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The Ragged Blade

(Century of Sand #1)

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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  119 ratings  ·  44 reviews
As a young mercenary, Richard followed a mysterious Magician on a quest to steal a treasure from a demon and overthrow a king. The two men started their journey as strangers, became lovers along the way, and ended as master and loyal soldier.

Twenty years later, that kingdom is steadily falling into ruin and Richard has realized that time and power have twisted the Magician
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Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Parvus Press LLC (first published March 21st 2012)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
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Nigel
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In brief - High quality fantasy and largely unputdownable. I want the next book NOW!! :-)

In full
Richard, who has been a loyal fighter and executioner for years, starts to realise that his master, the Magician, is more evil than people he has been killing on his behalf. After the death of his wife some years ago he gave his baby daughter into the care of the Magician. He rescues her and escapes. They are both in grave danger as Richard has also taken a precious artefact which the Magician treasu
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Jennifer (bunnyreads)

This one was an assorted bag of fabulous, and some odd, not quite sure how I feel about it stuff. It’s a slow building world that relies on the mc Richard, to tell the story through a combination of flashbacks- partly through sharing stories with his daughter Ana (who is mute for the most part), combined with present day events. Because I had mixed feelings towards Richard- he’s rather odd at times in his abruptness; it took me a good quarter of the book to warm to him and his story.

Richard hope
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Ryan
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Got to read an advanced copy. The best thing I can say about a book is that in its quietest and smallest moments, it still feels tense and rich and exciting. The Ragged Blade does this impressively, thanks in no small part to the author's gorgeous use of language--sentences that feel carved from marble. It is a quiet father-daughter story of survival set against the weight of a sprawling and epic magical and barren and dystopian medieval world closing in as a backdrop. The characters are believa ...more
C.T. Phipps
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grimdark, fantasy
4/5

THE RAGGED BLADE by Christopher Ruz is a dark fantasy novel that covers hundreds of miles of travel across a desert in search of a demon to kill the protagonist's former lover. If that intrigues you then you should probably pick this one up. The central protagonist is an obsessive antihero willing to kill, maim, lie, cheat, and blaspheme in order to protect his traumatized daughter. It's not quite grimdark but the main character's madness makes him darker than your typical protective father.

R
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Will
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As Century of Sand opens, we are presented with a chilling scene: a man, clutching the limp body of a young girl, escapes a castle by cover of night. Nothing is said about who he is or where he is going, but through the language of well-chosen details we sense the seriousness of his crime and the precious nature of his cargo. A glance back over his shoulder makes us feel his anxiety; we are in his shoes now, facing the guards ahead with feigned assurance, knowing that any break in our resolve wi ...more
Rick Cook
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It started out slow, but it just kept getting better and more involved the further it went. Slow burn, excellent delivery in the long run. Looking forward to the next in the series.
Kirk
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Good writer but very dark at times
J.R.
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One look at the unique art styling of Century of Sand's cover was enough to intrigue me, by the first chapter of prose I was sold entirely.

It has become more commonplace of late for authors to unashamedly wear their influences on their sleeve, and Christopher Ruz is no exception, citing China Mieville and Gene Wolfe in the author's word after his tale is told. For those unfamiliar with either author, that means that you're not going to get a straightforward fantasy plot with a conventional narra
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Nicole Field
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had me hooked from its first pages with Richard's charisma and his silent daughter Ana. Although it became clear very quickly that Richard was doing something he shouldn't be, and was shortly thereafter on the run, I found him an incredibly likeable character, for at least the first half of the movie.

When the story went on to give me a story within a story that involved a gay character named Parkin, I couldn't have been more happy. Stories within stories are one of my favourite tropes,
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Jordan Puckridge
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A heartwarming story of fatherly love and sacrifice that shines brighter than the scorching sun of its fantasy setting.

At the core of The Ragged Blade's story is a question, "How far will a father go to save his daughter?" This question permeates the journey of Richard, the lead character and his daughter as they race to keep ahead of a vengeful ex-lover bent on bringing them back. Their journey takes them into the heart of an unforgiving desert in a world that is often as harsh as the rolling
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Munch
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was sent a arc of this book via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

3.5

Warnings: Violence and gore

I have opposing feelings about this book, it is part journey and part flashback of a journey. While I did enjoy it for the writing and characters I thought the plot was a bit slow in places. I liked the relationship between Richard and his daughter. His protectiveness but also not really knowing how to be a father to a small traumatised girl who he hasn't seen since she was a baby was a inte
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Charlie
This is not the type of fantasy novel I would normally read. Generally I prefer my fantasy to be set in forests, with plenty of pre-established back-story and characters who are determined to do `good', no matter the cost. Century of Sand is not that kind of fantasy. In some ways it is much, much better.

Like the desert in which it is set, this novel is dark, gritty and dangerous. The history of the characters and the world are slowly revealed in a spectacular way that keeps you wanting more, and
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Hope
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Century of Sand is a remarkable journey. I was engrossed from the very start, but as I neared the end I hesitated. Even knowing that this is the first part of a trilogy, I was fearful for the characters. The closer I drew to the end of the book the more often I put it down and stepped away, fearful of what might befall Richard and Ana.

Ruz manages to create characters who are engaging and infuriating. He communicates the length of the journey without ever dragging the us through tedium. He also t
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Stephanie Embry
The setting on this was fantastic. Definitely a nice step away from the ever present pseudo-Celtic fantasy. Richard and Ana were awesome, and the father-daughter dynamic was interesting.

Ruz kinda throws you into the action right away, with pretty much no explanation about what's happening. There's enough to keep the pages turning, but just a little more wouldn't hurt. The back stories start showing up a little later and more is revealed with time, but it was done in a way I found backwards--when
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Juliet Kemp
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
The worldbuilding of this epic fantasy novel is excellent -- the landscape, political setup, people, customs, all felt really believable and well-established. The characters and their struggles are also believable.

I found myself wincing at some of Richard's interactions with his daughter Ana, but it felt very believable that he might be struggling with how to be a father and how to accept his daughter as she is, given their circumstances and his history and guilt. It was portrayed very well, as
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Rekka
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Darkness versus hope, a tension that keeps the pages turning.
Ruz has crafted a heartfelt story about a man with enough regrets to fill several lives, trying to do right by the one person he has left in a world overrun with threats in equal parts mundane and fantastic.

At every step toward what Richard hopes will be safety for himself and his daughter Ana, the environment, the peoples, even a pantheon of demons and gods seems to rise up to slow their escape from the possessive Magician who diverts
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L
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A slow, but satisfying burn.

Ruz has created an intriguing world replete with supernatural oddities, and then populated this world with fully fleshed, real people; each with their own wants, desires, and fears.

The interspersion of the main character's backstory within the main plot provides readers with a holistic story free from tedious info-dumps, yet, I feel there is more backstory to tell in later books.

I will admit that the narrative was, at times, a little too slowly burning for my tastes,
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Darryn
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

This is a hard book to review because there were certain aspects that I really liked and others I didn't. The storytelling itself was good and kept me interested but there were a few times I felt it really lagged. Richard's character really annoyed me. I can't say I bonded with him. I wish the story would have gone into more details on Richards and the magicians relationship because I felt that was the most interesting part. The
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Michael Pritchett
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book about being chased across an forbidden and unfamiliar landscape. What was most interesting was the stories told within the story. The back story was interspersed throughout the book and I am was reading the main story mostly to uncover the back story.

As this is the start of a trilogy, it leave plenty of questions left unanswered to draw one into the next in the series, but it didn't end on a cliff.
Jac
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this. It was fascinating to travel with Richard and his daughter as they navigated a desert landscape riddled with danger and old memories. Nothing is certain and Richard, an ageing warrior steeped in sin, can trust no one as he struggles towards his goal—restoring a demon’s treasure and saving his daughter from the Magician who pursues them. It was brutal, heart-breaking, and vivid, and I’m looking forward to the next one.
Mia Searles (The Muses Circle)
3.5 out of 5 stars

REVIEW COMING SOON
Ed
May 06, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was hard to get into and care about the characters but towards the end, it started to pull me in.
Jennifer Knechtmann
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
The main character bothered me. I get he had lots of regret, but he was willing to sacrifice everyone to make himself feel better. I found him and his daughter the least sympathetic characters.
Nathan Dorey
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review

The Ragged Blade is one of only a few fantasy stories that I have truly loved. I’m not normally a fan of second world fantasy - they never feel “real” enough for me, as if the worlds are only lightly sketched, and the characters a little too archetypal - but that was emphatically *not* the case with Christopher Ruz’s first traditionally-published title. I was honestly hooked from the first few pages, and now - a couple of days after finishing - it’s still sitting with me.

I won’t delve into
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E M
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An epic low fantasy tale that explores the grey morality of its cast. Richard, the protagonist, is wonderfully fleshed out, with a history as complex and sordid as any living human being. Much of his past is laid bare throughout the book, contrasting against the antagonist—simply known as the Magician—who is shrouded in mystery. Knife-sharp, intelligent, and ruthless, he is just as interesting as Richard, if not more at times, as any scrap of information about him is given sparingly.

This is a sl
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Jo Ladzinski
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley, friends
Read an eARC from NetGalley

If anyone is familiar with my reading/media tastes, then you know that Berserk is one of my favorite things. And if that tickles your fancy, definitely check this book out.

Richard and his daughter, Ana, are roaming the desert on the run from The Magician, Richard's ex-boyfriend who really wants a demon's heart for reasons. The way Ruz captures the loneliness of the desert is truly outstanding, even though Richard has the company of his daughter and his regrets. The int
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Lynelle Williams
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Richard escapes a prison and flees through the desert with only his daughter and a head full of stories, pursued by his lover and a monster, searching for a demon.

Memories of loves lost, friends long gone, the people he fought for and feared and followed are constantly on Richard's mind, joined by new and uncertain allies along the way. These relationships form the backbone of the story, allowing themes of family, loss, and betrayal to emerge and develop. The story is told in part by Richard's r
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Joscelyn Smith
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One book in and I can already tell that I'm going to love this entire series. I was drawn in from the first chapter. The author really made these characters come alive, when Richard touches Ana's foot through the bars of his cell I could feel his pain. I'm already looking forward to reading more in this series.
Dawn
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this from the publisher via netgalley. I have to say I couldn’t put it down. You can’t help but empathise with the well portrayed main character .Richard is a hardened soldier trying to reclaim his connection with his estranged daughter . After the death of his wife he left her with someone he thought would be a better choice than himself but it turns out he was so wrong.
Steeped in a fantasy world which seems violent, barren and unforgiving we gradually find out more of Richard’s past
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Chels
Jul 03, 2019 marked it as considering
SFF 180 Mail Bag June 10
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Christopher "Ruz" Hayes-Kossmann was born in Hong Kong, raised in Vienna, and is now settled in Melbourne, Australia. Although he graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Industrial Design, his first love has always been writing.

He's been published by Weaponizer, Labyrinth Inhabitant's Magazine and Birdville Magazine, and has won both the first Ergofiction Search Term Challenge and the first Birdville
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Other books in the series

Century of Sand (2 books)
  • The Ragged Lord (Century of Sand #2)

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