The Lost War: Eidyn Trilogy, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
"Strikingly intense...immersive and thoroughly compelling." (SFX)
"Compelling and entertaining...inventive and fun." (SciFiNow)
The war is over, but something is rotten in the state of Eidyn.
With a ragged peace in place, demons burn farmlands, violent Reivers roam the wilds and plague has spread beyond the Black Meadows. The country is on its knees.
In a society that fears and shuns him, Aranok is the first magically-skilled draoidh to be named King's Envoy.
Now, charged with restoring an exiled foreign queen to her throne, he leads a group of strangers across the ravaged country. But at every step, a new mystery complicates their mission.
As bodies drop around them, new threats emerge and lies are revealed, can Aranok bring his companions together and uncover the conspiracy that threatens the kingdom?
Strap in for this twisted fantasy road trip from award-winning author Justin Lee Anderson.
Shortlisted in the 2019 Booknest Fantasy Awards
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|Listening Length||20 hours and 4 minutes|
|Author||Justin Lee Anderson|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||April 28, 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #68,315 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1,968 in Classic Literature (Audible Books & Originals)
#2,640 in Horror Fiction
#2,916 in Epic Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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From the character development to the pace and rhythm of the story, Mr. Anderson has created a true gem. You will regret finishing this book MUCH more than you regret starting it. While that may not sound like a compliment to many, in my mind it is the highest praise possible.
In short, I really ended up having a lot of fun with this one, and enjoying it to a degree I did not anticipate.
Anderson thrusts his reader into a world where a war just ended. Now, let me take a moment to appreciate this setting, because I loved it. I saw what was going on right away, and thought, “Yes, I am here for this.” The reason being, in fantasy, we read a lot about wars starting, wars being fought, wars simmering in the borderlands, but we rarely read a book set in a time after the war has been fought, and everything, for good or ill, is starting to settle.
The dynamics The Lost War were masterfully played out. Anderson created a whole new category of strife for the bereaved residents of Eidyn to deal with in the form of plagues and demons, other horrors that make life miserable. So, the war ends, which is not always a good thing, but usually there’s some form of relief… “Yay, no more fighting” at least. Anderson, however, uses this ending as a vehicle to unleash a whole new slew of trials upon the land. As the description says, “the country is on its knees” and as the reader, you’ll feel that throughout. Furthermore, this aspect, this tug-of-war with such a big event and its ramifications provoked a bit of thought in me regarding my own writing, how one thing can spark another. How unexpected results can move a story down unexplored pathways.
And here’s the thing. You might read that and think, “Well, that sucks,” but it’s truly an example of how the entire book works. Anderson sets you off balance, and you don’t even realize he’s done it.
You’ve got this really interesting setup, a place steeped in pain, with a lining of hope, and insert your plot. Aranok, a draoidh (read: magician) has been called by the king to restore an exiled queen to her throne. In order to do this, he has to lead a group of strangers across unknown lands, and somehow you know, at this point, unexpected things will happen and swords will be drawn. Blood will spill.
As you can see, this book might feel a lot like a lot of other fantasy books you might have read. The first chunk of the novel will likely either make it or break it for you, because there are a lot of names and places, people being introduced, and this quest is set up. However, if you’re a reader who doesn’t mind all that, the payoff is fantastic. There’s a whole lot going on under the surface that Anderson hints at, alludes to, or toys with in supremely subtle ways, and this, friends, is what hooked me. The example of the war/beasties aspect I listed above is just one. His ability to take something that should be straightforward (Yay, the war is over!) and make it absolute crap (Oh, a plague.) kept me absolutely engaged and intrigued.
What this all leads to is an atmosphere that is welded like a hammer in Anderson’s toolkit. You don’t really realize how ominous things feel until you’re in the middle of the book thinking, “Holy shit, when did things start feeling like this?” What I’m saying is, the book sort of creeps up on you. At the start, you’re thinking this is your typical fantasy quest story, but you keep pushing on and one thing leads to another. It’s like Anderson is playing a song on the piano, throwing in a minor key here and there. You don’t realize he’s turning this peppy song into a lament until it’s too late to turn back. All it takes is one note here, one note there, and this song you thought you knew turns into something else entirely.
The truth is, none of that would be as effective without that familiar-feeling beginning. It’s through that understood starting point that the rest of this book is able to be as effective as it ended up being. Added into that, the pacing was near perfection. Once the story takes off, it’s like rolling a boulder down a hill. It picks up speed and momentum, something always happening right where it needs to to drive the plot along, or build the world or characters, sometimes all three. By the end of the book, the pacing is relentless, and the ending is… really a thing to behold due to that.
Anderson’s magic system is superb, and he has a way with writing not just magic and action to keep them vivid and interesting, but characters as well. Even the intrigue was really well done. In fact, when I think of this book, I’m fairly amazed by how well balanced all the different elements of it were. Anderson basically threw a whole bunch of balls in the air, and then juggled them all without dropping any of them at any point.
When I think about The Lost War, what I realize is it’s Anderson’s ability to tell a story that really captivates me. The entire book felt like the piano song I mention above. You start out feeling like this is a familiar tale, and you recognize it. He throws in some minor notes here and there, subtly fiddles with the tempo, and before you even realize what’s happening, you aren’t hearing that familiar song anymore, but something else entirely. Every element plays off of every other element to create something that, in the end, you both recognize and not. It’s pure artistry. I was amazed by how he managed to transform something I went into thinking, “Yeah, I know this story” into something I left thinking, “Holy crap, what did I just read? That was… WOW.”
So, what do you have here? Something truly unpredictable. This book showcases what sleight of hand and manipulation of a story can really attain. It’s the first book in a new series, and I absolutely cannot wait to read more. The Lost War ended up being a huge surprise, and one I hope you read and enjoy as much as I did.
There was not a single character PoV I did not like. I have read multi pov before and there are characters who have chapters that just feel like a chore. With the Lost War everyone had something worthwhile to contribute.
The action was well done. It was not the best I have read but it honestly did not matter because of how strong the story and plot was. The action was great for breaking up the pacing, but I found myself always wanting to get back into each characters head.
This book is self-published, which can sometimes mean a lack of quality or errors in the text, but this was as clean as a babies bottom that was cleaned up after a massive diaper explosion. They used all the baby wipes on this text and likely opened a second pack to make sure that booty was perfect and spotless.
I can see this book transitioning to film in a fantastic way. The ending is a real jaw dropper and lovers of fantasy will get a kick out of this.
Again, excellent job by Mr. Anderson, this is an author to keep an eye on. I will be looking for the next Installment of The Lost War. That title doe! You folks have no clue what you are in for!!
Top reviews from other countries
It must be said that Gemmell was about growth, redemption, doing the right thing in gritty worlds and was ultimately quite uplifting. He was also Christian, and Anderson by contrast is rabidly anti-Christian (lots of anti-kirk references). I would argue that this is a corruption of Gemmell.
The Lost War is a fantasy novel, an entertainment, competent and well-written. But at the end of the day, it just reinforces the relentless modern matriarchal trope if how perfect females are in all circumstances whereas males are inferior, the source of all evil and the usual nihilistic mantra of our wonderfully progressive world. I won't be reading any further as it too BBC for my taste, but I am sure plenty will enjoy its worldview.
This book is a totally different proposition but I still loved the characters, story and writing (& being an Edinburgh native the interesting use of place names!).
Only problem now is that I've got to wait to read the rest of the journey :(
What it does, and marvellously well, is introduce a story of questions; If I was going to mark a story as a Young Adult book that needs you to think, this'd be it. A large part of the fun I had from it was (as I find with good stories) piecing together fragments, and seeing where the author is planning to go.
I suspect it'll open horizons of many a younger (and probably not so young) readers. If you like the mental 'chess' with an author as a story unfolds, this would definitely be one to pick up!