Quick Review: KING OF ASSASSINS by RJ Barker (Orbit)

BarkerRJ-3-KingOfAssassinsThe brutal, engrossing, twisty finale to the Wounded Kingdom trilogy

Assassin Girton Club-Foot has lived in relative peace for many years, but now his king, Rufra ap Vthyr, eyes the vacant High-King’s throne and will take his court to the capital. In a viper’s nest of intrigue, the endgame of twenty years of politics and murder will be played out in the bid to become the King of all Kings.

Friends become enemies, enemies become friends, and the god of death stands closer than ever, casting his shadow over everyone Girton holds dear.

And so the Wounded Kingdom trilogy comes to a close… It’s been a fantastic journey, to follow these characters from their youth to the ultimately tragic end of King of Assassins. Easily one of my favourite recent fantasy series, this finale did not disappoint. Continue reading

Advertisements

New Books (May-June)

NewBooks-20180622

Featuring: Mark Adams, Tom Barbash, RJ Barker, Laird Barron, Terry Brooks, Jim Butcher, Gail Carrier, Bill Clinton, Nadia Dalbuono, Sebastien de Castell, Nicholas Eames, Joseph Fink, Lauren Groff, Nick Harkaway, Max Hastings, Jon Hollins, A.M. Homes, Phil Kelly, Harrison Scott Key, Steve Kornacki, Dale Lucas, Brian McClellan, David Mealing, Lawrence Osborne, James Patterson, Joanne Proulx, Vivian Shaw, Anna Smith Spark, Tasha Suri, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tade Thompson, Patrick S. Tomlinson, Jennifer Wolfe

Continue reading

Review: BLOOD OF ASSASSINS by RJ Barker (Orbit)

BarkerRJ-WK2-BloodOfAssassinsGirton Club-Foot returns

In a desperate bid to escape the bounty on his head, assassin Girton Club-Foot has returned to Maniyadoc, but the kingdom he knew no longer exists.

Three kings battle for supremacy in a land ravaged by war-and one of them is his old friend Rufra. With threats inside and outside the war encampment, Girton races to find the traitor behind an assassination plot. But his magic can no longer be contained and Girton may not be able to save even himself.

It’s assassin versus assassin for the life of a king.

RJ Barker’s Age of Assassins is one of the best debut fantasies I’ve read in some time. At a time when I’ve been struggling with the genre, Barker’s debut caught my attention from the opening scenes — it was amusing, the characters were very well-drawn, and the story was far more focused than many fantasies I’ve tried recently. In Blood of Assassins, Barker returns readers to Maniyadoc, five years after the events of the first novel. I enjoyed this novel a great deal. Continue reading

New Books (December 2017-January 2018)

NewBooks-20180113

Featuring: Saladin Ahmed, Jonathan Ames, RJ Barker, Elizabeth Bear, Tom Bissell, Ezekiel Boone, Jordanna Max Brodsky, Leo Carew, Rae Carson, Ron Chernow, Mira Grant, Ulysses S. Grant, Grigsby, Vaseem Khan, Margaret Killjoy, Matthew Kneale, Jessica Knoll, Phillip Margolin, Angus McIntyre, Brad Meltzer, John Jackson Miller, Michael Moreci, Laline Paull, Tristan Palmgren, Gareth L. Powell, Alastair Reynolds, Josh Reynolds, Kelly Robson, Sebastian Rotella, Rob Sanders, Tess Sharpe, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Peter Watts, Timothy Zahn

Continue reading

Review: AGE OF ASSASSINS by RJ Barker (Orbit)

BarkerRJ-AgeOfAssassinsUSAn interesting new debut fantasy series

It’s a game of assassin versus assassin

Girton Club-foot has no family, a crippled leg, and is apprenticed to the best assassin in the land.

He’s learning the art of taking lives, but his latest mission tasks him with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life. Someone is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince’s murder — and his own.

This is the first new fantasy series that I’ve read in quite some time. In fact, it’s only the second this year (the other was Ed McDonald’s Blackwing). Long-time readers of CR may have noticed that I’ve been struggling with the genre for a while, but Age of Assassins really worked for me. This is the start of an interesting, engaging and entertaining new fantasy series. I’m really looking forward to the sequel. Continue reading

New Books (May 2017)

Featuring: Jeff Abbott, Curtis Armstrong, R.J. Barker, J. Patrick Black, Eric Brown, Sebastien de Castell, Anne Corlett, Greg Cox, Nate Crowley, Joel Dicker, Chris Dows, Jennifer Egan, Anthony Franze, Garbage & Jason Cohen, Max Gladstone, Daniel Godfrey, Dave Hutchinson, Eddie Izzard, Benedict Jacka, Cassandra Khaw, Richard Lange, Yoon Ha Lee, Graham McNeill, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Malka Older, Benjamin Percy, Josh Reynolds, Salman Rushdie, John Sandford, Tade Thompson, Wendy N. Wagner

Continue reading

Interview with RJ BARKER

BarkerRJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is RJ Barker?

Oh gosh, that’s a big question isn’t it? Who am I? People have written whole books on that, well, not on me personally, on that question in general, but I suppose if I did write a book about it that might be a little bit of overkill. I’ll stick with the general perception of people who know me and say RJ (no dots, for dots are the enemy of mankind[1]) is friendly and a bit eccentric. And has big hair.

Your debut novel, Age of Assassins, will be published by Orbit in August. It looks rather interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It is part of a series but it’s written so each book stands alone. You’ll get more out of it if you read all three (Age of Assassins, Blood of Assassins and King of Assassins) but you don’t need to do that to get a complete story. The tagline of book one probably says it best: “To catch an assassin, use an assassin.” Our hero, Girton Club-Foot, is an assassin put into a position where he has to become a detective and stop a killer to save his, and his master’s, skin. It’s exciting and full of action but at heart it’s a murder mystery. It also revolves around the central relationship between Girton and his master who are very much characters (I hope) you will really like. Girton especially is someone driven to do the right thing. And there’s magic, and they ride around on beasts with massive antlers which, to be honest, I would read a book for that alone. I do like antlers. Continue reading