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Chasing Graves

(The Chasing Graves Trilogy #1)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  78 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Welcome to Araxes, where getting murdered is just the start of your problems.

"To say that the concept of Chasing Graves is grimdark would be an understatement... The world building is fantastic and reminiscent of Michael Moorcock’s Elric series.”
– Grimdark Magazine

“Chasing Graves might well be one of the best releases not only for December but for the entirety of 2018.”
– B
Paperback, 391 pages
Published December 7th 2018 by
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Ben Galley Thank you! I'm pleased to say the first book, Chasing Graves, will be out in early December! Here's the brand new blurb for more info:

Meet Caltro…more
Thank you! I'm pleased to say the first book, Chasing Graves, will be out in early December! Here's the brand new blurb for more info:

Meet Caltro Basalt. He’s a master locksmith, a selfish bastard, and as of his first night in Araxes, stone cold dead.

They call it the City of Countless Souls, the colossal jewel of the Arctian Empire, and all it takes to rule it is to own more ghosts than any other. For in Araxes, the dead do not rest in peace in the afterlife, but live on as slaves for the rich.

While Caltro struggles to survive, those around him strive for the emperor’s throne in Araxes’ cutthroat game of power. The dead gods whisper from corpses, a soulstealer seeks to make a name for himself with the help of an ancient cult, a princess plots to purge the emperor from his armoured Sanctuary, and a murderer drags a body across the desert, intent on reaching Araxes no matter the cost.

Only one thing is certain in Araxes: death is only the beginning.(less)
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Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here lies Araxes, City of Countless Souls, where death is the pretty shitty beginning of a whole new ‘life’, comprised immediately and forevermore of servitude and toil. No perks. No escape. No food. For newly dead Caltro Basalt, this means being late for a very important date, a mysterious appointment in the Cloudpiercer. Instead, his murder takes him on another path, no less dangerous, with stakes higher than life or death and deadly enough to topple more than kings. Power over souls may be e ...more
Esmerelda Weatherwax
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have loved other books by Ben Galley so when I was in a reading slump I decided to jump around in my reading order to get to this one, hoping for a little boost. This was the correct decision, it jump-started my love of reading again.

The opening of this is a very short prelude and the first thing that struck me was how atmospheric it was, it’s very descriptive without falling into the “purple” prose trap where it’s overdone. I felt the heat of the desert, smelled the decaying bodies, and was t
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
A big thanks to Ben Galley for providing an ARC of Chasing Graves, in exchange for an honest review.

Spoiler-free review. Please note that the quotes in this review are taken from the ARC edition and may change in the published edition.

You can find this and more at Novel Notions.

When Ben Galley revealed the cover of Chasing Graves and after hearing that it was an Egyptian mythology-inspired fantasy, I knew I had to read the book. My only experience with Galley’s writing before CG was with The He
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I deeply enjoyed Galley’s Heart of Stone. This guy knows how to grab the reader’s attention. Once I learned about his new book, I put it near the top of my TBR list. How could I say no to an early ARC of Chasing Graves?

You’re right. I couldn’t.

The story is nuanced, dark and complex. A master locksmith, Caltro Basalt, dies a gruesome death on his first night at Araxes. He won’t enjoy eternal rest though.  Soulstealers led by Boss Boran Temsa turn him into a Shade (a ghost slave) and sell him to s
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although I haven’t read many works by Ben Galley, his previous SPFBO entry Heart of Stone is one of my favorite standalone novels I’ve read this year. It presented a world ravaged by war, with an enslaved golem bound to serve and massacre under various generals throughout the centuries. The story offered an intriguing take on enslavement and the sacrifices made when one’s fate is trapped and bound to another. Galley explores similar themes of enslavement in his latest novel, Chasing Graves, book ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Firstly, I’d like to thank the author for giving me an advanced copy of this book. I was so intrigued with the concept of an original fantasy world built with an Egyptian flavor that it was instantly pushed to the top of my TBR - I am so glad for this decision. Chasing Graves is a deliciously dark tale of treachery, secrets and murder filled with a cast of truly detestable characters whose intentions cannot ever be taken at face value. The only drawback of reading the first installment of a seri ...more
Laura Hughes
Dark, tense and surprisingly hilarious, Chasing Graves is the accomplished opening novel in an exciting new trilogy.
Esmerelda Weatherwax
I think this is my first 5 star in months. I loved everything about this and I'm working on writing a full review today.

Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Chasing Graves is a dark, witty romp—delightful, original, and beautifully paced, it oozes confidence.


Full review to be posted on The Fantasy Hive!
Al Burke
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dang, this is good. Review here -
Fiona Tewson
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A new venture

I have been waiting to read this book since I first heard of its conception and I have not been disappointed. A completely new concept with new characters to like - or not like! The book tells the tale of several protagonists and gathers the various ends together towards the end before throwing a spanner in the works, so to speak. We have been promised a short wait for the rest of the trilogy and book 2 is out in January, a new years present to look forward to.

If you like your fanta
Travis Riddle
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was quite a good first foray into Galley's work. He's got a great, quick-moving style with creative but not overly-purple prose, which I really appreciate.

The novel follows several different POV characters, all of which have intriguing plotlines that probably could've carried a book on their own. So far they're only slightly overlapping, and I'm excited to see how they get further tangled up in each other as the series progresses.

I'd call the book's world-building its greatest strength. G
Chasing Graves was what I’d come to expect from Ben Galley. Unique, fantastic worldbuilding, interesting characters, and much more. I’ve only previously read The Heart of Stone by Ben Galley, but both that and Chasing Graves have been quite different from most books I’ve seen in the genre.

The worldbuilding in this book is done exceptionally well. It’s based around the concept that death isn’t the end, the dead can be bound and enslaved as ghosts. Naturally, this has run on effects to the whole w
You can find this review on my blog!

I've got an ARC in exchange of an honest review from the author.

In everyone’s life comes that point when we start to think about what awaits us after death depending on your beliefs. A happy afterlife? Torture? A place in between where we wait until our fate is decided? Or something else? The people of Araxes aren’t wondering much, they know all too well what comes for them: endless servitude as shades. The luckier ones can get their freedom and a choice in t
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, fantasy
Nothing quite like enslaving the dead to show the worst society has to offer.

Chasing Graves is the first ever novel I’ve read by Ben Galley. Immediately, I was hooked: by masterful prose; a character with a strongly distinctive voice, personality and a remarkable sphincter (you’ll get what I mean literally two minutes in); and, perhaps above all else, by the city of Araxes, the heart of the Arctian Empire, where the living hold command over the dead.

This is where I’ll begin, with a spoiler-free
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I won an eARC through a twitter giveaway. There was no expectation for a review, but I suspected I would anyway!

The fact that our lead character dies straight away isn't a spoiler, it in fact sets up the entire premise of the rest of the book. Caltro is definitely an interesting character. When we first meet him, he's demonstrating his masterful lock picking abilities by shitting in someone's strong box. I had a feeling I was going to enjoy reading about him!

There are a few plots that focus on v
kartik narayanan
Chasing Graves happens to be one of the best fantasy books I have read this year.

The book is fantastic and, at no point, did I feel like putting it down. Even upon a re-reading the book remains as fresh as ever and this is not something that most books can manage.

It is fast paced and there are no sections that drag. Somehow, everything comes together seamlessly to make this a read that one cannot stop even if they wanted too. The world building is great. Though there are a few recycled areas (
Lee Conley
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A review of
Chasing Graves
By Ben Galley

This is a story about ghosts, about a master locksmith and thief, a deadly city, a murderer and her victim. Caltro Basalt is the master locksmith and has been mysteriously summoned to the great and deadly city of Araxes to attend a mysterious appointment at the Cloud Piercer, the tallest building in Araxes and centre of government. Surely an appointment he cannot refuse.
Araxes is a city where the spirits of the dead and murdered can be bound to the mortal r
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I first I was not really sure if I would be interested in the story, but it captured me quite quickly. Interesting setting I want to learn more about. Loved the character development and the intrigue (which is credible and not over the top). The revelation at the end really surprised me and made me wonder about what comes next.
Lynn K : Grimmedian
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
Castro Basalt has the worst luck. From the start of his story, his situation goes from bad to worse and still manages a continuous downward slide. He’s not the most likable sort of fellow, but not really a bad sort. As lockpicks go, he’s one of the best in the business. Yes, he’s a thief, and times are tough, so when an opportunity comes his way to take a job offered from the seat of the king at the Cloudpiecer in the sprawling city of Araxes, he takes it a ship and sets sail.
Thus begins the ser
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review, which follows, free of spoilers.

There's something to be said about Fantasy books which take a brilliant idea and then develop it deeply, allow the world to steep in it, and work its many nuances into a story. A world built on the sound foundation of a great idea executed well has a sort of consistency that is hard to find when building one entirely out of thin air - and Chasing Graves is one such book, and easily one of my top book
Greg Thomas
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark and delicious

Such and incredibly grim concept done so well. Mr. Galley begins us on a journey I can wait to continue. The dead are slaves but with the will and wish to be more. Only a week until the sequel drops.
Michael Mclendon
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review originally posted on Booknest.EU. Our anthology Art of War: Anthology for Charity just won a Stabby on R/fantasy!

Chasing Graves masterfully combines gallows humor, deep word building, and compelling character centric narratives into a surprising and intriguing story. It dares to answer the question: How valuable is your life when you’re already dead?

Chasing Graves is the first novel in the Chasing Graves Trilogy, a self-published grimdark fantasy series by Ben Galley. It is currently av
Nancy Foster
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got an ARC copy from the author, thanks!

Now, Grimdark is not my forte and I only read it on occasion. I see more than enough death and misery in my line of work to feel like I would enjoy it. That said, despite the fact that Chasing Graves is essentially a book about unscrupulous people murdering pretty much everyone they can in order to turn them into enslaved ghosts and sell them off like cattle for eternity, this book was still very enjoyable to read.

And yes, pretty much everyone is a villa
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full review is here on my blog!~

The city of Araxes is most well known for the thousands of indentured dead that populate it. Half a copper coin and some of the water of the Nyx river are enough to bind the soul of a person who died of some sort of trauma to whomever holds half of the copper coin used in the ritual. The rich of Araxes collect these coins, and their shades, and use them as slaves for anything from housecleaning to building and so on.

This is the story of Caltro Basalt, who is a mas
Miriam Michalak
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, that sure as shit wasn't Casper the Friendly Ghost haha. Review to follow, loved it!
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Chasing Graves is the start of a brand new trilogy written by Ben Galley (The Heart of Stone and the Emaneska series) and is set in the eerie realm of the Far Reaches. To say that the concept of Chasing Graves is grimdark would be an understatement. There is monetised slaughter, slavery, and torture, two of which occur beyond the grave. For in Araxes, the jewel of the Arctian Empire, even the dead do not rest, especially the shades hooked to their masters’ leashes.

Galley’s novel revolves around
David Hambling
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Chasing Graves takes us to Araxes, City of Countless Souls, a city built on the labour of a slave underclass: ghosts. The wonderful premise is that, under the right circumstances, ghosts can be bound and forced to serve a master, becoming the property of others and the basis of the city’s fantastic wealth.

On this highly original foundation, Galley has done some entertaining world-building, and the multiple storylines weave around the various levels of the city: a warrior who has just murdered h
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Galley has created a first book with a rising plot arc, one that has in no way reached its climax, but has placed all the pieces ready for a rollicking second book. A couple shocking reveals in the final pages of Chasing Graves create much anticipation for Grim Solace, Chasing Graves #2.

For my full review:

For all my reviews:
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.

When he isn’t conjuring up strange new stories or ar

Other books in the series

The Chasing Graves Trilogy (2 books)
  • Grim Solace (The Chasing Graves Book #2)