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A Mark of Kings

The Shattered Reigns, Book 1
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Length: 18 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (59 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Despite his youth, Declan Idrys knows of the evils of the world. He knows of the bastards and brigands who plague the King's lands, of the monsters skulking in the wooded depths of the realm. Together with his companion, Ryn - a beast of rather peculiar talent - he has spent the last decade of his life beneath the bloody banners of a half-dozen mercenary guilds, hunting precisely such festering wickedness within the borders of Viridian.

Unfortunately, fate is quick to pull on the leash of its favorite children. When one particularly troubling contract goes sideways, Declan and Ryn find themselves thrust into a war thought legend and long-ended, a conflict so old it is synonymous with a time in which dragons still ruled the western skies. Now, as dead men rise from their graves and the terrible beasts of the northern ranges descend into the kingdom with an appetite for savagery and flesh, Declan is faced with a profane choice. He can turn, can flee an ancient rising horror that would see the realms of man left as shattered death and wind-blown ash.

Or, Declan can face this mounting threat, can come to terms with the fact that his oldest friend might just be more than he appears, and learn to wield an ageless power all his own.

Centuries pass, after all, but the Blood of Kings does not fade....

©2019 Bryce O'Connor and Luke Chmilenko (P)2019 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely amazing

What a great book to start off a great series. Hard to put into too many words without giving away spoilers, this book was amazing, so much so I binged all the way from start to finish and I’ve only done that for a few books out of my 200+ audible collection. Great story telling, very well paced and developed plot, great characters you become heavily invested in, there is one great loss in this book so far. And ya, very enjoyable book

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Plot hole

Oh now, how are we going to get there? How about the giant dragon you are with that can fly...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

good

Nick Podehl was amazing as always and I enjoyed the story for the most part but the ending seemed very abrupt.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I just can't

Writing does agree with me nor does this guys voice its ducking terrible. Will return

1 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lanfear
  • 2019-09-12

A Hero Who's Hard to Cheer For

This book started off with promise. It was dark, gritty and had elements of high fantasy mixed in. I was ready to fall in love. However, it quickly became clear that the main protagonist, Declan, is a bit dense. At first, you understand and sympathize with him but after every moment stuns and stupefies him, it starts to get old. It got to point where I found myself laughing, I started to feel bad for the poor kid, as I felt the authors turned against him. I know by the end of the book I sadly had.

For those who are looking for grim dark fantasy you may want to skip this one. Nick Podehl's narration is great but alas, couldn't save this book for me. Poor Declan.

42 of 48 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tony G.
  • 2019-10-07

A difficult slog

I was very excited when I saw this book had been released, as I was a big fan of Bryce O'Connor's "Child Of The Daystar" series previously. That series was well crafted, full of believable, interesting characters driven by understandable motivations and the story line that never got dull. I found A Mark Of Kings to be the polar opposite.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

The book begins with a series of incredibly contrived, unlikely circumstances that force the four main characters together at exactly the precise time to begin their road to stopping the evil "Endless Queen" who has risen again after being vanquished hundreds of years prior. what proceeds immediately after the characters join together is hours and hours of boring historical exposition that could and should have been cut down by about 85% and would have still brought the reader enough of an understanding of current circumstances to continue the story. But I don't believe there is enough content without it to fill a normal-sized book.

Besides the endless exposition, my biggest complaint with this book is the main protagonist, Declan. He is introduced as a veteran mercenary who has joined nearly every mercenary company in the land over his career. He was also raised and trained by a 700+ year old shape shifting dragon to be a survivor. One would expect Declan not to be a complete dunce, but one would be wrong. Declan is constantly shocked into disbelief by "Revalations" every time he has a conversation with any other character. So much so that he typically tells the others that he needs to stop the conversation. This shock is used as a mechanism by the author to cut exposition short for the reader's sake, but it is used far too often.

One excuse that is used to explain how Declan hasn't figured any of this out so far is that Ryn has been blocking specific thoughts in his mind. But many things are never explained. Why is Declan shocked that magic is real after he was raised by a telepathic shape-shifting dragon who outlived both his parents and can magically sense things within a certain radius? Why wouldn't Ryn have told Declan that he can use fire magic? Why is Declan so shocked that Ryn is a dragon, but wasn't shocked when he thought Ryn was a magical shapeshifting creature unlike any known thing in the world? Why did Ryn not tell Declan he was a dragon? Why did Ryn hide anything from him actually? Everything is revealed at the most convenient time that it just comes off as poorly planned.

Besides all this, the romantic element feels forced, This could have been formed believably over the course of the book, but it just happens immediately after they meet.

Argh.. I could go on about my issues with this book, but I'll cut myself off there. I'm very disappointed with this book as a whole.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Melissa
  • 2019-08-24

Good Book, hope the next one is better.

i really enjoyed the overall story but believe that even in a series a book should be able to hold its own weight. This one was cliff hanger ending which I feel was unnecessary when we could've had 5 more pages to finish up what was there and lead into the next book.

TL;DR Great book, but unnecessary cliff hanger ending.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-08-21

Incessantly awed, shocked, & stunned into inaction

Plot 10/10
Characters 10/10. ( all but the main protagonist)
Narration 10/10

Wanted to love this story! The world is well developed and makes sense. Most of the characters are deep but not boringly so.

But then there is our hero, who is supposed to be a battle hardened mercenary, spends nearly whole book completely ignorant of what's going on because the writer is trying to build some unnecessary suspense. Not because the information isn't there but because his friends think he is to fragile to hear the truth. Which is probably right because he manages to find something in every battle to get shocked, awed, stunned, or overwhelmed into inaction and he just stands there while everyone else saves him. There is one battle he does himself at the beginning and that's it. seems like the side decides to search his feelings every time the Gore starts to fly.

I am in doubt if I will continue with the sequels.

38 of 48 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 2019-08-27

This book is absolutely terrific.

One of the best things about reading fantasy novels is that every time you encounter a new magic system it's like an adaptation to physics this book has got a pretty good one.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • CPU Widow
  • 2019-12-03

Hero of Mediocrity

Suffers from repetitive detail that doesn’t add momentum to the story. Difficult to cheer for an addle -headed average joe who occasionally acts heroic. Doubt I’ll get book 2.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-09-26

only one good character

female lead was obnoxious and just whines all the time, main character is dull. at least the wargs were cute

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • 2019-08-26

I cannot connect with this on any level

You have to be on acid to come up with this concept. A horse that transforms into a wolf? One has hoofs and the other has paws - Right?. So - When Declan communicates with this animal "Telepathically" - He asks the horse to go get the plates for dinner. Ohhh I said that right. The horse goes into the pack and pulls out the plates. No explanation of how this happened.. The story starts off with a melodramatic scene we're are all supposed to connect with? I couldn't get into the opening screen and I was uncomfortable with the entire saga. I don't know what anyone is thinking.. I really tried - But I think the book will be going back.

22 of 35 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Charles Grayson
  • 2019-08-22

Typical hero's journey story, but needs an editor

The fact that the author didn't bother with having anyone check his grammar drove me nuts. He seems to have never heard of the objective case, which includes "him, her, them, me". Instead, it's "he gave it to she and I". All through the book.

17 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • A-10 Egress
  • 2019-12-04

ABSOLUTELY Great Start for a first book!!!

The first book was Absolutely a great start to (I'm hoping) a long series.
The main character was a little whinny and sissy about his past, at first and that was the Only thing that took away from the story (Just my Opinion).
I felt that the way that the writers laid out there vision of the land was excellent. They got across their meaning without being all "Word Smithy" like some Over inflated writes of late!!! Straight and to the point; but I was still able to picture how everything was.
Now I can't wait for the next book(s) to come out... If the next one follows the first one then this will turn into a MUST READ?LISTEN to Series!!!