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The Cold Commands (GOLLANCZ S.F.) by Richard…

The Cold Commands (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Richard Morgan

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356730,619 (3.82)13
Title:The Cold Commands (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Authors:Richard Morgan
Info:Gollancz (2012), Edition: Mass Market Paperback, Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library, Speculative Fiction

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The Cold Commands by Richard K. Morgan (2011)

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Review from Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2014/09/16/cold-commands-by-richard-k-morgan/

What I can’t get over with this book is just how beautifully written eviscerations can be done. Seriously, Morgan’s prose is just wonderfully written with a beautiful and poetic feel. This carries through for every part of his book, including the dark and gritty, violent sections like when the prose is describing disembowelment. Yes, this book, like the first one has graphic sex and violence. This series is not for the faint of heart. And just like I said in my review for The Steel Remains, I don’t think the sex scenes in this are any more graphic than many books with heterosexual sex scenes, but I feel they get more attention because they are homosexual. There are some reviewers that will always complain about this level of graphic sex scenes regardless of the genders of the participants, but I think the fact they are homosexual is beyond some readers comfort levels which is just sad. People are people and sex is sex. These characters and the sex scenes are very real and down to earth and I see absolutely no reason to complain.

The Cold Commands has 3 story arcs, each following a familiar character from The Steel Remains. Ringil, of course we get more Ringil. His story line starts with an encounter with an escaped slave and follows him trying to find asylum after being exiled. One thing I found interesting is I felt more interested in Archeth’s storyline for this one than I did in The Steel Remains. The Helmsman is warning her of dark things to come and is following orders of the Emperor she now serves as an advisor to. And Egar’s storyline. Umm…. maybe he didn’t have a major storyline. I mainly remember him drinking, fighting and getting laid. There may have been more to it, but that’s what I remember, which brings me to my one criticism about the book.

I loved reading this, but sometimes I couldn’t quite tell what the overall conflict goal was. If that makes sense, I’m not sure. Every minute of the prose is amazing to read, and maybe even more amazing to listen to Simon Vance narrate. But somehow I felt like if someone were to ask me exactly what was going on at points in the book, I would have been at a loss. I could tell you the latest events, but I also felt like I was missing something from the bigger picture and felt it moved just a little bit slower because of that. Maybe it was just me and my listening comprehensions skills that were lacking, but it did detract just a teeny tiny bit.

If you read the first one, definitely continue reading. Morgan’s prose is every bit as wonderful. And there world is both fascinating and relevant. As per many fantasy novels, there are many themes riding in this that can translate to modern day life, and I absolutely love that. And all of the characters are well done, believable characters with honest emotions and realistic reactions and motivations. This is not a black and white book, but one with much moral ambiguity, which I think is a closer representation of real life. Things are often not clearly right or wrong when you look at all sides. ( )
  tenaciousreader | Oct 6, 2015 |
If The Steel Remains was self-aware grimdark with a flicker of conscience, The Cold Commands starts by snuffing that conscience out. Morgan sets up his tent early on: this will be darker and more disturbing than the first novel (which is saying something). What he doesn't necessarily deliver is a well-paced novel that stands alone. The Cold Commands - even more so than The Steel Remains - feels like a lot of set-up and a heap of new possibilities, with a slightly engineered climax rather than closure and requires the final novel in the trilogy to balance it out.

However, if you can stomach the grimdark trappings, there's a lot of dry humour and entertainment here along with more side-swipes at fantasy and grimdark tropes as well as the workings of political and religious control. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Full comments: here ( )
  imyril | Jun 21, 2015 |
My reaction to this book was almost exactly the same as it was to the first book. I LOVE the writing style, there are some very cool visuals and ideas, the world feels real but the plot seems a little scattered. It's maybe a little to much like real-life, the hero starts to kind of have a purpose, then almost dies, there's a bunch of surreal kind of wandering, forget about that - change course, then there's something going on on an island, then forget about that he kind of dies, and then kinda saves the world (or at least the city). Not sure what to make of some of it. Just seemed kind of disjointed.

Seriously though, if I could pick a style of writing to emulate it would be this. His words flow when they're supposed to flow and cut when they're supposed to cut. It's tight, gritty writing and the narrator fits perfectly. ( )
  ragwaine | Dec 17, 2013 |
As good as The Steel Remains?

No, not quite, but pretty good. The book starts off slowly, with the characters spread out over the world. But the pace gets faster, the writing tighter, and the plot lines intersect as the book progresses.

The big problem is that it finally hits its stride and comes close to perfection in the last 50 pages or so, leaving you praying for the as-yet-unannounced (but highly desired) sequel. Hopefully the wait will be less than 4 years this time. ( )
  eviljosh | Mar 30, 2013 |
The sequel to Morgan’s gay barbarian swordsman book The Steel Remains, this one is at least as grimdark—there are notable amounts of rape and other atrocities, many instigated by the main characters/closest thing the book has to heroes. Morgan combines sf (apparently high-tech machines with agendas of their own) with fantasy (elvish/fairy types who were kicked out of the human realms and aren’t too thrilled with that situation, along with dragon invasions and other sundry magic), and in this book he adds in a riff on the Arthur myth that works because of its brazenness. If you like GRRM, this might appeal (and is a lot shorter), but heed the warnings. ( )
  rivkat | Sep 16, 2012 |
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I tell you, it's no game serving down in the city.

—J.R.R. Tolkein,
The Two Towers
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.
Last words
(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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"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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