Mark Lawrence's Reviews > A Time of Dread

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne
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it was amazing

A Time Of Dread brings together all of the promise in John Gwynne's debut, Malice, and delivers a truly excellent read!

AToD is in many ways very similar to Malice, it's set in the same world a century later, but with a smaller cast list and greater focus it felt to me like a step up from that successful and highly acclaimed beginning.

The previous quartet of books provide a living history to the new series. You absolutely do not have to read those books to enjoy this one though. In the Lord of the Rings Tolkien had a huge edifice of history/world-building worked out, and the story on the page was the tip of the metaphorical iceberg. If you start with AToD the previous books are that submerged body of ice.

The author that springs to mind most strongly when reading Gwynne is David Gemmell, a favourite of mine. Gwynne's characters are generally strongly heroic, decent, good, brave, and likable while far from perfect. The opposition is demonically evil with almost no hint of ambiguity. These are good things. You wouldn't want every fantasy book to be like that, but they are great stories to have in the mix. And there definitely is nuance, particularly on the "good" side where the issue of how much personal freedom must be ceded in the name of the greater good is put under the microscope.

This is a really well put together story. The level of unease (dread) mounts relentlessly, the plot threads come together, and it steadily gets more exciting until you find yourself reading faster and faster and not stopping when you really should be sleeping.

Gwynne delivers adrenaline-filled fight scenes with characters you care about, and the outcome never feels certain, that aforementioned dread is convincing, you feel that characters you care about really might not make it.

The book reminded me in the very best way of the sort of fantasy I loved in years gone by. Exciting, well-written, swords and sorcery. Try it on for size.


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Reading Progress

September 21, 2017 – Shelved
September 21, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
September 22, 2017 – Started Reading
September 29, 2017 –
page 47
9.79% "A strong start. I think this is going to be Gwynne's best so far."
October 4, 2017 –
page 157
32.71% "Really very good so far. It's Gemmellian, the bad guys are clearly bad, the good guys clearly good, with some grey around the edges and full of excellent fights. It feels more focused than Malice and the pacing is on point. Keep it coming!"
October 16, 2017 –
page 306
63.75% "Continues to be a strong story. Unless it falls off a cliff I will enjoy writing this review!"
October 19, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ So AToD doesn't spoil anything from Gwynne's original quartet?


message 2: by James (last edited Oct 19, 2017 03:21PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Tivendale Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ wrote: "So AToD doesn't spoil anything from Gwynne's original quartet?"

You can start with AToD but if you've read any of his previous books then I'd finish those first. All it really spoils is who the winning side was in TFaTF and briefly mentions a few important battles - as that is now the history and legends of this world.


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Thank you James!


Stephen Richter I am in California and have to wait until Feb 20th. Really the 19th at 9 pm when it will hit my Kindle because of the time difference.


Stephen Richter Also Gwynne Faithful and the Fallen is just a solid 4 book series.


Tisha I agree with Mr. Lawrence that you do not have to read the the books before this to enjoy it, but you would be doing the story and yourself an injustice. What I loved about this book and the way Mr. Gwynne told his story, he was able to allow the reader to remember the heroes of the past without having the need to spend half the book re telling it. It gave me a true sense hope and loss, much as the characters now feel, and I guess how we do in real life. If you have read this, and enjoyed it, but haven't read the others, please do. This new series will be all the richer for you as a reader.


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