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Finally finished the combined first two novels of the Monarchies of God series by Paul Kearney.And, good gods, what a piece of crap that was I can only conclude that all those recommendations floating about are some kind of practical joke by other disappointed readers If you really feel that you need to waste precious time of our life with this novel, you re welcome to my copy for the price of shipping to your place.Plot premise in a nutshell The holy Ramusian Church is getting one of those urges again to do away with all people who are different, and starts buring witchy people en masse The slightly enlightened king of Hebrion doesn t like that, and sends two shipsfull of them into the unknown west At the same time, the Merduks, who worship a different flavour of Prophet, decide to attack the Ramusian kingdoms The main seat of the head of the Church is destroyed, and thousands of people flee, among them the young soldier Corfe and the after all not quite dead Pontiff, whose lucky survival will lead eventually to the whole political union falling apart into civil war, because another ambitious cleric lets himself be crowned Pontiff too as soon as the news of the destruction of Aekir is in, and half the kings declare for one, half for the other Messy stiff ensues.Meanwhile, the expedition to the west discovers that they should better have stayed home.The following contains spoilers.The first thing that annoyed me was the incredibly lazy worldbuilding Look at the map Does it remind you of anything Except for the fact that Italy seems to have sunk, and there s a random mountain range west of the Netherlands, it s pretty much Europe It has Italiens, Spanish, Brits, Vikings, Catholic and Muslim peoples, by any other name The northern Barbarians worship a horned god called Kerunnos No, really If I were too lazy to create my own fantasy world, why not go all in and do it as an alternative world You have your fanatical and corrupt Catholics, the Muslim threat, and Columbus, er, Hawkwood, sailing off to America, er, the unknown West to save all the witchy people The only things that don t match are that according to my knowledge, the Maya were not werewolves But, as I said, in an alternative history setting it wouldn t be so bad.I am aware that Tad Williams Memory, Sorrow and Thorn did much the same with its powerful Church, Celts, Viking, etc derivatives, but there it didn t annoy me as much.Secondly there is no indication that God exists within the framework of these novels However, Dweomer is very real Isn t the main reason why the Catholic church took over the shop in our world that magic doesn t work Why do they Dweomer just let themselves be burned without fighting back For hundreds of years, no less Thirdly The terrible stilted and unnatural dialogue Most of it is just corrupt churchmen orally masturbating about how great they are For pages and pages bla bla bla heretics bla bla bla fire bla bla blaAlso, while I m not fond of your clich fantasy infodump, it would have been nice to be told in some way what was going on and who was who withim the dozen of kingdoms of varying allegiance Very confusing in the beginning.The descriptions are in a kind of wannabe epic style, except that they don t work, and at times appear like self parodies Terrible writing style.Fourth 99,5% of all characters are complete and utter idiots and bastards and not the magnificent kind , or boring and pathetic as hell The other 0,5% are dead, except Jemilla, who will probably cop it in childbirth, as they do I just couldn t make myself feel for any of them They re also all utter and complete cardboard cutouts, with no originality whatsoever I liked the imp, but he s dead too.The only halfways interesting part was Hawkwood s voyage to the West, although you need a bloody nautical dictionnary to follow what s going on there Unfortunately, the confrontation between the colonialists conquistadores and the Maya werewolves was clich ed as hell.The only redeeming feature were the chapters with the two young monks exploring a long forgotten temple in the library of the Vatican, er Charibon But, what do you know, they re dead too now.All in all, a complete failure 2 10 The World Is In Turmoil In The East The Savage Mer Duks, Followers Of The Prophet Ahrimuz, Have Cap Tured The Holy City Of Aekir The Western Kingdoms Are Too Distracted By Internecine Bickering To Intervene And The Church Seems Obsessed With Rooting Out Heresy It Is An Age Where Men Go To The Stake For The Taint Of Magic In Their Blood, Where Gunpowder And Cannon Co Exist With Werewolves And Sorcerers It Is The Turning Point When Two Great Religions Will Fight To The Death And The Common Folk Will Struggle To Merely Survive A fantastic epic read Since I heard through the grape vine he s a grossly underated author I embarked on my first Paul Kearney experience Complete with an endorsement signed Steven Erikson I was totally roped in And lets face it this was like candy for me It has all the components I look for in a political military fantasy Hawkwood and the Kings oozes and gushes my kind of book.We get the story of a Continent in peril being pulled to pieces by war, and conflict as well as a group of adventurers seeking a new continent Church viying for power A super power invading from the east, and three young Kings holding what s left in tact Honestly people the plot is too complex for me to put into words at risk of making me sound like some burned out pot smoking hippie So I ll just focus on the books merits.What will you be treated to Explosive military sequences, literally flintlock before it was cool Arquebuses, cannons, artillery, sabers Present pieces, give fire, out swords follow me Kearney s tactical historical knowledge is phenomenal this element felt real all the way.With a huge cast of characters, and 20 some odd pov s we get to see all sides of the conflict, every corner of the continent All the characters factions are pinned down tight all their political choices affect the next making all their actions rationalized This really highlighted Kearney s prowess as he at no point in time why s away from this book s massive scope Further he accomplishes this in a very small page count The entire series is roughly 1600 pages.A challenging read plain and simple Me personally I like the challenge every so often This book beat me up here and there Extreme description, a trade off for a great visual The pacing is comparable to ASOIAF 1 book 3 month timeline So we get to see the world changing, and the ramifications of our amazing characters.Sensitive readers beware.No humour not much wit not really hipCan t say I was surprised but we get a weak representation of female characters once again Whores, sex slaves, women who use their lady parts to gain political advantage So if you re the kind of reader who can t stand this shit beware Brutal blacker than black imagery this book is sick and twisted at the best of times If you re scared go to church Kearney has managed to uproot religion as a solid theme in this novel The fictional religion closely resembles Christianity, and is adulterized continually in this novel So if this offends you beware.So it would seem that Kearney writes a fairly unaccessible style, and tells a story that appeals to a smaller market of readers Fortunately I m one of those readers, underated I don t think so just misunderstood If this book sounds like you re kind of thing you are in for a treat Enjoy. 4.5 stars The company built their fires despite the fact that the sweat was dripping off their very fingertips They needed the light, the reassurance that their comrades were around them The fires had a claustrophobic effect, however, making the towers of the trees press ever closer in on them, emphasizing the huge, restless jungle which pursued its own arcane business off in the darkness as it had for eons before them They were mere nomadic parasites lost in the pelt of a creature which was as big as a turning world That night they were not afraid of unknown beasts or strange natives, but of the land itself, for it seemed to pulse and murmur with a beating life of its own, alien, unknowable, and utterly indifferent to them. Hawkwood and the Kings is an omnibus of Hawkwood s Voyage and The Heretic Kings, first released in the mid nineties to critical acclaim but limited commercial success Paul Kearney is, to the detriment of readers of fine fantasy, one of those authors who ran into publisher difficulties Had the publisher actively marketed the original releases of The Monarchies of God, the books would have sold well and would unquestionably be considered classics alongside other great adult fantasies like George R.R Martin s A Song of Ice and Fire and Steven Erikson s The Malazan Book of the Fallen Unfortunately, Paul Kearney is among the unnoticed and underrated authors of epic fantasy today.Hawkwood and the Kings is set in a parallel to our world s late fifteenth century This is a fantasy with gunpowder and magic as well as clashes between Church and State, Church and Magic, and East and West Kearney deftly weaves a story that uses the schism of the 13th century, the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the voyage of Columbus in 1492, and the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Church in the 1530s.There are four major story lines in Hawkwood and the Kings Richard Hawkwood is forced to undertake a dangerous journey into the unknown West with a man he detests King Abrusio of Hebrion leads a revolt against the Ramusian Church loosely based on the Christian Church Corfe is a young officer who flees the destruction of Aekir instead of joining the last stand of the defenders against the Eastern Merduks though Corfe later helps with the defense of the kingdom of Torunna against the Merduks Finally, there is the story of the monks Albrec and Avila, who uncover an ancient document that goes to the heart of the dispute between the Ramusian Church and the Merduk s faith in their Prophet.Kearney has written a tightly plotted, character driven epic fantasy that reflects something of our own world, but he makes his story entirely new and exciting Hawkwood and the Kings kept me awake at night turning pages, and it is one of the best books that I have read in recent memory It is adult level fantasy that does not pull any punches Kearney s writing is gritty, realistic in its blood, violence and sex, but also shows how humans can, once in a while, shine Kearney builds a fantasy that demonstrates clearly that a series need not be epic in size to be truly epic.Kearney s battle scenes are the best I have ever read in fantasy, or even empirical history, and that includes the likes of Steven Erikson and George R.R Martin His battle sequences are clear and descriptive in a manner that is at once exciting and horrifying However, Kearney is not a glorifier of violence, and it is clear that he views war in all of its forms as a very poor way of resolving disputes, which is a major theme of the series.My only complaint about this book is that the publication value by Solaris is a little low The words are crammed on the page, the print is small, and the number of typos is excessive for a book that has already been published once However, this is easily overlooked when the quality of the story is considered, and the cover to Hawkwood and the Kings is simply gorgeous, which made me wish that the covers of Kearney s The Ten Thousand series were half as good.I read Hawkwood and the Kings together with Century of the Soldier, which is the concluding omnibus of The Monarchies of God, and the pace does not let up Though that is a separate review, I rate the entire series at five stars Paul Kearney has become one of my favorite writers, and I eagerly look forward to his new novel in the The Ten Thousand series, Corvus I strongly recommend readers of good epic fantasy everywhere to buy The Monarchies of God, now Angus www.FantasyLiterature.com As George RR Martin s Song of Ice and Fire series became a popular success, each novel debuting higher on the bestseller list, the fantasy genre saw a predictable stampede of derivative imitators Epic sagas with dozens of characters rooted firmly in historical fiction than in conventional fantasy Political scheming, gory battles, and morally dubious characters fighting it out in narratives told through many POV characters using a close 3rd person stance By 2012, the fantasy shelves of bookstores were stuffed with series hoping to catch the Martin updraft This isn t one of those books Published in 1994, Hawkwood s Voyage is a pre derivative Song of Ice and Fire Paul Kearney brought all the elements Martin does to the page a year before Game of Thrones was published And yet Martin s work went on to become a world wide phenomenon, while Kearney toils away as an obscure mid list writer Who said publishing was fair The world we re introduced to in this first book of the Monarchies of God bears much resemblance to 17th century Europe The Merduks, analogous to the Ottomans, are on the march The kingdoms of the West are wracked with religious persecution and strife And explorers looking to the West for riches find a world far stranger and daunting than they expected But this isn t paint by the numbers historical fantasy While Kearney draws on a strong historical knowledge of the peoples who inspire this saga, he breathes originality and life into them Their values and conflicts Fears, jealousies, and hatreds Magic is subtly interwoven into the story, both a recognized part of this world and a strange, dark power that is to be feared Kearney doesn t go overboard with the world building He gives us just enough background to get on with the story, which he tells with great pace and verve No meandering 300 page setup here Kearney s prose is assured The quality of wordsmithing he brings to the page far surpasses the dismal norms of fantasy fiction He presents believable characters and psychologically resonant drama His descriptions and metaphors are vivid without being pretentious or self conscious Kearney is clearly a fan of Patrick O Brian s wonderful Aubrey Maturin books, and I d say the fan isn t far off the master in his writing chops Besides the obvious comparison of Martin, this novel also brings to mind Guy Kavriel Kay s fine historical fantasies Though for my money, I prefer Kearney He s darker, faster paced, and tighter in his storytelling, without losing anything in quality It s puzzling that Kearney never caught the popular imagination the way Martin or even Kay has But I m always pleased when I discover a new to me writer whose work I can expect to enjoy for years. Resenha Monarchies of God Monarquias de Deus 1 de Paul Kearney, Fantasia pica em uma Prosa Enxuta The Monarchies of God As Monarquias de Deus, Editora Solaris, 2010, 700 p ginas uma s rie de fantasia pica militarista e brutal escrita pelo irland s Paul Kearney entre 1995 a 2002, inicialmente em cinco volumes, e depois editadas em dois volumes Os livros originais s o Hawkwood s Voyage 1995 The Heretic Kings 1996 Esses s o os dois primeiros livros reun dos no Monarchies of God Vol.1 J o Monarchies of God Vol.2 re ne os seguintes livros The Iron Wars 1999 The Second Empire 2000 Ships from the West 2002 Cheguei at Paul Kearney como muitos outros leitores, pela recomenda o de Steven Malazan Erikson, que disse que a s rie As Monarquias de Deus tinha sido uma das melhores sagas de fantasia dos anos 90, e que merecia maior aten o do p blico pela qualidade de sua narrativa A recomenda o de um dos mestres da fantasia contempor nea corresponde ao que encontrei nas Monarquias de Deus uma obra cheia de batalhas picas, brutal, com mortes inesperadas de progatonistas bem ao estilo cruel do George R.R Martin, uma abordagem realista da religi o no per odo da baixa idade m dia, conflitos entre religi o versus magia versus ci ncia, e uma prosa engajante, r pida e eficiente A s rie se passa no continente de Normannia, que lembra a Europa do per odo renascentista O continente dominado por cinco reinos poderosos Hebrion, Astarac, Perigraine, Almark e Torunna, al m de outros ducados e principalidades, como Candelaria, Tulm e Finmark A rep blica de Fimbria, tamb m conhecida como os Eleitorados Fimbrianos fica entre os cinco maiores reinos de Normania, e representa claramente o Imp rio Romano do cen rio F mbria dominou o continente at perder seu imp rio em uma guerra civil gerada por conflitos religiosos h quatrocentos anos antes do in cio da narrativa O antigo imp rio se manteve como a Rep blica de F mbria, e se tornou isolacionista, por m respeitado por ter os ex rcitos mais poderosos do continente As Cinco Monarquias de Deus Hebrion,Astarac, Perigraine, Almark e Torunna se unem pela religi o Ramusiana, uma religi o monote sta criada a partir do mensageiro de Deus, o Aben oado Santo Ramusio em uma descri o que lembra o Cristianismo medieval A Igreja Ramusiana tem at uma cidade sagrada, Aekir an loga a Jerusal m e Charibon, o centro de poder da Igreja an loga a Roma Os Ramusianos se op em fanaticamente aos Merduks, um grupo religioso, cultural e tnico que ocupam as terras do leste da Normannia, os Sete Sultanatos em uma clara analogia aos reinos rabes e a religi o mu ulmana Os Merduks seguem os ensinamentos do Profeta Ahrimuz, e seguem uma f monote sta, an loga a f mu ulmana A exist ncia, em todas as na es, de um povo geneticamente propenso magia, os Dewomer, que s o c cliclamente perseguidos em inquisi es violentas feitas pelas igrejas E por tr s disso tudo, uma conspira o m stica que prenuncia o apocalipse, o in cio da Era do Lobo Doidimais v i Conspira es, persegui o religiosa contra os usu rios de magia, uma viagem de descobrimento de um novo continente, transmorfos e o come o do uso da p lvora, guerras navais e cercos militares, esse primeiro volume tem de tudo para agradar quem curte fantasia militarista brutal Paul Kearney um timo escritor, infelizmente ainda desconhecido do grande p blico mas quem sabe, ultimamente, e principalmente por causa da recomenda o do Stephen Malazan , a fama de Kearney est aumentando T cnicas Narrativas nas Monarquias de Deus, Vol 1 O que mais me impressionou foi a capacidade de s ntese narrativa do Kearney Ele consegue, sem detrimento da trama e do desenvolvimento de personagens, conduzir diversas narrativas paralelas em poucas p ginas dentro do padr o da fantasia pica S o muitos personagens, muitos pontos de vista, muitos arcos narrativos mas conduzidos com muito controle de cena e um ritmo empolgante E, acredito, ele consegue isso com economia e revis o, penso que quando Kearney estava escrevendo, ele deve ter reduzido a narrativa ao seu essencial, sem desperdi ar nenhuma cena, e usando de cortes cinematogr ficos para focar a trama e manter o ritmo narrativo A quantidade enorme de personagens sempre corre o risco de diminuir o impacto individual de cada hist ria, mas Kearney consegue um bom equil brio nesse sentido A narrativa feita em Terceira Pessoa Limitada, mas com o uso de pensamentos indiretos, ao inv s de diretos, talvez por facilitar a s ntese e por causa da grande quantidade de personagens A saga aborda de maneira realista o tema da intoler ncia religiosa, a defini o de heresia, as crueldades da inquisi o, motiva es pessoais ditando a moralidade, o cinismo religioso e a natureza da f verdadeira A descri o das cenas engajam todos os sentidos, Kearney usa met foras e s miles esporadicamente, favorecendo a economia de linguarem Na constru o do cen rio, Kearney usou da queda do Imp rio Romano e a cria o dos Reinados europeus de base, al m dos Sultanatos do per odo das Cruzadas, aproveitando todas as complexidades e peculiaridades daquele momento hist rico para dar mais realismo na sua saga Uso de estruturas liter rias diferentes, como o formato de um di rio de navega o em uma das partes da saga A narrativa pula de cena em cena, seguindo um formato cinematogr fico, mas o autor mant m dom nio da cronologia dos acontecimentos, e centra cada parte em um nico ponto de vista narrativo Caracteriza o r pida dos m ltiplos personagens, a dif cil escolha entre caracteriza o e trama Em uma hist ria pica, com muitos personagens, necess rio caracterizar um personagem rapidamente, colocando sua personalidade, passado, motiva es, frustra es, virtudes e defeitos em poucas frases e a es Kearney demonstra habilidade com essa t cnica, usando de detalhes peculiares em seus personagens para diferenci los Descri o dos efeitos sociais da magia e da presen a de magos entre reinos que seguem uma religi o monote sta Magia faz a diferen a nos conflitos, mas tem um custo alto magos gastam vitalidade, anos de vida para realizar suas magias Magia limitada pela capacidade intelectual e de concentra o do mago Conspira es baseadas na diversidade de interesses, mesmo dentro de uma organiza o ou institui o supostamente homog nea, dando realismo para a narrativa e complexidade moral Conclus o Monarchies of God Vol 1 vai agradar muito os f s de fantasia militarista e brutal pica Vinte personagens POV, uma narrativa que se passa em dois continentes, muita politicagem, combate, estrat gia, moralidade complexa e realista Um detalhe que pode incomodar a caracteriza o das personagens femininas, que ficam limitadas a pap is mais secund rios, al m da viol ncia expl cita e muitas passagens bem sombrias Eu adorei, fica recomendado Ainda vou ler o volume 02 e posto a resenha aqui. This omnibus was a little bit of a slog to get through, as the length of time it took me to read it will attest It didn t feel like the story was dragging, but there was such a lot of it, and the authors writing style is rather dense The magic system is only lightly touched on, which is a shame, since it looks fascinating, and the being onset by all sides is murderous to my nails if I was a nail biter I think once I digest everything that has taken place in this omnibus that I will continue the series, thought likely in single book form. Quiere saber m s de estos dos libros, sin spoilers Visite After reading Game of Thrones and of course watching the series , I was looking for something similar Hawkwood and the Kings is book one of the Monarchies of God Original a multi book series that has been complied into two books, the first being Hawkwood and the Kings and the second being the Century of the Solider The author weaves some core elements of real history predominately the Crusades Additionally the world is, in some ways, very reminiscent of our own Old Europe, Middle East, the New World which I find makes things easy to keep track of There are three main story archs and it is somewhat complex.War is raging between the East Merduks similar to the Middle East during the Crusades , who have invaded the West The main character it follows is Corfe, the last survivor of a the first battle of the Merduk invasion He starts off retreating with the people, but emerges a great leader in battle We also follow the leaders of the Merduks as well.While the five kingdoms attempt to repel the advances of the Merduk s, the Church is vying for power to control the West A new High Pontiff has taken control and he wants to bring the full power of the church to bear He has started burning the heretics and anyone that has any magic powers Part of the story of the church follows a monk who has discovered a secret in the catacombs that could bring the church down.Lastly we follow ship s captain Hawkwood, a salty smuggler type, who has been commandeered to lead a group of soldiers and a group of magic folk across the Western Ocean in a Columbus type of expedition for the New World what they discover could change the course of everything.If you enjoyed Game of Thrones, like reading different POVs, and enjoy a fast pace near real fantasy, this is it or your can wait a few years for the next book in the Game of Thrones series.