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The Infernal City (The Elder Scrolls #1)

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  2,642 Ratings  ·  226 Reviews
Four decades after the Oblivion Crisis, Tamriel is threatened anew by an ancient and all-consuming evil. It is Umbriel, a floating city that casts a terrifying shadow–for wherever it falls, people die and rise again.

And it is in Umbriel’s shadow that a great adventure begins, and a group of unlikely heroes meet. A legendary prince with a secret. A spy on the trail of a vas
ebook, 272 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by Del Rey (first published November 1st 2009)
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Bookdragon Sean
I’m a massive Elder Scrolls fan. I still play Oblivion to this day. Despite completing the game, several times over, along with all the side quests, I never grow bored of it. I do a play through once a year. Occasionally, I even play Skyrim. I refuse to play The Elder Scrolls online though. This series for me was always about individual immersion, something an MMO could never achieve or want to achieve.

This year I thought I’d read this (or try to) whilst I did my play through. And, I must say,
Dirk Grobbelaar

Another wind was starting up, and on it something unbelievably foul.

I was introduced to Greg Keyes via his Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series (Book 1: The Briar King), which I thought was bloody magnificent. It looks like most of his other stuff is tie-in fiction, so I didn’t immediately get around to sampling any of it, because I wasn’t familiar with the source material, with one or two possible exceptions.

Enter The Infernal City: I was keen to read more Keyes, and frankly I was sold by the cov
Jan 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because I adore The Elder Scrolls, particularly Morrowind and Oblivion. It's a fantastic read, though even as a fan I found the prologue a little confusing. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys The Elder Scrolls games, and at least has some understanding of the plot, though it would be best to play III and IV through most of the way before reading. It is definitely not a book I would recommend to a generic fantasy fan, as there are many references to races and lore, story ...more
Catherine Ford
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book is a must read for any Elder Scrolls fans! Fair warning though, if you are not familiar with the games, you will find it hard to understand this book, as it assumes that you understand the world and its lore.

The book takes place some time after the Oblivion crisis, in a time when the Empire is trying to put itself back together and become a formidable force again.
The characters we meet are interesting and well rounded out. What I especially liked, was the character development that too
Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It took me a while to get into this book, mainly because most of my knowledge of the Elder Scrolls comes from playing Skyrim (and reading plot summaries for Morrowind and Oblivion). Still, it was nice to see an author making use of the rich setting which the Elder Scrolls provides. I'm surprised, and slightly disappointed, that only this author has written for the franchise.

Stylistically, the novel is a bit of a mess. The worst offense is how the author flips between point-of-view characters. T
Jan 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had such high hopes for this when I ordered it. A book about the world of Elder Scrolls! Lore! Adventure! A female hero! Everything I wanted and loved in one book!

But, unfortunately, what I found was... awful.

To put it simply, it was like a really badly written fanfiction about the Elder Scrolls games. A REALLY badly written one. The dialogue was very modern for being set in a more medieval world, the characters were pretty bland and it pained me to read a paragraph each time I tried to pick i
Apr 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Elder Scrolls fans; fantasy readers
I am an Elder Scrolls addict. I was introduced to the video game series with Daggerfall in my late teens, and own every game and expansion pack that has been released for DOS or Windows.
When I heard they were releasing a novel based on the world of Tamriel, I was both excited and terrified. Most of the books that are based on video game, movie, or other “popular” franchises aren’t very good. But I had to give it a shot.

Forty years after the events of Oblivion, a mysterious floating city a
Mack Moyer
I was excited about The Infernal City because the Elder Scrolls game series has been giving me nerd-love sexgasms since I was in high school. If you’ve never played the games, the world of the Elder Scrolls involve the following things (all of which are awesome):

--A nation of bigoted and angry Dark Elves who own slaves, live around a volcano that has a demon inside it, not to mention a large segment of their population are millennia-old wizard-fascists who reside in fortresses made of mushrooms.
Althea Ann
OK, I have to admit that I'm not a video game player, and I'm not at all familiar with the Elder Scrolls game, so I'm not the target audience for this book. It was actually better than I might have expected for a video game tie-in, however, I couldn't avoid having very high hopes due to the 4 Keyes books I previously read - the Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone epic - which are all fully 5-star novels!
I just couldn't really get into this, though. Although it had some good writing (nice turns of phrase
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars because I have had my head embedded in Elder Scrolls V for months, but three stars for anyone who has never played a TES game. I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting the story was, especially with the many references to the lore from the games. Also, this is the best molecular (alchemical?) gastronomy based fantasy I've ever read.
Aug 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
"Are you staying here, do you think?"
"I don't know much about being dead," she said, "but it doesn't feel that way. I feel something tugging at me, and it's stronger all the time." She smiled. "Maybe I only stayed to talk to you."

First, a quick, silly summary.

This book takes place on the vast continent of Tamriel, also known as the setting of the Elder Scrolls series, (Skyrim, Morrowind, Oblivion, etc.) 40 or so years after the events of Oblivion. In an event which a surprisingly few amount of
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: While some reviews on this book originally had me worried on how well I would understand the novel (I’ve personally only played Skyrim, not Oblivion), I actually was able to follow the plot and references fairly well (after a quick 2 minute search on the plot of Oblivion.) In addition, the cast of characters and somewhat complicated plot completely drew me in, and I love how well the author transferred over the video game universe to a novel.

The Goo
Paul Harrison
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came into this novel not necessarily knowing what to expect. I'm a huge Elder Scrolls fan, but the series left me wanting with Oblivion. In no small part, this is due to that game abandoning what I feel is the strength of the universe: The bizarre. Daggerfall and Morrowind were spectacularly weird, involving transhumanist demi-gods, giant robots powered by souls, and you get the idea. I've always been a sci-fi reader, and there aren't any other fantasy universes that have grabbed me as hard as ...more
Dimos Kifokeris
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was immensely enjoyable. However, one should not expect deep meanings or detailed characterological psychograms. It was just a plain, action-ridden fantasy story, packed with strange creatures, manichean characters, dense landscapes, ancient lore, epic battles, magic, magic, magic and then some more magic - and it was awesome as such. It was all the more appealing to readers deeply familiar with the Elder Scrolls lore, such as myself, but it could also be so for all fantasy fiction lovers. I ...more
Ryan Fox
Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I'm sorry, I am waaay too lazy for a summary.

I didn't have high expectations for this because it is based on a video game series and I've never read anything by the author before. I gave it a shot because I love the Elder Scrolls games and crave more stories from that universe.
I liked it. It's well written and I enjoyed the plot. I even became generally attached to the two main characters.

Despite all of that, it only gets three stars from me because I can't deal with the change in narration (e
Peter Greenwell
Mar 08, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow Greg Keyes, what did I just finish reading here? Quite frankly, this story is awful. There's no charitable way to put it. It comes across as very amateurish fan fiction and there's probably ten thousand Elder Scrolls fans out there who have some skill in writing, including myself, who are thinking they could do a lot better.

I'd give this book a zero rating but that's not possible. The one star is for the setting. Shame on you Greg Keyes, I know you can do better than this. Much better. This
Lucy Cokes
This book is fantastic for the Elder Scrolls obsessed person but not so much for a fantasy reader. The world of the Elder Scrolls could indeed make a wonderful fantasy series, if it were properly explained and things...but the book itself is great, I found myself smiling at references to say, Umbra, and Morrowind, but was dissapointed to find out that Vvardenfell itself had been destroyed. How dare they! And this is more of an aesthetic point, but I swear my cover was really weak and floppy, if ...more
Robert Beveridge
Greg Keyes, The Infernal City (Del Rey, 2009)

How on Earth did it not occur to me when I first read the description for this a couple of months ago that “the first of two exhilarating novels” meant this was the first in a series? I try to wait until most, if not all, of a series is out before reading it these days (George R. R. Martin has taught me well). Not that I would probably have listened to my own advice in this case had I read that correctly. Elder Scrolls novels? I'm going to hop on that
J.V. Seem
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I started playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on my boyfriend's xbox last summer. I wasn't really a gamer, but it was such an esthetically beautiful game, and also, BF set the difficulty on low. But I got good, and I love the game, as a fantasy world that forces me to focus, and therefore works as a form of escapism.
BF got me a controller for my laptop for my birthday, so now I use Steam to play it at home.

It's a wonderfully detailed fantasy world, and one that doesn't quite resemble any other,
Anton Himmelstrand
Rarely has a book with so many flaws carried itself so well, engaging my interest despite not presenting something particularly unique. I would hazard to describe THE INFERNAL CITY as an entertaining book, though not a particularly memorable one.

Greg Keyes draws on the rich mythos of the Elder Scrolls game franchise with its history, magical rules and varied vistas. It would be easy to pander to the well-initiated fans, but the author manages to successfully tread the line between old and new by
Apr 21, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I liked this book, but I have two big caveats about it:

1) It assumes that the reader knows the world of Tamriel and, further, has played or at least knows the plots of both Morrowind and Oblivion. The references to events and characters in those games, not to mention to places, races, and general terms unique to the setting go completely unexplained. This is fine for a fan like me, but I suspect anyone new to Elder Scrolls fandom would be lost. Personally, I think it's a mistake; this was a cha
I was a little disappointed with this book for several reasons, some important and some minor. I think Keyes didn't utilize the unlimited opportunities given to him by the amazing and expansive setting of the Elder Scroll series at all. The characters were a mixed bag with good and bad moments but nothing exceptional on the whole. The plot was rather messy unfortunately, with several incredulous moments when I felt that the book didn't take itself seriously enough. I consider myself very familia ...more
John Munroe
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Infernal City

When I first picked up this book I did not know what to expect. If someone who knew nothing about The Elder Scrolls Game read this book I think they would be a bit confused, luckily I do know the story of the game and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the book. Even though I am not big into reading, I had trouble putting this book down it was so enjoyable. The story development was excellent, the character development was intriguing. The plot of the book was a bit farfetched
Feb 11, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, tie-in
Elder Scrolls Oblivion was one of the most memorable games I have ever played, both because of its story and its immersive environments. An afternoon hike in the Colovian Highlands, watching the sunset over Nibenay Basin from the tower of a ruined fortress, sleeping in Skingrad's West Weald Inn on a rainy autumn night... those who have played the game know what I am talking about. Therefore, I was excited to learn that there were several novels based on the Elder Scrolls world, and I hoped they ...more
Jul 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Barely tolerable, not worthy of the "Elder Scrolls" title. Making an useless Breton woman whose only skills is in "the kitchen" the protagonist? Please! This is not the 50s anymore. No, seriously, I've read better fanfiction with complex and amazing female characters at and

Save your money and a tree today! Go read fanfiction!
Aug 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better than I expected a book based on video game IP to be, but not as good as Keyes' other fantasy fiction. If you're a fan of Keyes but not so much a fan of the Elder Scrolls video game series, I wouldn't recommend this book. If you are a big Elder Scrolls fan, then it's definitely worth reading.
Nothing inheretly bad about this book, yet nothing really good about it either. The story amounts to little more than a bit of character building and setting up pieces.
Not a bad book, but it won't shake your world either.
Here's hoping the next one is better.
Well written epic S&S with a nice twist in "big bad" coming to take over the world. Large variety of humanoid characters. Read like an RPG story.
Luke Pepin
lost for words. I was thoroughly enjoying until the last 2 chapters. The ending was terrible :( would have given a solid 4* but now it's lucky to scrape 3*
Erin Britton
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a single-player RPG [translation: role-playing game] created by Bethesda Game Studios for Windows PCs, the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. Hugely successful and the recipient of numerous gaming awards [does Patrick Moore in his guise as the GamesMaster still award golden joysticks?], Oblivion revolves around players’ attempts to thwart a diabolical cult who plan to open the gates to the hellish world of Oblivion and so release doom and destruction into the morta ...more
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Gregory Keyes is a writer of science fiction and fantasy who has written both original and media-related novels under both the names J. Gregory Keyes and "Greg Keyes".

Greg Keyes was born in to a large, diverse, storytelling family. He received degrees in anthropology from Mississippi State and the University of George before becoming a fulltime writer.
He lives in Savannah, Georgia.
More about Greg Keyes...

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“.. Look, I know you're probably mad at me-"
"'Probably' mad at you?" Annaïg exploded. "You tried to kill me!"
"Yes, I see now how that might upset you," Slyr said.”
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