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The Black Hawks

(Articles of Faith #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  453 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Prepare to join the Black Hawk Company.

An epic fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Scott Lynch and Nicholas Eames.

Vedren Chel holds every oath of service sacred — except his own.

His father’s sermons on the nobility of duty left him ill-prepared for the grind of service to his indolent step-uncle. Chel’s wretched oath has dragged him from home and family across a
Paperback, 425 pages
Published October 3rd 2019 by HarperVoyager
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Start your review of The Black Hawks (Articles of Faith, #1)
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
James Lafayette Tivendale
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
Robin Hobb
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
My thanks to Harper Collins/Voyager and Netgalley.
This year was going to be the one where I read more fantasy. As it turns out, I'm a bit particular about my stuff. I absolutely adore epic. Unfortunately my epics are few and far between. I love Robert Jordan. He's the one who introduced me to this mess. Sanderson? I only love one series of his, and the way it's going I'll be dead before he's finished. Luckily, I have Mark Lawrence! Grimdark? I love that shit. This? I should have known as soon as
Ed McDonald
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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,
Anna Stephens
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
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
Nils | nilsreviewsit
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
‘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
Peter McLean
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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.
David Firmage
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it
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.
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
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 ...more
Mike Everest Evans
Full review to come on The Fantasy Hive:


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
Tom Lloyd
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That ending was just the best!
Hiu Gregg
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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".
Marta Cox
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, my-reviews
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
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


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
Stephen Richter
It was the cover that brought this book to my attention. So a shout out to Richard Anderson who will get my Hugo nomination for this cover. But what about the book ? If I did not know better I would have thought Joe Abercrombie wrote this under a nom de plume. David Wragg has the same humor, character development and a snappy way of writing fight scenes . I actually had separation pains when I was too busy to read this book. By Fantasy standards, this is a short book, 425 pages or 12 hours as an ...more
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fantasy
I could hardly resist a new fantasy book marketed as "Perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch", and I'm glad this turned out to be spot-on! This is a very tightly-plotted, remarkably confident debut, and I can't wait to see where this all goes.

For once, you actually get exactly what the summary promises. There's not much else going on, and the action moves quickly to the very dramatic (and pretty evil) climax at the end. I think some readers might be disappointed by the lack of
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-need
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
K.S. Marsden
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Chel is sworn to serve his odious step-uncle, but a chance encounter with Prince Tarfel whisks him away on an unexpected adventure, in the company of mercenaries and killers.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Vedren Chel has to serve his step-uncle - a coward who avoids all conflict; so Chel's life is made up of running around with his clothes, and never having a chance to improve his station. Until the city his is in falls under attack, and Chel is suddenly honour-bound to
ijeoma Agbaje
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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

*I received a copy of both these books via the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

Bound to a dead-end job in the service of his uncle, life isn't all that for Vedren Chel. That is until the kingdom is thrown into chaos, and Vedren finds an out: escorting the stranded prince who promises his oath would be dissolved. But dragging a prince while being hunted by enemies on all sides isn't easy and when they find themselves in the
c, (½ of readsrainbow)
On my blog.

Galley provided by publisher

To be honest, the prevailing feeling I have about this book is a big old sense of “eeehhh”. Not in a bad way, I should add. I did like this book, to an extent. But it wasn’t to a huge extent.

The Black Hawks is your generic kind of fantasy. There’s a land, split into factions. There’s a King, there’s a Church, there are lords, and so on and so forth. In this world, we meet Chel, a boy who has reluctantly sworn an oath as a knight to his step-uncle. When
Michaela (Journey into Books)
*I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review*

I have very mixed feelings about this book. The blurb really draw me in but unfortunately I just feel pretty meh about it. The main character Chel has been forced in to making an oath to protect the youngest Prince and slightly clueless Prince of the realm which leads to both of them being captured by the Black Hawk Company, a group of mercenaries. I did really like the characters in
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid fun but I feel there's better at what it is. It didnt feel that fleshed out
Kathleen (QueenKatieMae)
I love a well-written book filled with memorable characters, boisterous adventure, political intrigue, hysterical dialogue and competing visceral reactions. You know, the kind of book that makes you snort out loud with laughter only to follow with a “eww, that was graphic” remark, all within the same page. A book where the pace is fast and steady; not bothering to take breaks for injury, death or hangovers, of which there are many. And I idolize a book with descriptive passages so real I can ...more
Chel is bored and miserable in a city where he was sent to be a sworn man to his step-uncle, up until he unintentionally becomes the protector of a young prince running from war. Up until the two of them get kidnapped by mercenaries, which only makes things much more complicated. Misfortunes start after that for real.

The title of the book really gives you a clue about what is the best about the story; it really shines when Chel, prince Tarfel and the Black Hawks mercenary group interact and go
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First off, thank you to Harper Fiction PR team for sending me this wonderful book.

Second of all, this is literally the English Adapation of the Wild West and Django Unchained, only its literally a Monthy Python sketch with a lot of swearing and blood and gore. This is like Django Unchained in so many aspects.

Third of all, finally a character with intelligence and doesn’t go, my Queen, all the time. He’s loyal to a default, good, but damn is he intelligent. Chel is one of the best characters I’ve
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It's dark with some humour that at times has you laughing out loud. I was gutted by the cliffhanger ending, as I now have a long wait to catch up with Chel and the gang again. The Black Hawks are a motley bunch of mercenaries on a mission, and Chel - a bored knight and his young charge Prince Tarfel - whom Chel has sworn to protect, are on the run from assassins. But who are friends and who are foe? I loved the characters, especially Lemon and her banter, and look ...more
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