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The Blood Tartan

(Quest of the Five Clans #1)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  22 reviews
This is an alternate cover edition of ASIN B073XSWBW5

Centuries ago a mysterious family of mad geniuses split into five clans; feuding, hiding, hoarding their secrets of fighting and art, magic and science. Now at the dawn of the mechanical 19th century, only the five clans united can hold back the blood-red tide of industrial apocalypse.
Unless they dive into it laughing.
Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Published July 13th 2017 by Amazon Digital Services
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not new to Raymond St. Elmo's elitist and contrived works. The guy has a nerve, writing all these literary stories instead of serving good, bloody and gritty fun to masses. At least in The Blood Tartan people die and blood is spilt. Heck, our hero beats someone with a leg. Maybe not everything is lost, and Raymond will write gritty space opera soon?

Rayne Gray is a madman. When he's not killing, he's cheerful, charitable, and philosophical about his life of violence. He soon finds himself in
Kathleen Garlock
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After reading The Blood Tartan: Quest of the Five Clans, I was left with one thought. Actually, I was left with lots of thoughts, but this one really stuck out.

What the hell is a spadassin?

According to Wiktionary, it’s a French word for an Italian word which in English translates to either a swordsman or a bully. Leave it to a linguist to come up with that one.

Regardless, I guess I have to vote for both choices. Not a problem, actually. Because Rayne Grey is a lot of one and a bit of the other.
Jennifer (bunnyreads)
Read for r/fantasy RAB. There is a short review coming eventually (I hope).
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an absolutely insane fever dream of a novel, and I bloody damn loved it.

The prose is beautiful and lyrical and gorgeous, without being purple (in my humble opinion). The pace is fast and action filled (seriously, how many times can 1 person fight others? A lot). The characters are well developed through their actions.

Rayne was a fun protag who is always getting into some new kind of trouble (whether it's his fault, or not. Usually not). We follow him as he gets a bounty put on his head,
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book

The Blood Tartan is a book quite unlike others I have read. It has the feeling or tone of some great classical work. It is relatively short in page count, but I found myself taking my time in each chapter. Not because it’s difficult to read, but because it was enjoyable to be immersed in, and the writing was witty, unique, and deserved the extra attention. That said, the pace of the story is quite fast, dropping the reader directly into action and not often letting up. The writing
This is the first of the books in the Quest of the Five Clans books and definitely the place you should start. Books 1-3 are currently available, with books 4 and 5 expected to come out by the end of 2019.

This book follows our protagonist, Rayne Gray, a "spadassin" sometimes also called the Seraph. He started out as a soldier but quickly made a name for himself as a great fighter and very effective assassin. As the book opens, the war is over and those Rayne had once been united with to create a
Amy Marie
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophical
I'm partial to this author, so I have to start with that. But this book has great adventure, along with the epitome of philosophical cleverness. I always feel so much smarter for reading St. Elmo. When you get the pleasure of giggling at a joke, you feel like the most clever reader in the room. Which brings me to my point: Reading St. Elmo makes you smarter... When you laugh at his satire, when you read between his philosophical lines, you feel like you're part of his inside joke. You become par ...more
Andrew Rowe
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I can't remember how The Blood Tartan, first book in the Quest for the Five Clans series, came into my possession on my Kindle app. I think it might have been during a giveaway, or a discount, or something along those lines. The cover art certainly caught my attention - a bear in a kilt holding a whiskey (most likely Scotch, given the title and the ursine specimen's get up). I think the author, /u/RAYMONDSTELMO , commented on a few of my posts (in a rather erudite manner, no less, which
Greg Meritt
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What can I say? I love reading Raymond St. Elmo. This author has a style like no other. His work is a bit of poetry, classical literature and satirical humor all rolled into stories that keep the reader engaged in the world of this one-of-a-kind storyteller. The Blood Tartan is told through the eyes of Rayne Gray, a spadassin. A what you say? That's right, a spadassin. A swordsman and a killer, but a different kind of killer. A killer with a heart? A bit of a romantic?

As always with St. Elmo, t
Travis Riddle
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spfbo4
A truly strange and enjoyable book.

I'm slightly torn on this one, but overall I did really enjoy my time reading it. Some of the major developments of the story I felt were glossed over a bit and I would've appreciated learning a little more about the world's history and also Rayne's character development, to better understand why he makes some of the choices he does.

That being said, I found the book superbly written. The narrative voice from Rayne Gray's POV was perfectly done and really tran
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A damn fine read

Not your ordinary collection of words, rambling across a page. No, these words tell tales of worlds not yet imagined, of a different time.
In other words, get a copy, and learn that it is like a good bride.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series
This book doesn't contain anthropomorphic animals wearing kilts as it may seem from the cover, but there are some supernatural elements to it which I won't spoil. The story is told in first-person point of view by a spadassin (fighter/assassin) with a conscience. His storytelling is very poetic  and this is one book that I'd rather not have converted into a movie because we'd be missing out on all the intricate wordplay. However, watching the fight scenes and the interaction between Rayne and th ...more
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent story by an excellent writer. I have no doubt that Raymond St. Elmo will be noticed for his talents, I can only hope that he's noticed at a point in time when he can see the rewards. I wish a specialty press like Subterranean Press, Centipede or Grim Oak would take notice of him or that he would self-publish a collectible first-edition of his major works as I'm confident that collectible copies of his books would kickstart a cult following. If only, if only.
K.A. Ashcomb
This is no mere fantasy. This is a mystery, a lyrical poem stretched into a story, this is the thought you never knew you needed, this is alternative history. Yet, to state straight away that there were hiccups before I got the hang of the rhythm of the philosophical bear. In the beginning, I was so lost sliding from one fast action (fighting) scene to another, from one wordy sentence (you could spend days to mull over) thought to another, not knowing where I was and who I was following. I strug ...more
Iain M Rodgers
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have only one objection. I couldn't imagine a seraph being bear-like. Indeed, the movements of the Seraph were surely too graceful and lithe. But perhaps I had failed to use my imagination sufficiently.
Later I realised I had instead, not understood a play on words.
Perhaps both, perhaps neither.
Rob Gregson
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Astonishing. Poetry, philosophy and an examination of social justice, all wrapped up in a fast-moving adventure that's filled with wit and wisdom. Now my favourite amongst Mr St E's already highly regarded collection.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lyrical Writing

Inspiring but pisses me off because I cannot write like this. I look forward to the other books in this series.
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot appropriately state how underrated this book is. It is one of the only books in recent history that shows true intelligence in writing, and the fact that this is not slotted for Netflix next year should make the publishing and media infrastructure, which is so bent on the destruction of quality writing, ashamed of what they have done to a profession they (hopefully) once appreciated. Thank you Raymond for writing the way you do, and for not compromising your unique style to create more ...more
Alex Wojciechowski
Absolutely enthralling. Picked this up on a whim (and because it was on sale) and had an absolute blast reading it. It felt like a mad fever dream that didn’t subside until I had hit 100% completion. The prose and use of language were superb without being overbearing or too ‘purple’. Breezed through the first book and decided to buy the rest of the series because it was just that good! Highly recommended!
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up on a whim from a reddit suggestion, and glad I did. Surprisingly good writing carries the book while you wait for the story to get started, by which point you're in love with the characters and it becomes a page-turner through the next couple of books.

In hindsight the story was not remarkable, but Raymond writes so beautifully in this first installment of his series that I'd have been quite content to read anything he offered.
Bob McGough
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this book by the authors Reddit comments. They were quirky, sometimes insane, but always flowery and I knew that if he wrote books the way he did Reddit comments that I had to check him out.

Boy am I glad that I did. If you like fun, quirky novels then you will love this. The author does an incredible job putting you in the (surely?) mad mind of its protagonist, and it's all up hill from there.
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the protagonist being both large, powerful, and yet intelligent and quirky. The supporting crew were well rounded and revealed more as time went on. The whole series is just what i was after.

This is probably a book that could be read by anyone, but there is certainly additional depth to be found.

A more fun take on the Malazan style almost, albeit in a more mundane setting.
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Quest of the Five Clans (5 books)
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