know? What can it show us of ourselves? Oh, it might reveal a few scars, and perhaps a glimpse—there, in the eyes—of our true nature. The spirit beneath the skin. Yet the deepest scars are often hidden, and though a mirror might reveal our weakness, it reflects only a fraction of our strength.” 30 likes
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