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A Pilgrimage of Swords

( The Seven Swords #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,236 ratings  ·  137 reviews

It is two hundred years since the deity known as the Absolved went mad and destroyed the Kingdom of Alnachim, transforming it into the Execration, a blasted wasteland filled with nameless terrors. For decades, desperate souls have made pilgrimage to the centre of this cursed land to seek t
Kindle Edition, 109 pages
Published September 30th 2019
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 ·  1,236 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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ARC provided by the publisher—Subterranean Press—in exchange for an honest review.

3.5/5 stars

Anthony Ryan is back with a brand new novella in a completely new world.

It’s been two hundred years since the Kingdom of Alnachim was destroyed by The Mad God. Alnachim, now called the Execration, has become a wasteland full of monsters and terrors. For decades, pilgrimages to reach the center of the Execration were made by desperate people so they can meet the Mad God and have their wish granted; none e
Amazing novella. Full review to come.
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, fantasy
3.5 stars. This is my first experience with Anthony Ryan. I don’t expect it to be the last. This novella isn’t bad, but it’s one of those times where honestly, I just wanted more. I wanted to know more about the world, more about Pilgrim and his intrepid band of… Pilgrims..

In A Pilgrimage of Swords, we follow a man called Pilgrim and his cursed sword on a trip across the wastelands to make a prayer to the Mad God. It’s a very difficult and dangerous journey, and few are ever known to have come b
Oct 25, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This hardcover is numbered 496 of 1000 produced and is signed by Anthony Ryan
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short stories are always tough because there is a limited time to establish characters, build a world and make the reader care.

Anthony Ryan does a fabulous job of this in the fast-paced novella "A Pilgrimage of Swords" which introduces a dark and gritty fantasy world that instantly captured my attention, and characters that I can't help but want more of.

Ryan is at the top of his game with this one and I can't help but be impressed.
David S Meanderings)
Thank you to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A mysterious warrior carrying a sword imbued with a demon, a beast charmer, a priest, a scholar, an actor, a wife, and a husband go on a journey across a place called “The Execration” to make their petitions to a Mad God. What could go wrong?

Anthony Ryan’s first in a series of novellas was a fast paced, edgy journey that by the end I didnt want to stop reading. Getting to know the world through the eyes and discussi
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: ★★★★☆


It is two hundred years since the deity known as the Absolved went mad and destroyed the Kingdom of Alnachim, transforming it into the Execration, a blasted wasteland filled with nameless terrors. For decades, desperate souls have made pilgrimage to the centre of this cursed land to seek the Mad God’s favour, their fate always unknown.

Now a veteran warrior known only as Pilgrim, armed with a fabled blade inhabited by the soul of a taunting demon, must join with six others t
Micah Hall
Jun 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

I haven't read much more Anthony Ryan since Blood Song, of which I got a kick out of. After being in a bit of a fantasy rut, I wanted to try something short to get me out of my fix and decided on The Seven Sword series (2 published so far with book 3 later this year). This quick review will encompass my thoughts on both parts 1 and 2.

This series is seemingly inspired by the Sword and Sorcery sub genre: a travelling band questing towards a common goal with the main lead being a demon-sword wie
Shreyas Deshpande
A very engrossing novella. I hope to read more from Ryan about this world, full of demons, decaying religions, and impossible landscapes.

Ratings:- ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Jun 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Review for A Pilgrimage of Swords by Anthony Ryan.

My Book Review Blog

“The human consort of the Absolved, ” Book explained. “Said to be the most perfect man ever to grace the earth. The Absolved was smitten at the first glance they shared, as too was Thandril. It’s said their love endured for more than a century, the youth kept youthful by the Absolved’s devotion. But all love fades, as does all beauty.”

So what’s the book about?
A god gone mad destroyed the kingdom of Alnachim, originally ful
Apr 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a Ryan book this is very short but its obviously a novella. Quite simple in comparison but its definitely fun. Would uave loved a more fleshed out version of this. Having only 100 or so pages doesnt allow for much extensive world buidling however I think its more so the characters that dont get a great background. Other than Pilgrim that was it. Would recommend his other work over this but if you want some quick fantasy fun then give it a go
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I have a few of Anthony Ryan's books in my TBR pile for a while now but I've never picked them up. Too many books, too little time... you know? But when I saw his new novella (set up in a new world), I immediately requested an ARC. I was lucky enough to be accepted and now here I am, reviewing it.

A pilgrimage of swords follow Pilgrim, a man with a sword and a voice that talks to him and is asking for blood. We don't know his past or his story but we know he's going to go on a journe
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
1st reading: July 28th 2020 -> 4 stars
2nd reading: October 10th 2021 -> 5 stars

by David Metzger

↠ All I can still say is that this book surprised me that I would love it so much.
↠ It has everything I love in a good high fantasy book. I love the thrills, the adventures, the brave and strong characters.
↠ Everyone has a secret that will be revealed by the end of the story. Many hope for salvation, but of them Pilgrim is the most mysterious character. I still love in him the fact that he puts the int
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This will be released on September 30th.

Wow! Reminiscent of Tad Williams or Sean Russell, this book has everything I look for in an epic fantasy. The world building- especially the religious beliefs and how they’ve affected everything over the years- was masterful. It was well-thought out and delivered, without turning into the dreaded information dump. I loved the idea of the Mad God granting one prayer if
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find it hard to truly rate and review novellas, especially ones that are a series because there is so little time spent in the world and with the characters. Now with a Pilgrimage of Swords I see so much potential and promise within this world, but I think this would have benefited from being just a tad bit longer so that the characters and the world could have been fleshed out more. I could have seen this being a novel, maybe not a full scale epic but you know what I mean. I was really engage ...more
Flying Monkey
Jun 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, audible
3 Stars!

I enjoyed this short novella. I wish it would have been a full novel as I really wanted to learn more about the characters.
Dezideriu Szabo
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars for Anthony Ryan's ability to manage an excellent world building and to develop strong characters in 128 pages. ...more
Jun 12, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, shorts
I had forgotten how much story is packed into these novellas! Anthony Ryan brings everything I want in fantasy with every book he writes. These short stories pack a serious punch and I am excited to be rereading them.
Ashley Williams
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
This was a really interesting novella that I hope is the beginning of a series. There's so much potential in Ryan's world of demons and corruption. Overall, I really liked this manuscript and can't wait to see what Ryan has next.

ARC provided by Subterranean Press in exchange for an honest review.
Traveling Cloak
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Pilgrimage of Swords is a novella and the first in the Seven Swords series. I find it very interesting the way author Anthony Ryan is taking on this series by releasing as a set of novellas instead of a set of full-scale books. It feels very episodic, which I enjoy. Pilgrimage is more or less an introduction to the series, which I categorize as adventure fantasy meets grimdark. The characters in this book are going on a quest, and it also contains elements of violence and dark elements. This w ...more
Elena Linville
You can find this review and more on my blog.

This was an okay novella. From what I understood, it serves as a prequel or introduction to a new series, and as such, it did a good job introducing the main character, Pilgrim, as well as giving us a tantalizing glimpse into the world he inhabits.

Unfortunately, the story fell rather short for me. We follow the journey of several characters who are thrown together because all of them chose to undertake a pilgrimage into the domain of a mad god, in th
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A wonderful novella from Ryan, who to his credit has released two solid trilogies to date.
This story is strictly a short quest novel, and Ryan stuffs a great deal into so few pages.
A brilliant novella, and one of the best things Ryan has ever written after Blood Song. A thrilling quest based story packed with action and mystery, excellent world-building, and interesting characters. The scope is epic, but it is condensed roughly into some 81 pages, and hence, the story left me wanting for more. The writing is simply elegant, and it maintains a grim tone to it balanced with a tragic current that underlies the story.

The short length of the novella was a setback in my opinion.
Hannah Langendoerfer
I was honored to be given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I am a big fan of Anthony Ryan, so it's no great surprise that I loved this novella. My only complaint is that it is too short. I wanted more, but what we are given in the short page count is something exciting, terrifying, and compelling.

You will not find a wasted word anywhere. Every piece of the novella either moves the story forward, teaches us some history or develops the characters. It moves at a breakneck pace and is hard
Christian Galano
I liked this book. It reminded me so much of a Final Fantasy game where you are thrown into this deadly quest, accompanied with diverse class of characters, each with their unique talents and stories of pain (I.e. archer, beast master, swordsman, acolyte, priest). The world is very dark and imaginative, and every chapter has its own obstacle.

Although the writing and plot were great, the story lacked characterization. I wished the story could have been longer so we could explore more about the li
Lael Walters
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
LOVE this cover. Not sure what exactly drew me in but ever since I first saw it I wanted to read it -- but since I'd never read anything by Anthony Ryan I was reluctant to shell out the money (Subterranean Press' books are beautiful and high quality but NOT cheap!). So I was very excited to see it on Netgalley and happy to get a chance to review it.

And this novella lived up to the cover. The story reminded me a lot of the feelings I got reading Andre Norton novels so long ago -- the people unde
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A group of people is travelling to the Mad God. It is said that he will grant one prayer while all others will suffer a cruel fate. The protagonist is simply called Pilgrim and he is in possession of a demon sword. During the course of events the reader will learn a lot more about him, his companions and the world they live in.

I very much enjoyed the flowery prose, the dark setting and the different characters. Each of them hides something and as only one prayer will be fulfilled, nothing is re
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have yet to read anything by Anthony Ryan that I haven't been quite taken with, this was no exception. My largest and only gripe is that a novela is far too short a medium for a story of this caliber.

The world, characters, and backstory that we get mere glances of would entice me to read a series of massive tomes expanding on all of it.

This is a very fine piece of work, and I would recommend it without reservation to anyone that can handle the heartbreak of it ending all too soon.
Riju Ganguly
Apr 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has been one of the finest short fantasies that I have read in recent times. Despite repeating many of the common tropes of the genre, the book was maddeningly gripping. The characters were awesome. And the pacing has been simply terrific.
Only grudge that one can bear against this is the brevity and its end, brimming with sequels.
Nevertheless, highly recommended.
Mar 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing
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Anthony Ryan was born in Scotland in 1970 but spent much of his adult life living and working in London. After a long career in the British Civil Service he took up writing full time after the success of his first novel Blood Song, Book One of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy. He has a degree in history, and his interests include art, science and the unending quest for the perfect pint of real ale.

For n

Other books in the series

The Seven Swords (3 books)
  • The Kraken's Tooth (The Seven Swords #2)
  • City of Songs (The Seven Swords #3)

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