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The Cold Commands (2011)

by Richard K. Morgan

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5382232,250 (3.86)15
"With The Steel Remains, award-winning science fiction writer Richard K. Morgan turned his talents to sword and sorcery. The result: a genre-busting masterwork hailed as a milestone in contemporary epic fantasy. Now Morgan continues the riveting saga of Ringil Eskiath--Gil, for short--a peerless warrior whose love for other men has made him an outcast and pariah. Only a select few have earned the right to call Gil friend. One is Egar, the Dragonbane, a fierce Majak fighter who comes to respect a heart as savage and loyal as his own. Another is Archeth, the last remaining daughter of an otherworldly race called the Kiriath, who once used their advanced technology to save the world from the dark magic of the Aldrain--only to depart for reasons as mysterious as their arrival. Yet even Egar and Archeth have learned to fear the doom that clings to their friend like a grim shadow. or the curse of a bitter god. Now one of the Kiriath's uncanny machine intelligences has fallen from orbit--with a message that humanity faces a grave new danger (or, rather, an ancient one): a creature called the Illwrack Changeling, a boy raised to manhood in the ghostly between-world realm of the Grey Places, home to the Aldrain. A human raised as one of them--and, some say, the lover of one of their greatest warriors--until, in a time lost to legend, he was vanquished. Wrapped in sorcerous slumber, hidden away on an island that drifts between this world and the Grey Places, the Illwrack Changeling is stirring. And when he wakes, the Aldrain will rally to him and return in force--this time without the Kiriath to stop them. An expedition is outfitted for the long and arduous sea journey to find the lost island of the Illwrack Changeling. Aboard are Gil, Egar, and Archeth: each fleeing from ghosts of the past, each seeking redemption in whatever lies ahead. But redemption doesn't come cheap these days. Nor, for that matter, does survival. Not even for Ringil Eskiath. Or anyone--god or mortal--who would seek to use him as a pawn"--… (more)
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» See also 15 mentions

English (21)  French (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
I really liked The Steel Remains but I'm IN LOVE with The Cold Commands. I have a bit of trouble reading these books in that it usually takes me days, but that doesn't mean they're not absolutely wonderful. The characters are so wonderfully created. Heroes with regrets and really horrid past actions.

I love that we have two queer characters and a basically black (quite literally) character. I mean, there's Egar, who's a kind of homophobic piece of shit, but who kinda has been developing and legit cares for Archeth and Ringil. The book moves a little slow, but you can see where it's going so you don't really have a problem going along with it.

I can see some people having problems with the book because the societies are basically all sexist and homophobic and pretty gross, but I feel like Gil and Archidi more than make up for it. They both obviously have their problems, but I feel like them going through the world is worth reading this book.

I'm incredibly excited about The Dark Defiles. ( )
  Isana | Jul 7, 2020 |
Not too bad. Took a while to get going and was really good at the end. Could have been 100 pages shorter if the writing was tighter and better edited. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
3 1/2 Stars.
Really difficult to grade, there are wonderful ideas, good writing--and it is a glorious mess! "Revelations" come that don't make any sense, because they are wrapped up in the same poetic, dense material that set them up in the first place.
I like it, I'll read the final one, but... he needed an editor. That simple. ( )
  Loryndalar | Mar 19, 2020 |
Liked this quite a bit. More than the first, I think. It is clearly set up for the next one. I can't wait. ( )
  livingtech | Mar 18, 2020 |
Want to read the third volume, but can't remember this second in the series at all. So rereading... ( )
  Robert_Musil | Dec 15, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
I tell you, it's no game serving down in the city.

—J.R.R. Tolkein,
The Two Towers
Dedication
The Cold Commands is for V.
who has given me something to hold
First words
When they got down into the fringes of the forest beyond Hinerion, Gerin saw the heat shimmering off the scrublands ahead of them, and knew the crunch had come.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Named changed from 'The Cold Commands' to 'The dark Commands' pre-publication as at July 2009
Published as "The Cold Commands" in October 2011 in UK
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Blurbers
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"With The Steel Remains, award-winning science fiction writer Richard K. Morgan turned his talents to sword and sorcery. The result: a genre-busting masterwork hailed as a milestone in contemporary epic fantasy. Now Morgan continues the riveting saga of Ringil Eskiath--Gil, for short--a peerless warrior whose love for other men has made him an outcast and pariah. Only a select few have earned the right to call Gil friend. One is Egar, the Dragonbane, a fierce Majak fighter who comes to respect a heart as savage and loyal as his own. Another is Archeth, the last remaining daughter of an otherworldly race called the Kiriath, who once used their advanced technology to save the world from the dark magic of the Aldrain--only to depart for reasons as mysterious as their arrival. Yet even Egar and Archeth have learned to fear the doom that clings to their friend like a grim shadow. or the curse of a bitter god. Now one of the Kiriath's uncanny machine intelligences has fallen from orbit--with a message that humanity faces a grave new danger (or, rather, an ancient one): a creature called the Illwrack Changeling, a boy raised to manhood in the ghostly between-world realm of the Grey Places, home to the Aldrain. A human raised as one of them--and, some say, the lover of one of their greatest warriors--until, in a time lost to legend, he was vanquished. Wrapped in sorcerous slumber, hidden away on an island that drifts between this world and the Grey Places, the Illwrack Changeling is stirring. And when he wakes, the Aldrain will rally to him and return in force--this time without the Kiriath to stop them. An expedition is outfitted for the long and arduous sea journey to find the lost island of the Illwrack Changeling. Aboard are Gil, Egar, and Archeth: each fleeing from ghosts of the past, each seeking redemption in whatever lies ahead. But redemption doesn't come cheap these days. Nor, for that matter, does survival. Not even for Ringil Eskiath. Or anyone--god or mortal--who would seek to use him as a pawn"--

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