- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Voyager - GB (23 September 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0008331413
- ISBN-13: 978-0008331412
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Black Hawks Paperback – 24 Sep 2019
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‘Reminds me of Abercrombie’s THE BLADE ITSELF’
Nicholas Eames, author of KINGS OF THE WYLD
‘Refreshing and entertaining, like a cross between Nicholas Eames and Joe Abercrombie; THE BLACK HAWKS is simply a joy to read’
Peter McLean, author of PRIEST OF BONES
‘Wragg captures the classic fantasy spirit of adventure and exploration, wraps it with stabbed backs and cannibals and gifts it to you on a bed of action’
Ed McDonald, author of BLACKWING
‘Everyone loves a good mercenary tale, but THE BLACK HAWKS offers more besides: a protagonist who's refreshingly rubbish at fighting, a supporting cast who'd be fascinating if they were just standing around in a supermarket, and an author who knows when to dodge cliches, and when to jump in and splash like a kid in a puddle’
Nate Crowley, author of 100 BEST VIDEO GAMES (THAT NEVER EXISTED)
‘Check out THE BLACK HAWKS – it’s full of fun characters, mercenary antics, twists, turns, and contains my favourite fantasy lemon’
Peter Newman, Gemmell Award-winning author of THE VAGRANT and THE DEATHLESS
‘A remarkably assured debut…I can’t wait to see what happens next’
Anna Stephens, author of GODBLIND
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Black Hawks (Articles of Faith #1) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this eARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.
David Wragg’s debut was an enjoyable fantasy romp rife with morally ambiguous characters, sarcastic and witty banter, and enough swordplay to keep Inigo Montoya entertained. While I have seen it compared to Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames and Joe Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy, The Black Hawks stands on its on merits and creates a new fantasy realm that will astound readers who dare to take the plunge.
The Black Hawks themselves remind me of a mix between the mercenaries found in Fletcher’s Manifest Delusions and Selby’s The Winter Road. A mix of hardened killers with zero filter, exceptional skills with blades/axes, and motivation that is only fed by stacked coinage. To say they are likeable is an overstatement, but to say they don’t grow on you as the story unfolds is a straight up lie.
Then you have Chel. Sort of a Aethelwold-ish character (not that he has nay claim to anything) but is sort of a down-on-his-luck drunkard who is thrust into the spotlight when he stumbles upon the prince and guides him to safety. From there, you have what feels like a coming-of-age story (it isn’t) where Chel is forced into facing a reality he would rather stray away from: protecting a prince at all costs across a country full of murderers, thieves, and wolves.
I feel that the comparisons under-deliver in ways that aren’t necessarily fair to the author and may leave *some* readers wanting more. The Black Hawks does not contain the over-the-top, consistent hilarity or battles that you get with Kings, nor does it plunge you into the minds of some of the best characters ever created in The First Law World. Having said that, it does have its fair share of humorous one-liners from the mercenaries, several intense, small-scale combat scenes, and Chel is a very likeable character that I would like to see more from. In summation, just don’t go into it thinking it is going to be exactly what you expect based on media marketing.
All in all, I highly suggest you give The Black Hawks a go. It is a little slow on takeoff but you’ll be hankerin’ for more once you cross the halfway point. The mercs themselves are plenty of reason to grab this book and give yourself plenty of belly laughs, and the ending will have you waiting on pins and needles for the sequel.
I keep seeing the term grimdark meaning a fantasy that is violent and doesn't necessarily have an heroic lead and from this truly striking cover I thought this might just fit into that category . Now having finished this I'd say yes it's violent and bloody but perhaps not really grim.
Our young hero Chel might lack experience but he definitely has heart, morals and knows the value of loyalty. Stuck in a position beyond his control he really just keeps on doggedly plodding along until one day everything goes to pot around him and he finds himself agreeing to be the bodyguard of Prince Tarfel. You would think the Prince would be perhaps more worldly than he is but he is extremely naive almost to the point of stupidity and the pair just blunder along but with a price on Tarfels head it's not long until they are captured by mercenaries and that's when this story truly takes off !
Yes Chel is a hapless hero but make no mistake he is a hero. I struggled to connect in the beginning but about two thirds in there's a revelation that was both eye opening and also very intriguing and I've a feeling the author has another surprise up his sleeve.
The Black Hawks are a truly entertaining bunch and there's always something new to discover about the various members along the way . Yes I know you would expect mercenaries to be morally reprehensible but there's a strong bond that at times meant the author could inject humour into the proceedings. Trust me the black humour was necessary because the action scenes are in no way fade to black and are pretty brutal. I was absolutely gripped as this stormed towards the end and left devastated when I turned the page only to find no more ! I recommend this debut if you want action, strong characters, banter and surprises although for this reader the next book cannot come soon enough !
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair