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Articles of Faith #1

The Black Hawks

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Dark, thrilling, and hilarious, The Black Hawks is an epic adventure perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch.

Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory – he dreams of going home.

When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.

All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.

With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company – mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.

Prepare to join the Black Hawks.

429 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 3, 2019

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David Wragg

3 books206 followers

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5 stars
413 (21%)
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787 (41%)
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541 (28%)
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34 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 306 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
654 reviews39.7k followers
September 17, 2019
ARC provided by the publisher—Harper Voyager—in exchange for an honest review.

Entertaining, intense, and filled with great lines spoken by morally grey characters to root for.

If you’ve been following the adult fantasy market for the past two years, you’ll most likely realize that the cover art is quite similar to Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames—one of my favorite fantasy debuts of all time. The cover art is done by the same artist—Richard Anderson—and as always, he never fails to deliver a striking/distinctive artwork. Excluding the similarity in cover art, does the content actually provided something similar to Kings of the Wyld? It would have to be a no from me. The exposure and advertisements I’ve seen for The Black Hawks so far have led me to think that this is an overwhelmingly comedic and light-hearted book; I have to disagree with this notion. Sure there are some funny lines embedded into the narrative, such as this description about wolves for example:

“To think I left Clyden for this. Eaten by a fucken dog with a hairstyle.”

But a few funny lines here and there, in my opinion, doesn’t make a book with a darker tone to it be termed as comedic or hilarious; not when there are many serious topics to unpack in the story.

The Black Hawks is the first book in Articles of Faith series, it’s also David Wragg’s debut work. Wragg’s debut revolves around premises that have been done a lot of times before. The story follows Vedren Chel, a knight bound by oath to a dead-end job to his step-uncle. When an invasion occurs very early in the story, Chel finds an opportunity in the chaos to free himself from his oath by doing a new task: deliver Tarfel, a bratty prince of the kingdom, to safety by escorting him across the country whilst being chased by ruthless assassins. As his new task begins, Chel and Tarfel meets the mercenary group, The Black Hawks Company, and find their missions intertwined. As you can probably guess, The Black Hawks is a quest-centered fantasy; almost the entirety of the plot revolves around Chel trying his best to fulfill his oath to Tarfel. It’s true that this kind of premise has been done many times before, but Wragg was able to successfully deliver an engaging reading experience with this premise and I, as a reader, don’t see any fault with that.

It did take me a quarter of the book to find myself fully engaged with it. Part 1 felt a bit hard to get into for me but once Chel and Tarfel met The Black Hawks Company, my reading experience of this book became significantly better and the quality never stops escalating up to the bloody cliffhanger conclusion. To succinctly explain it: the entertainment value in the interaction between Chel and the members of The Black Hawks Company was immense. Through these characters, the themes of faith, friendship, loyalty, and war were efficiently explored. It was intriguing to see how Chel and Tarfel—both are virtuous characters—influenced the morally ambiguous group of mercenary that pretty much have a close-to-zero sense of loyalty. These characters also spat curses as effortless as they inhale air. Seriously, I’m talking about The Gentleman Bastards’ level of innovative cussing. I didn’t expect it at first, but somewhere along the way Chel, Tarfel, Lemon, Rennic, Spider, and Loveless became characters that I ended up caring about.

“It’s always about sex. Shepherds know how much of human history has been steered by some central figure’s urge to fuck someone or something.”

Banters and engaging dialogues aside, The Black Hawks is quite an action-packed debut; action scenes dominate the pages of this novel. Due to the constant chase the main characters endured, the majority of the action scenes were skirmishes or small-scale combat that’s spread throughout the whole book. There are no monsters or fantastical creatures within the series so far, and all the battles were well-written close-quarter combat. Speaking of actions, you better get some free time to read through the last 20% of the book. Seriously, I couldn’t put it down; it was full of tension, it will also have you begging for the next book immediately upon closing the final page. In all honesty, I’m not a fan of reading the first book of a series with a huge cliffhanger ending, especially when the next book isn’t available for me to read yet. But I also have to admit that the last 20% of the book and the cliffhanger ending did leave an incredibly strong impression to me.

I have no idea where the story will go from here, but I’m excited to find out eventually. The Black Hawks is an incredibly entertaining debut that’s filled with morally ambiguous characters, witty banter, and well-written close-quarter action scenes. I believe this debut will be a hit for readers who loves a darker-toned fantasy novel with a memorable cast that has occasional humor embedded in the grimdark-esque narrative.

Official release date: 3rd October 2019

You can pre-order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)

The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Profile Image for Robin Hobb.
Author 266 books96.3k followers
January 15, 2020
Ah yes! The usual caveat applies. While I do not know David Wragg, I did receive an advance reading copy of this book for free. I do not think that affects my review of it.

This is a solid adventure story, well told.

So, let's get right to why this is a four star rather than a five star. I read this with no clue that it's not a complete story. I got right to the last few pages, wondering what brilliant tactic would bring our heroes out of danger and . . .

Cliff hanger.

I don't mind a good cliff hanger, but you have to let me know it's coming.

But now let's go to why I really enjoyed this story. Nice setting, good solid characters. Nasty villains of several different stripes. Can I mention that the mercenaries in the story are, yes, believably mercenary? And that the newcomer to their group is believably appalled at some of what they do? Several other clichés that I spotted a mile away, uh, just didn't happen. Very good! The hero had an unusual and very believable motive for what he was doing, too.

I hate spoilers, so, other than warning you of the precipice at the end of this volume, I won't go into much more detail! I'm looking forward to seeing the next piece of the story.
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
306 reviews1,305 followers
August 25, 2019
I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Black Hawks in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank David Wragg and Harper Voyager for the opportunity.

Chel is from a minor noble house and is bored to death working for his step-uncle. He has no real ambitions. He misses his family and cannot wait until he can see them again. The city Chel now resides within is attacked by the Norts with their giant black ships that fling fireballs and huge silk birds who breathe flames on the unfortunate. During the destruction and uncertainty, Chel escapes the city and appropriates an abandoned horse and carriage to direct himself to his freedom. However, as it transpires Tarfal, the prince of Vistirlar is hiding in the carriage and commands Chel to deliver him safely to his brother. This is where The Black Hawks really begins.

I'd describe Wragg's debut outing as being like an accomplished and engaging mixture of Nicholas Eames and Joe Abercrombie. The mercenary crew The Black Hawks were an absolute joy to follow and I haven't read about as kooky, diverse and humorous a group since Kings of the Wyld. As fate would have it The Black Hawks cross paths with the "wayward prince and reluctant knight" and following the combined ensemble throughout ambushes, skirmishes, betrayals, alliances, etc... make up for the lion's share of the novel. We don't meet the titular gang until about seventy pages in.

Wragg has constructed some exceptional characters here. Chel is the only point of view perspective and he is addictively likable. He is not an overpowered, chosen one who will banish evil from the world. He's presented as quite the opposite. He is lucky and that is his saving grace. He ends up battered and wounded in every confrontation. He is extremely headstrong and resilient though. I couldn't help smile when I was following some of his martial exchanges. One example is when he is supposed to save the day and skewer an assailant with a javelin, misses completely and the javelin just bounces off the floor. Although obnoxious at first the prince is also highly likable and as the story progresses I just wanted to reach through the pages and give him a hug. The chemistry between these two main players is truly enjoyable to follow.

The Black Hawkes themselves shine. The banter, camaraderie and internal politics/ relationships are well created. The standout members for me were Foss - the affable man-mountain, Spider - the extremely talented assassin who seems to despise Chel, and Loveless - the beautiful, graceful, sex-addicted warrior. There is also a member of the crew called Lemon. Boy, does she know how to swear!

As the first entry in the Articles of Faith series, The Black Hawks isn't going to reinvent the fantasy scene. Wragg utilises quite a few tropes but he does it skilfully so it never feels dull or like a carbon copy of what has come before in the genre. The pacing of the narrative is frequently breathtaking however it unwinds occasionally at quieter times where we get to learn more about the characters.
The world crafted has a pretty deep history with reference to past battles, religions and races but is never overwhelming. My proof version didn't include a map but I hope the book will when it is released. The build-up to, and the book's finale are fantastic and include a huge twist. Also, it concludes on a giant cliffhanger. One of the only negatives about getting to read books early is that I have to wait longer for the sequels and I need to know what happens next! The Black Hawks is an extraordinary debut that is as humorous as it is dark. I'd rank this middle of the grimdark scale and believe that Wragg has a winner on his hands here. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Hamad.
972 reviews1,284 followers
March 7, 2020
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

Actual rating: 3.75 stars

“Don’t confuse the absence of immediate cruelty with kindness, highness”

I love Mercenary stories, I love the idea of a group of friends and getting to know these people and usually they have to be diverse and different for it to work. It takes a certain level of talent to achieve this and David had this level and did a great job for a debut.

Six of Crows, Never Die, Kings of the Wyld, Valley of the Free are all books with a group of people with a mission on their mind. This was similar to those books and I just enjoy this story line. The characters here were certainly well written, I think there are two ways to approach this kind of books: either gradually adding characters to the mix and getting to know them slowly as in Never Die and Valley of the Free (I prefer this approach) or there is a group already and then we get to know them as in this book and Bloody Rose. The book title is actually the title of the mercenary group that we are introduced to and they certainly grew on me as I was reading.

I actually picked this book for my book club for the month of February and the readers and I all agreed that part 1 was a bit confusing and hard to get into. The good news is that this part is short and that things kick off to greater and greater with each part. The writing is good and I loved the cussing and humor the book have. I would not say it is a light read because of the humor but it certainly made the atmosphere lighter, I would say that it was on the very light side of Grimdark Fantasy. The book has a certain depth to it so it kind of has a mix of everything.

The pacing is fast which is unusual for adult fantasy and I LOVED that, we need more fast-paced books like this. There was a ton of action and things kept happening and holding my attention. I also have to mention that the ending was perfect for the book (How dare you Mr.Wragg??!) and I need book 2 right now!

“Never fight fair, never spare a killing blow, never consider for a moment that what’s on the end of your blade is another, living, thinking, dreaming human being. Your enemy is your enemy, understand? You start playing the wondering game, someone will kill you.”

Summary: A good mercenary story with good writing, memorable characters, a bit dark but lightened by the humor and cussing. The book is initially hard to get into but the pacing is fast and the cliffhanger was great! Worth giving a chance!!

You can get more books from Book Depository

Profile Image for William Gwynne.
325 reviews1,176 followers
May 30, 2022
I now have a YouTube channel that I run with my brother, called 'The Brothers Gwynne'. Check it out - The Brothers Gwynne

The Black Hawks by David Wragg is an interesting debut that had entertaining aspects and was altogether a very solid read.

It may have been that I was not in the right mood when reading this, so I will perhaps reread this when the sequel is announced. While there was no weakness as such to this book, I didn’t feel any driving force. Like amazing characters, or a shocking plot. It was solid, but nothing in particular hooked me.

The characters were varied all with believable personalities and an interesting morally grey code. But there are none that have remained in my head that I loved or felt incredibly attracted to.

I did begin to become more immersed towards the later part of the book when the pace began to increase and surprising twists started to occur. The last fifty pages was action-packed and ended in a great manner that has interested me in any sequel that Wragg will write.

Wragg’s prose is smooth and progresses well, not allowing itself to become bogged down by info dumps. He slowly trickles information about the world and characters that results in a thorough vivid image of the world that was enjoyable to experience.

So overall, as I have said, The Black Hawks was a strong read, and I am sure that most people will thoroughly enjoy this. I look forward to the sequel, which I shall definitely continue with.

Profile Image for Gavin.
849 reviews384 followers
July 27, 2020
I've not had much luck with new fantasy debut books in recent years but I'm giving the thumbs up to David Wragg's The Black Hawks. It is no fantasy classic and has plenty of flaws but despite that this still proved to be a fun and engaging read. It is a bit of a weird one to assess as it has elements of both grimdark fantasy and traditional old school coming of age fantasy stories. It was definitely a weird mix but I think Wragg successfully blended it all together into a story that worked!

We followed a single main character in the form of Vedren Chel. He was a young knight bound by oath to serve his uncle. Unfortunately his uncle is a bit of a coward and wastrel so Vedran Chel is not living the life of excitement and adventure he expected! That all changes when a northern outpost they are visiting gets attacked by a neighbouring kingdom. In the confusion Vedran ends up saving a Prince of the Realm and gets his oath transferred to him. It was a case of be careful what you wish for as poor Vedran Chel found that with all sorts of plots on the go his task of protecting the Prince was a far more exciting, and dangerous, job!

The story ended up being quite fun and engaging. It had a bit of a slow start and my initial first impression of Vedran Chel was a negative one but it did not take long at all for him and the story to win me over. He was far from perfect but he ended up surprisingly easy to root for on his various adventures. It was the same for the world-building. My initial first impression was not great but the more I read the more I got to like this world. The whole book had that sort of vibe to it. The more I read of the story the more and more I found I was enjoying it. By the end I was quite engaged in the happenings!

The story had a good mixed of action, adventure, and political intrigue. We also got a bit of humour to balance out some of the more gritty elements of the story. The other good thing was the fact that Wragg liked to include a bunch of twists and turns that added plenty of excitement to the story!

While I ended up liking the characters and finding the writing and the story pretty engaging this was a book that did have a few flaws that held it back from getting that full 5 star rating. There was elements of grimdark fantasy in the storytelling. In some ways that was good as it added a bit of grit and edge to the tale but it was a negative as well as Wragg fell into the trap of including a few of the genres worst tropes and elements. Which is to say we had to suffer a lot of swearing (I'm not against bad language but if it gets overused it can feel a bit like a story is trying too hard in my eyes) as well as some cringey grimdark style one liners. We also had to suffer some really awful character names/nicknames. Why is this so prevalent in grimdark fantasy? That said, I do not feel like this book fully committed to the grimdark genre. It was a weird mix of modern grimdark (think Aercrombie or Ed McDonald in terms of story feel style and dialogue) and traditional old school fantasy stories. I spotted the blurb comparing this to Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie. I do not see the Lynch comparisons at all but this definitely had the feel that Abercrombie's type of humour inspired some of what we got in this tale but I do not feel like the story had the same sort of tone one would find in any of Aercrombiex tales. By which I mean Black Hawks was not flat up misery-porn. If I had to compare Black Hawks to other books then I'd say it reminded me a lot of stuff like Kings of the Wyld and Greatcoats in terms of style and feel. It had a bit of grit and humour and definitely had some dark moments but the overall feel of the tale was not bleak and depressing and we had a few characters that we could root for.

The most cringey thing in the story was Lemon. She was liking a living vehicle for the most embarrassing tropes in modern grimdark fantasy. I cringed every time she opened her mouth! She did grow on me a bit towards the end but I think that might just have been a result of repeated exposure making me more immune to her cringeyness!!!

The other thing worth mentioning was just how crazy some of the plot twits got towards the end of the story. I'm not complaining! I thought it was all fun and exciting even if it was a little over the top. If a book is going to go batshit crazy then I like it to fully commit and Wragg definitely fully committed in that regard. Wragg played all the crazy 100% serious which is the only way it ever works for me. Even when something is absolutely ridiculous in a tale I expect my characters to be taking it all 100% serious. None of those pretentious in-jokes or the like from the writer!!! I think the crazy plot twists really made for a super exiting end to the tale!

All in all this tale was not perfect but it did really grow on me as the story progressed and by the end I found I was enjoying it a lot. This it definitely one of the better modern fantasy debut books I've read and I'll be reading the next instalment for sure!

Rating: 4.5 stars. I'll round down due to the flaws and the slightly slow start but this was still pretty good!!!

Audio Note: I'm no great fan of Colin Mace as an audio narrator. I do not think he is a great narrator as he struggles with character voices, especially the female characters, and also tends to use some really cringe-worthy regional British accents that can kill whole characters for me. The good news is that I felt like Black Hawks was one of his better performances. We still had the issue of him struggling with the female voices and not being great at differentiating between character voices in general but he did manage to avoid annoying accents so that was a plus!
Profile Image for Ed McDonald.
Author 12 books1,179 followers
August 22, 2019
I was sent an advance copy of this book by Harper Voyager. I never manage to get through all the books that I’m sent, and I duck out on a lot somewhere around the 20% mark if they aren’t grabbing me. But hey, I like things that are dark and feathered, right? So how did debut novelist Wragg do with this outing?

First up, here’s what you get (very briefly):
Chel, a young nobleman of no great consequence, ends up stuck with a cowardly but somehow adorable prince, and after some intrigue and fuckery, they find themselves captured and marched along in a series of shenanigans with The Black Hawk Company. None of them tend to like each other all that much… or are they secretly good pals? There are cannibals, evil priests, knives, and lots of being yelled at. But why have they been abducted, and what is the true cause of unrest in the land?

Anyway, there’s no point me explaining the story because you haven’t read it. So let me just tell you what I really enjoyed about The Black Hawks.

There’s nothing that’s particularly new in terms of theme here – we have a fairly standard fantasy world (no particular time period or culture comes to mind), occupied solely by humans, in which a mercenary company kidnap a prince and take him on a journey. I can get burned out on fantasy pretty easily if it feels like we’re treading old ground, but although Wragg hasn’t opted to mimic a particular historical culture or create ecology changing magic systems, The Black Hawks feels fresh, energetic and it was very easy to devour. It avoids being dense, and whilst there are a quite a lot of characters to keep track of, they’re all very well defined so you can do away with a spreadsheet or glossary. It’s the characters that are the strongest element of what I found to be a very enjoyable book, and if you take a look at the cover, you kind of know what you’re in for.

The Black Hawk Company, as well as the prince and our hero, Chel, all feel like well rounded, fully realised characters, a memorable cast of misfits you can’t help but love. They’re a pretty diverse mix, and they’re individuality is what allows Wragg to make the smallest conversations brim with fun. They’re at times crude, sexy, boisterous, angry, mocking, mysterious and more. And while there may be some pretty dangerous types among them, from the creepy Spider to the dauntless Loveless, they are all entirely capable of getting shitfaced in deeply unheroic style. There’s nobody in this book who is right all the time, and this story feels about as far from a chosen one farmboy narrative as you can get, while somehow retaining the hero’s journey feel. Relationships are delivered slowly – a real cool build throughout the story – and you absorb them developing through subtle dialogue shifts. For me, it’s the dialogue that really makes this book work. Lemon is likely to be the fan favourite, but for me, Loveless is the most interesting and has the most depth. I particularly enjoyed her theory about why men turn to shitty pursuits.

There are no monsters, and there doesn’t seem to be any magic in here either, although there are a couple of technological surprises that caught me off guard. I’m sure that there are some surprises in store for us in book 2. Rather than heading into hard magic systems or thousand year old histories, Wragg captures the classic fantasy spirit of adventure and exploration, wraps it with stabbed backs and cannibals and gifts it to you on a bed of action. The story feels modern and clipped, and achieves that special magic of long periods of intensity without feeling heavy.
I’ll take a moment to talk about the protagonist, because maybe he was one of the things that I really enjoyed. He’s just so… ordinary. Chel is an ‘everyperson’ character that it’s very easy to relate to. He’s just as confused about what’s going on as we are, and that makes him easy to follow. He’s not really the star of the show – that would be the Hawks themselves, who are all larger than life murderer-with-a-heart-of-gold types (except maybe Spider, who is just a dick) and Chel lets us experience them without any kind of reader ego getting in the way. I don’t remember reading about a protagonist so utterly reluctant to hurt anybody at all (even though I sometimes found myself thinking “FFS CHEL PUT A KNIFE IN THEM”). It’s refreshing stuff.

I tend to feel that reviews that are purely complementary are easy to dismiss, so I feel obligated to look for niggles – but on the whole, I only review books that I really liked, so it’s not always easy. Whilst the story concludes in a way that feels satisfying, I would have liked a little more tie-up from some of the loose ends. I prefer each novel in a series to feel like a standalone (which this isn’t), but for binge-readers I can’t see it being a problem. Maybe because this book isn’t actually out yet and I can’t get part 2 yet, grrrrr.

A vibrant cast, intrigue and action come together in this blazing debut from David Wragg, and I see it as having wide appeal across the genre. If you can’t live without magic, it’s not for you, but I’m sure that grimdark fans will claim it’s grimdark because of the Hawks, noblebrighters will claim noblebright because Chel is a pacifist, and it’ll be called quest fantasy and all sorts besides. I’m going to label it WitPunk.

The Black Hawks, by David Wragg, is available from 3rd October 2019. It’s published in the UK by Harper Voyager.
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
418 reviews453 followers
September 23, 2019
I received an ARC provided by Harper Voyager via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

‘Would you rather be a tarantula, or a hairless cat?’
If that does not intrigue you, nothing will.

The Black Hawks has a premise that should be as catnip to cats for most of us fantasy readers. Morally ambiguous, indolent mercenaries with a lack of ambition, loyalty and compassion who tend to be in the wrong side of the winning/losing column? Hell yeah, sign me up! Twice!

This first book in the Articles of Faith series introduces us straight away to the protagonist, Chel. He is nothing special and seems a bit unhappy with his current predicament; a man sworn in service to a lord who is also Chel’s step-uncle. Chel seems to be dodging his duties as a sworn knight, duties that are nothing like he imagined, when a sudden attack on the city by foreign invaders changes his life instantly. As all seems lost, he flees the beset city with a stolen horse and cart, and before long he makes the shocking discovery of a royal stowaway. Tarfel Merimonsun, Junior Prince of Vistirlar.

They make a deal - Chel will get prince Tarfel to safety and he will free Chel from service to his step-uncle. Win win. Chel is no warrior though, and while he has a knack for being lucky and his courage belies his size, things go south faster than a wolf on a downslope, and pretty soon they are kidnapped by a band of mercenaries known as the Black Hawks.

I have to be honest. The story was a slow starter and I felt my attention wandering early on. Chel and the prince were not uninteresting, but they could not hold the story together on their own for 300 odd pages and I started having doubts. About 60 pages in though the magic happened. The Black Hawks arrived. Folks, I could read five hundred pages about this rag-tag band followed by five hundred more. And then some. It is fitting that they are the namesake of the book as these are a bunch of ruffians that could narrate a phonebook onto the bestsellers list. Don’t get me wrong though - this isn't a laugh-a-minute adventure with some gory action in between. Oh, it has elements of all that and more, but at its heart this is a grim-darkish character-driven fantasy that has just the right amount of humour to lighten things up.

Never fight fair, never spare a killing blow, never consider for a moment that what’s on the other end of your blade is another living, thinking, dreaming, human being. Your enemy is your enemy, understand? You start playing the wondering game, someone will kill you.’
‘That’s … grim.’
‘That’s life, fuck-o. Deal with it or let it go.’

This being a debut book, I had never heard of David Wragg before setting my eyes on that glorious cover by the ever popular Richard Anderson, whose work you might recognise if you have enjoyed Nicolas Eames’ The Band series. I had no idea what to expect, but am overjoyed to yet again be treated to such brilliant characterization as has been a staple feature of many debut fantasy authors recently. I can't say this enough, but what a great time it is to be a reader of fantasy! Chel & the prince, while not winning me over at first encounter, have great development over the course of the tale, staking their own claims on the spotlight. No mean feat, given the company they keep. The mercenaries have the kind of chemistry that movie execs dream about and the relationships and politics within the mercenary band were almost as gripping as the action, and that’s not even mentioning the banter, the dialogue.

Hush and listen, this could save your life some day.’
‘Aye, “oh”. See, thing is, most people, they don’t get hit by arrows much.’
‘That so?’
‘Indeedy. So, if and when they do, they don’t know what to do. They think that’s it, and they should just keel over, curl up their toes, back to the ancestors.’
‘Whereas …?’
‘Ah, you can fight on with an arrow in you! You can fight on with a dozen, like a fucken pin-cushion. I knew a fella, a Clydish man, mark you, not like one of you northern piss-sheets, fought on with sixteen arrows, two spears and a sword in him. Carried on for hours, cracking heads and ripping limbs.’
‘And he lived?’
‘Well, no, but he didn’t lie down and die at the first blow, did he?’
‘So what’s the big secret? If you’re hit by an arrow, don’t die?’
‘Aye. That’s the secret: don’t die.

Whilst world-building is not one of the main building blocks of this story, references to battles past and the history of the world is interspersed throughout and gives the sense of a much larger world that even the main characters only know a smattering of. I am happy though that the focus is more on the characters and plot, as it keeps the pace up and let's face it; with characters such as these you want to keep the spotlight on them. Before moving on, I cannot help but give a shout out to my personal favourite, a possible sufferer of lupophobia, the one, the only, Lemon.

‘Oh aye, right, into the mountains we go. No bother there. Not like there’s fucken wolves and bears and whatnot. Always fucken wolves. Wildlife, shitehawks all. If I see a fucken wolf I’m gonna brain it with a fucken hammer and wear its flat head like a fucken hat. No fucken wolf better come near me. Lemon the wolf-hammer, that’s what they call me. Too fucken right, wolfy, just you try it. Just you show me your little wolfy teeth. I’ll have your fucken tail to clean my arse.’

*cough* more Lemon please*cough*

Action is of course, what mercenaries live for and the book does not skimp. There are quite a few battles, ambushes and even a moment of horror to keep things tense, but David Wragg does not let up with some great escalation towards the end, culminating in a moment or two that will have you going “wait, WHAT?”, right before delivering a lovely little cliffhanger...

I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers.

But I’ll allow it.

Once. ;)

Definitely recommended!

The Black Hawks is released on 3 October 2019 and there is a lovely sprayed edge version (red) being released by Goldsboro if you are in the UK. I would pre-order. They are going to sell out fast.

The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
Profile Image for Anna Stephens.
Author 29 books613 followers
July 3, 2019
This a remarkably assured debut novel. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the setting, and the central premise - of a barely-competent lackey trying to protect a thoroughly incompetent prince - makes for a whole lot of fun.
Humour abounds in The Black Hawks as the band of mercenaries take somewhat reluctant possession of said prince and bodyguard in a bid to get him to their employers and collect their reward. Oh, if only it were that simple.
Told from the single third-person POV of Vedren Chel, hapless bodyguard, we see the world through his occasionally unreliable eyes, adding to the intrigue. As he's not quite the sharpest arrow in the quiver, this adds a lovely layer of puzzlements and mystery over parts of the plot and many of the characters, revealed one by one as Chel puts the pieces together in his own painstaking way.
A brilliant cast of world-weary, sarcastic rogues, some more evil and more complicated than they first appear, act as the perfect foils for the naive prince and bodyguard as they're manhandled across the country ostensibly for ransom but, of course, for more than that.
The twist in the tail came completely out of the blue and was a genuine jaw-drop moment - very cleverly done. And with the final climax of the novel, everything is brilliantly set up for the sequel - and I can't wait to see what happens next.
Profile Image for Nils | nilsreviewsit.
303 reviews442 followers
October 2, 2019
‘Never fight fair, never spare a killing blow, never consider for a moment that what’s on the end of your blade is another, living, thinking, dreaming human being. Your enemy is your enemy, understand? You start playing the wondering game, someone will kill you.’
The Black Hawks is the debut novel by David Wragg, and let me say right now, it’s a damn enjoyable, immensely riveting read. The moment I saw the cover my interest was instantly peaked, I mean let’s just take a moment to appreciate how gorgeous the artwork by Richard Anderson is: but then when I discovered it included a group of misfit, morally grey mercenaries, I was fixated on reading it. I believe that 2019 so far has been a gold mine for high quality fantasy debuts, and The Black Hawks holds a respectable place amongst them.

Now, I know many of you have the impression that this book is somehow similar to Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames, and judging by the cover similarities I can see why, but I haven’t read Kings of the Wyld, so I won’t be making any comparisons in this review. However, I am told by other reviewers that they are very different from each other.

Right then, let me convey a little of what The Black Hawks is all about. The story follows Vedren Chel, who comes from a minor noble house and is oath-bound to his idle step-uncle, who has dragged him away with him to the heart of the Kingdom, in Denirnas. Chel is bored witless with his daily life, he is in a foreign land, far from those he loves, and is treated as nothing more than a lackey. When an invasion hits the city of Denirnas, Chel stumbles upon an opportunity to be freed from his oath and therefore be able to return home; all he has to do is deliver an incompetent prince to the safety of his older brother. However, as events unfold, and the mercenaries called The Black Hawks enter the scene, and whisk Chel and the prince away on a jaunt through the lands of Vistirlar, his quest for freedom becomes more complex. Chel unwittingly becomes a bodyguard to Prince Tarfel, but with corrupt priests, assassins, and cannibals at their backs and the elusive Black Hawks at their side; who is friend and who is foe? The Black Hawks ultimately becomes a story of survival, of freedom and the search to discover hidden truths.

I think some readers may find the book takes a while to get into initially. There isn’t a lot of world building, or an intricate magic system established, but for me this wasn’t an issue. From the beginning we are thrown into the middle of events; we’re introduced to Chel and his journey following the invasion of Denirnas fairly early on. Things from there proceed rapidly. I have to say that I’m all in favour of a fantasy book with this fast paced, action packed style, in fact sometimes, that’s precisely what I’m looking for. Let’s start with a bang, let’s get to the nitty gritty action scenes, let’s travel along harsh cold terrain with a band of characters and discover the world building as we go along. I was content with this, I was happy to let the narrative guide me and slowly drip snippets of clues and revelations as we go on. I think because I instantly gelled with Chel’s character and then became quite obsessed with The Black Hawks crew, I was invested enough to just buckle up and enjoy the ride.

So, let me illustrate a bit further about what I enjoyed. The tone of the book was perfect in my opinion; in fact, it cemented my love for this story. The Black Hawks has been hailed as ‘hilarious’, and while yes, I had plenty of literal laugh out loud moments, there is also a fundamentally darker story that lies beneath the facade. Wragg executes both aspects skilfully, never allowing the book to become too comedic that it borders on the point of cheesy, and simultaneously not allowing the book to become overwhelmingly dark or somber; even towards the end when the tension becomes colossal. I genuinely found Wragg’s style to be so refreshing.

This leads me to discuss the characters, because this is where I felt The Black Hawks excelled! As I stated above, the book has many humorous moments, and this predominantly comes from the interactions between all the characters, particularly whenever the Black Hawks crew were involved. Let’s put it simply, the banter was stellar! Chel and prince Tarfel had such an underlying sarcastic approach with each other, I savoured this and found myself smirking at all the witty remarks. Then to contrast that, we had Lemon who just bluntly expressed EVERYTHING with a whole heap of swearing to boot! Lemon was an absolute gem! The rest of the Black Hawks were extremely memorable members too, but the standout one for me became Rennic, who particularly shines towards the end.
Rennic glowered, ‘I hate fucking minstrels.’
‘Then you should probably take a break from it,’ Lemon said, then fell sideways in giggles.
Rennic spat on the earth and stood, ‘I’m going for a piss.’
Lastly, I have to wrap up this review by mentioning that I couldn’t have asked for a better ending for this book. The last 100 pages were one mother of a ride, that was just unputdownable! Seriously, if you’re looking for a book to keep you teetering on the edge of your seat, this is the one! Well, as you can probably tell, I’m just a tad bit excited for the for the sequel now. *cue squealing*

Arc provided by Harper Voyager & Jaime Frost in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the copy!

All quotes used (with permission given by Wragg) are taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
Profile Image for Peter McLean.
Author 35 books836 followers
September 21, 2019
The Black Hawks is a type of fantasy I haven’t read in a long while – it’s FUN!

Maybe I’ve just been wallowing in Grimdark for too long, but this brought a smile to my face almost instantly. There’s something about the interplay between the characters that was just a joy to read, and I found the whole thing enormously refreshing and entertaining, like a cross between Nicholas Eames and Joe Abercrombie.

Lemon may be one of my new favourite characters in anything, bless her murderous little heart. She gets some of the very best lines, such as this gem on the subject of wolves: "To think I left Clyden for this. To be eaten by a fucken dog with a hairstyle."

It’s not often I laugh out loud when I’m reading, but that did it. Not to say that this is a comedy by any means, when you also have belters such as "May your god forgive you, for mine will not."

That David Wragg is a clever fellow, to be sure. I suspect he may have Hattended the Hacademy!
Profile Image for Jokoloyo.
448 reviews271 followers
October 8, 2020
I was relatively bored at the first half of the book. Thanks to other reviews, I was keep reading this book. The last 30% the story is getting better and better. This book has a splendid ending, so it is a good marketing way to sell the next book of the series.

I have no problem with characters that obviously need to grow, especially on the first novel of a series, but my concern is this novel has no sympathetic character for me. Immature characters could be interesting, and I found none on this novel.

For sub-genre, this novel could be considered a low fantasy.
Profile Image for Solseit.
286 reviews72 followers
January 2, 2021
That ending was just the best!

The second time around, I confirm that the ending was the best but the rating should be lower than 4 stars (more a 3.5 since I did not feel that the characters and the world building were developed sufficiently). A great debut - as far as I understand - nonetheless and the next book can only be better!
Profile Image for Holly (The GrimDragon).
974 reviews227 followers
May 27, 2020
"Ah, you can fight on with an arrow in you! You can fight on with a dozen, like a fucken pin-cushion. I knew a fella, a Clydish man, mark you, not like one of you northern piss-sheets, fought on with sixteen arrows, two spears and a sword in him. Carried on for hours, cracking heads and ripping limbs.’ ‘And he lived?’ ‘Well, no, but he didn’t lie down and die at the first blow, did he?’ ‘So what’s the big secret? If you’re hit by an arrow, don’t die?’ ‘Aye. That’s the secret: don’t die."

Need something to take your mind off of killer hornets and pandemics for a little bit? The Black Hawks will help you escape this fucked up timeline and throw you into.. well, another completely fucked up timeline. But tickle your funny bone, it shall! If you like dark shit with heart. And banter. All things that are kinda sorta my jam!

This debut novel by David Wragg is the first in the Articles of Faith duology. It immediately captured my attention because of that glorious cover. I know I'm a broken record, but Richard Anderson covers are the best covers! SUPER WIDE HEART EYES!!

The Black Hawks begins as Vedren Chel, a knight, escapes the city of Denirnas during a sudden attack by the Norts. He has stolen a horse and carriage, but something-- or someone-- else has stowed away as well.

Tarfel Merimonsun, Junior Prince of Vistirlar, has hidden himself away from danger. Once discovered, he makes a deal with Chel to safely deliver him to his brother. If he does, then Chel will relinquish his prior obligations, meaning he will be free from the vow that he swore under oath to his step-uncle about serving him.

Chel is all for the deal. Being a knight isn't quite as rad as it sounds, especially when the job consists of shitty jobs for an even shittier boss. He would love to return home to his friends and family.

Of course, nothing is ever that simple. The prince is surrounded by trouble, with a capital 'T'. That's where the ragtag group of mercenaries known as the Black Hawks come in.

"Lemon turned and marched back to the doorway, then paused. "Stay here, dullards. For all that is sweet in this shitty world, do not fucken wander off again. Yes?" Tarfel nodded. Chel managed a groan. Lemon disappeared into the flickering light of the hold, then a moment later a coil of rope came whistling through the door and thumped down onto the boards. "And tie that fucker up!"

Cannibals, kidnapping, wolves, corruption, storms, assassins, betrayals, religious cults.. and the swears? Beautiful. I consider myself somewhat of a Cursing Connoisseur™ and the swearing in this was phenomenal! A-FUCKING-PLUS!!

Do you know what else was exceptional? Lemon. Hilariously deranged, sweary, funny Lemon. What a fucking gem of a character! She injects most of the humor in this for me, truly stealing each scene she is in. I love lemons, but this one is my favorite!

The Black Hawks is a classic fantasy quest with a found family adventuring through murky territory and dealing with some mighty fuckery along the way. It's bloody entertaining and also bloody, in general.

I desperately need book two after that intensely twisty ending, goddamnit!
Profile Image for  Charlie.
477 reviews214 followers
December 6, 2019
Black Hawks is a beautifully written start to an epic fantasy that has been somewhat incorrectly marketed as a merc story. It has this air because the cover artist's most recent and perhaps most well known works are the Nicholas Eames Kings of the Wyld and Bloody Rose, books that are specifically about a group of mercs, and if you add on to that Never Die by Rob J Hayes a pretty clear thread starts to emerge. The book is even named after the group of mercenaries.....That being said I dont think it is a merc book. We dont spend enough time within the group, hear their voices or really get into their relationships with each other. We follow a single main character who is kidnapped by the mercs in exchange for something rather than the group itself and it ends up being quite a traditional fantasy based around gods and religion just with different clothes.

Now I really did enjoy the book. I get a lot of books from publishers but this is one I went out and bought myself and I generally only do that if a lot of other readers I admire found it worthwhile. I'll pick up the second one to see where the story goes and I'd encourage anyone to pick this first one up and see if they get into it, but if you are specifically looking for a merc book I think they are others you might enjoy more.
Profile Image for Mike Everest Evans.
88 reviews186 followers
November 9, 2019
Full review to come on The Fantasy Hive: https://fantasy-hive.co.uk/


The Good: Larger than life characters throw thrown together in a small world of consequences and c*ck ups – despite covering the well-worn tropes of a mercenary band, this is anything but your average crew.

The Bad: Not a negative, but if you’re expecting a bunch of merry (or not so merry) mercs from the get go, curb your enthusiasm. The crew don’t show up for the first few chapters (70 or so pages).

The Ugly Truth: If you’re a fan of mercenary fantasy’s (I am) then you’ll be a fan of The Black Hawks. But don’t let the cover and comparisons fool you, this isn’t the same kind of crew as Nicholas Eames’ Kings of the Wyld. The Black Hearts has humour, gutter and gallows, and heart too, but this bunch of misfits are no way near as friendly – though just as handy in a fight (and lucky for us readers, there’s plenty of that!).
Profile Image for Tom Lloyd.
Author 25 books427 followers
September 2, 2019
A highly entertaining and very readable adventure that combined great characters with a fun adventure. It's all told from the POV of Chel, but he's easy to like and entertaining in his continuing inability to be any sort of a useful bodyguard/escort. The rest are fun too, a good mix in the mercs and one issue I had was simply that I wanted more of them! The book's called the Black Hawks but we don't quite see as much of them as I'd have liked, everything centres around Chel while I'd have enjoyed more of the banter and mayhem that comes with a band of mercs - I may be biased on this front however and I know some readers absolutely don't like that as much as me...

As for negatives, there are few and they're very minor. Chel spent a bit too much time at the start bewildered and self-absorbed to be an easy character to get to know/like straight away, the Hawks could have taken centre stage more, the Church/religion was a bit too template for me and the ending was... certainly not bad, but a bit abrupt and left unresolved for my tastes - I know it's a series, but if I'm waiting a year to find out what happens I don't quite want to be left with such a feeling of.......
Profile Image for Rob Hayes.
Author 34 books1,278 followers
June 10, 2020
I watched Attack on Titan a while back. The main character drove me up the wall, then down it just to climb back up a second time. I found a few of the secondary characters so much more interesting and couldn't help but wish the story had been about them. That's pretty much how I felt about the Black Hawks too.

Let's get this out of the way. I enjoyed the book. I had fun listening to it, and it served as a perfectly fine fantasy story. It just never popped for me. It did nothing to stand out from the crowd, nor keep me interested past reading to the end to find out what happened. I was not invested in it. That sounds pretty damning when I write it down, but I really did enjoy the book.

The Black Hawk company themselves were excellent. Lemon was a particular joy to listen to, but the whole company and their interactions were really what kept me coming back and wanting to listen on. Unfortunately it was all told from the viewpoint of our main character, Chel, who I found to be uninteresting and inconsistent.

I really find these sorts of books the hardest to review. It was fine. I enjoyed it. I just wish there had been more Black Hawks. 3 stars.
Profile Image for FanFiAddict.
548 reviews128 followers
October 23, 2019
Rating: ★★★★☆


Dark, thrilling, and hilarious, The Black Hawks is an epic adventure perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch.

Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory – he dreams of going home.

When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.

All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.

With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company – mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.

Prepare to join the Black Hawks.


Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Black Hawks (Articles of Faith #1) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this eARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

David Wragg’s debut was an enjoyable fantasy romp rife with morally ambiguous characters, sarcastic and witty banter, and enough swordplay to keep Inigo Montoya entertained. While I have seen it compared to Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames and Joe Abercrombies First Law Trilogy, The Black Hawks stands on its on merits and creates a new fantasy realm that will astound readers who dare to take the plunge.

The Black Hawks themselves remind me of a mix between the mercenaries found in Fletcher’s Manifest Delusions and Selby’s The Winter Road. A mix of hardened killers with zero filter, exceptional skills with blades/axes, and motivation that is only fed by stacked coinage. To say they are likeable is an overstatement, but to say they don’t grow on you as the story unfolds is a straight up lie.

Then you have Chel. Sort of a Aethelwold-ish character (not that he has nay claim to anything) but is sort of a down-on-his-luck drunkard who is thrust into the spotlight when he stumbles upon the prince and guides him to safety. From there, you have what feels like a coming-of-age story (it isn’t) where Chel is forced into facing a reality he would rather stray away from: protecting a prince at all costs across a country full of murderers, thieves, and wolves.

I feel that the comparisons under-deliver in ways that aren’t necessarily fair to the author and may leave *some* readers wanting more. The Black Hawks does not contain the over-the-top, consistent hilarity or battles that you get with Kings, nor does it plunge you into the minds of some of the best characters ever created in The First Law World. Having said that, it does have its fair share of humorous one-liners from the mercenaries, several intense, small-scale combat scenes, and Chel is a very likeable character that I would like to see more from. In summation, just don’t go into it thinking it is going to be exactly what you expect based on media marketing.

All in all, I highly suggest you give The Black Hawks a go. It is a little slow on takeoff but you’ll be hankerin’ for more once you cross the halfway point. The mercs themselves are plenty of reason to grab this book and give yourself plenty of belly laughs, and the ending will have you waiting on pins and needles for the sequel.
Profile Image for Hiu Gregg.
113 reviews152 followers
September 10, 2019
That was a lot of fun. Some great banter, some lovely characters, and I could have kept reading forever. A few quibbles, but we'll get to them in the dreaded "review to come".
Profile Image for David Firmage.
211 reviews40 followers
November 26, 2019
3.5. The banter felt a little bit forced between the group. Nice twist. Not a bad debut overall and I will read book 2.
Profile Image for Sade.
305 reviews205 followers
May 13, 2020

Grim dark has never been a genre that has particularly impressed me. Mainly because i firmly believe it lacks, for lack of a better word 'eloquence' and relies heavily on blood and gore and characters' saying fuck -this word comes up about 200 times in this book. - a gazzilion times (there's obviously a fuck word convention grim dark authors' participate in) to the detriment of developing anything else in the story.

To David Wragg's credit, while this book doesnt particularly have what i would call strong character development or world building, it's certainly very entertaining and funny.
There's also the important fact that Wragg doesn't depend a crazy much on the gore and relies strongly on entertaining dialogue (shoutout to Lemon👍👍)
religious nutcases (that's always a plus✔) and the crazy intrigue.
So yes, there's definitely a really good story in here.

I'm not convinced the title of the book should have been called The Black Hawks though, maybe it's a more catchy title but the core essense of the book really had nothing to do with The Black Hawks. Every event in this book could have happened with another set of characters dressed up as the The Black Hawks. Which is why it's weird that the title is centerd on them. Maybe they play more pivotal roles in the upcoming books but i honestly couldn't see it from this book.


All in all, a pretty good book. I was expecting a straight up disaster but can't lie, i enjoyed this book.


Profile Image for Karen  ⚜Mess⚜.
700 reviews42 followers
September 3, 2020
My favorite book read in 2020!!!!
THIS is the kind of book I love to read. David Wragg writes in the tone and style that I search for in a book. My review cannot begin to express my joy in finding this book.

Let's start with the characters. EXCEPTIONAL character building. This is what screamed a joyous roar at me. Each character had their own personality. I run into so many books where personalities are so alike and generic. Oh! What a scrumptious joy to journey with the gang The Black Hawks. And my favorite by far is Lemon! I think she was the best character ever created. She was absolutely hilarious!

Fantastic adventure. The Black Hawks was always on the go. The action was crazy good. I was virtually doing BAMS! and POWS! along with the story. But the BEST part was the cussing/cursing and humor. And Lemon was the full fledged star of this.

I know my reviews are kind of weak. But from my heart I cannot tell how much I loved this book. You bet your booty I'm getting the second book....when it comes out. Goodreads says it should have came out last month. Amazon has the pre-order date set for October 15, 2020. Still, no title. So we'll see.

Profile Image for Leo.
4,176 reviews366 followers
October 20, 2021
It had it's moments where I liked it more then the rest but for the most part it was just an decent fantasy. Entertaining enough of a plot and not bad written but I'm not interested in continue on with the series
Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,530 reviews190 followers
September 20, 2019
I keep seeing the term grimdark meaning a fantasy that is violent and doesn't necessarily have an heroic lead and from this truly striking cover I thought this might just fit into that category . Now having finished this I'd say yes it's violent and bloody but perhaps not really grim.
Our young hero Chel might lack experience but he definitely has heart, morals and knows the value of loyalty. Stuck in a position beyond his control he really just keeps on doggedly plodding along until one day everything goes to pot around him and he finds himself agreeing to be the bodyguard of Prince Tarfel. You would think the Prince would be perhaps more worldly than he is but he is extremely naive almost to the point of stupidity and the pair just blunder along but with a price on Tarfels head it's not long until they are captured by mercenaries and that's when this story truly takes off !
Yes Chel is a hapless hero but make no mistake he is a hero. I struggled to connect in the beginning but about two thirds in there's a revelation that was both eye opening and also very intriguing and I've a feeling the author has another surprise up his sleeve.
The Black Hawks are a truly entertaining bunch and there's always something new to discover about the various members along the way . Yes I know you would expect mercenaries to be morally reprehensible but there's a strong bond that at times meant the author could inject humour into the proceedings. Trust me the black humour was necessary because the action scenes are in no way fade to black and are pretty brutal. I was absolutely gripped as this stormed towards the end and left devastated when I turned the page only to find no more ! I recommend this debut if you want action, strong characters, banter and surprises although for this reader the next book cannot come soon enough !
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
Profile Image for the_frat_nanny_reads.
432 reviews5 followers
November 4, 2021
Never have I ever read a book and wanted to instantly re-read it. I do re-read books, but I've never felt like I had to do it right away. My copy is from the library and I have not only ordered my own but also pre-ordered the sequel.
Having read other reviews I can see why some people feel the way they feel about Chel, our protagonist. He is not a hero, neither is he an antihero. He is a human being and throughout the book, he grows. I truly enjoyed having a protagonist that isn't instantly great at every and neither is he a complete twit. Other reviewers say he is not standing out enough as the main character, but I also enjoyed that aspect, because this allowed me to get to know all of the characters involved.
The Black Hawks have drawn me in from page four and I couldn't put the book down, but I also didn't want it to end.

There were some situations I might have guessed, but it didn't take away from the story at all. If you like Joe Abercrombie, this is the book for you. Although, I had an issue reading a physical Abercrombie book, but loved the audiobooks. Stephen Pacey is a master storyteller.
I am not sure anyone will read this, but if I only reach one person and they enjoy this book as much as I did, that would make me happy.

Profile Image for Izzie.
237 reviews106 followers
July 29, 2020
This book sounded exactly like something I would love, with a rag-tag group of mercenaries and a protagonist thrown into it against his will. While I enjoyed the humour, and the characters of the other mercenaries, I wasn't a huge fan of the main character, Chel, and the pacing felt off for me. However it did show a lot of promise, so I gave it 3 stars.

Thanks to Netgalley and HarperVoyager for a free eARC.
Profile Image for Julia Sarene.
1,204 reviews127 followers
May 22, 2020
I liked this one, but didn't love it.
While I quite enjoyed most characters, it somehow lacked a little bit of depth to make it a personal favourite for me.
The easy prose, well done humour, action and interesting characters still made it a good read, and I don't regret investing the time, it just isn't one that will stick with me overly long.
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