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The Fifth Empire of Man

(Best Laid Plans #2)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  387 ratings  ·  50 reviews
The Fifth Empire of Man is the second book in Rob J. Hayes' piratical fantasy series, Best Laid Plans.

The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself King.

The Five Kingdoms and Sarth have assembled a fleet of ships unlike any the world has ever seen and they intend t
Kindle Edition, 476 pages
Published September 26th 2017 (first published 2017)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: grimdark & pirates fantasy
Recommended to Petrik by: Celeste
A splendidly written conclusion to a duology. Oh, that’s right, I finished this in a day.

The Fifth Empire of Man is the second and the final book in the Best Laid Plans duoIogy and it’s even a greater installment in comparison to the first one. I enjoyed the first book but I have some reservations about it, this sequel kicked almost all of them off the ship.

The most significant differences between the first book and this one are its pacing. The first book was good but I never had a hard time put
James Tivendale
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I received a review copy of The Fifth Empire of Man in exchange for an honest review. I'd like to thank Rob J. Hayes for his generosity. This is the second and final book in the Best Laid Plans duology. It continues the adventures experienced in Where Loyalties Lie which is a current semi-finalist in the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off competition.

This may very well be the best grimdark book I've ever read.

I couldn't wait to rejoin the often humorous, often gruesome piratical action with the Pir
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pirate-mania
Rob Hayes has taken the modern swashbuckling pirate adventure to new heights.

The Fifth Empire of Man builds upon the events and characters in the first book, and takes the story to a whole new level. The story begins right after the events in book 1, Where Loyalties Lie. As the tension builds towards an all-out war with Sarth and The Five Kingdoms, it becomes obvious the pirates will need allies. Captain Elaina Black is sent on a mission to acquire the allies needed. At the same time Captain Kee
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy, funny
Full review now posted!
Original review can be found at Booknest.

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. While I appreciate the gift, the giving of it in no way influenced my view of the book.

I try to be kind of stingy with my 5 star reviews. Now, I don’t always succeed at this, but my 5 star reviews tend to be reserved for books that move me in some way, be that through character development or plot or the prose itself, books that make me nostalgic, or b
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another very solid continuation (and in fact conclusion) to this series and it's a story I really enjoyed. I do hope that we see more from these characters and this world in future series (and there is certainly room for this at the end of the events) but I felt that the book ended on a solid ending and we had lots of things tied up.

This once more follows the captains, Elaina, Stillwater, Tanner and Drake. We're following them as they try to unite the pirates under a common home and goal, agains
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: top-priority
The Fifth Empire of Man is a brilliant sequel to the fast paced thriller started in Where Loyalties Lie.

Captain Drake Morass is close to achieving his dream of a free and united Pirate Isles. However, the main cards in this dangerous game are in the possession of two of his lieutenants. A toss of the dice, and the game changes.... Can the fragile unity be maintained in the face of endless betrayals?

The book is even better than its prequel. The writing is just as fast paced, but even with more ch
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

My rating is 3.5 stars.

The Fifth Empire of Man is the sequel to Rob J. Hayes grimdark pirate tale Where Loyalties Lie, and it continues the ferocious nautical adventures, dousing the pages with blood, battle, and cutthroat action!

Drake Morass is now the “king” of a fledgling pirate kingdom, but how long will it remain? With a a huge armada set to attack the new realm, survival seems a slim hope. But even this coming crisis pales in comparison with his most imme
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, novel
4.5 / 5 stars

NOTE: This review contains light plot spoilers from part one of this duology, “Where Loyalties Lie”.

Power ain’t what ya reckon it to be. Don’t mean yea get to do what ya want all the time; means ya gotta do what every other fucker wants. Much better bein’ the knife in the darkness than waitin’ fer it ta come for you.

The more powerful you are, the less people you can trust. This adage has never been more apparent than in Rob J. Hayes’ thrilling conclusion to his Best Laid Plans pirat
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: The Fifth Empire Of Man as far as fantasy book titles go is a terrific title. It is the concluding volume to the Best Laid Plans duology and a story that is epic in every sense of the word. I was lucky to be able to read this story in its draft form and I can safely say that the final version is something that will readers’ slack jawed at the very least. A warning though for readers who haven’t read Where Loyalties Lie, the book’s blurb
C.T. Phipps
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grimdark, fantasy
THE FIFTH EMPIRE OF MAN is the Warhammer 40K-esque titled novel about a very different sort of subject: pirates! It is the sequel to Rob J. Hayes incredible work WHERE LOYALTIES LIE that follows fantasy conman and pirate Drake Morass in his attempt to forge a pirate kingdom from the disunited thieves of the Pirate Isles. Rather than do a trilogy like his TIES THAT BIND series, Rob J. Hayes brings things to a complete close in only two books. I'm kind of sad about that because as much as I hate D ...more
Trevor Sherman
I am writing a full review hopefully finish that today. but as it is launch day I just want to say this book is fucking fantastic! I gave book one 5 stars and this one is even better. Do yourself a favor and check out this series.
Jon Adams
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm a little late to the Rob Hayes party, but I'm definitely a fan. ...more
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Full review is here, on my blog!

ARR!!! I really did enjoy the first book in this series, so I did by best to get to the second one as soon as I could. Many a day passed, and finally, the day I could get there came upon me. And there was much rejoicing. Pirate adventures are abound in this volume, just as in the one before it. I really love the characters in this series. Really, really love them. Almost all of them, anyway. Tanner Black can still go eat a dick, but whatever.

Elaina had some really
S. D. Howarth
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Awwww. Seriously awwwww. A further fast paced continuation with more betrayals bloodshed and ship smashing. Fun stuff, for a enjoyable quick read, with the pace dictating detail.
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-published
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself King.

I immensely enjoyed Where Loyalties Lie - first installment of Best Laid Plans duology. It’s one of my favorite SPFBO2017 books (among 24 I read so far). I preordered sequel and once it was released, I decided to alter my reading plans and find out as soon as possible what fates awaited my favorite pirates.

Drake Morrass was my favorite ch
Rebekah Teller
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Your favorite pirate captains from Where Loyalties Lie are back, as well as the vile ones you hate! Drake, Elaina, Keelin, and Tanner continue their efforts to save the Pirate Isles from obliteration.

While Drake and Tanner fortify local resources, Elaina and Keelin sail separate ways to rally allies in other regions. Things don't go quite as expected, and what's a pirate journey without a detour quest for ancient, hidden treasure?

This book was extremely difficult to put down and I often ignore
Sadir Samir
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoyed The Fifth Empire of Man just as much as I enjoyed Where Loyalties Lie. Rob J. Hayes wraps up this duology with an epic ending that delivers on everything I hoped it would. If you're in the mood for some grimdark pirate adventures (with humour) you should read these books.

I really don't enjoy writing reviews but I know how important they are to support authors. Hence my very short reviews.
Matt (Book Devour-er)
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars rounded up.

Man did this short series end with a bang. I really enjoyed the first one and hoped the second would be a good follow up. I was not disappointed. The story never slowed down from where the first one took left off. The style of hoping around the different characters viewpoints only added to the already gripping story. LOVED the characters. I love Elaina Black. If only i were a pirate :P Great progression throughtout the book. The world was constantly captivating. This last i
Miriam Michalak
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pirates, hidden treasure, spirit infested jungles, pirates, rum, whoring, cutlasses, pirates, traitors, idealists, mad bastards, pirates, battles, ships, a place to call home. Oh yes, don't forget the pirates! ...more
LJ Waguespack
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another stunning, exceptional entry into the ever expanding world of Rob Hayes as he continues to excel at seamlessly expanding worldbuilding, without pause or hesitation into creating a truly epic series. Devastating betrayals, losses, and expansive second chances truly define the turbulence of the times detailed in this series. The characters, heroes, heroines, and monsters alike display unrelenting commitment to succeed and defy all odds, these traits are a trademark of this series by Rob J H ...more
Scott Waldie
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A satisfying culmination of the story from the first book. Makes me want to go back and check out some of his earlier novels that I believe are set in the same world.
Joseph Vanucchi
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book,series

Wow that was good. Super vivid, some battles easily and grandly imagined..really loved this last book,even more than the first which was really good..there's nothing like pirates! I guess the easiest way to describe it is if Sid Meier ate a toxic amount of opium, and his resulting coma-dream was somehow recorded.
Yeah that's all confusing I'm sure, fighting urge to arrogantly curse the world and run away to the sea, but please at least take away what's written in the heading.. t
Chris Hazen
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it

This is a solid followup to Where Loyalties Lie. It delves further into the magic and expands the politics of the world, but maintains a focus on what really makes this duology enjoyable; the characters. Each captain is entertaining in their own way, as is their crew.

Once again, pour a stiff drink, turn up the Alestorm, and annoy everyone around you by talking like a pirate while you read this.
Yury Ryzhakov
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Drive. Action. Fighting. Vengeance. Betrayal. Blood. Death. Black humour. Exellent characters. Magic. Live dialogs. More action. More blood. And much, much more deaths.
And pirates!

Yeah, "The Fifth Empire of Man" (and whole dilogy "Best Laid Plans") is like whirlpool driving you into bloody madness, and when you'll come up (if you could come up), you could only shake off and say: "WOW, I want more!".

It'd be better to read "The Ties that Bind" trylogy before reading this books, to make impressions
Darren McGowan
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved it

For only two books, Mr. Hayes sure packs a lot of story. Plenty of action to be had, from simple sword fighting to major sea battles. There will definitely be something of interest for you. The plot is solid that flows along at an amazing pace. What definitely sucks you in and keeps you interested are the characters. Love them or not the characters are very interesting and engaging.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic piratical adventure and one of the best, two book series I have ever read. The book kicks off much like Where Loyalties Lie and is a high octane swashbuckling, nautical battling, sea faring, whoring good time. There are plenty of soft of philosophical moments between the shed loads of action and its a very entertaining read. Highly recommend the best laid plans series.
Shalini Nemo
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Okay so this was a whole lot of fun, even better than the previous. I feel a little bit cheated that we won't be hanging out on New Sevrelain anymore, but oh well, further adventures await! ...more
Vinay Badri
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rob J Hayes is quickly becoming the spiritual successor of Joe Abercrombie's First Law series. While Abercrombie hasnt visited that world in some time, Hayes through his works (admittedly in his own worlds) has quietly made a name for himself

What is really amazing is how he has crafted this wonderfully tight pirate-based duology with a host of characters who are suitably anti-heroes for most of it and still one ends up rooting for them. While Drake doesnt get as much space as he does in the prev
Rick Newland
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Outstanding. I really loved this series and hope Rob J. Hayes revisits this world again because I want some more Elaina Black. Damn, she was awesome!
Coby Heitz
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I liked this one even better than the first! It was action packed, had a couple of twists to keep me on my toes, and a great ending.
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Winner of Mark Lawrence's 3rd Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) with Where Loyalties Lie

Rob J. Hayes was born somewhere south of the cockney wastelands in a small town called Basingstoke. He grew up with all the usual boy toys including Lego, Star Wars figures (complete with working lightsaber action) and plenty of Transformers. Playing with these toys inspired his imagination and as soon as

Other books in the series

Best Laid Plans (2 books)
  • Where Loyalties Lie (Best Laid Plans #1)

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68 likes · 9 comments
“Power ain’t what ya reckon it’ll be. Don’t mean ya get ta do what ya want all the time; means ya gotta do what every other fucker wants. Much better bein’ the knife in the darkness than waitin’ fer it ta come for you.” 7 likes
“Good orders should always be questioned,” Stillwater said. “Bad orders should always be ignored.” 6 likes
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