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A Ritual of Bone

(The Dead Sagas #1)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  109 ratings  ·  77 reviews
"Only valour and steel can stand against the rising dead"

Arnar is a land of warriors, its people as stalwart as the stones themselves. In a land of dark forests and ancient hill forts, a forgotten evil is awoken by curious minds.

The Great Histories and the Sagas say nothing of this evil, long passed from the memory of even the studious scholars of the College. For centuri
Paperback, 2nd Edition, 384 pages
Published June 17th 2019 by Wolves of Valour Publications (first published April 14th 2018)
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Ivana - Diary of Difference
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The Dead Sagas: Volume I, Part I by Lee Conley is a dark fantasy novel, a horror saga unlike any other. This is not a book for the weak. This is the book for the bravest, the ones who dare to read it, and the ones who can handle to continue living with what they now know.

Book description:

In a land called Arnar, where brave warriors fight for glory, a great evil comes alive.
The secrets of which the scholars were writing about in the
Sean Barrs
First things first, if you don’t like violence and gore stop reading. This book won’t be for you. Don’t waste your time with it or my review. I will never try to convince you to read it because you won’t like it.

However, if you do like violence this book might appeal to you. It’s basically about zombies in a fantasy setting. And it’s cool. It’s a simple idea done well. As expected, it’s dark and brutal, layered with graphic descriptions of mutilations and death. There’s cannibalism and there’s
Nick Borrelli
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of zombie fiction in my day and I've also read a ton of medieval fantasy, but never before have I read a book that melds the two into a singular story before. A RITUAL OF BONE is the first volume in British author Lee Conley's The Dead Sagas series, and to say it is one of the more original works of horror fantasy that I have read in quite some time would be an understatement. For one thing, the book is actually divided up into a number of separate smaller storylines that all con ...more
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: october-tbr
Now this is one of the most original books I have ever read.

A seamless blend in between first class horror and great medieval fantasy, achieved with an incredible balance.

A Ritual of Bone is not a book for everyone, especially not the faint of heart, due to it's gory content and high level of violence. But if you're not squeamish, you'll find it to be a treat!

It's got a solid plot with separate threads expertly woven together and fairly easy to follow. And we also get those tiny little clues tha
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Entertaining, quality fantasy-horror tale with serious Elder Scrolls Nord vibes. Looking forward. to the next one.
J.P. Ashman
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this dark, thrilling, necromantic fantasy set in its subtle-Viking style world. Plenty of mystery and intrigue, tense moments and sudden action; fear and adrenaline unbound. I'm looking forward to the next one and now I know the first is on Audible, I'll likely continue with the series down that route, because I rarely get time to read anything but textbooks these days, hence why I took so long on this, despite desperately wanting to know what would happen next.

If you enjoy
Jennifer (bunnyreads)
Zombie stories are pretty much a dime a dozen and not something that always works well for me. So, be very surprised that I was quite excited to read this one.

What this one does right- is atmosphere. The author laid the groundwork, he gave us a creepy location, he gave us some people to care about, and then he set loose the horde, a little at a time. It’s the perfect horror formula.

Setting the stage – Fantastic atmosphere right from the beginning, this is the where a lot of these book fail for m
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-request
Her love, replaced with a terrible rage as her spiralling descent into madness consumed all that she was. Perhaps it was easier to forget, to fall deeper into the darkness, to leave guilt and grief behind.

A Ritual of Bone is volume one in Conley’s debut fantasy series The Dead Sagas, and is a seamless blend of dark fantasy and unrestrained horror, filled with obscure mysteries and harrowing adventures. The pages are littered with resolute warriors, arcane necromancy, frenzied zombies, savage can
Paul English-Wolfe
Blood-plague to the left of me, Zombies to the right, here I am stuck in Arnar with you.

A Ritual of Bone is book one of The Dead Sagas series by Lee C. Conley and it is an impressive read straddling the border between horror and fantasy.

The premise itself is unusual in that it marries an Anglo-Saxon/Viking style low fantasy world with the ever-popular Zombie Apocalypse theme alongside a serving of cannibalistic blood-plague.

Now I’ve read many low-fantasy stories, and I’ve watched even more zomb
kartik narayanan
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read the full review at my blog Digital Amrit.


A Ritual of Bones is the first book in The Dead Sagas series.

I found this book (or rather this book found me) through serendipity. I saw a retweet of the author’s post about a debut fantasy novel starring zombies. and I was immediately hooked by the premise.

So yeah! Zombies + Necromancers + Medieval times. Army of Darkness? Not really since the book takes a more sober and dark approach with multiple main characters as opposed to the cam
Jan 15, 2021 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: fans of grimdark fantasy and horror. also zombies, of course
Recommended to Alan by: Sean Barrs
Thank you, dear author, for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Stay tuned, folks! (expect a review in two or three months)


*This is one of the #SPFBO books I had in my batch - I DNF-ed this at 16%*

This is a book I hoped to enjoy, even though I knew from the cover it may not be to my tastes because I usually try to avoid horror and books that have a lot of gore. When I started reading this, I did find it pretty intriguing, we follow a young Apprentice as he and his Master have been working on uncovering ancient rituals. The Apprentice is a young boy who wants to please his master and learn as much as he can, but one
Nils | nilsreviewsit
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

‘Ghostly whispers filled the air around them, the voices of many. The skeleton held there a few moments. Then it collapsed with a crunch, bones clattering to the ground. Some shattered to dust on impact. Everyone stood silent eyes on the bones. An eerie silence descended upon the scene and the air once again became still.’
Ritual of Bone by Lee Conley is the first instalment of The Dead Sagas series, which encompasses the themes of a classic zombie story but also incorporates a fresh
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is just everything my Spooktober reading list needed to be complete, and so much more.  The country of Arnar is finally at a tentative peace with it’s neighbor, while all hell breaks loose within the kingdom itself.  

     A master scholar from the College brought back and modified a long forgotten ritual that seems to have awoken some old and ancient evil, unleashing plague and sickness and zombies.  YES, picture Skyrim-esque warriors with great axes, swords and shields and bows, disco
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was epic! I am always up for some dark fantasy zombie books! I was hooked after a few chapters!
Catrin Russell
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
With an unconventional and unique blend of medieval and zombies, Conley presents here a dark and grim world full of dangers and death.

As a reader, you get to follow several different POV, shifting between the chapters as their individual plots move the story forward. It features some really gory and bloody scenes, and it has an excellent touch of horror. I liked the fact that the different POVs featured its own setting, so it felt fresh with the switch whenever it came.

My only complaints are t
Nancy Foster
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spfbo
This book is fun, fun, fun, fun and more fun!

I feel really sad the book has gotten a lot of 2 stars and mostly there is one common denominator: too much gore, not enough grimdark. Quite frankly, either it's the sheer fact I knew from the start this was going to be a zombie in a medieval fantasy setting story, I actually found it to be really tame, maybe even in its own bizarre way to be noblebright where mostly good willed people are facing the first flood of undead ever witnessed in thousands o
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Ritual of Bone is zombie/ fantasy mashup that really adds to both genres. Two things that can shape a good zombie book is the setup and the sensory details that add to the atmosphere. An attack on page 1 won’t get you far… and Conley definitely doesn’t fall into that trap. He works the tension well and the threads begin to find each other about halfway through. The suspense is drawn to its height and then it’s look out!

The fantasy elements are drawn well also. A pair of Masters from a local co
"Highh Fantasy" Sean
My first book tour! Thank you Lee Conley and Storytellers on Tour for this amazing opportunity!

Zombies and fantasy aren’t strangers to each other, but the way Lee C. Conley handles is wholly original to the genre.

A Ritual of Bone is a classic zombie tale set in a medieval world with a fresh magical twist. Conley bounces us around all over this world as we watch this evil slowly reveal itself.

The first fourth of the book is a wonderful slow build of tension and creep until all Hell literally br
Daniel Kelly
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Viking zombies

A zombie apocalypse in a Viking setting. Brilliant imagination and vision create a really engaging read. A few sentences were repeated unnecessarily but the world and relationships are well built and dialogue is good. Looking forward to more of this world
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it

Lee C. Conley is a new author to me. However, I was in the mood for something a bit darker, a bit horror, with an atmosphere to give me the creeps but not make me feel like I was reading Stephen King or something, and here we are.

A Ritual of Bone is an interesting story that follows a few different characters. It doesn’t become clear how they all intersect until near the end, which I really enjoyed. While this book does follow distinct storylines, there’s
John Pepe
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a nice amalgamation of horror and fantasy. Conley does a good job of building the tension needed for horror, yet had enough viking action that it still felt fantasy. Conley does a really good job of describing the environment. He goes into enough detail that you feel like you are in the story, but doesn't belabor the point. If you like zombies, a plague, and vikings rolled up into a suspenseful, grimdark story you will love A Ritual of Bone. ...more
Allan Batchelder
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This novel promises undead action in a fantasy milieu and man-oh-man, does it deliver. I recommend wearing a wetsuit when reading it, because you'll be covered in gore before you reach the 25% mark. The primary question in this story is whether humanity can unite and react quickly enough to stem the overwhelming tide of undead that have been sweeping down out of the mountains, and so we have several small tribes and/or villages attempting to get the word out as fast as possible whilst simultaneo ...more
Tiger Hebert
A menacing evil propels undead across the land and NO ONE is safe!

If you like your fantasy with a heaping helping of dark/horror, then this tale is right up your alley. Lee Conley has woven a dark and unforgiving tale in A Ritual of Bones that will leave wanting more.

The writing is well done. It flows well and the pacing is just right, while still leaving the reading with enough dark imagery to really set the mood/tone.

My only critique is that we are left waiting for the next book in The Dead
Phil Parker
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the moment an apprentice looks up at the moon amidst a dark and eerie night, convinced he’s being watched, there is an all-pervading sense of menace in the The Dead Sagas. As the story progresses that menace builds and consumes every character in the novel, and I use the word consume deliberately here.

Some might call this novel another zombie nightmare but that would miss the point Lee Conley is making. This is about the extent to which education, for all its benefits, can go too far. The s
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spfbo2018
Now a this is a treat for all zombie fans, it’s nice to read a none gun zombie novel. It’s based in a fantasy world who are hand weapon wielding warriors of various of all types.

Nicely written by someone who knows his weapons of old, very grimdark in its style and content.

Highly recommended to all my friends on goodread.
Joanne R
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was bought this book as a gift and it was described to me as the walking dead meets game of thrones. I have to say I do agree. Horrors of dead people walking, a college who think they can play with magic and warriors doing there thing to protect their people. It’s a great read and I can’t wait till the second book is released.
Jamie Edmundson
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, horror
A fantasy-horror mash-up that was an entertaining read.

First things first: I'm primarily a fantasy reader. That said I watched The Walking Dead with my children while they were at an eye-wateringly young age, so I also enjoy some horror style stories, including zombies. Nothing in this book felt too horrific for an average reader to me, though I admit to being slightly inured to violence.

I felt the horror parts of this were done well. There was a creeping sense of dread, with a real sense of mys
Maxine Robinson
A Ritual of bone is told from multiple pov, each in a different part of Arnar, each experiencing a different sort of horror and as the story progresses you can see how the characters are going to intertwine. I think Lee has done an awesome job of building the world through these characters. He is able to build the atmosphere and the lay of the land, all the while giving you an in depth look into who these people are as a society. He builds the story and world up, layer upon layer until you feel ...more
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Rating: 7.5/10

Thanks to the author for a listening copy of A Ritual of Bone (The Dead Sagas #1) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

A Ritual of Bone is very much a fantasy/horror mishmash that sends The Elder Scrolls and The Walking Dead on a date, and brings Vikings on as a third-wheel. It is an enjoyable romp that has several flashes of brilliance, boasts an enjoyable cast of characters, and is perfect for those looking for more necromancy on their fantasy
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Lee is a musician and writer in Lincolnshire, UK. He lives with his wife Laura and daughters Luna and Anya in the historic cathedral city of Lincoln. Alongside a lifetime of playing guitar and immersing himself in the study of music and history, Lee is also a practitioner and instructor of historic martial arts and swordsmanship. After writing his advanced guitar theory textbook The Guitar Teacher ...more

Other books in the series

The Dead Sagas (2 books)
  • A Ritual of Flesh (The Dead Sagas, #2)

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