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Kings of the Wyld

(The Band #1)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  38,601 ratings  ·  5,895 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
Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published February 21st 2017 by Orbit
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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 unwis…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 noneth…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.


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Average rating 4.29  · 
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Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every fantasy fans
Recommended to Petrik by: Melanie
Shelves: favorites
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here:

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—coming back for one more tour. Now, replace the rock bands and concerts with mercenary bands and killing monsters. I won’t
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
UPDATE: $2.99 Kindle US 3/12/22

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 ou
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
I really wanted to like this book but I didn't.

I wasn't nearly as attached to the characters as I wanted to be, I was frankly bored and the humor... I could acutely feel that I wasn't the target audience.

Not for me. DNFed at 292. I tried. I really did.
Mark Lawrence
I liked this a lot, and I can see why it has done so well. Eames is an excellent writer and funny with it too. I very rarely laugh out loud at books, but I did once with this one. Right near the end there was this (that is much funnier in context):

What’s that, honey? What was I doing while Uncle Gabe was duelling a god with all of civilization at stake? Why, I was wrestling in the muck with an exceptionally tenacious cow.

& it also sets up something that reminded me of a certain horse kick...

James Tivendale
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freecopy, 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
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
I can finally review this one and let y'all know that I ENJOYED AN ADULT FANTASY? Wild as heck ...more
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ by: Petrik
Shelves: 4-star, year-2017
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
Sean Barrs
I found The Kings of the Wyld underwhelming and totally unworthy of the hype surrounding it.

Now I’m going to start with the strengths. The book made me laugh. There are so many moments of irony and slapstick comedy. And some of them were well executed and timed perfectly, though others bordered on plain stupidity. Moog, the wizard of the band, was just way too ridiculous to function. He fucks up constantly and most of his antics felt forced. As time went on, the book started to feel like a
Luna. ✨
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 bu
William Gwynne
I now have a YouTube channel that I run with my brother, called 'The Brothers Gwynne'. Check it out - The Brothers Gwynne

Just finished Kings of the Wyld. To put it simply, it was incredible. Such a creative, original, fun and thoughtful read. I loved it.

With Kings of the Wyld we follow the perspective of Clay Cooper, the equivalent of the bass player of a band, the steadfast member of the group. He is surprised to see his old friend, Gabriel, who says he needs the old mercenary band to get b
John Gwynne
Apr 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Kings of the Wyld is a rollicking, page-turning, edge-of-your-seat road trip of a book. Great characters, loveable rogues that I genuinely cared about and all manner of fantastical monsters. All spiced with a sly sense of humour that had me smiling throughout.

I read Kings of the Wyld a few years ago now and absolutely adored it. Since then, two of my boys have joined the bandwagon and also loved this story. In the time that has passed I still fondly remember the wonderful band of characters that
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, fantasy
Bloody fantastic!!! All the stars!

I’m going to tell you all a big secret of mine. You ready?
I’m great at reading epic fantasty books but I’m down right terrible at reviewing them!
The secret is out! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So here goes!

Kings of the Wyld was one of the best fantasy books that I’ve read in years. It had the perfect balance of humor, camaraderie and action all in one fantastic book!
Honestly, I wish I could give this more then 5 stars because I loved everything about it! From all the great characte
Daniel B.
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The fantasy book equivalent of getting extremely drunk with your best friends and going out on a bender. Oh and also one of your friends has a kid who needs to be picked up at a party gone south.


So you rally the whole frat and crash the party and get her ass home safely.

Full review here:
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
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
TS Chan
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to TS by: Petrik
Shelves: physical-owned
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, Kings of the Wyld resonated with me because of its characters and story.

I did get the homage to the music ba
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

Actual Rating: 4.25-4.5 stars


🌟 If you have been following my latest posts, and specifically my book discussions. I talked about my YA crisis in the latest one and how books are all becoming the same to me. I have been reading more adult books and Kings of the Wyld have been on my radar for a while. It has been getting mostly good reviews and I think i
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites, funny
You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

Man, this was so much fun!!

First of all, I love classic 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
Sebastien Castell
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more

"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
Michael Britt
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Petros Triantafyllou
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
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“This is not a choice between life and death, but life and immortality! Remain here and die in obscurity, or follow me now and live forever!”

There are two ways to read this book, from what I can tell. You can read it as a fantasy novel (what it indeed may have been written as), and expect a stunning well-crafted narrative of epic proportions equal to the giants of fantasy literature. And you’ll be horribly disappointed when you notice all the aspects in which it falls flat. There is simply t
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.”

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 best, if not the best. This is one the best debuts I have ever read and I can't remember having so much fun since the Lie
Scott  Hitchcock
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 excelle
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 hi
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Let me ask you a question, dear friends… Are you, perhaps, past your prime? Maybe a little out of shape? Or a lot?? Do you think your glory days are a thing of the past? Worry not, for this book is a shot of pure energy to the brain. So much damn potency it might succeed in dragging your aged body along for the ride. It’s a call to arms, a blaring hurrah, a vindication of the idea that you might still matter. Welcome, friends, to the Band.

Ok, ok, so I’m a little bit late to this. In fact, I’m so
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
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Challenge Corner: Kings of the Wyld -> Starting August 6th, 2022 1 6 Jun 09, 2022 06:52AM  
Goodreads Librari...: wrong number of pages 6 416 Feb 03, 2022 07:09PM  
Random Reads : Chapters 44-END 6 19 Jul 13, 2021 11:38AM  
Random Reads : Chapters 34-43 2 10 Jun 19, 2021 03:56AM  
Random Reads : Chapters 22-33 3 15 Jun 14, 2021 04:21AM  
Random Reads : Chapters 12-21 3 13 Jun 10, 2021 03:49AM  

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Articles featuring this book

If you love the fantasy genre, this is the season for you! Some of the biggest books out this fall promise to be epics full of magic, adventure,...
206 likes · 51 comments
“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.” 66 likes
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