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Forest Kingdom #3

Down Among the Dead Men

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"Ten years have passed since the Demon War. The Forest's scars are slowly healing, the Darkwood is still and silent, and few demons ever venture out of the endless night. But in a clearing not far from the Darkwood boundary, in a darkness where a sun has never risen and a moon has never shone, an ancient evil stirs in its sleep and dreams foul dreams."

And with those words, New York Times bestselling author Simon R. Green begins the third of his Forest Kingdom novels, a classic sword-and-sorcery quest of four Rangers, three outlaws, and one Infernal Device that could reawaken a Beast that's best left sleeping. Travel along with Duncan MacNeil, the witch Constance, Jessica Flint and Giles Dancer as they -- and their buried secrets -- go down among the dead men on the adventure of a lifetime.


First published December 1, 1993

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About the author

Simon R. Green

251 books2,994 followers
Simon Richard Green is a British science fiction and fantasy-author. He holds a degree in Modern English and American Literature from the University of Leicester. His first publication was in 1979.

His Deathstalker series is partly a parody of the usual space-opera of the 1950s, told with sovereign disregard of the rules of probability, while being at the same time extremely bloodthirsty.

Excerpted from Wikipedia.

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5 stars
276 (26%)
4 stars
398 (37%)
3 stars
296 (28%)
2 stars
69 (6%)
1 star
11 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews
Profile Image for K..
3,595 reviews1,001 followers
July 9, 2017
Trigger warnings: violence. Lots of violence. Graphic descriptions of battles and injuries. A backstory in which a female character basically seduces a man so that she can rob him once he's naked and he kills her. IDEK what to call that, but it happens.

So if you guys have been around here for any length of time, you'll know that Blue Moon Rising, the first book in this series, is one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE fantasy books. You'll also know that I love Blood and Honour, the second book in this series a LOT. These books are now out of print, so I was really excited to discover that the rest of the series is available on Kindle, and immediately bought this one, the third book in the Forest Kingdom series.

Uuuuuunfortunately, this one wasn't nearly as compelling as the previous two. I honestly think it's partly because the entire story takes place in a day or two, and so it almost feels a little bit like a long novella?? I mean, it's all in the one place. There are only...seven? Eight? characters in the entire book. And aside from a handful of flashbacks, it's a very small window in which these events occur.

Maybe it's because I loved the other two SO MUCH that I was let down by this one, but it just...didn't really work for me and it ended up almost feeling like filler. I'll push on and reread the fourth book in the hopes that it's more like the first two, but this one was just...meh.
Profile Image for Vilius.
151 reviews27 followers
August 11, 2019
Trumpiausia iš trijų dalių. Šįkart su nuotykiai su siaubo elementais. Veiksmas vėl grįžta į Miškų karalystę, veikėjai vėl nauji. Susikaitė labai lengvai.
Profile Image for Terry.
319 reviews
September 12, 2022
An intense story that had me expecting one thing but finding I was wrong.
Profile Image for Dirk Grobbelaar.
550 reviews1,051 followers
October 5, 2010
A horror novel in a fantasy setting, this. The plot is as threadbare as they come and I never cared much for any of the characters. Yet, despite its shortcomings, this novel still managed to draw me in. It is a reasonably engaging read, if you're into this kind of thing. The premise is simple: a patrol arrives at a remote border fort to investigate its lack of response to any communication, what they find there is frankly Lovecraftian.

If you've read Phantoms by Dean Koontz, you'll also be noting some similarities. This novel, however, is much shorter, since there is much less going on. Also, the setting is obviously vastly different. There were one or two moments which almost shined. Almost. Well, the thing is, even though I enjoyed reading it, there are so many other good fantasy books out there. Read them first.

It's a quick, fast-paced read, so I'll recommend it for fans of Simon R. Green. If you're looking for fantasy, heroic or otherwise, with decent characters and a layered plot, look elsewhere. This book is apparently part of the Hawk & Fisher universe, something I haven't gotten around to reading yet. If you're new to this author, I'd recommend Deathstalker instead.
Profile Image for Iryna.
57 reviews5 followers
January 14, 2018
Третя книга з серії зовсім інша. Ні тобі інтриг, ні престолів, ні хитрощів.
Такий собі хорор і трешняк.
З цієї книги вийшов би першокласний фільм жахів, який би я не змогла дивитись. Плюс автору за реалістичність, за схему "герой+антигерой" б'ються проти ще більшого зла. Також за те, що його книги не відпускають.
Зроблю перерву в читанні його творінь.
Книга мені не сильно сподобалась. Читати її здебільшого було огидно, але якби починати трилогію з цієї книги все було б ок :) Після першої книжки в мене були дуже великі очікування, тому оцінки скотилися.
Profile Image for Me.
10 reviews1 follower
December 13, 2018
Ожидала я от книги … Ну не знаю, лёгкого, не обременённого большим смыслом чтения с изрядной долей юмора (вспоминая «Тёмное сердце Лондона», где всё это было). Ожидания не оправдались ни в одном из пунктов. Персонажи не раскрыты абсолютно и неинтересны. Диалогов минимум, весь текст по большей части состоит из затянутых описаний всего на свете, от пейзажей до снов. Всё это скучно �� уныло. Моря крови в заброшенной крепости должны бы вызвать какую-то дрожь, но не вызывают. Вообще. Не страшно и не интересно.

Отношения в группе разведчиков нелепы. Спрашивается, зачем вообще было брать в группу ведьму? Каждый раз, «чувствуя неладное», обращаться к ней, а потом игнорировать всё ею сказанное и поступать ровно наоборот. Потому что, будь это старая наша ведьма, мы бы послушались, а Кассандра молодая и неопытная, так что… К чему тогда воздух сотрясать?

В общем, всё это пребывание в жуткой заброшенной крепости на границе Лесного Королевства с заляпанными кровью стенами, ночными кошмарами и пробуждающимся древним ужасом, считаю впустую потраченным временем. До финала я не добралась и мне совершенно неинтересно, чем всё закончится. А с чего всё началось, я уже начинаю забывать, и это к лучшему.
Profile Image for Angie Titus.
Author 3 books15 followers
January 30, 2022
I really enjoyed this book. This is the kind of fantasy novel I love so much but they just don't publish any more. Fun sword and sorcery for the sake of sword and sorcery. There is a lot of head hopping in this book, which usually annoys me, but it didn't in this case. Anyway, just a good, solid, fun story.
Author 2 books2 followers
June 8, 2022
I didn’t intend to continue with this series except that the first chapter was tagged onto the end of Blood and Honour so of course I read that and had to continue. It’s okay, has a premise that keeps you reading but I just never found any bonds with any of the characters. Then again, this is one of these books where that is not important.
186 reviews1 follower
November 8, 2018
Dnf'd it after 72%. It's lacking of the typical humor that I'm used to from greens other books. The characters were okay, I did quite like Flint and the dancer but I couldn't get myself up to finish the book. It was boring. I'm sorry to have to say that about a book from Simon Green.
496 reviews
April 22, 2021
So, the acting was great, but the book never grabbed me. It had one throwback to the original books in my opinion and I felt like that might have been the whole point. GraphicAudio's first Blue Moon books were definitely the best books thus far.
Profile Image for K.L..
Author 2 books15 followers
July 22, 2021
A bunch of mercs investigate a Fort whose garrison has disappeared, and find themselves confronting an ancient evil. Good but preferred the Rupert and Julia books
Profile Image for Vinayak Malik.
413 reviews12 followers
October 10, 2022
Simon R Green appeals to my lighthearted fantasy taste. No complex characters but a simple tale well told
90 reviews
October 16, 2022
Very enjoyable read. I love Simon’s way of writing, it’s so easy and comforting. His ability to write consistent characters is amazing, and his use of flashbacks is perfectly woven into the story.
Profile Image for Christopher.
69 reviews
March 1, 2017
Duncan MacNeil and his comrades are the vanguard of the local army. Which means they get the dirty jobs no one else wants. And so they find themselves investigating a border fort that’s apparently been abandoned, leaving a void in the structure of local power. But when they arrive, just before the onset of a severe storm, they will quickly realize that the elements outside the fort may not be as bad as the ones inside….
Like the previous two novels, Down Among the Dead Men is a one-off, action-packed novella that expands on Green’s Haven series. If only by way of background to several of the players therein. But unlike the previous two, this one is seemingly less meaningful, although enjoyable. Certainly not as gripping or as characterful as the others. But interesting and certainly not a bad read.
Profile Image for Samantha wickedshizuku Tolleson.
2,156 reviews57 followers
February 2, 2016
So I'm just skipping along, and then to my everlasting amusement there was a bloody gruesome action scene. Here's an example of how surpised I was when I clearly saw it coming...


I will warn you now don't read this if you don't want a few spoilers.
Even though this book takes place in the Forest Kingdom. It doesn't have any characters that are in the first books, but a younger generation associated or apprenticed to characters in previous books.Cool factor.
Yes, I miss the older characters, but I'm liking the new ones well enough.

Following the Rangers to a broken down Border Post. Strange goings-ons that emphasize the words: old, wrong, and cold. Not cool! To all authors out there!! Saying a sentence three times is effing enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The witch hmm... Kinda torn with her. On one aspect I was impressed, she was really determined. This though would lead to her fault in arrogance and overestimating her skill level. Big fish leaving the little pond to move to the ocean type of deal.

Then you had your badass couple. Who give you some of the comedy...


Then you also you have your boys who are clearly too big for their breeches...


Cheers Pretties!
Profile Image for Raj.
1,374 reviews29 followers
November 13, 2010
A decade ago, the Darkwood rose up and threatened to swallow the Forest Kingdom. It was driven back, but with great loss. Now a fort built on the border of the kingdom has gone silent and a small group of Rangers are sent to investigate, finding an evil more ancient than the demons of the Darkwood.

I didn't really notice the author of this book when I bought it, just caring that it sounded vaguely interested and was the right size to fit into my pocket, but Simon R. Green is known as a horror writer, and I'm not a horror fan by any means. However, after reading it, although there is horror here, it's very visual horror. It's not the long drawn-out horror that can leave you uneasy for weeks afterwards, but the splatter-horror of the cinema. If this book had been a film, it would be gory and there would be a few 'jump' moments, but because I don't have a particularly visual imagination when I'm reading, I only smiled wryly at the column of blood that erupted when a trapdoor was opened, for example.

The story was okay, albeit not hugely original, and the magic system was infuriatingly vague and unsatisfying. The characters were just sketches, with only Sergeant McNeil, the leader of the Rangers, getting any filling out at all. An enjoyable enough way to spend a few hours but utterly unmemorable.
Profile Image for Shayan Kh.
279 reviews22 followers
December 18, 2015
3.4 stars.

What can I say? A short book compared to other books of the series, Down Among the Dead Men is like other works of Green. Gory, but with less action than usual. Most of the book you are in suspense, and you don't know when something is going to happen. That, of course, changes toward the end.
The characters were forgettable in my opinion. None of them were really likable too. But that doesn't matter in a standalone short (relative to the rest of this series) story.
Then again, it was a good enough horror fantasy. I recommend it to you if you are a fan of the genre, or you like Green's work.
Profile Image for HeyT.
904 reviews
November 1, 2016
I have to say I wasn't as in love with this book as I was with the other Forest/Northern Kingdoms books. I think a large part of that is this is definitely more of a horror story and not a fantasy adventure. I enjoyed the different characters and how they were all developed through their fears and pasts but it didn't have quite the same magic as Blue Moon Rising and Blood and Honor. Overall, I did have a good time reading this especially because we get to see the Forest Kingdom ten years on from the Demon War and also the experiences of those who were not in the main narrative of the Demon War.
262 reviews
February 16, 2009
The story took place over the span of about 2 days. It's just about searching through an abandoned fort and killing something dangerous. I am not sure why, but I was not as drawn in by this book as the others. It felt more appropriate as a novella rather than an actual book.

I would say skip it unless you are a diehard Simon R. Green fan.
Profile Image for Alexander Draganov.
Author 29 books130 followers
August 29, 2010
Another great book by Simon R. Green. The author masterfully blends fantasy and horror into one excellent, exciting and occasionally bone-chilling novel. I think that he could have used a darker ending, it would have made the book perfect. As it is, it's still, as they say about the "Deathstalker" series by the same author, "bloody funny and extremely bloody". Heartily recommended.
Profile Image for Eugene Van.
57 reviews8 followers
April 23, 2014
The book is good. I am very upset when I bought it though. I paid the price for a full book and its only 164 pages. Its really just a short story.

The story is excellent as is all of Simon Green's books.
Profile Image for Echo.
729 reviews43 followers
October 13, 2009
I really enjoyed this one, especially when I realized the link between it and the Rupert/Julia books. It's nothing very deep, but it's an enjoyable read with characters that are pretty well fleshed out. I like the grittiness of Green's writing.
Profile Image for Mandy.
129 reviews24 followers
December 15, 2010
Just not memorable. Nice little references to the Forest Kingdom from Blue Moon Rising, but really, there's a reason this is out of print.
73 reviews6 followers
August 11, 2011
This was the first Simon R Green book I read, after that I picked up Deathstalker and have loved everything he has written since.
1,042 reviews2 followers
February 21, 2014
Yet another winner - this guy is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors
Profile Image for Nuranar.
79 reviews1 follower
October 20, 2015
Spooky! Similar to the Ghost Finders series, more than Hawk & Fisher, although set in that universe. But quite good, and not too long.
106 reviews
March 16, 2018
kinda one-dimensional and very linear. It really feels like a mini-novella more than anything. Found myself tuning in and out as the simple 'dungeon raid' story progressed
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews

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