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review 2019-07-12 16:14
Dragonslayer(Dragonslayer #1) by Duncan M. Hamilton
Dragonslayer - Duncan M. Hamilton



In his magnificent, heroic, adventure fantasy, Dragonslayer, Duncan M. Hamilton debuts the first book in a fast-moving trilogy: a dangerous tale of lost magics, unlikely heroes, and reawakened dragons.

Once a member of the King's personal guard, Guillot dal Villevaurais spends most days drinking and mourning his wife and child. He's astonished--and wary--when the Prince Bishop orders him to find and destroy a dragon. He and the Prince Bishop have never exactly been friends and Gill left the capitol in disgrace five years ago. So why him? And, more importantly, how is there a dragon to fight when the beasts were hunted to extinction centuries ago by the ancient Chevaliers of the Silver Circle?

On the way to the capitol city, Gill rescues Solène, a young barmaid, who is about to be burned as a witch. He believes her innocent...but she soon proves that she has plenty of raw, untrained power, a problem in this land, where magic is forbidden. Yet the Prince Bishop believes magic will be the key to both destroying the dragon and replacingthe young, untried King he pretends to serve with a more pliable figurehead.

Between Gill's rusty swordsmanship and Solène's unstable magic, what could go wrong?




*I received a free copy from the publisher and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!*



I read a sample of the book, on bookish first and I really enjoyed it. I won the book in their raffle and was excited. Once I got deeper into the book I liked it but not as much as I thought I would,

For a while I felt like something is missing, the world building , there is none really. we are just thrown in and we are there but that is just about it and sometimes even half way through I just felt lost.

Another thing that bothered me a bit was switching the POV randomly, just anywhere in a chapter without a warning the next paragraph was a different POV. This could, have been because it was a review copy but for this copy is was a bit confusing.

Other than that I enjoyed this book, I enjoyed the story, (for the most part.)

What I really enjoyed was that we get a voice of the dragon, and I really enjoyed that and we don't too often get that.

I liked that the book also deals with some real life issues, like alcoholism.

Overall, it was okay book and the while the writing was good it could have been better with the world building but other than that I liked it.

I give it 3 ★





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Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/index.php/2019/07/12/review-dragonslayerdragonslayer-1-by-duncan-m-hamilton
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review 2015-03-20 19:36
The Swordsman of Tanosa: A Short Tale of the Middle Sea - Duncan M. Hamilton

“The Swordsman of Tanosa” is a short story set in the Middle Sea world of Duncan M. Hamilton, which has also been the setting for his Society of the Sword Trilogy and the standalone novel The First Blade of Ostia. And while I was totally unfamiliar with the author or his world before this story, I fully intend to pick up one of the Middle Sea novels in the near future.


The story itself centers on one Bafion: a swordsman who has seen his better days. The way he carries himself, his tattered clothes, his skill with a blade, and his courtly manners all suggest to his underworld employers that he once was much more than a sword-for-hire. But no one can say for sure, because Bafion will not speak of his past. It is a subject strictly off-limits. Any attempt to pry into it sure to result in blood being drawn.


But now Bafion is going to be called upon to face that mysterious past. For you see, a boss of the underworld has a job. A rather lucrative opportunity that he has offered to the swordsman. If Bafion fulfills said contract, he will finally have enough money to start a new life for himself. But in order to do so, he will have to go back to the place and the people he once left behind.


Call me a sucker for Three Musketeer-like swashbuckling but I really, really liked this story. It had a mystery, a down-on-his-luck and past-his-prime main character, and people dueling with rapiers. How can anyone not adore that type of fantasy? My only complaint was it was too short.

Source: bookwraiths.com/2015/03/20/the-swordsman-of-tanosa-tale-of-the-middle-seas-by-duncan-m-hamilton
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review 2013-12-31 00:00
The Huntsman's Amulet (Society of the Sword, #2)
The Huntsman's Amulet (Society of the Sw... The Huntsman's Amulet (Society of the Sword, #2) - Duncan M. Hamilton Fantasy Review Barn

That difficult middle book of the trilogy? Nope, no problem. Just send the hero off in a different direction altogether, with a bit of seafaring and... pirates! What could be better than chasing around the oceans, with a sea battle and a storm and... and... You can probably fill in some of the blanks here. Very little of this took me by surprise, but that doesn’t make it any less of an enjoyable romp.

The plot is, in many ways, a choppier affair than in ‘The Tattered Banner’. Main character Soren starts off looking for missing girlfriend Alessandra, then gets distracted by a search to find out more about his Gift (the mysterious power that overtakes him during a fight and makes him super-fast). That thread ends abruptly, and then a storm at sea leaves his ship vulnerable to pirate slave-traders, when that is resolved he falls in with an old acquaintance and sets off after the pirate... and so on. This kind of episodic story has some advantages, and there’s never a dull moment, but it does feel sometimes as if Soren is passively being pushed around by events. He ends up bouncing around all over the place, like a glorified travelogue of his world, and while the places he visits are interesting in themselves, the speed with which he hops from one to another, and the ease with which problems are solved, dulls the impact.

The most interesting place, to my mind, was the mysterious island in the centre of the ocean where there are the remains of a great city. The place is tainted with magic, so it’s dangerous to visit, and the peculiar and foreboding atmosphere of it is conveyed very well. But then, it becomes unexpectedly easy and frankly an excuse for a big info-dump, so in the end it’s a bit of a let-down.

The rest of the book is a giant boys-own adventure, with regular outings for Soren’s talent with a sword. In the first book, the fights, and the outbreaks of magic that accompanied them, were a highlight. Here much of the awesomeness is lost and the fights become rather mundane, as Soren tries to gain full control of his power so that it doesn’t overwhelm him. And it has to be said that the sheer number of times the swords come out makes this aspect of the book repetitious.

If this makes it sounds as if I was disappointed, well, perhaps I was, just a little. I would have liked more of the magic, more of the mind-blowing Gift-infused moments like the Belek battle in the first book (which remains an unforgettable image, still vivid in my mind), more times when things went wrong and I was taken by surprise. Everything was just a tad too easy and predictable. On the other hand, this was a cracking action-adventure, elegantly written and enjoyable from first to last, with no problems picking up the threads of the story from book 1, and no sign of middle-book doldrums. Four stars.
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review 2013-10-12 00:00
Immortal - Duncan Hamilton Duncan Hamilton's excellent biography of George Best points to some pivotal moments in his life and career. His greatest playing moment and the height of his sporting life was Manchester United's winning of the European Cup on May 29th 1968. Best was only truly happy when he was playing, scoring and receiving the adulation of his adoring fans. Nothing else mattered, the aftermath celebrations, the rewards, the copious amounts of alcohol, and the constant flow of beautiful women who entered his life briefly and ultimately departed soon after. It is said that Best was recognized as the first celebrity footballer, his life becoming public property and began quickly spiraling out of control. If only Best had been offered psychiatric counseling, if only Matt Busby had understood more fully his prodigal son, and rather than gently lecture him punished him in a more fitting and effective manner. George Best was a flawed genius, an outstanding sportsman, and it is a great pity that his footballing skills were always overshadowed by this darker side. However ultimately we all control our own destiny and must stand responsible for decisions made and actions taken throughout our life.
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review 2013-04-12 00:00
The Tattered Banner (Society of the Sword, Vol.1)
The Tattered Banner - Duncan M. Hamilton Fantasy Review Barn

Soren is eighteen, trying to survive on the streets, when a theft gone wrong results in a street fight and a passing swordsman recognises some talent in him. He is taken to the Academy to learn to wield a rapier and be a gentleman. The early chapters are the usual street-boy-goes-to-posh-school affair, but fortunately Soren has the intelligence to keep his nose clean, so he’s not constantly getting into trouble. He also turns out to be something of a fighting phenomenon, not an unusual theme in fantasy, but nicely intriguing here. Is his ability a natural talent, or some kind of magic?

Fortunately, the author avoids getting too entrenched in schoolroom dramas and Soren is soon out and about wielding his rapier and discovering the extent of his extraordinary gift. These early battles are beautifully described, the highpoint of the book for me, and I loved every moment of each one (especially the belek). The romantic entanglement is slightly more clunky, but that fits with Soren’s rather self-effacing nature. The background scenery is lightly sketched, with more emphasis on architecture than geography, but it works fine, and the deep history - of empires and mage wars and other intriguing events - is no more than hints. I found it interesting that Ostia (Soren’s country) has outlawed magic, but still makes use of mage lights, while the barbarians still practice magic.

Soren is a likeable protagonist, making (mostly) sensible decisions. I liked his response to a trick played on him by a fellow student. His friends tell him his honour has been impugned and he must challenge the trickster to a duel, but Soren is reluctant; he is far more concerned with trying not to break the rules of the Academy and thereby get himself thrown out. Unlike his rich, titled friends, he is more focused on making a career for himself than on abstract concepts like honour, and he never forgets his origins. He seems to adapt surprisingly well to a life of protocol and diplomacy, but he’s clearly a smart cookie, so I can go along with that (and frankly, a socially inept character would be pretty tedious - I wanted Soren to succeed, not trip over his own feet). It has to be said, though, that he’s very gullible - although to be fair, it fits with his personality and previous life, since he’s too grateful for his reprieve from the streets to question things, and he has no understanding of political nuances.

The writing style is enjoyably literate, if rather wordy, but it works very well for a story like this, built around formality and protocol. The author has a habit of dumping information occasionally, but it’s small scale stuff and not obtrusive. There is some untidiness, repetition and excessive exposition, and the author might care to look up the difference between ‘discrete’ and ‘discreet’. The latter part of the book becomes a little episodic and the fights rather perfunctory, but Soren’s investigations into his abilities were still intriguing. The big reveal at the end is hardly a surprise, and the ending somewhat glib, but these are minor issues.

I really enjoyed this book and found it seductively easy to keep turning the pages - that just-one-more-chapter syndrome. It’s the first time I’ve read a story focused on the rapier as the weapon of choice, and I found it a refreshing change from the more usual broadswords and bows. I would have liked to know more about Soren’s abilities and the mage wars, but perhaps that will come in a later book. This is a somewhat flawed effort in many ways - the choppy ending, the not-quite-convincing romance and the sometimes too wordy style - but I found it a great read. A good four stars. And the belek was awesome.
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