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(The Guild of the Cowry Catchers #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  524 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Among the querulous island kingdoms of Wefrivain, the only unifying power is religion – a wyvern cult ruled by an eccentric High Priestess. The system is under attack by a gang of pirates called the Guild of the Cowry Catchers who prey on Temple treasure ships. The Temple Police charged with eradicating this menace keep disappearing.

Enter Gerard, a young prince, exiled fr
Published 2010
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  524 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Len Evans Jr
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abigail-hilton
I know just a 5 star rating by itself doesn't really tell others exactly what is so good about a book. So I am adding a few sentences to back up the stars. First, I have read the authors Prophet series as well as several of her shorter fiction; having just finished the first book in the cowry catcher's series I feel like I can safely say this... No only is Ms. Hilton an author who should have been scooped up by a major publisher long ago; her commitment to the audio versions of her works is extr ...more
I have to say, I am very conflicted when it comes to this book. On the one hand, the writing was decent, especially considering it was free. I liked the main characters by the end, even the one you start the book hating by default because the protagonist does. The world was fairly well developed, and the worldbuilding exposition not too intrusive. The flipside of this? The world that was so well developed makes my skin crawl. I'll get to that below. Also, I was under the impression that this was ...more
Warning: This is not an mm romance, this is not even a bromance. Just two guys forced to work together.

Never mind the overwhelming amount of species, in the end they all sound like drones. At 45% I feel like nothing is happening. The story is too slow with too many unnecessary info dumps.
Kyra Halland
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Embers (Guild of the Cowry Catchers #1) is an interesting book. I'm not quite sure how it ended up on my TBR list, because I'm usually not drawn to fantasy with non-human characters. The characters in the world of Wefrivain are shelts, humanoid on top and animal on the bottom. Except for a few details, though, I found Gerard, the honorable new Chief of Police for the High Priestess (who is a humanoid-griffin combination), and Silveo, the corrupt, ruthless and damaged Admiral (humanoid-fox) to be ...more
Jeffrey Paris [was Infinite Tasks]
On the face of it, this seems like a decent set-up: a disinherited prince of a lesser kingdom becomes Captain of the Police for the slightly sinister ruling Princess, and with the help of a cynical and threatening admiral (who dragged himself out of the lowest classes) embarks on an investigation of a growing resistance force that puts both their lives in danger.

But, the prince Gerard (voice by the esteemed Nathan Lowell, who I hope got a lot of money for doing this) is a "grishnard," the rulin
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it
While I'm typically am harder on books that are fond of using its own terms for things (I don't want to have to work to follow the author's dream) this was a surprisingly well written story, and worth the extra patience, in my opinion. The only other quibble with it was that the characters seemed much of a piece, with all of the main characters being good guys or people who would be good, if it weren't for their background." "Bad guys" who are just misunderstood strike me as the author being afr ...more
Feb 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Gambled on this free Amazon download of a self-published book and lost. A potentially interesting world, but the author tells everything and shows very little. It feels like a play where a few characters make comments, while the backdrop is hazy and all the real action happens offstage. From reading reviews of the later books it seems sex becomes more of the small action in later books - all the more reason to not read anymore.
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
Guild of the Cowry Catchers, Book 1 is an engrossing fantasy. Abbie Hilton has a gift for character development and story telling. Whether you read the regular or the illustrated version, this is a great story. The illustrations looked nice on my black-and-white ereader, but are stunning in color.
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-books, young-adult
The characterization and the story line was interesting but I got lost amoung the races and bored with the "reference work" chapter prefaces.
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Right, let's get started. The plot? So hot #hotdamn. Easily worth all five of my stars. But it's not five star, as you can see. It's four star, and that's mainly because when I first started reading this I was so angry at the fact that the writing was mainly telling instead of showing. I cannot tell you the sheer amount of times I nearly rage quit out of this before the plot picked up.

A few things actually nearly put me off. One of them was when Hilton was describing what, exactly, a grishnard w
Lee Dunning
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I won't leave you in suspense. I loved this book. It's another one of those early Kindle purchases of mine which have been left neglected for too long. I finally did a bit of binge reading, and this lovely bit finally got read. I was so happy to see I'd already picked up the second volume. As I write this, I am 67% through the book II and loving it just as much as the first.

So why do I love it so much? Well, I'm not into furries, so the fact that the characters have bottom halves of animals isn'
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
In case the 4/5 star rating wasn't clear, I really enjoyed Embers. It's a quick, but fun and rewarding read, and I'm guessing it does a great job laying the ground work for the series to come. As a character introduction, it's honestly great; I don't think it's possible to put the book down without having a solid feel for who Silveo and Gerard are. And there's something about seeing them interact with one another that's just too perfect not to love. The beauty of it is that we can watch these tw ...more
Dec 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The setting is very poorly established. Even though I read all the chapter headings, I was still confused about the world and the races.

Even without that, the premise and character development and interactions are, if not lacking, then unoriginal. A pretty boy exiled from his home because his family is evil, a blind adult plot moppet of a wife, and the obligatory anti-hero with a history of sexual abuse. Yawn.

The plot is so sleepy that I barely noticed it. Pretty Boy and Anti-Hero are tasked by
Roger Royer
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy and Sea Fairing readers
Recommended to Roger by: The Kindle Bookstore
Shelves: fantasy
When I started this book I considered that it might be a teen novel or maybe even a child's novel from the cover and internal art, which while good, seemed to me to be more akin to something by L'Angle or Lewis. The book is not however for anyone under the age of 13 or so as there are some wonderful plot devices and harsh realities in the book that are very adult and if not outright violent and sexual they hint to it.

I must say that I did enjoy the book and will probably read the rest of them a
What a fantastic cliff hanger of a story! I especially like the fully formed, well thought out, imperfect characters.
I can not wait to continue the story with The Guild of the Cowry Catchers Book 2: Flames Deluxe Illustrated Edition. I have also purchased her first series The Prophet of Panamindorah a complete trilogy which is a completely different story that takes place in the same world/universe.

Edit: I forgot to add, that the illustrations look fabulous, even on the Kindle where there is no
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author has a TON of different names for species, animals, islands, characters, etc. The worst part is that it is not only difficult to keep track of what is what, things I thought I was aware of (i.e. griffin) aren't what she is referring to. For instance, she has a species that is half human and half griffin. But aren't griffins hybrids themselves? Which part is griffin? Wouldn't that be just half lion? Furthermore, terms can be very similar.

I think the biggest disappointment is that, after
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Three stars for the story and one more for the very interesting world-building. The illustrations are helpful in visualizing the (entirely) non-human cast of characters. There is a lot of idiosyncratic vocabulary in the book, which made it challenging to follow at first, but it was interesting enough to keep me going. This is part one of five and is a cliffhanger; the story does not resolve at all and probably has barely gotten going. I am likely to read the others at some point, as I'm curious ...more
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: podcast
I finished this book yesterday and started on book 2 today! Thanks for the recommendatiom from another Goodreads author and excellent voice talent, R.E. Chambliss. I find myself so captivated by the characters and story that the time spent while listening goes by quickly, and whatever it was I was doing takes a back seat in my mind as I see the story unfold with such clarity that I feel like I'm there witnessing it in person.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Very confusing start with a zoo of strange animal beings that are not even introduced in the beginning. What would work in a movie feels like name scrabble here. Did not get past the first chapters.
Sara Testarossa
Silveo is the best. Er, I mean, he's an extremely well developed and memorable character, and I love him. And his dialogue. And his depth. And his brain.

(I may add more later but this was the most important thing I wanted to share. Silveo rocks.)
R.E. Chambliss
Jul 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is the best podcast-novel I've ever heard. And it's fast becoming one of my favorite stories ever. Go to itunes, search for Guild of the Cowry Catchers, and start downloading it!
Oct 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Embers (The Guild of the Cowry Catchers #1)
by Abigail Hilton

If you are the target audience for this book, you will love it. Read the warnings from the author and the other reviewers and if you still want to read it, I guarantee you should just go ahead and get the whole series.

I listened to this as The Guild of the Cowry Catchers: A Story of Pirates and Panamindorah, Complete 5-Book Series from audible. The series is really one long story with each book ending at the end of a part of the story.
Nancy Newhall
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I have never read a book quite like this and it took me a little bit to figure out what characters were but once I did I found the story to be quite enjoyable and intend to read the whole series...
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Uhhhhh, forgot about this author. Loved her books. You have to read them and I must reread them ;)
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I first heard about Abigail Hilton on the Round Table Podcast, and I was instantly interested in the world she had created. The world of Panamindorah is populated by shelts. These shelts are made up of different species under the three umbrella categories of fauns, panauns, and nauns. The fauns are the shelts with hooves, the panauns the shelts with paws, and the nauns the shelts who swim. Each shelt is made up of a human torso, arms, and head (with ears), and their animal legs.

The story starts
Éric Kasprak
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! It as been a long time since I was suck-in a fantasy world like I was with Embers by Abigail Hilton. Bravo. The story is very good and the characters are exceptional. I canot find a single fault with the novel. Great characters, intriguing storyline, easy-to-read prose and excellent pacing. The fact that the characters are half human/half beast could lend some to believed that the story is cute or YA, but that's not the case. We have a real adult storyline with some dark character depth and ...more
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, fantasy
Another bargain ebook that turned out to be much better than I expected, this is the first of a trilogy (so far), set in a fantasy world quite different than anything I've seen before. The world in question is a series of islands, under the rule of a mysterious religious order, and inhabited by grishnards (human from the waist up, griffin below) and other shelts (part-human and part various animals).

Our protagonist, Gerard, is an exiled prince who finds himself thrown into the position of captai
**✿❀  Maki ❀✿**
I was incredibly confused for the first fourth of the book or so. You've got to read the notes that start each chapter to understand what a shelt is, or what a certain breed of shelt is, or what the difference between a panaun and a nanaun is. All of this is explained via notes from various books from the world the actual book is set in. Things got much easier to understand once the book notes set everything up, but the story itself won't do that for you. You HAVE to read the opening notes in ea ...more
This book came with the Kindle app. And the kindle app was pre-installed in my tablet, so it has been around me for long.
At first I saw an ilustrated book and thought that it was a childrens book.
The other day I was checking the kindle app because of some work stuff (I use Aldiko to read my ebooks, not the Kindle app) and realised that this was not a childrens book (they should put a warning across the cover). It wasn't an adult novel, but it was more on the young adult adventure in fantasy land
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When Abigail Hilton flopped, gasping, onto the beach of a tiny, unnamed key off the Florida coast, she was grateful that her audience included only a handful of sea gulls, a raccoon, and one very surprised panther. The panther fled, along with the raccoon, but one of the curious sea gulls hopped over to have a closer look at her. Moments later, now sticky with blood and feathers, she dragged herse ...more

Other books in the series

The Guild of the Cowry Catchers (5 books)
  • Flames (The Guild of the Cowry Catchers, #2)
  • Ashes (The Guild of the Cowry Catchers, #3)
  • Out of the Ashes (The Guild of the Cowry Catchers, #4)
  • Shores Beyond the World (The Guild of the Cowry Catchers, #5)