Chains of the Heretic

of stars at The BiblioSanctum am stunned on so many levels To call Chains of the Heretic one of the finest pieces of dark fantasy I have ever read would

5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2016/02/08/b...I am stunned on so many levels. To call Chains of the Heretic one of the finest pieces of dark fantasy I have ever read would be a gross understatement. It is simply phenomenal, an incredible masterpiece and outstanding achievement for Jeff Salyards. There’s also no doubt about it, this series has come a long way since the author’s debut novel Scourge of the Betrayer, the first Bloodsounder’s Arc book that started us on this epic journey.Just like the series’ protagonist and narrator Arkamandos (Arki for short), it amazes me to think back to the beginning and see how far things have come. If you’ve read my review of the first book, you’ll know that I liked it plenty. But it was the sequel that really opened up the world for me. Veil of the Deserters drove home for me what Salyards was trying to achieve and made me a diehard fan of the series, and then to have this third book come in and shatter all my already sky-high expectations? It was an unparalleled surprise, to say the least. It goes without saying that these are my favorite kinds of trilogies, the ones where each book just gets better and better.Not to sound deliberately cryptic, but this series has always been about being secretive and extremely cautious about revealing its intentions. If you haven’t read the first two books, almost everything I say about the story of Chains of the Heretic could be regarded as a spoiler, so I’ll keep my descriptions of it brief. This book picks up right where the last one left off, following Captain Braylar Killcoin and his band of Jackals after their narrow escape from the Syldoon capital, with the shaken Arki in tow. Trapped between the Godveil and the Imperial forces on their tail, the company is forced to make a desperate gambit. All they have to go on are Arki’s incomplete translations of some ancient and obscure texts, which are spotty at best, but the choice is simple: pass through the mysterious Veil and maybe die, or stay to be cut down by Emperor Cynead’s far bigger army and die for sure.Putting his trust in Arki’s findings, Braylar decides to take a chance on the crazy plan, using his magical flail Bloodsounder to lead his men and women into the unknown. But though this move takes them beyond the reach of their enemies, what awaits them on the other side of the Veil is arguably even more terrible. What they find will shake the foundations of life, religion and history for everyone living in the Empire.Yes, you heard correctly. At long last, we get to cross the inscrutable Godveil, that ominous piece of the puzzle that has been teasing me from day one. I can practically picture Salyards sitting behind his keyboard as he wrote this book, rubbing his hands together in a villainous fashion while chortling with maniacal glee as he finally unleashed all the secrets he has been sitting on since he first started writing this series. I have to hand it to him though, the wait was well worth it. Plague me, but I was riveted by all the strange things our characters discovered on the other side.As ever though, what I loved most were the characters. I am and will always be a “character first” kind of reader. Of course in an ideal situation, characters, world-building, story, and writing will all be perfectly balanced, but without the first, it’s generally more difficult for me to get into the rest. That’s why I was really thrilled when Chains of the Heretic delivered splendidly on all fronts, with characters scoring a perfect ten. The choice of Arki as the narrator has always struck me as a brilliant choice—he is the Jackals’ scribe, an outsider hired on to translate documents for Captain Killcoin, but this also puts him in the perfect position to be the company’s Chronicler, both for the Syldoon and us as the readers. His role gives him a reasonable excuse to question everything and everyone, which is how most of the other characters’ motivations and the ways of this world are revealed to us. In this book, we also get to see how Arki’s experience with the Syldoon has changed him irrevocably. He’ll always stick out as the bookish scribe among a group of hardened warriors, but it moved me how the Jackals have gradually come to see him as one of their own.But while entire series is told through Arki’s eyes, it’s interesting to me how the Bloodsounder’s Arc has always been the about the saga of Braylar Killcoin and his relationship with the eponymous cursed flail. Be that as it may though, the truth is that I would be hard pressed to name my favorite characters. Placing duty above everything else, Captain Braylar is the consummate soldier who will lay down his life for his Tower and commander, but aside from Arki, Braylar’s colorful cast of lieutenants also provide him counsel (or attempt to, anyway). From the seasoned Hewspear to the hulking Azmorgon, from the always-live-in-the-present Vendurro to the foulmouthed Muldoos (who is as eloquently offensive as ever), I literally love them all. And last but not least, there is the good captain’s sister Soffjian, the scary Memoridon who can take down a squad of Syldoon with no more than a single thought if she wanted to. I’ve become so attached to these characters that I’d already braced myself knowing the loss of any one of them would strike a devastating blow.Furthermore, Jeff Salyards proves himself a skilled wordsmith by the way constructs his prose, especially when he really lets loose in his characters’ dialogue. There’s a lot of humor, and depending on who’s delivering it, you get everything from Braylar’s deadpan, matter-of-fact sarcasm to Muldoos’ creatively crass brand of profanity, plus even some of Arki’s own ironic observances thrown in. This final volume also underscores the superb storytelling, drawing together three books’ worth of intricate plot threads to bring the trilogy to a seamless conclusion. It’s true there are some predictable outcomes, especially if you’ve been following the character dynamics closely, but the overall cohesiveness of the series is a testament to excellent plotting and pacing. I’ve always said that bittersweet endings can be a tricky thing, but Salyards nails it.The Bloodsounder’s Arc is now in the top spot for my favorite grimdark fantasy series. In case all the frantic gushing I’ve been doing hasn’t driven the fact home already, that’s how much I loved this book. If this is what Jeff Salyards can do with his debut trilogy, I can’t wait to see more of his future writing endeavors.Good Chains of the Heretic Creat Jeff Salyards am Books Men are easily broken than myths.Emperor Cynead has usurped command of the Memoridons Tower controlled memory witches and consolidated his reign over the Syldoonian Empire After escaping the capital city of Sunwrack, Captain Braylar Killcoin and his Jackal company evade pursuit across Urglovia, tasked with reaching deposed emperor Thumarr and helping him recapture thMen are easily broken than myths.Emperor Cynead has usurped command of the Memoridons Tower controlled memory witches and consolidated his reign over the Syldoonian Empire After escaping the capital city of Sunwrack, Captain Braylar Killcoin and his Jackal company evade pursuit across Urglovia, tasked with reaching deposed emperor Thumarr and helping him recapture the throne Braylar s sister, Soffjian, rejoins the Jackals and reveals that Commander Darzaak promised her freedom if she agreed to aid them in breaking Cynead s grip on the other Memoridons and ousting him.Imperial forces attempt to intercept Braylar s company before they can reach Thumarr The Jackals fight through Cynead s battalions but find themselves trapped along the Godveil Outmaneuvered and outnumbered, Braylar gambles on some obscure passages that Arki has translated and uses his cursed flail, Bloodsounder, to part the Godveil, leading the Jackals to the other side There, they encounter the ruins of human civilization, but they also learn that the Deserters who abandoned humanity a millennium ago and created the Veil in their wake are still very much alive But are they gods Demons Monsters What Braylar, Soffjian, Arki, and the Jackals discover beyond the Godveil will shake an empire, reshape a map, and irrevocably alter the course of history.. I grew up in a small town north of Chicago While it wasn t Mayberry, with all the doors unlocked and everyone offering each other slices of pie and quaint homilies, it was pretty quiet and sleepy, so I got started early imagining my way into all kinds of other worlds and universes that were loud, chaotic, and full of irrepressible characters and heaps of danger Massive explosions Tentacled aliens Men with sharp swords and thousand yard stares and secrets they would die to protect Clearly, I was a full bore dork.Royal Crown bag full of multi sided dice Check Blood red hooded cloak Check Annual pilgrimages to Renaissance Faires Check Whacking other curiously athletic and gifted dorks with rattan swords in the SCA Check Yes, I earned my badges, thank you very much.My whole life, I ve been fascinated by the fantastic, and of course this extended to speculative fiction of all kinds Countless prepubescent evenings found me reading a worn, dog eared copy of Thuvia, Maid of Mars it sounded so much dirtier than it was or The Frost Giant s Daughter high hopes for that one too well past lights out, flashlight in hand, ignoring the repeated calls to turn in That s as quiet and harmless a rebellion as you can have, and my parents mostly sighed and left me to it.So, no one has ever been surprised to hear that I was working on or at least talking about working on some sci fi or fantasy story or other But it took years of flirting with various projects, flitting from one to the next without the hint of complete commitment, before I finally mastered myself enough to finish a novel And longer still before I finished another one that was worthy of being published.But wonders never cease And here we are.My debut novel, Scourge of the Betrayer, is a hard boiled fantasy to be published by Night Shade Books in May 2012 It s the first installment in a series called Bloodsounder s Arc I m so excited I m beginning to annoy myself I am represented by Michael Harriot at Folio Literary Management, and couldn t be happier His savvy, smart advice has been invaluable on this journey I suspect he has a secret stash of 20 siders somewhere in his desk.I live with my lovely wife, Kris, and three daughters in a suburb west of Chicago I am indebted to Kris in countless ways for her steadfast encouragement, support, and thick skin in dealing with a prickly, moody writer I don t always like living with me, but she has a choice and stays anyway.And before you are tempted to mention it, I am fully aware that siring three daughters is certainly karmic retribution, particularly when they all transform into teenagers I cling to the hope of discovering at least one of them reading covertly in the middle of the night That kind of transgression I can handle.. Popular Books Chains of the Heretic This arrived on my doormat today.It prompted me to this blog post on the cost of promotion.http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk...EDIT: And now I've read it!I liked the first two books in this trilogy quite a lot. I had some reservations, but they were good reads. Book three is a great read and my reservations are gone. I'm not entirely sure what changed. I think it's down to several factors.i) The characters have won me over, I buy the relationships, and our 'hero' Arki is more focused and develops more swiftly. Also the endless research pays off in more concrete ways.ii) The world building expands and things become very interesting. Lots of imagination on show.iii) The plot comes together big time and the groundwork laid down in previous books really earns its keep.Since it's on the front cover it's no spoiler to say that Captain Braylar gets to fight a deserter, an eyeless giant. This aspect of the book is fascinating and the conflict really helps raise the stake and creates real tension.As in previous books the focus is generally on small scale encounters between scores of opponents with close attention paid to armour, weapons, tactics, and individual combat. We also get memory magic and various new flavours of this enchantment are deployed.I don't want to drop any spoilers but it seems fair to say that Captain Braylar's escaping band travel widely, visit the godveil and in time find themselves back at the capital involved in high level power politics.The story ends with plenty of scope for the survivors to engage in more adventure. So here's hoping that Salyards pens some more in future.Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes..

About Author

  1. I grew up in a small town north of Chicago While it wasn t Mayberry, with all the doors unlocked and everyone offering each other slices of pie and quaint homilies, it was pretty quiet and sleepy, so I got started early imagining my way into all kinds of other worlds and universes that were loud, chaotic, and full of irrepressible characters and heaps of danger Massive explosions Tentacled aliens Men with sharp swords and thousand yard stares and secrets they would die to protect Clearly, I was a full bore dork.Royal Crown bag full of multi sided dice Check Blood red hooded cloak Check Annual pilgrimages to Renaissance Faires Check Whacking other curiously athletic and gifted dorks with rattan swords in the SCA Check Yes, I earned my badges, thank you very much.My whole life, I ve been fascinated by the fantastic, and of course this extended to speculative fiction of all kinds Countless prepubescent evenings found me reading a worn, dog eared copy of Thuvia, Maid of Mars it sounded so much dirtier than it was or The Frost Giant s Daughter high hopes for that one too well past lights out, flashlight in hand, ignoring the repeated calls to turn in That s as quiet and harmless a rebellion as you can have, and my parents mostly sighed and left me to it.So, no one has ever been surprised to hear that I was working on or at least talking about working on some sci fi or fantasy story or other But it took years of flirting with various projects, flitting from one to the next without the hint of complete commitment, before I finally mastered myself enough to finish a novel And longer still before I finished another one that was worthy of being published.But wonders never cease And here we are.My debut novel, Scourge of the Betrayer, is a hard boiled fantasy to be published by Night Shade Books in May 2012 It s the first installment in a series called Bloodsounder s Arc I m so excited I m beginning to annoy myself I am represented by Michael Harriot at Folio Literary Management, and couldn t be happier His savvy, smart advice has been invaluable on this journey I suspect he has a secret stash of 20 siders somewhere in his desk.I live with my lovely wife, Kris, and three daughters in a suburb west of Chicago I am indebted to Kris in countless ways for her steadfast encouragement, support, and thick skin in dealing with a prickly, moody writer I don t always like living with me, but she has a choice and stays anyway.And before you are tempted to mention it, I am fully aware that siring three daughters is certainly karmic retribution, particularly when they all transform into teenagers I cling to the hope of discovering at least one of them reading covertly in the middle of the night That kind of transgression I can handle.

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Chains of the Heretic Comment

  1. This arrived on my doormat today.It prompted me to this blog post on the cost of promotionrk lawrenceEDIT And now I ve read it I liked the first two books in this trilogy quite a lot I had some reservations, but they were good reads Book three is a great read and my reservations are gone I m not entirely sure what changed I think it s down to several factors.i The characters have won me over, I buy the relationships, and our hero Arki is focused and develops swiftly Also the endless research p [...]


  2. Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths4.5 stars Let me explain why.As the concluding chapter of Bloodsounder s Arc, Chains of the Heretic is a rousing and fitting finale one which thunders out of the gate, determined to shed light upon every shadowy mystery and to resolve every plot line This journey of Arki from naive scribe to trusted member of Captain Killcoin s Syldoon company ending the only way it could with both tears and optimism for a new beginning But, wait, I m getting ahead of myself let [...]


  3. 5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum bibliosanctum 2016 02 08 bI am stunned on so many levels To call Chains of the Heretic one of the finest pieces of dark fantasy I have ever read would be a gross understatement It is simply phenomenal, an incredible masterpiece and outstanding achievement for Jeff Salyards There s also no doubt about it, this series has come a long way since the author s debut novel Scourge of the Betrayer, the first Bloodsounder s Arc book that started us on this epic journey.J [...]


  4. While I enjoyed Scourge of the Betrayer, the first book of Bloodsounder s Arc, it was Veil of the Deserters that really opened my eyes to what Jeff Salyards was capable of Not only did it overcome the dreaded middle book curse, it actually proved to be one of those rare sequels that completely surpass the first I came away from it thoroughly satisfied, but also hungry for .That brings us to Chains of the Heretic, the third and final book of Bloodsounder s Arc Where that second volume expanded up [...]


  5. Captain Killcoin hadn t predicted what had come to pass in Sunwrack, but he had been absolutely right about one thing I d seen things so far beyond the pale they made me dizzy to think about Joining the Syldoon was surely the most remarkable adventure I could have embarked on, no matter how things turned out.Well if the first book was good and second even better this one is a blast Nonstop action, fights, adventure, twists one after another intense and breathtaking start to finish Strongest book [...]


  6. I ve been keeping a list in my head of the best books I ve read regardless of publication year in 2016 I ve read a bunch of great books this year but these are books that really left a mark Up until now I ve had D.G Valdron s The Mermaid s Tale, and Anthony Ryan s The Waking Fire on that very short list I have now added a third book Actually, an entire series I think I read all of em in 2016.It is a good day for crossbows, Syldoon A very good day.


  7. An exceptional finale to a very fine military Fantasy trilogy One I ll add to my personal all time favorites shelf And a trilogy I just cannot recommend highly enough Fantasy of the highest quality Last month, Jan 2016 I finally got around to reading Joe Abercrombie s FIRST LAW trilogy for the first time It blew me away I found it to be just about the greatest fantasy tale I d ever read I never expected that that reading experience would be topped or topped so soon No, not topped exactly I enjoy [...]


  8. Chains of the Heretic is the longest and best book of a trilogy that has continually made me root for Jeff Salyards to become my favorite fantasy author He has so much going for him his dialogue is hilarious in ways unmatched by the piers I ve read his action is top notch, and continues to improve with each book and his worldbuilding with the bloodsounder weapon, the Godsveil, memorandums, etcThis is my new favorite fantasy trilogy Chains of the Heretic is the best book yet, probably the most fl [...]




  9. I realized I still haven t reviewed this book and that is complete junk because this book deserves to get reviewed by everyone on the whole site Salyards is such an underrated talent who is easily up there with Abercrombie and Lynch I always have a difficult time with reviews for the last in a series trilogy This is no different There s no way to do it without spoiling some stuff, but I refuse to hide the whole review for that reason because it s the third in a series I think we all get that.Any [...]


  10. FULL REVIEW ON MY BLOG, TOTAL INABILITY TO CONNECTWarning Review to contain minor spoilers.E ARC Provided by author and publisher in return for reviewIn 2014, I called Jeff s Veil of the Deserters one of my top 5 books, schmoozing with fantasy genre juggernauts such as Brent Weeks and Brandon Sanderson The debut in the series, Scourge of the Betrayer, captivated me it was short and to the point, yet incredibly interesting It left me wanting a lot , and Veil delivered that to me The incredible wo [...]


  11. Five plaguing stars for Chains of the Heretic.I originally read Scourge of the Betrayer as a group read and it was really great In fact, it was awesome enough to continue with the second and now here I am, reviewing the final book of the series That in itself is an accomplishment for those of you who know I give up on series pretty easily However, that s not all The first two books of Bloodsounder s Arc were good Solid 4 stars for both, but this last book was just epic You can really see the wor [...]


  12. Full review here thequeenofblades.uThis series is fantastic, and the last installment is, by far, the best It has all the things you come to expect from Salyards, great worldbuilding, superb characters, and most of all that authentic dialogue Plus some added extras What s the extras I hear you cry Well, the mystery is solved Not just any old mystery, the mystery I was so afraid the conclusion would not live up to the build up, but I was gladly proven wrong What started out as a small company of [...]


  13. The Bloodsounder s Arc is a Dark Military Fantasy through and through, yet the world author Jeff Salyards crafted to go with the brutal battles is no slouch Seldom do fantasy worlds feel as enticing as this We learned just enough to leave us flabbergasted by the world, but little enough to leave us wanting I hope to see a return to this world and its characters again one day Kudos to Jeff for a great trilogy that feels like one long book with the perfect amount of pay off in the end.


  14. Great finish to even greater series Hats off to Mr Salyards for writing such thrilling and fantastic conclusion Loved every moment of it Can t wait for his next book.


  15. A great conclusion to an engrossing series I loved how Arki became a part of the troop and he really grew as a character through the series The ending made complete sense and was a fitting ending for our characters Salyards created a real mix of characters that were essential to the story and each enriched the story in their own way Whether is was the rough speaking Mulldoos or Ven and his obsession with eating eggs.A trilogy well worth giving a go.


  16. Fantastic book Fantastic trilogy Of all the books I ve read this series is one of my all time favorites I ve grown to love the characters, and finishing this last book, I am so sad to leave them behind to Salyard sure we can t get rid of that trilogy word I d read another ten of these If you ve read the prior books you know much what to expect, save for a host of truly epic, in scale and awesomeness, and breath catching events Great action, great characters, great plot, great pacing, and great d [...]


  17. As with each book in this series the one word that comes to mind is unpredictable And while that is a huge asset, it also held me back from giving this 5 stars There were many situations and characters and their relationships that I thought should have been explained and explored thoroughly throughout this book Still, I highly recommend this trilogy I really enjoyed it and will miss these characters now that it is over.


  18. The years cool passions for some men, neutralize poison, soften the edges of grief and rage and prejudice But for others, they hold on even tighter to the things that burn their insides out regardless of the passage of time, or even in spite of it, as if to curse the very world itself.


  19. REVIEW SUMMARY Bloodsounder s Arc reaches its apogee with Chains of the Heretic RATING 4.5 stars BRIEF SYNOPSIS The ultimate coup sends Arki, Captain Killcoin, and the Syldoon soldiers of Jackal Tower fleeing into the unknown where they will confront their own legends REVIEWPROS Excellent character progression, unexpected twists and turns, relentless action, bittersweet goodbyesNS A little time spent learning about the Deserters would have been welcome and the final battle could have been longe [...]


  20. Ana amazing finale to the series It builds upon the tension and ends the only way it possibly could with a bang Fantastic read that I recommend to everyone.




  21. Jeff Salyards has conjured up a remarkable world in his debut series I was delighted that my unsubtle badgering yielded an ARC of the final instalment of the Bloodsounder s Arc trilogy While this review will eschew spoilers for Chains of Heretic, the whole work is such an interlocked series that there will inevitably be spoilers to the preceding two volumes So, if you have not yet met Braylar Killcoin and his band of cussed and cursing warriors then look away now Or still better, look at my revi [...]


  22. This review contains spoilers in the last paragraph I am so mad at myself for being lazy and refusing to write a review when i finished reading this book 3 weeks ago now i can t remember the details i liked so much well i guess now i know why people who actually take the time to write are called writers and us lazy beings are called readersyway, moving on.Jeff Salyards, i like u a lot u must be a combination of both Arki Braylar to have been able to switch easily between these two thank you for [...]


  23. In short, gripping This review is for the series as a whole I picked up the first of the series and whistled through it pretty quickly It was an interesting narrative concept that had been done before but there s nothing wrong with that The first book was short but left enough interest that I d want to look the next one up The next two held me very well and I was very impressed I thought that the best thing about the whole series is the characters The sheer variation of personalities from the wi [...]


  24. NO SPOILER REVIEW I was happy to receive an ARC of this book as I m a huge fan of the series and wanted to find out how Arki and his adopted Jackals would close out At first I was a little hesitant to become too excited about it as it seemed like most of the core themes had been played out the rough housing by Mulldoos and the rest of the Jackals, the epic battles, and Arki s awkwardness I held out hope that the Arki s scribblings would turn up something that would take Captain Killcoin and his [...]




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