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Shadow of a Dead God

(Mennik Thorn #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  302 ratings  ·  97 reviews
A dead god. A brutal murder. A second-rate mage.

It was only supposed to be one little job – a simple curse-breaking for Mennik Thorn to pay back a favor to his oldest friend. But then it all blew up in his face. Now he's been framed for a murder he didn't commit.

So how is a second-rate mage, broke, traumatized, and with a habit of annoying the wrong people supposed to prov
Kindle Edition, 462 pages
Published May 27th 2020 by Five Fathoms Press
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Shadow of the Lantern Bearer by Chris R. UnderwoodSpit and Song by Travis M. RiddleShadow of a Dead God by Patrick SamphireA Testament of Steel by Davis AshuraThe Woeful Wager by Douglas Bain
105 books — 17 voters
The Combat Codes by Alexander DarwinBlack Stone Heart by Michael R. FletcherShadow of a Dead God by Patrick SamphireLast Memoria by Rachel Emma ShawThe Lost War by Justin Lee Anderson
SPFBO 2020 Finalists
10 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  302 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mennik Thorn just wanted to help out a friend, pay back a favour owed. Well, he didn’t want to as such, but Benny won’t take no for an answer. And Nik doesn’t have enough friends to lose even one. Unfortunately, one person’s ‘just give me a hand with this, would ya’ is another person’s nightmare. So when an apparently simple bit of curse breaking turns out to include sneaking into the home of magical royalty…. and then escalates in death and destruction… you might expect the favour to be well an ...more
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A real page-turner; Patrick Samphire has crafted an excellent, mage-ical adult fantasy debut.

I am for the most part very wary regarding what I choose to read, and as such, I rarely read books that I have not heard a lot of good things about, with the exception of authors whose previous work I loved. Shadow of a Dead God by Patrick Samphire fell smack-bang in the middle of this category, with neither the author nor the book being known to me, but I was seriously tempted from the first time I read
Nick Borrelli
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
SHADOW OF A DEAD GOD is one of those unique fantasy reads that blends epic fantasy and a touch of detective noir, with excellent results. We open the story with the imperfect mage Mennik Thorn and his oldest friend Benny attempting to pull off a seemingly easy job. Mennik thinks nothing of it since he owes his buddy a favor and how hard could a simple snatch and grab job be, right? What they don't know at the time but will soon find out is they are trying to steal from one of the most powerful h ...more
Maja Ingrid
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a book I knew from the first page I would like, simply because the main character, Mennik Thorn, showed that his humour was just the humour that speaks to me on several levels. It’s witty, snarky and sarcastic. I thought this was going to be more detective-y and was therefore a bit wary of the book. But I was pleasantly surprised to see it had just the right amount of “detective” for my very “undetective” taste but kept a good, fast pacing and worldbuilding/info was nicely spaced out th ...more
Mark Lawrence
I haven't read this book, yet, but it's a finalist in this year's Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, so it must be good!

See the finalist board here:
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mennick Thorn, a freelance magician, lives a miserable life and barely makes the ends meet. He knows magic, but he lacks the skills and charisma to make it big. Most people hate him. Actually, he sometimes hates himself, too. 

The story opens with a failed job and turns into a murder mystery with high personal, stakes. I like personal stakes in fiction. Much more than epic ones. Nik works under time pressure to solve the mystery, save his only friend, and survive murder-ghosts. 

I liked Nik and hi
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: f-sf-for-adults
This book is just ridiculously fun - a high fantasy setting with an urban fantasy feel and a narrator whose voice I absolutely love. I love Nik's snark and not-so-secret vulnerability, I love his ragtag found family, and - when he's forced back into the world of his powerful first family - the complicated dynamics waiting there for him. The magic is vivid and cool, the adventure is thrilling, the humor is just great throughout, and I love how very real the whole city of Agatos feels. I want LOTS ...more
Patrick Samphire
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I have read this. Many times. It is awesome. I am totally unbiased on this.
Jan 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: spfbo-2020
*I read this as a judge for the #SPFBO as this is one of the finalists for this year*

This book is definitely a fast mystery-based fantasy read. There's magic and chaos right from the start and a sarcastic main character whos very down on his luck and mixed up in some pretty terrifying circumstances. With ghosts to the left and demons to the right there is murder and magic front and center. Quite chaotically crazy for an adventure, but one that will draw you in as a reader for sure.

We follow Nik
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really loved the opening of this, I have a thing for down-on-their-luck characters and this opener had a mage stuck in a cupboard trying to find ghosts he didn't think existed for a shitty client who looks down her nose at him. Mages typically do well for themselves in this world, but for reasons that aren't explained at the beginning, Nik is stuck doing odds jobs that barely making ends meet.

Nik has a friend named Benny... this friend is a low-level thief and conman living his life on barter
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Do you like a mystery intertwined with your fantasy???

Then step right up, Shadow of Dead God might just be for you!!!!

Mennik Thorn, or Nik for short,is a mage. A mage for hire, freelancer. He is not the best of mages and he himself knows this. He's the mage that the other mages tend to look their noses down at. He's just been fired without payment, he's behind on rent. His luck seems to always be down. But he is a loyal friend, and well things can't get any worse??

Enter Benny, Nik's longest and
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Decided to try to read the 2020 finalists for SPFBO contest. This story deserves its place as a finalist and possibly a winner.
Mennik Thorn is a fun character, mainly because he’s such a flawed character. No super hero here, just a mage with limited talent, but containing an admirable loyalty to those he cares for. He and his friend Benny find themselves framed for a horrific murder, so he must find the real culprit or die trying. Every lead unravels a bigger mystery and puts their lives in grea
Martin Owton
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really nicely done fantasy/noir detective crossover with taut pacing and an ultra twisty plot. The main characters are well-drawn, the society is well-realised and believable, and the system of magic is neat with a couple of unique features. I would make comparisons to "The Lies of Locke Lamora" and "The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids". Those are both very good books, and I think this stands up there with them. Wish I'd written it. ...more
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I had such fun reading this - I devoured it in one day! I completely agree with other readers who have favorably compared this to both the Amra Thetys series and the Dresden Files, yet hasten to add that Mennik Thorn is definitely a fresh voice and has his own entertaining mishaps and adventures to share - 4.5/5 stars. I'm really looking forward to the next book :-) ...more
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing

You did it, Nik. You actually did it. No one was more surprised than me.

Shadow of a Dead God is a highly entertaining and original tale of unconditional loyalty and the dangers of greed. Author Patrick Samphire presents readers with his first foray into adult fantasy with this High Fantasy mystery laced with Noir flavors and just enough humor to keep it from teetering into the realm of the dark and gritty. What begins with a second-rate, freelance mage cramped in a pantry hunting for paltry gho
Nov 17, 2020 added it
Score withheld for SPFBO6 finals, revealed on in December.
Lynn Williams
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it

Today I’m posting my review for the first SPFBO finalist that I’ve read and what a great start this turned out to be. If this book sets the standard for the rest of the final then colour me happy.

On the face of it, and my early impressions, were that this didn’t bring much new to the table. And, even upon completion, this feels familiar. But, part of that ‘familiarity’ is what works so well here. This is an easy book to read, it’s comfortable, like an old
Jonathan Pembroke
Dec 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indie, spfbo-finals
Shadow concerns the trials and tribulations of mage-for-hire Mennik (Nik) Thorn. He's a bad mage and knows it. He's dragooned into aiding an old friend complete a dangerous theft. It's never that simple and a cascade of misfortunes sends Nik scurrying for answers.

The book was not without some stumbling blocks. While I appreciate good world-building, it felt throughout the first half of the book, a pattern emerged where there would be some action, a few paragraphs/pages of world description, repe
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just an excellent unfolding mystery where Mennik is framed for a murder he didn’t commit and must run all over town (on far too little sleep), make friends and influence people (I cannot overstate how mixed the results are here), fail to avoid flirting with the guard who arrests him (what, she’s terrifying), try to bail out friends (he is hapless but he also utterly ride or die), and frantically outrun (or out-fall) the growing list of people trying to kill him.

I really like the trope of the un
Jaime Moyer
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I finished this a couple of days ago, but life happened and I couldn't get to the review.

Nik Thorn is the only mage for hire in the great city of Agatos, an independent life he clings to fiercely . You'd think a freelance mage in a bustling city would have his pick of clients and be paid well, right?

Not Nik Thorn. He gets fired and stiffed by clients more often than he gets paid, other mages delight in mocking his lack of magical power, and his best--and only--friend is a thief.

His friend Benn
"Highh Fantasy" Sean
“I was a grown man, damn it, and a mage of Agatos. Armies fled before me. Demons quaked in fear. Small animals gave me a wide berth. Babies cried when I smiled at them.”

Mennick Thorn is a broke mage for hire with an attitude problem and a tendency to make all the wrong enemies. So when one of his few friends comes to him for a favor, of course he’ll help out. But when a simple heist escalates to him being framed for magical murder, Mennick is going to have to get serious…or die trying.

Shadow of
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shadow of a Dead God follows Mennik Thorn, a mage in the city of Agatos. He's not a very good mage comparatively to others in the city, and sells his services doing things like curse breaking and ghost removal.

When Nik's best friend Benny is hired to steal a ledger from a high mage and their heist goes absolutely wrong, Nik and Benny find themselves accused of murder. With Benny's life on the line, it's up to Nik to find out what really happened.

I really enjoyed this one. Nik is the type of ch
Ian Hall
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was gritty, funny at times an interesting main character with a flawed personality and lots of magic which is awesome. I will definitely be reading the next book.
Nils | nilsreviewsit
Review to come with the Fantasy Hive for SPFBO. But eek I loved this!
Juliet McKenna
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is immersive, character led, well realised secondary world fantasy where the stakes are high on a personal level, but the story's not weighed down with the fates of wizards, princes and kingdoms. Fast-paced, quick-witted, deftly plotted and as well-thought-out as it is well-written. Highly recommended, and I'm already looking forward to the next one. ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
A good solid 4 star read, well built characters with a chance to grown as the series continues. A worthy finalist in the spfbo 6. Really enjoyed reading this one, great touch of humour throughout the book which adds to the main characters depth and likability.

Highly recommended to all my good read friends.
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: readtoreview
I knew that I would have liked it as soon as I read the first page. The story is told in first-person POV and we get to meet our MC, Thorn Mennik, mage for hire, for who he is right here and there.

Ah, the glamorous life of a mage for hire.

And the best thing about this book is, you may have guessed, him. It is not really him as a character, and this is not to say that he is a bad MC, not at all, but his strongest feature is his storytelling ability. I loved him as a narrator. He is self-deprecati
Rowena Andrews
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved every moment of this book. In terms of sheer entertainment value, its certainly one of the best I’ve read this year and it’s been a while since I’ve had such fun with a book. I actually ended up forgetting to go to bed at a decent hour when reading this one because the pages just kept turning, and not just because it was fast-paced, relentless and exciting with it, but because I fell in love with the setting and the main character.

The world-building was one of my favourite parts of the
Phil Parker
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Patrick hooked me into his novel with the tagline, ‘Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series transplanted to an epic fantasy world.’ I’m a huge fan of the police procedural stories of magic in London’s Metropolitan police so it made me curious how that would work in epic fantasy.
The answer is; it works very well. Very well indeed.
Nik Thorn is a worthy co-worker of Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant. They’d probably get on well together. Neither possess powerful magic but confront enemies who do. They
Arundeepak Jayaseelan

Shadow of a Dead God was a well writen novel with steady phasing and intriguing characters, witty dialogues and inner monologues and with a mystery air to it throughout.

But why didn't I like this book as much as I thought I would ?!

It was because of the main character Mennick Thorn. He was just... Completely useless ??!!! Every character we met, literally every character from a 11 year old child to the High Mages they just humiliates him, kick him to the corner or just throw him around lik
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Patrick Samphire is the author of the adult fantasy novel SHADOW OF A DEAD GOD, as well as the middle grade novels SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB and THE EMPEROR OF MARS. He has also published around twenty short stories and novellas.

Patrick has been writing stories since he was fourteen years old and thought it would be a good way of avoiding having to sit through English lessons at school. He was ab

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