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The Mad Lancers

(Gods of Blood and Powder 0.1)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  933 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Young war hero Ben Styke commands a colonial garrison in a sleepy Fatrastan town. It’s a well-deserved quiet posting and Styke intends to keep the peace despite rumblings of discontent across the continent.

But peace is difficult to maintain on the frontier. Taxes imposed by the far away Kez government, and their heavy-handed methods of enforcing them, have the
Kindle Edition, 85 pages
Published September 6th 2017
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Average rating 4.30  · 
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 ·  933 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another solid Brian Mcclellan novella, this time featuring none other than the stand out character from the last one I read, Mad Ben Stykes. The Major protects an innocent lodge owner from a beating by someone with political clout, and by protect I mean breaks both his arms! Madness ensues as said asshole calls in his connections and the town is attacked. Luckily, Ben Stykes is one badass lancier and he was not nicknamed Mad on a whim. Cue chaos.

Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Ben Styke is a war hero and commander of a garrison in Fernhollow. Fernhollow is a small relatively peaceful out of the way town until a Kez Squadron spends the night. Major Prost, The Fatrastan Governor's brother, beats a local business owner for asking him to pay his bill. Styke intervenes on the business owners behalf and the real trouble starts.

Ben Styke is one hell of a killer which for the time period is fine, but he has an equally fierce temper. I can't help but feel as though
Stefano G.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’ve been going through a block in reading and the only things I’ve been able to read are the preview chapters of Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson and this novella by Brian McClellan. It’s refreshing to read a story that’s easy-going, fast-flowing and where you don’t have to think when you read.

Set in Fartrasta, some years before the events in Sins of Empire, we get the backstory of the legendary Mad Ben Styke and his lancers and how he got his nickname. Brian McClellan is really great at this
Kitvaria Sarene
I really like Ben, so this was a story almost written for me...
Ben just can't stand injustice, and goes on a nice little killing spree - and I was both entertained, shocked, put through all sorts of emotions and happy to spend more time with him!
Flying Monkey
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
4 Stars!

A great novella on the history of the Mad Lancers. Definitely worth the time to read.
Orhan Capas
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Impresive little story from the world of powdermage. Its backstory for Ben Styke of Sins of Empire , some information about him becoming a hero for revolution. Everyone who liked Ben styke in sins of Empire should read it asap. If you did not read it, just look into it for good story and general lore.
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such a delightful novella - McClellan is the master of novellas that add so much content to the world he built.
Mad Ben Styke. How did he get his name? This is the right place for you!

Jon Adams
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The title is pretty self-explanatory. A bit of backstory on one of my favorite Powder Mage characters, Mad Ben Stykes.
I don't feel like you'd have to read the rest of the books in his series to enjoy this one, so it might be a great jumping off point for those of you that are Powder Mage virgins.

Tis is an excellent read.
Miriam Michalak
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this Powder Mage companion novella. It's my favourite so far (can we have some more please Mr McCellan, I've run out :) ) with the wonderful character of Ben Styke. In this short we get to know him, and what a pleasure that was, and how the Mad Lancers come to be formed.

Would love to read more about Ben (and Jackal) and their adventures.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, 2017
McClellan is a good writer. The story is pretty gritty though.
LJ Waguespack
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stellar, additional background story on a major character in the Gods of Blood and Powder series. Thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you, Brian McClellan.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Quintin Zimmermann
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A revelatory past tale of the younger man that Ben Stykes was and the man he had already become.

Ben Stykes is the fulcrum of the charge, the tip of the spear, the man to rally around when the chips are down.

Whilst Druss had Snaga the Sender, Ben had his warhorse, Deshnar.

A rollicking short tale with the message: "Do not mess with Ben"
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Another nice novella set in the the Powder Mage universe. Mad Ben Styke is a great character and this is a nice insight into his backstory, without turning into one of those prequels full of "so that's how that happened" moments. It's also pretty brutal, but fans of McClellan should be used to that.
I really enjoyed this novella. it's set in the powder mage universe & fills in details of events that occurred before & are mentioned in the main series. this basically addresses the formation of Mad Ben Stykes Mad Lancers & their enchanted armor. great fun to read!
Seamus Quigley
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of McClellan's better short stories, and he writes some great short stories.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
How Ben Styke earned the monicker "Mad Ben Styke." Dark and violent and, as usual, the protagonist takes enough damage to kill any five people.
Dave M
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For a short read it was a really good book. Good characters and story.
Richard Clouston
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read from the powder mage world and this was no exception. I really liked Ben Styke in the first book and it was great getting a backstory for him to flesh out the character more. Read this to get myself back into the universe and am looking forward to starting book two when it drops later tonight.
Yeah, not so complex story, quite straightforward action and execution, but there are some explanations about Ben Stykes past...

And what`s with the armors, here it looks like they`re enchanted?! I don`t remember this to be said in the novels...
Nic Zimmermann
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mad Ben Styke

Mad Ben Styke is such a great character, reminiscent of David Gemmel's Druss the Legend. Excellent novella setting up some of the characters that feature in the second Powder Mage Triligy. Definitely recommended.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
‘Short‘ novella from the powder mage universe. Things I expect from McClellan’s books – great writing, favorite heroes, a lot of action, actually funny jokes…just pure enjoyment of fantasy where you are not looking for some high philosophy. This novella isn’t an exception – in fact it’s great warm up before new book, which promises meeting Ben Styke and his lancers quite often.
It is sort of an introduction to the new trilogy of the world of magic and powder. An introduction as gruesome and as full of military jargon as the Powder Mage. It is an attempt to fall in love with the character of Mad Ben Stykes even before picking up Sins of Empire.

A bit bored with cruelty, giant humans with morals, and constant military actions, I'm still intrigued to see why the Sins of Empire is rated that high.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novella is an excellent background story of the fascinating character Mad Ben Stykes, who was introduced in the Powder Mage Trilogy with a small but memorable roll and recently he has his own POV in Sins of Empire, the first book in the new sequel trilogy, Gods of Blood and Powder.

Many readers, me among them, was immediately taken with the mad colonel in Powder Mage who, leading his Mad Lancers, plowed through fields of battle, leaving paths paved with the dead and dying enemy. In The Mad
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think of all of McClellan's stuff, this one is most like Joe Abercrombie. They share some similarities in general, but this short story, where Ben Styke gets a leading role, has the brutal grittiness that I'd expect when reading about The Bloody Nine and Shivers.

Make no mistake: Ben Styke is a killer. Sure he's defending the townspeople and generally against the murder of children and all of that, but right from the get go we get the idea of who he is....and he's not exactly the paragon of vi
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another solid story from Powder Mage universe. Mad Ben Styke was interesting character in The Autumn Republic, last book in The Powder Mage trilogy, and already at time of reading it I told myself that this character deserves his own novella. Before I read all the novellas this one came out and I knew I have to read it.

This is a story about how Ben got his reputation and how his Mad Lancers were formed. I like the story but there is one thing that bothered me. Ben has certain "abilities" whic
Todd Ross
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Picked up the latest Brian McClellan novella and read it pretty much all in at 2am when I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. It was a pretty quick and short read and was an extremely enjoyable little revenge story. I'm curious if these characters will be in the latest trilogy that Brian is writing. I haven't started reading it yet, but its sat on my shelf since it came out. I kinda wanted to wait till 2 books were out before starting.

Either way, if you like Brian McClellan's writ
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy
When I started The Mad Lancers I didn’t think it would be this good. A novella about the origin of The Mad Lancers and its leader Mad Ben Styke sounded interesting for Powder Mage fan like me but it appeared I underestimated Brian McClellan. Just a few pages into the story and i just couldn’t put it down. I didn’t expected the book to have emotional plot but it has and it’s a powerful one with precise impact. It is clear why The Mad Ben and his Lancers are such a force and why Brian McClellan is ...more
Mar 04, 2018 is currently reading it
I've just started listening to this novella but I've got high hopes for how good its going to be. Ben Stykes is such an interesting character. He was introduced in sins of empire last year and he was so damaged and its going to be great to have his back story before the next full book comes out. I'll write more when I've finished.
Sidestory to the new Gunpowder Mage trilogy gives the full story of how "Mad" Ben Stykes came to be Kez's most wanted criminal at the start of Sins of Empire.

Readable if you don't mind that Stykes is a total superhuman killing machine.
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Mad Lancers [Sept 1, 2018] 25 39 Sep 13, 2018 05:06AM  

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Brian McClellan is an American epic fantasy author from Cleveland, Ohio. He is known for his acclaimed Powder Mage Universe and essays on the life and business of being a writer.

Brian now lives on the side of a mountain in Utah with his wife, Michele, where he writes books and nurses a crippling video game addiction.

Brian's novels include the Powder Mage Trilogy (Promise of

Other books in the series

Gods of Blood and Powder (3 books)
  • Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #1)
  • Wrath of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #2)
  • Blood of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #3)