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The Steel Remains

(A Land Fit for Heroes #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  15,171 ratings  ·  1,256 reviews
A dark lord will rise. Such is the prophecy that dogs Ringil Eskiath—Gil, for short—a washed-up mercenary and onetime war hero whose cynicism is surpassed only by the speed of his sword. Gil is estranged from his aristocratic family, but when his mother enlists his help in freeing a cousin sold into slavery, Gil sets out to track her down. But it soon becomes apparent that ...more
Paperback, 391 pages
Published July 9th 2009 by Gollancz (first published August 7th 2008)
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Charles I came away with the impression the world of the story was either an alt-Earth or the Earth very far in the future. I assumed the 'gods' were post-hum…moreI came away with the impression the world of the story was either an alt-Earth or the Earth very far in the future. I assumed the 'gods' were post-humans. In the same way, the Helmsmen were biological AIs.(less)
George You don't say what you've already rejected. Have you looked at here yet? It's not perfect--for one thing, it'…moreYou don't say what you've already rejected. Have you looked at here yet? It's not perfect--for one thing, it's got mysteries w/ no touch of fantasy on it--but it's a start. A start toward looking at blurbs and reviews and comparing your public libraries' catalogs.

Of that list, besides Flewelling and Morgan, I've read and liked
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.
A lot by Mercedes Lackey but very little of her heralds of Valdemar.
Mélusine and its sequels by Sarah Monette.
Hero by Perry Moore--quite serious, as I remember, despite being YA.
The Magpie Lord and it sequels by K.J. Charles, including the shorts.
Beyond the Pale and sequels by Mark Anthony.
The Door Into Fire and sequels by the always reliable Diane Duane--except the series isn't finished and I seem to remember the love interest wasn't much somehow ... it's been a long time.
The various Nevèrÿon titles by Samuel R. Delany, which are VERY serious.
Ink and Steel and its sequel Hell and Earth, both starring Kit Marlowe, by Elizabeth Bear.
A Book of Tongues and its sequels by Gemma Files, highly recommended.
Mordred, Bastard Son by Douglas Clegg; gonna hafta get the sequel via ILL once the libraries are up again. And maybe that book itself, which I read a few years ago.
The Alchemist of Souls and its sequels by Anne Lyle. Elizabethan.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. (The gay here may or may not be obvious to you for most of the novel.) And its sequel.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. Haven't read all the sequels, but she's dependable.
Planetfall and its sequel by Emma Newman. Tho I don't remember who, if anyone, is gay.
A Darker Shade of Magic and its sequels by V.E. Schwab.

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  15,171 ratings  ·  1,256 reviews

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Jun 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have too much to write about The Steel Remains to put it all into a coherent paragraph by paragraph review, so I am just going to ramble around a bit and write what I need to write.

Mind-Blowing: That's my instant reaction after finishing this book. But the mind-blowingness began in the midst of the first chapter. I intentionally slowed down my reading so that I could savour every word, but by the time Ringil came out of the grey mists with his dwenda lover, Seethlaw, and his lover's gang of fu
Into every life a book that destroys the rating system must come--The Steel Remains is leading for 2016. Naomi and I were looking for a buddy read, and this was on both of our TBR lists. It was on mine because I generally enjoyed Morgan's science fiction Kovacs series. Still, I've been off on fantasy lately, unless it's the genre-bending type. Once I and heard that two of the leads were gay, I was curious to see how that would play out.

The Steel Remains opens in a scene familiar to many; an agin
Mayim de Vries
May 02, 2017 rated it liked it
“When a man you know to be of sound mind tells you his recently deceased mother has just tried to climb in his bedroom window and eat him, you only have two basic options. You can smell his breath, take his pulse and check his pupils to see if he's ingested anything nasty, or you can believe him.”

You need to admit that as far as epic opening sentences go, this one scores pretty high. It promises you a rich world, a solid narrator with just the right touch of dry sarcasm, and a constant action.
James Tivendale
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Steel Remains is the story of Ringil "Angeleyes" Eskiath, the hero of Gallows Gap and wielder of Ravensfriend, and is set a decade after the end of the war with the lizard folk. We join him at the novel's beginning in a backwater town where he resides in an inn living off his fame as a warrior. Here he remains, drinking and fucking, until his mother arrives requesting his assistance.

Ringil's cousin Sherin has been sold to slavers and in accepting the mission to track her down, our protagonis
May 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I loved his Sci-Fi stuff, but this fell flat to me. It felt like he was trying to break the cliches of fantasy novels but just doing the opposite of the cliche, rather than dig deep into the characters to make them real and believable. I wanted to love this book, with a gay male protagonist, but I never believed him as a character. Same for the other characters, they were missing heart and a sense of reality that could have take it from reverse ...more
I wanted to like The Steel Remains so much more than I actually did. I was so looking forward to reading it. I've read two of Richard K. Morgan's science fiction novels, Thirteen and Altered Carbon and thought they were unique and amazing. Morgan takes sex and violence to a level I would never be able to tolerate in a movie and manages to glamorize neither. He reveals the damage violence does to those who commit it, even the bad guys. He really understands socio-politics and is great at extrapol ...more
Robin Hobb
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An engrossing read. Sometimes fate just won't leave you alone. Excellent.
Apr 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
Abercrombie's, Lawrence's (especially), Salyards's and Weeks's fans, this may be the next grimdark series for you. There is irony in all its forms, gallows humor, smoke gray morality, swearing, religious satire, subverted fantasy heroes, assorted trigger warnings and bucket-loads of cynicism.

Speaking about this first book what I liked the most are the opening line, the world-building and the presence of well-rounded adult characters. The protagonists are not in their twilight years of course, bu
5.5 stars. Richard Morgan is one of my favorite authors so needless to say I am a big fan of his writing style, his characters and his very gritty, violent stories. I thought this was a brilliant fantasy "noir" novel that was never boring. I thought Morgan took some real chances in this book (most notably the graphic sexual descriptions involving the main character) but Morgan has never been one to shy away from telling a story his way. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!

Voted to SFSite Reader's
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When a man you know of sound mind tells you his recently deceased mother has just tried to climb in his bedroom window and eat him, you only have two basic options. You can smell his breath, take his pulse, and check his pupils to see if he's ingested something nasty, or you can believe him.

And thus begins The Steel Remains, a whirlwind of sex, violence and sorcery that sucked me in and left me wanting more 390 pages later.

Where other men see only the rim of the world, you must look beyond. You
I've been a big fan of R. Morgan ultra violent, ultra dark and quite explicit novels since his extraordinary debut Altered Carbon. Though in his last novels the repetitions of themes, plot and gimmicks became a bit tiresome, in The Steel Remains Mr. Morgan moves to epic/adventure fantasy and reinvigorates said themes. While longtime readers of his novels will be less surprised at the twists and turns of this novel because of the echoes of previous works, there is a lot of new stuff here and the ...more
Stefan Bach
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
4.51 :D
Jan 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jim
Shelves: read-in-2009, fantasy
A very interesting book. His website calls it noir fantasy. I guess I kind of get that. It's certainly not the lovely elves dancing under the moon kind of book. War, violence, intolerance, politics, and religion all play a part. There is a lot of crude language and some sexually explicit scenes. The main character. Ringil, is a self-proclaimed queer. If you find homosexuality, or outright heterosexuality, both in scenes and language, to be offensive, this is not the book for you. I actually foun ...more
5.0 stars (would give it more if I could). Incredible fantasy novel by one of my favorite authors. Morgan's first fantasy novel is an outstanding accomplishment. Stands beside (1) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, (2) the Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch and (3) the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie as the most entertaining fantsy novel to come out in the last 5 years. Highly recommended!! ...more
Michael Pang
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was my first Richard Morgan fantasy novel and it won't be my last.

Take 1 part grimdark add 1 part epic fantasy; blend well; bake 45 mins = bloody corpses, ghouls, sex-sexual violence, multiple races, broadswords, axes, politics and political maneuvering, potassium sorbate (to preserve freshness) and science-magic.

The book can fall into the occasional lull; however, as a whole, it is a strong 1st novel of a series. It is a no holds-barred introduction into a dark and epic world which has yo
Kara Babcock
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, 2012-read, owned
Goodness, it’s been a long time since I read Altered Carbon , and nearly as long since I heard about The Steel Remains, Richard K. Morgan’s foray into fantasy, and knew I needed to give it a try. I was intrigued by the promise of a gritty approach to epic fantasy. Much like in the shooter genre of video games, the term gritty as applied to fantasy can get tossed around a lot without much accuracy. But I was pretty certain Morgan would deliver. In this respect he did. As a novel, however, The ...more
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grimdark
Another grimdark fantasy novel. The three main characters of this book are veterans from a war against the lizard folk over a decade ago. All of them are damaged in some way: Ringil, our nominal hero, is gay in a culture where gay men are publicly executed. Egar Dragonbane is a steppe nomad chieftain; having seen the world as a young mercenary he’s frustrated and feels trapped in his clan, unable to leave and surrounded by people who don’t look any further than the horizon, Archeth is a half-hum ...more
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was a solid start to what is shaping up to be a pretty decent dark fantasy series. The biggest flaw this series has going for it is the fact that it is no Altered Carbon. Altered Carbon is a real gem of the sci-fi genre. The Steel Remains is a good book but it is not special in the fantasy genre in the same way Altered Carbon is in the sci-fi genre. We definitely got a got a good story here and I found the writing quite engaging but the worldbuilding was a little run of the mill. I'm not sa ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Well...okay. This one has been on my radar for some time. It has a mixed bag of reviews and reviewers. many love it some hate it and a few fall all along the scale in between. It's one of those I kept meaning to get to but always had "other stuff' ahead of it.

What we have here is another in the current flood of books that strains to be dark and gritty. It accomplishes the saying goes. This book is not only gritty it stands by your elbow the entire time you're reading and ye
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books, fantasy
dark and gritty non-standard fantasy, excellent !!!
Perry Whitford
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Richard K. Morgan has made quite a name for himself as a hard-edged, contemporary science fiction novelist, winner of a good number of the awards available after just a handful of publications. Here he tries his hand at writing a fantasy with a grim, visceral presentation and a couple of unusual, contemporary tropes.

To give due, The Steel Remains is fairly strong on narrative drive. However, it is simply horrid when it comes to dialogue. Clearly Morgan wants us to like his main characters - tho
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of badass warriors dealing with complicated political realities
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Lightreads
Basically, this book takes high fantasy tropes and screws with them. This is not a parody; it's not so facile. But the author has clearly read and loved a great deal of fantasy in his life, and knows the basic stories well. And when he grew tired of the easy answers and Light vs Dark epic battles, he created this.

The elves have left Middle Earth--but they were actually aliens, driven half-mad by their flight across the stars, and the half-Elven Princess they leave behind them is a black lesbian
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Richard K. Morgan completists, fantasy haters
Before you ask, I got my copy of this book through, where the book is in print today. This is my habit with Morgan's books, rather than waiting another year for them in the United States.

Traditionally, in Noir, it's customary to have a protagonist who is morally compromised, but who at least tries to better himself/herself, the world, etc. Morgan seems to have missed that point with the utterly unlikable Ringel, protagonist of The Steel Remains. Ringel is an empty husk of a human be
Marc Aplin
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Joe Abercrombie fans
Recommended to Marc by: Jon Weir
The Steel Remains is an interesting book to say the least...

It seems to be the results of renowned Sci-Fi author 'Richard K. Morgan's' attempt to shake up the at times stale Fantasy Genre. In traditional fantasy we tend to expect a hero who is loved and admired, merciful, an honorable and triumphant past, women to swoon over him and of course; a noteworthy quest he must complete.

Well, The Steel Remains gives us a character who is pretty much immoral, bloodthirsty, hated among his people, gay an
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Books - the warm, leather-skinned weight of them in your hands, the way they smelled when you lifted them close to your face. The unfeasibly heart-jolting shock once, as a tome fell heavily open at some much-visited page, divided itself neatly in two blocky halves along the spine - and you thought, guiltily, that you’d broken it.

'I’ve seen how it ends. Someday, in a city where the people rise through the air with no more effort than it takes to breathe, where they give their blood to stra
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
End of the year reviews have me swamped, but expect reviews for all three books in this series soon! Until then: this novel is an incredibly original fantasy with a complex protagonist with a strong and engaging narrative voice. The secondary POV characters give the reader a glimpse of the complexity and intricacies of Morgan's world building, and once the plot grabs your attention it will not let go until the novel's end. ...more
Holly (The GrimDragon)
4.5 Stars~

"The sun lay dying amidst torn cloud the colour of bruises, at the bottom of a sky that never seemed to end. Night drew in across the grasslands from the east, turning the persistent breeze chilly as it came. There's an ache to the evenings up here, Ringil had said once, shortly before he left. It feels like losing something every time the sun goes down."

Richard (K) Morgan is a well-known science fiction author, with this his foray into fantasy. I've owned Altered Carbon for longer tha
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, fantasy, 1-men
The last line on the back of the book reads;
"The Empire owed them everything and gave them nothing. Now someone is going to pay."

That sounds like the beginning of a rebellion, doesn't it?
Like someone's pissed and seeking revenge?
Like someone has had enough of living off of a fading-hero status, of being spurned by their own family and society, of cheap fucks, of never meeting respect nor admiration, with no friends left to speak of?
Like someone is ready to take back what is theirs?
And that t
Feb 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2009
Richard K. Morgan has made a career of taking the familar elements of science-fiction, breaking them down and building them into something that respects its past but it willing to challenge readers by trying something new. After a successful and award-winning run in sci-fi, Morgan is now turning to the world of fantasy to take the familar and make it new and fresh again.

"The Steel Remains" is the first of a new trilogy by Morgan. The story has the usual fantasy tropes on display--a hero with a g
Apr 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, library-loan
If you're familiar with Richard K. Morgan's other works, you'll be pleased to know that "The Steel Remains" combines many strong points of his Takeshi Kovacs novels, but places them in a fantasy setting instead of SF. This is a very recognizable Richard K. Morgan novel - in an unrecognizable setting.
Ringil Eskiath, son of a wealthy merchant family, has made a name for himself in several ways before the start of the story. For one, he is a hero of a past war, in which humanity had to defend itse
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine editions 2 11 May 28, 2019 03:18AM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Steel Remains [Nov 15, 2017] 24 47 Nov 20, 2017 09:12AM  
Flights of Fantasy: September 2014 - Fantasy: The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan 22 70 Sep 08, 2014 10:34AM  
From England 1 98 Sep 18, 2008 06:40PM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Richard K. Morgan (sometimes credited as Richard Morgan) is a science fiction and fantasy writer.

Other books in the series

A Land Fit for Heroes (3 books)
  • The Cold Commands (A Land Fit for Heroes, #2)
  • The Dark Defiles  (A Land Fit for Heroes, #3)

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