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The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan
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The Steel Remains (original 2008; edition 2010)

by Richard K. Morgan

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1,088577,657 (3.76)68
Member:KimarieBee
Title:The Steel Remains
Authors:Richard K. Morgan
Info:Del Rey (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Wishlist
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The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan (2008)

  1. 00
    Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook (dClauzel)
    dClauzel: De la fantaisie noire, avec des sorciers à la volonté impérialiste, des guerres menées par des mercenaires, des révoltes opprimées dans le sang, et un sentiment éternel que de toute façon au final rien ne pourra changer pour le mieux, donc autant essayer quand même.… (more)
  2. 00
    The Iron Wolves by Andy Remic (bj)
  3. 00
    The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie (imyril)
    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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English (55)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Basically, this book takes high fantasy tropes and screws with them. This is not a parody; it's not so facile. But the author has clearly read and loved a great deal of fantasy in his life, and knows the basic stories well. And when he grew tired of the easy answers and Light vs Dark epic battles, he created this.

The elves have left Middle Earth--but they were actually aliens, driven half-mad by their flight across the stars, and the half-Elven Princess they leave behind them is a black lesbian with a drug problem. (I found Arceth to be the most fascinating character of all. Her eldritch family taught her modern concepts of morality, but she's been stuck in a feudal society for hundreds of years--her high-minded ideals are beginning to wear thin.)
The "elves" also left behind a magical sword, wielded by war hero Gil. Like many war heroes in fantasy novels written lately, Gil has become a washed-up mercenary, only pulled back into the Epic Battle for Civilization by the danger posed to a long-lost female loved one. But uh, Gil is gay, and his main resistance to helping is that the *last* Epic Battle turned into a slaughter of civilians, and his city tortured his lover to death before his eyes.
His former sword-brother, the barbarian Egar, is also pulled into the fray. Egar is a great play on the usual "savage tribe" trope.

This book is not a criticism of High Fantasy--it takes it to the next level. The queer characters, the characters of color, the atheists, the questions of consent and privilege, the logical next step for a country that's just defeated their Big Foe...Morgan uses all of it. And the adventure is better for it. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
3.5

Took a long time to come together, but was good (if brutally gritty) when it finally did. I was, however, seriously disturbed by the exceedingly modern language that in no way matched the time/world of the book. But in the end I liked it enough to read book two. ( )
  SadieSForsythe | Feb 24, 2016 |
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 |
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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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Epigraph
'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
Dedication
This book is for my father, John Morgan, for carrying me past the seaweed.
First words
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.
Quotations
"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)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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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