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The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan

The Steel Remains (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Richard Morgan

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1,093557,618 (3.76)69
Title:The Steel Remains
Authors:Richard Morgan
Info:Gollancz (2008), Edition: Export Ed, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:source: Better Read

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The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan (2008)

Recently added byjulieshedd, Neilsantos, mhaar, private library, Irena., sbook42, Amash, mamzel
  1. 00
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    imyril: Two very different authors tackle fantasy stereotypes and subvert them with glee. Abercrombie focuses on antiheroes - the coward, the torturer, the berserker - whereas Morgan takes more traditional heroes and then soaks them in noir. The results are delightfully wicked, blood-soaked and utterly readable.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
The Steel Remains is a blend of Fantasy and Sci Fi. It is hard and gritty; where heroes were made fighting dragon like creatures that emerged from the oceans. The peace after that sits uneasily with our heroes. Whether resting quietly in a backwater village or restlessly trying to be a clan leader out in the steppes, you know things aren’t going to stay that way for long.

Family obligations and expectations both have our heroes battling a weird amalgam of gods and aliens. The local population is still mired in swords and sorcery at the same time as they try to assimilate living with humanoid creatures who have finally left after 4,000 years. Leaving with almost all their superior technology.

When an ancient legend starts to come to life the supposedly simple task of tracking down a distant relative sold into slavery as a debt price become somewhat complicated.

Politics, superstition, prejudice and the battle between church and state, all get a run in this fast paced adventure. ( )
  Robert3167 | Jan 26, 2016 |
(Re-posted from http://theturnedbrain.blogspot.com)

An alternate title for this book would be: Back Story: How to do it right! Somewhat less catchy than The Steel Remains, to be sure. But very, very true. I can’t think of any other books that fills in the back story of it’s characters as seamlessly as this one does. And guys, there’s a lot of back story.

The book is set a decade or so after a huge war, in which previously antagonistic nations had to band together to best an external threat. The narrative follows three hero’s of this war, Ringil, Archeth, and Egar as they each undergo their own little narrative quests which eventually merge into one big one. Ringil must return home, where he is a barely tolerated disgrace (because he’s a *gasp* homosexual!) and try to track down a cousin sold into slavery. Arceth is trying to learn how to work with a new emperor, and is trying to understand her own past. And Egar is struggling to feel content in his role as clan chief, while meanwhile his own brother’s plot to overthrow him.

It’s the kind of book where the back story is integral, where what happened before the story commences is just as important as what’s happening now. Think the first rise of Voldemort in the Harry Potter books, or the overthrow of House Targaryen in A Song of Ice and Fire. However, unlike those two examples, The Steel Remains is a relatively slim book. (Especially when you consider that it’s the first part of a fantasy trilogy… )And yet I have no trouble envisioning the war we never actually see, as though Morgan had spent chapters and chapters re-telling it, (which he does not).

The key, I think, is that Morgan assumes his reader possesses an ounce of intelligence. Such a simple thing, and yet so few authors really get it. You don’t have to spell things out. I know you want to make doubly sure that the reader understands this crucial bit of information, but guys, guys, seriously, you have to trust us! We’ll get it, and we’ll even thank you for making us figure it out ourselves. Isn’t it better to assume that smart people would want to read your book, instead of ones that need their hands held every step of the way?

Consider the three main characters of The Steel Remains, who I have already briefly mentioned. At no point does Morgan come out and say that they’re friends, or that they even know each other, and for much of the book none of their scenes overlap. But we slowly come to realise that all three fought in the war. Egar might briefly recall something that Ringil once said, or Ringil might have cause to think of Archeth, and their thoughts have such a perfect mix of affection and affectionate insult that only true friends can understand, that the reader knows these guys were close. It’s perfectly done, truly perfect.

When you finish this book it feels like you’ve been reading about these characters for twelve epic volumes, so well do you feel you know them. (I wish I could read about them for twelve epic volumes, because they’re a fascinating and entertaining bunch.) When the three are finally reunited it's as emotionally satisfying as if you'd been waiting for that moment to happen for years, instead of just a few hundred pages.

The minor characters are also excellently done. I want to draw particular attention to the Emperor. When first he is introduced I pretty much wrote him off. He's the spoiled son new to the throne, which had been held for many years by his wise father. He's selfish and mean and a terrible, terrible, ruler. Except, uh, maybe he's not? Rarely am I as surprised by a character as I was by this guy. Props to Morgan, for realz.

Morgan’s writing is an excellent mix of humour and darkness. But I don’t want to draw Abercrombie comparisons because it seems like every time a darker fantasy comes along now his name gets dropped. And anyway, I find Morgan’s characters to be real in a way that Abercrombie’s are not, less bleak for bleaks sake perhaps.

It will, I suspect, be a long wait for October and the continuation to this awesome trilogy. ( )
  MeganDawn | Jan 18, 2016 |
An interesting fantasy read, a lot of fun and some enjoyable spins on the classic tropes. I will say, however, that there is a hint of the Science Fiction Morgan is so well known for in this, but not enough to deter even the most stalwart of Sci-Fi haters.

Word of warning, however: there is a LOT of graphic sex in the novel. I'm fine with it, and as unusual as it sounds it added a lot of character development. But there is a lot.

This novel also felt like the first in a series; and I do not mean just the way that it ended. By the time everything starts to really come together the novel is 90% of the way through. There is a nice culmination, but it really serves just to whet the appetite. I look forward to the next two! ( )
  Hexum2600 | Nov 18, 2015 |
I love this book, but I understand those who aren't as enamoured of it as I am. It takes a while to get into, and the plot is slow and convoluted and sometimes confusing. The world-building is spare, but what is presented is fascinating, and a nice change from other fantasy novels where every tiny detail of the scenery is explained. It took me a while to become emotionally invested in the characters, but once I did, I was hooked. However, if you can't like the characters, particularly Ringil and Archeth, you probably won't like this book. There are lots of intriguing little details (and I wanted to find out more about the sci-fi-tech elements of the landscape) but the book's strength comes from its characters and their choices. I love strung-out, brilliant Archeth, and the completely messed up Ringil. The characters are definitely the products of their environments, and come off as completely human (even when they aren't). They make terrible decisions sometimes, but at least they are doing something. The world they exist in is bleak and tyrannical, and while the characters are heroes, they aren't exactly good. It's grimdark fantasy, and definitely has some disturbing scenes, but it's very much a worthwhile read. ( )
  semjaza | Nov 6, 2015 |
Not for the prudish...
Yes, the main characters have sex... but it is not really pornographic. Actually, it's not even as graphic as some of Morgan's other works, and defo not as sexually graphic as Abercrombie's dark fantasies.

Is it for kids? No, kids shouldn't be reading Morgan. But... just because it's gay sex doesn't make it pornographic. If it was a man and woman having at it, most people wouldn't have said a word about the sex scenes - eliminate homophobia and, at worst, it's a mid-range graphic sexual content. JR Ward's Black Dagger books are way more detailed and they're only considered girl-porn. Actually, everytime someone comments on the presence of gay sex, or the pornographic sex in this novel it worries me... there are a couple points where the author mentions how the women were "raped to death", and nobody bats an eye over this. Actually, an abundance of dark fantasies routinely have women being raped (more or less violently, of course) but nobody cranks and moans about that so much... but put one guy getting it up the rear and LOOK OUT IT'S PORN.

Wonder if that was actually Morgan's point?

Ahhh... what a world when the wholesale rape of women (read any zombie books lately?) has become perfectly routine....

Okay, on to the story... no... as you might not be able to tell from my rant, I actually didn't like it all that much. Morgan was trying too hard to shock us all with the "romantic" (hahahah... I mean "gay") component and not hard enough to shock us with the plot. I guess it worked, in the shock department... just not in the right way. It was just a bit too confusing, just a few too many characters, and a just a bit too much "otherworldlyness" which I didn't think was explained well enough to follow completely. I think he did bring the characters' storylines back together at the end, but it was just a little too late to help the tension/pacing of the novel.

Someone described it as setting the stage for the future novels and that is very accurate; this story is more setup and world/character building and less action/plot.

I'd still read more of Morgan's stuff (and his Kovac's books are still some of my fav dark books)... I might read the next in this series if I come across it somewhere, but won't be seeking it out. ( )
  crazybatcow | Aug 27, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard K. Morganprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chong, VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'I think you look on death as your friend,' she murmured. 'That is a strange friend for a young man to have.'
'The only faithful friend in this world,' he said bitterly. 'Death is always sure to be at your side.'

Poul Anderson
The Broken Sword
This book is for my father, John Morgan, for carrying me past the seaweed.
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When a man you know to be of sound mind tells you his recently deceased mother has just tried to climb in his bedroom window and eat him, you only have two basic options.
"Forget the law. It isn't going to help. They'll cite it where it suits them, ignore it where it doesn't. They're clerics, Archeth. They spend their whole fucking lives selectively interpreting textual authority to advantage."

Emperor Jhiral to Archeth, p.325
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345493036, Hardcover)

A dark lord will rise. Such is the prophecy that dogs Ringil Eskiath—Gil, for short—a washed-up mercenary and onetime war hero whose cynicism is surpassed only by the speed of his sword. Gil is estranged from his aristocratic family, but when his mother enlists his help in freeing a cousin sold into slavery, Gil sets out to track her down. But it soon becomes apparent that more is at stake than the fate of one young woman. Grim sorceries are awakening in the land. Some speak in whispers of the return of the Aldrain, a race of widely feared, cruel yet beautiful demons. Now Gil and two old comrades are all that stand in the way of a prophecy whose fulfillment will drown an entire world in blood. But with heroes like these, the cure is likely to be worse than the disease.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:27 -0400)

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Fantasy fiction. Ringil, the hero of the bloody slaughter at Gallows Gap is a legend to all who don't know him and a twisted degenerate to those that do. A veteran of the wars against the lizards he makes a living from telling credulous travellers of his exploits. Until one day he is pulled away from his life and into the depths of the Empire's slave trade. Where he will discover a secret infinitely more frightening than the trade in lives. Anti-social, anti-heroic and decidedly irritated, Ringil, Archeth (pragmatist, cynic and engineer, the last of her race) and Egar Dragonbane (steppe-nomad and one-time fighter for the Empire) are about to be sent unwillingly forth into a vicious, vigorous and thoroughly unsuspecting fantasy world. Called upon by an Empire that owes them everything and gave them nothing. Richard Morgan brings his trademark visceral writing style, turbo-driven plotting and thought provoking characterisation to the fantasy genre and produces a landmark work with his first foray.… (more)

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