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The Darkling Thrush

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,499 ratings  ·  177 reviews
Fed up with his desk duty in the Imperial Arcane Library, book hunter Colin Bliss accepts a private commission to find The Sword’s Shadow, a legendary and dangerous witches’ grimoire. But to find the book, Colin must travel to the remote Western Isles and solve a centuries’ old murder.

It should be nothing more than an academic exercise, so why is dour — and unreasonably se
ebook, 1st Edition, 149 pages
Published April 5th 2010 by Loose Id (first published April 2010)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  1,499 ratings  ·  177 reviews

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Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks for this amazing buddy read, Adam!

I don’t have enough words to express my feelings for this story. It’s pure fantasy. It is EXACTLY why I love fantasy so much.

And of course, Josh Lanyon skillfully combines the love for rare and beautiful books (that most of us share, right?) with m/m romance in this gorgeous fantasy setting.


The story revolves around Colin, who is a librivenator, meaning he tracks down rare books, usually occult tomes and grimoires. He was raised in the Americas, but is c
Written January 2, 2015

3.1 Stars - Mysterious myths and an interesting adventure part ... but too little snuggle factor for me

A Josh Lanyon fantasy / mystery tale. — 5:30 hrs narrated by Max Miller (new for me).

A little disappointed to be honest..
Hardly a romance but a pretty interesting mystery. - Although very different with a strange feeling over it. Both the story itself and this slow and quite odd narration. Melancholy and very quietly in the expression, but still enjoying to listening to.
Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~
This is a fun historical fantasy, with a AE twist. The main characters were very reminiscent of Adrien and Jake, but they had their own faults and quirks that made them unique. The fantasy elements were well-paced and spread out, introduced just perfectly to slowly draw you into this world. The castle and all the locations were elegantly described.

Edit: Sista answered my question on what a brownie is. It's a household spirit who cleans your house for you. That's handy! A brief description in th
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Breann by: Tj
I always enjoy a character who sticks his nose where it probably doesn’t belong and gets into all sorts of trouble.

Colin Briggs accepts a job to find an ancient and dangerous grimoire, The Swords Shadow. Pretty soon into his search he realizes that he’s in way over his head and that he’s not the only one on the search.

This was definitely a paranormal book with some fae and magic, but there wasn’t much world building. We saw each experience through Colin’s POV and that was all we got of this wor
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt
Audio Book 3.5 Stars... OK! Narrator Max Millar was amazing, I loved his seductive tones:)
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fave-authors
I have trouble explaining this book...I was fantasy for sure...but I also got a very steampunk feeling from it. It was enjoyable and entertaining and beautifully written...How does Josh Lanyon do it? I don't know, I'm just happy as hell he can.

In this world Colin Bliss is a book hunter from Boston(librivenator) of Magick books who is working in the London Bureau. He is young but well known for discovering a very obscure grimoire (book of Old Magick).

Out the blue he is hired (on the sly) to hunt
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, romance-pn, fantasy
The book geek in me loved the premise of an outsider librarian going off the range after making a colossally bad workplace decision.
Colin Bliss, young, talented and naive makes a whopper of bad judgment call and then realizes he has to live with it for a year. A very long year. Until an opportunity presents itself and he decides to engage in some unsanctioned activities since, well...since he's been sidelined.
Septimus Marx, the scowling presence that always unsettles Bliss is the proverbial b
This was a weird one. 2 stars for the story.
The audio was great. It gets an extra star for that.
The story was odd and a bit confusing.
I found myself not caring about the plot.
Nor about the characters.
And there was a weird insta-love declaration near the end.
And the end of the world, a giant sea serpent, a mummy, and the fae.
Overall: an unmemorable mess.

My rec? Skip it.
Apr 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
What if there was magic in our world today? What if it was as normal to be a witch, or clearsighted, as it is for us to be good at sports or a musician? This is what Josh Lanyoon must have thought when he created an AU world with telephones, aircraft, and automobiles where "the Americas" are officially still called "The colonies", where people spend their lives transcripting books by hand or hunting famous lost grimoires, where there is a secret police in charge of suppressing or destroying book ...more
Apr 07, 2010 rated it liked it
3.25 stars
Positive: Wow for the fantasy thing. I must say the the description is quite good. It is intriguing ... the quest to find the lost legendary grimoire in the remote Western Isles. It's like I'm watching "Merlin"

Negative: I don't know, I feel like there is a disconnection between Colin and Septimus. If I expect some kind of romance, this is not it. I cannot really believe their relationship.

Still, if I need to sum up, I will go with intriguing
What an intriguing story! I love the blend of magic and treasure hunting, and the whole thing comes off with an old-timey feeling. So enjoyable.

Also, 5 stars to Max Miller. He's always wonderful, but his Scottish accents were flawless and incredibly creative. Definitely go with the audiobook if you're a fan!
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
A two-star Lanyon from me? Never thought I'd live to see the day. But it is from 2010 and like all things, I think Lanyon has improved with time.

The writing is still marvelous. Extremely poetic and beautiful.

I had a harder time connecting to this story. I'm not sure Lanyon paranormal is for me.
Emanuela ~plastic duck~
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Emanuela ~plastic duck~ by: itmfiddler
It was a bit more difficult than usual to enter the story because in a fantasy book it always takes me a while to learn the rules of the world created by the author, to memorize the names, items, places, but once I found myself comfortable, I wouldn't want the story to finish.

There are three elements that made this book great:

* books. No one needs to convince me that books are magical items and that they contain much more than what's on the pages. Sometimes I'm so engrossed in a book, I hang ont
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'm pretty disappointed honestly and that sucks because I love Lanyon's work and this had just a ton of potential. I felt that maybe there just wasn't enough attention given to the right elements, because this is NOT a romance and the fact that (view spoiler) it just pissed me off.
It was a good idea, and could have been really exciting, and there were parts I appreciated about it, but
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: you know who you are
Colin Bliss is a book hunter. Itching to get out of desk work and back into the field, Colin takes a private job to recover a witches grimoire that could spell the end of the world. Magister Septimus Marx is tagging along with Colin, but is he aiding or inhibiting Colin's quest?

This fantasy mystery caught me by surprise. I been plowing through Mr. Lanyon's catalog which has so far been mostly contemporary, with a few set in America of the past. This one sort of felt a little in the steampunk g
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
It always takes me a few chapters to get into the flow of reading fantasy and this book was no exception--the ending more than made up for the slow start---once again Lanyon has given us a great story
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

I liked the world in which this was set - but I kind of wanted more. I enjoyed everything that was here (though maybe a little too insta-love for my tastes) but I wanted it longer and more complex. I'm greedy like that! No matter, I'm pretty sure I will always love Lanyon's words!
Dec 24, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lil' Grogan
Dec 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humour, 2-5, pnr-rom, m-m
An interesting change to Lanyon's usual work - the mystery of uncovering a historical artifact in a fantasy world. There were enough touches to make discovering the unique rules interesting. To me much of it read as a historical mystery. But perhaps the amount of work put here took away from the rest of the story.

Despite some interesting secondary characters, this was a very solitary adventure for Colin. In general, I thought the characters took a backseat to the plot itself.

So for all my talk
3.5 stars rounded up for the narration

I want to tie up Max Miller, and force him under torture, (with feathers and sex toys...and only if he protests, of course) to narrate everything on my favourites shelf. I love his voice and the way he uses it. Light and achingly vulnerable..or velvety smooth and sexy when it needs to be. His accents (Scots must be really difficult to pull off), excellent characterisations and completely unforced, relaxed style is brilliant.

Oh yes. The story? Perhaps not a
Exciting. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I spent reading this, at times I even felt like my heart might beat out of my chest.

Fantastic world building, great setting and memorable heroes. I really hope there will be a sequel as I'd love to read more about Septimus and Bliss (who made it on the top ten on my favorite main characters list) and to learn more about the world Lanyon created.
3.67 stars
I liked this one for the fantasy/magic/book-hunt parts ...but missed the “romance” and some character chemistry here
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
[Buddy Read with Martin]

The majority of Josh Lanyon's books which I've read are slow-burn romances which took the characters forever to finally get together. Hence I was expecting it to be the same for this book but in fact it seems to be the opposite. Love is just around the corner for our MCs but it seems like I was never in that corner to witness it! Given how sparsely the moments the MCs had with each other, I found the rate in which their relationship developed hard to believe. (view spoile
Okay, so, I read this book about two years ago (a pretty long time ago!) and I have a rule that when I forget to review a book until a while after I read it, I don't rate it. I feel pretty strongly that it isn't fair for me to review some books when they are fresh in my mind and other books after they have faded.

I'm making an exception for this book.

This book and I should have gotten along. I love fantasy and the world building was lots of fun. And the Imperial Arcane Library? This should have b
Dec 2019: I made no notes as to why I DNFd this audiobook back in 2014. Decided to sample the audiobook and it took only seconds to remember why. Terrible narrator. Why didn't I return it? It sat in the cloud for over a year before I started it. 😲 Off the buy the book.
Ije the Devourer of Books
I always enjoys Josh Lanyon's stories. I find his main characters to be interesting and engaging. I also enjoy the way these books have just the right balance of mystery and romance. The main characters always find love along the way and this makes for interesting reading alongside the mystery.

This is the first Lanyon book that I have read which has elements of the paranormal and which is set in a world that is similar to our world but at the same time different because of the presence of magic.
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is different from the works I'm used to by Josh that I've read, but I was taken back that I truly enjoyed the story. I will admit to having put it down once by no fault of my own and when I picked it up to resume reading it I was darn glad I had. There's the supernatural, other worldly beings if you wish to call them that and a whole lot of action and ignited suspense all wrapped up in to one unforgettable read.
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
Big price drop at Amazon Us to $0.99! 6/13/13!
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure I would enjoy this as much as Josh Lanyon's other works. None of the others I've read dealt with magic, so I was a bit wary. As per usual, my worries were for naught, as Josh Lanyon delivered as she always does. I would have actually been interested in seeing this as a series.
May 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Lacey by: Alyosha
3.5 stars

I'm not going to go through the plot because I think a lot of other reviews have already done that. Instead, I'll tell you that I loved the idea of a world similar to our own but where magic exists. I loved the plot of this story, and the adventure grabbed me from the very beginning. I was immediately swept away in the mysteries that Colin faced and the fast-paced action of the story.

However, there were a lot of loose ends and confusing ideas that left me really disappointed after finis
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Josh Lanyon is the author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance.

Her work has been translated into eleven languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first male/male title to be published by Harlequin Mondadori, the largest romance publisher in Italy. Stranger on the Shore (Harper Collins Italia) was the f

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