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The Warrior Within

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Angus McIntyre makes his debut with The Warrior Within, a mind-bending science fiction adventure about a man with many people living in his head.

Karsman has a dozen different people living in his head, each the master of a different set of skills and hoping to gain mastery of Karsman’s body. He survives on a backwater planet dominated by the Muljaddy, a mostly ambivalent religious autocracy, where devotion and prayer can be traded in for subsistence wages and enough food to survive. Surrounded by artifacts of a long dead civilization, the population survives off its salvage, with Karsman eking out an uneventful life as the unofficial mayor of his small town.

But that life is soon interrupted, when a group of commandos arrive, coming from the wastelands as only off-worlders could. They've come to kill a woman, or so they say. At first the commandos merely threaten as they search. Unable to find what they're looking for, they begin to ratchet up their measures, separating the men from the women, instigating violent encounters, and eventually staging a coup against the Muljaddy and his Temple.

Faced with the task of protecting his quiet town and a woman he might love from the commandos who could want to kill her, Karsman must balance between maintaining his personality and harnessing the personas whose skills he desperately needs.

144 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 6, 2018

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Angus McIntyre

10 books14 followers

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5 stars
48 (16%)
4 stars
102 (34%)
3 stars
110 (37%)
2 stars
24 (8%)
1 star
10 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 52 reviews
Profile Image for Ozsaur.
701 reviews
April 23, 2018
What caught my interest about this book was the idea of a man having 12 different people inside his head. I wasn't disappointed, but I figure a lot of people might be. They're not exactly fully realized people, but more like... memory modules that do a specific thing, with a bit of personality tacked on to some of them. If you're looking for 12 individuals, you might be disappointed.

I enjoyed it. There's an interesting plot that is resolved at the end, but still open ended in a way that didn't bother me. I found the different layers of the story nicely woven together. While the main plot moved along, there was a deeper plot - who is Karsmen? Which led to an ending that was completely unexpected! I really didn't see that twist coming.

Some parts were vague, and I wish they'd been explained or described better. But the world building was really good, and I liked the characters, and was happy with the twist ending.
Profile Image for Sarah.
302 reviews2 followers
April 13, 2018
Grrr. I was hoping this would be an epic tale. Something with shades of Joe Abercrombie, and some humor, and some conflict within Karsman over the personas. But I finished it and said, aloud (annoying my almost asleep husband in the process), "What? That's it?? Eh." I woke up the next morning and thought of it again, and thought, "That would have been a better short story."
Profile Image for Borja.
405 reviews91 followers
April 9, 2018
Pobre y desaprovechada. Da mucho menos de lo que promete.

Al menos se deja leer. Es cortita y sencilla.
Profile Image for Tim Hicks.
1,457 reviews113 followers
October 12, 2018
There's some promise here, but ... I've read several novellas lately that were perfect at that length. This one seems to be undecided about whether it should be a short story or a novel, and I'm fairly sure that novella is the one length that is wrong for it.

Gosh, another book set on a dusty future planet with scraps of past tech and a road circling the planet. No giant trains this time, but the Temples are close. But it's OK, this one stays away from the many plots I've seen on such planets.

And maybe I've seen "shucks, I'm not really the sheriff but someone has ta do it" a few times. Again, once we have that it isn't belaboured further.

I liked the part where K figured out the terms of engagement for the three Bad Guys.
Didn't much care for the ending, but any kind of hint earlier would have spoiled it.

As another reviewer said, this has promise but somehow it never quite engaged me. I never felt the need to say, "Just a minute dear, I have to finish this chapter NOW."

I'll watch for a novel by this author.
Profile Image for Ryan Laferney.
666 reviews29 followers
August 29, 2018
If you crave sci-fi and fantasy, look no further than Tor.com’s line of novellas. The Warrior Within (the debut novella by Angus Mcintyre) is one of the new titles from Tor to be published this year. Set in a futuristic desert like world scattered with remnants of past civilizations (which the population survives off of), The Warrior Within is a mind-bending science fiction adventure about a man named Karsman with many people living within his head. Karsman had basic modification surgery when he left home to cope with the conditions of the other world, except what the surgeons did was far more invasive than simple modifications. They managed to graft single skill artificial intelligences (such as Warrior, Dipolmat, etc) in Karsman’s mind.

The plot of this novella is pretty intriguing. Karsman presides over his current town as the "Mayor". It’s overseen by the Muljaddy (dominant alien beings) who run an ambivalent religious autocracy. Life is sustained through prayer and worship. Yet, this all changes when a group of commandos arrive, claiming to be in search of a woman they must assassinate (or so they say). When their searches prove fruitless, they begin to take more extreme measures, forcing Karsman to enlist the help of his intelligences….Karsman is forced with then protecting his town and a woman he might love from the commandos all while maintaining his personality and intelligences. Can he keep the Warrior under lock and key?

I was pleasantly surprised by this novella and its ending. If you loved The Gunslinger, Dune, or Ancillary Justice, you’ll probably dig this novella. The Warrior Within combines many Western and SF tropes into something wholly new that looks at what a post-human society might look like. I liked that the story wasn’t bogged down by exposition but rather Mcintyre gives us just enough information. An excellent debut.

Looking forward to seeing what Mcintyre might write next.
Profile Image for Riju Ganguly.
Author 12 books1,325 followers
January 24, 2021
This surprisingly underwhelming book began with a drowsy whimper, then started going "bang-bang". Just when it seemed that we are in for a tremendous finish...
It was over!
No humour. Little suspense. Excessive ratiocination without either the story or us going anywhere. And then THAT awful ending.
Disappointed. That's my 'take-away' feeling from this book.
Profile Image for Kim Ward.
74 reviews
May 29, 2018
This was a fun story and a different world McIntyre has created. I, myself, and forever fond of desert type worlds, thanks to Frank Herbert, and the labyrinth structure of the dead city in the book is interesting, though I would have liked a bit shorter run through the maze like structures...
Profile Image for Nadja Miller.
172 reviews2 followers
May 15, 2018
This was a great novella. Because of the size (about 170 pages) there was not as great character development as there would be in a full novel. That being said the few characters we were introduced to were interesting. There was an element of mystery/ suspense throughout that was enjoyable. What I really loved was the world building. The author took his time with it and left me wanting to know more.
Profile Image for Dani N.
445 reviews60 followers
March 19, 2018
This review mini review may also be found on BVT

I think we have established that I am a huge fan of Tor.com. When it comes to short stories and novellas, they bring one of the biggest "A" you can find on the market. If you crave sci-fi and fantasy, you will find it. The Warrior Within is no exception.

Set in a futuristic world scattered with remnants of past civilizations, we meet Karsman. He is a man of many talents. Talents which can each be attributed to the multiple personas living within him. He presides over his current town as the "Mayor" or so many of the locals have dubbed him. Overseen by the Muljaddy (dominant extraterrestrial beings), life is a rather quiet and uneventful affair that can easily be sustained through prayer and worship.  This all changes when a group of soldiers arrive, claiming to be in search of a woman they must assassinate. When their searches prove fruitless, they begin to take more extreme measures, forcing Karsman to enlist the help of his personas and their skills while maintaining a firm grip on himself.

This is the rare example of a successful story accomplished in limited time that manages to leave you wanting more in the best of ways. Characters development is a process of revelation and gratification. There is a lot of mystery shrouding Karsman and his personas, but the eventual explanation helps to complete him, adding a new layer of depth that is hard not to appreciate.

*I received this copy courtesy of the publisher. The above review is my own honest and unbiased opinion.

Profile Image for brian.
56 reviews
April 19, 2018
Three men cross the wastelands to a strip town along the Road. They've come to kill a woman. The only person seemingly in their way is unofficial mayor Karsman. Officially Not in Charge, but Karsman's brain houses multiple personalities that could mean the difference between life and death for the hunted.

While not going to thrill many, The Warrior Within is a competent novel. It's short, but rarely strays from its compact plot, while still developing a world and characters in it. Karsman gets the most focus and is distinctly a reluctant hero. While shaping Karsman's voice, his other personalities, named by function like Warrior, Diplomat, and Strategist, likewise have their own aims and tone. Karsman and his personalities easily double the cast of characters, with the rest functional but a little flat. In particular, the villains of the story don't really have much going on beyond menacing.

There's no indication that this novel is setting up a series, but it could. It takes place on a backwaters world in a larger universe, and hints at what could be beyond this small town, its benevolent autocracy, and the people scraping by. If anything, The Warrior Within did a better job of setting up future works than telling this story, but it's by no means bad.
Profile Image for Pallav.
Author 6 books178 followers
March 23, 2018
A short and immensely entertaining read. It seems that this book was not written with pen on paper, but with a scalpel, mercilessly cutting away all the unnecessary things in a story, leaving pure movement of narrative, intrigue, and action. All the while giving the reader a glimpse into a world that is as alien and mystical as the characters in the book.

There is no hand-holding in the book. You are put into a world that is seen through the lead character Karsman's eyes. There were several points in the book that were written to create a sense of awe and of touching something incomprehensible and the book gives off a lovecraftian vibe of exploring hidden tunnels and getting trapped in secret passageways.

Things I wish the book had:
More detailed fight scenes. One fight scene was a sheer cop-out and I plan to write about that to Mr. McIntyre, but other than that, the entertainment value for the length of the book is amazing.
36 reviews2 followers
April 14, 2018
Love it.

Single skill artificial intelligences grafted onto a human mind, I'm hooked. 5 or more intelligent skills grafted into a human mind, great, except the human does not have the capacity to hold them all so memories and experiences must be deleted, wow. The second law of thermodynamics in action, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The ending is a mystery, are the skills deleted? Are they now integrated into one persona? Does our hero now have mastery of those skills? We don't know, until the next book?
Profile Image for Kend.
1,249 reviews67 followers
March 26, 2018
Tor.com blew me away with this, yet another stellar (heh heh) addition to its ever-expanding shelf novellas, set on a planet where the sun never rises, never sets, and never gives us an excuse to yawn with boredom. This is also Angus McIntyre's debut, which feels wrong, somehow; the world-weary voice of Karsman (and the many others who inhabit his mind) doesn't so much feel like it's been adopted for the moment as it does a fixed feature of this nightless waste, populated by people who never stop moving, who never stop traveling the road. The road which marks, presumably, the Goldilocks line of a Goldilocks planet tidally locked to its star.

[full review on www.imaginaries.net]
Profile Image for Andrea.
336 reviews39 followers
January 16, 2020
This was just ok, which is so disappointing given how cool the concept and set-up were. The main character was interesting to begin with, but then even he became dull and somewhat boring. The twist at the end, came out of nowhere and not in a good way, more in a this barely makes sense and has zero impact on me kinda way. I think this is a case of too many ideas and not enough space to properly execute. I don't think when I look back at this at the end of this year, that I'll be able to remember much of it.
Profile Image for Pieter.
Author 2 books6 followers
August 28, 2018
I really enjoyed this book. Tor has been publishing some fantastic worlds with their novella line, and this is no exception. The book tugs you along perfectly, giving you just what you need, when you need it, to remain intrigued. I love the idea of exploring these little backwater cultures, with glimpses of this huge space opera backdrop. Karsman's a great character, and I hope to see him again, but I REALLY want McIntyre to take us on as many tours through his universe as he can write.
3 reviews1 follower
June 16, 2018
Did not live up to expectations. Could have been better.
1. A novel world but with not much detail. Too many questions about the world left unanswered.
2. Had a very surprising end but the author failed to create enough interest in the middle to really create an impact (more of a "Oh really" rather than "Wow").
3. Non of the personalities with actually helped the hero except the Warrior and that too a few times. All the rest were used just in conversations.
Profile Image for Brandie.
228 reviews6 followers
July 17, 2019
The story is about a man with multiple personas downloaded into his brain that runs away from his employer/patron/owner/whatever to live in a dusty strip-town away from the center of the planet's ruling body/near gods of the Muljaddy.

After living a relatively quiet life there for twelve years, a lilac haired woman enters his life and three off-world soldiers enter the town to find some woman and kill her. Lots of nothing really consequential happens and there's a twist at the end and what? I don't know.

Anyway, a great concept with the multiple people in one person's head but the execution just did not work. Either the novella format was not long enough to explore the personas and their interaction with Karsman or there should have been one or two vying for control of Karsman's body. But, other than the end, I think the story would have been the same without them. What was the point?

I think the whole story idea needed a much longer runway and then it could have been a much better story. Maybe...if the author could capitalize on it.

Profile Image for Lucille.
995 reviews198 followers
January 21, 2018
2,5/5
Neither good nor bad so I guess the average rating is right!
While this was not a bad story, I have to admit I was bored the whole time. It's just not one for me.
I wish there would have been more on the different personas in Karsman, though I liked that there was an explanation for them. For the most part they are more like a set of skills than real persons like you could find in Legion by Sanderson.
The worldbuilding was well handed, you can feel the author knows what he's talking about and while not everything is explained or shown you know it's all carefully thought of and planned.
I was a bit confused from time to time, for example regarding the use of "ship", there were times when I wasn't 100% sure if it was for spaceships or boats, but keep in mind english isn't my first language and that might explain why this novella wasn't a hit for me.
It's only 100 pages on my ereader and I kept on reading because it was short and I wanted to give it a chance, maybe I would be nicely surprised in the end.
The final twist was cool, to be honest, I'm kinda glad I kept on reading! But it doesn't change the fact that I didn't *love* the book as a whole. I have no strong feeling and would say that if you're intrigued, go for it, it's really not long and the end could be worth it for some readers.

A review copy (e-galley) of this book was provided by the publisher. Some things might change in the final copy.
Profile Image for Cam.
1,161 reviews40 followers
July 5, 2018
One of the weaker of a bunch of recent novellas I've read; a debut by McIntyre featuring a future dominated by artificial intelligences with interstellar influence. Our titular warrior is a down-and-out former courtier living a precarious life in a western-style town serving as an unofficial mayor. His world is a series of towns and villages following a road girding the whole planet, with some mobile temples and abandoned cities along it that are scavenged mostly by regular humans. He's not quite regular; he has artificial personalities embedded from his time as a courtier and often loses hours or days when one dominates his normal consciousness. One is a warrior, another a diplomat and so on. The "and so on" turns out to be important once some strangers come to town with murder on their minds. It's a better outline than a story; it may have been done a disservice by the shorter format since the plot revelations and conclusion are fairly choppy by the end (hence the "2"."
Profile Image for Kinnell.
44 reviews6 followers
January 20, 2023
A fun novella about a small town with classic "gunslingers enter town to kill someone" tale, but with a galactic twist, which I honestly felt was unneeded as it honestly added nothing to the story that couldn't have been done by keeping the tale earthbound, so it leaves you wondering if they were just exploring a universe they hope to expand on or what.

I do feel the adventure into the waterway catacombs ate up way too many pages and that part of the plot could have been accomplished differently. It felt like the author needed some adventure and chose this to eat up real-estate, but I think a cat and mouse above ground with the same entry and exit of tunnels would have been more fun.

After not reading for a while this was a good book to get into. 3.5 stars
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Matt Ward.
214 reviews12 followers
April 11, 2018
I've been trying to read one Tor "best of the year so far" books a month. While both have been good, I'm concerned if this is the best we can do. (At least I can console myself that those lists are just propaganda to get people to buy Tor books).

The concept of this was good. It just had nothing to go with it. The descriptions were sparse. The plot didn't have a lot of forward motion. I'm not sure what else to say. Even a short novella needs more than good worldbuilding and a good concept to keep someone's interest throughout.
Profile Image for Bart.
84 reviews
April 24, 2018
Very fun little book that follows a main character with an interesting past that gets unveiled along the way, and a mind filled with multiple specialized personalities. The world that we get to know more about as the story unfolds (with a nice twist or two towards the end), is full of mystery and deserves to be filled with more stories.
Profile Image for Jeff.
180 reviews
July 26, 2018
This was a very highly rated novella, but I think it was all that good. The story had certainly some clever ideas in the ending was good, but it seem to be under regular and confused throughout the middle. For a short novel it was long and places and under developed at times as well.
3,196 reviews46 followers
October 10, 2018
2 1/2 stars. An interesting idea but I would have actually liked more of the personas to have shown up. I also wish the end would have shown a little bit of what happened next, if not with Karsman, the planet.
Profile Image for Maria.
174 reviews
March 18, 2019
What I felt was missing was a proper confrontation between Karsman and some of his personas. While the concept is good, co-existance isnt as interesting to read about as a good old fashioned dramatic fight
Profile Image for Jim.
2,736 reviews55 followers
January 26, 2020
A nice little novella. I was a bit confused that the protagonist didn't have more understanding considering his experiences. Still, it was an interesting world. I have this feeling we will be seeing this character again.
Profile Image for Fiorela.
736 reviews19 followers
July 16, 2020
Strange but somehow interesting, there was some mild action, I was expecting something more, I was intrigued with the different personas inside of Karsman's heads, probably is because the story is too short for a more interesting plot. The ending is a twist that was interesting. So it was ok.
Profile Image for Rafa Araujo.
350 reviews15 followers
December 18, 2020
Me recordó a las pequeñas novelitas western que compraba mi padre cuando yo era niño, la típica historia/caso a resolver de la semana, eso sí, con su buena dosis de Scifi. No es mala pero no llega a ser la historia que se promete.
Profile Image for Bill.
588 reviews12 followers
April 16, 2018
Fine science fiction book that had a pretty good premise and was instantly forgettable.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 52 reviews

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