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Age of War

The Legends of the First Empire, Book 3
Written by: Michael J. Sullivan
Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Length: 16 hrs and 47 mins
5 out of 5 stars (165 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The epic battle between humankind and their godlike rulers finally ignites in the masterful follow-up to Age of Myth and Age of Swords.

The alliance of humans and renegade Fhrey is fragile - and about to be tested as never before. Persephone keeps the human clans from turning on one another through her iron will and a compassionate heart. The arrogant Fhrey are barely held in check by their leader, Nyphron, who seeks to advance his own nefarious agenda through a loveless marriage that will result in the betrayal of the person Persephone loves most: Raithe, the God Killer.

As the Fhrey overlords marshal their army and sorcerers to crush the rebellion, old loyalties will be challenged while fresh conspiracies will threaten to undo all that Persephone has accomplished. In the darkest hour, when hope is all but lost, new heroes will rise...but at what terrible cost?

©2018 Michael J. Sullivan (P)2018 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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death of good characters

decent performance minus a few errors. it was the story that ruined it. spoiler like human sacrifice really? thats two books now where the main conflict is solved with the intentional sacrifice of a loved one. Suri went from being a lovable character to a true witch. And if your killing someone off must you spit on his grave after.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I love these books

I can't say enough good things about this author and the narration. The books have kept me engaged and in love with all the characters and great plots. I look forward to hearing the next book in the series.

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    2 out of 5 stars

Depressing, Irriating and Grim.

Certainly struggled to finish. I bought this and the last book with the faith of the well honed skills of this author from Chronicles and Revelations and there is some glaring thoughts. Without Malcom and Arian, as well as Nefron when he is not being a aristocratic sociopath I would have put the book back on the shelf and forgotten this prequel existed.

The entire book has a grim and dark theme with a few bright spots. Royce at least tempered this with a certain humoured cycnicism that is almost absent here. Another is feeling like this author has this incessant need to make arbitrary decisions about dialogue; characters stumble over their tongues and suddenly can't talk when they under similar circumstances stood up to and above the issue. Hadrian had this issue a lot and it seems to have been spread out here amongst the fellowship.

By book 3, the hammering again and again (which is ironic) for the inventor and her background and how tragic it was gets grinding on the ears. We get it, it was terrible; the sympathy found in book 1 and 2 dries up into irritation when it keeps cropping up. Gifford at least changed what bad things had occured, expanding on the notions. He also improved on his situation and grows: she simply pulls inventions out of a hat with mere hit and miss practice and goes onward to still be about as brittle as glass.

Rey is defeatist at every possible turn but one. This has continued on from the previous book. This was not pragmaticism, this turned into nihilistic pessimism with a strange wrapping of naive romanticism. I disliked any scene he entered into.

Surrie finally becomes a rounded character if at the cost of her foil. I will not delve further into this, but she transforms into something that feels like a person rather then a wildgirl gimmick.

Overall, I will stop here. It was interesting seeing both sides and the interal meddling and sabotage of the merelith, but certain secrets and potential truths are just not worth the headache.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I can't stop listening!

I have been listening to this series non-stop because I love it so much. I recommend it to all my friends who enjoy fantasy. I will be listening to the whole series again once I finish it because I love it so much.

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thoroughly enjoyed

this was an excellent book, I wish the next in the series was out already.

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Clumsy finale

Age of War is poorly written, with little thought given to providing a well formed conclusion to the previous books in the series.

Age of War reads as if the author was out of ideas, & on a tight timeline. New plot lines and twists are clumsily written in making an unbelievable, in satisfying conclusion. Waste of time.

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Age of War

Yet another outstanding performance by Tim Gerard Reynolds narrating the masterful writings of Michael J. Sullivan! I can't wait for the next in the series.... such a long wait!

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  • Rob
  • 2018-10-30

Yes yes yes

Loved it. Probably my favorite of all the series in the Elan universe, including Revelations and Chronicles.

Story was beyond solid.
Tim Reynolds was on point.

The waiting for the next one will be the hardest part.

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Great Series

I am a fan of Michael J. Sullivan and urge others to check out this series and others as well. Mr Sullivan as a really great imagination and his characters are interesting. But I have to say I still love his Riyria series the best. He keeps you guessing as to where he is going to go next with his story line.
So, I look forward to his next novel and Michael keep writing for the Riyria series as well.
And also, keep letting Michael Kramer narrate your books. I love his voice.

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Amazing Journey

I have been a big fan of the Ryira series and this is the back story of how it all began. I would love to see this book as a movie and I thank #Audible1 for making it available!!!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel
  • 2018-08-03

Raithe the ruined

I just finished the book, and I can't help but feel a bit angry at how Raithe was handled in this book. It wasn't even the major plot points in which he was involved. He is just a chump in this book. Thanks for treating my favorite character in this series like bear scat.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael Van Glahn
  • 2018-12-11

Weakest in the series

Not a lot of story here, in the first half of the book almost nothing happens. The speed with which the protagonists progress beyond the bronze age would put a game of Age of Empires to shame. Notably, how Roan decides to name steel made me want to throw something. Gifford's storyline is just comical. This book was another continuation of the decline in quality started by book two after a promising start to the series.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 2018-07-24

Story Lost Me

Second book started to loose me when the author decided to make Wraith a non-character and Malcom all powerful. This just finished the process. The rest of the characters do things but many of the ones that I grew to like stood still.

Conflict was good. Narrator is excellent. Just bummed at the authors decision making. I likely won't listen to the next books in this series.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • KAG
  • 2019-01-26

The Title should be "Raithe, thrown under the Bus"

Very disappointed int he way this story developed and played out. Just a total waste of a potentially great character and the plot that you could seriously root and cheer for. Nope, the author tried to get fancy and should have just gone with what made the other book great. No idea how this has an average of 4.8. I have loved his other books........

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • McKell
  • 2018-07-05

The series continues, but the best of it has been left in book one

I want to love this series. I greatly enjoyed the first book and the other books Sullivan has written. This installment has taken my favorite parts and aspects of book one and shattered them without ceremony.

Too much of the villains and drama felt like a copy from book two. This book felt a lot less creative and more geared at gutting the fan base. I can’t say if I’ll continue with the series (which I thought was an unshakeable dedication) or not at this juncture. I know it’s a prequel story that isn’t meant to be roses and rainbows, but I wasn’t looking for a tragedy and that is what this book felt like to me.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Glorianna
  • 2018-12-05

Unrealized potential

I have loved everything done by the author prior to the "Age" series. I did enjoy the connections to the more modern age. Too much self-loathing and undeserved guilt and nonsense daddy issues. Adolescent love amongst teens, totally fitting, but between adults is ridiculous. Author sound like he has an SJW Patriarchy disorder while writing a world dependent upon swords and armies. (Not that I won't read all that follows). I can't wait to hear more about Gifford.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 2018-10-22

The series started out so good...

I thought with the Age of War title this would be the most exciting book in the series but it is getting progressively worse each book. Sullivan is really good with friend relationships, but it’s a chore to get through the love interests. The first book was awesome and now I realize a large part of that is because he hadn’t developed the love relationships. There was very little war in this book and really very little of anything happens until the very end.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary Catherine
  • NC
  • 2018-08-25

I wanted to like this series

Before I give the review, I want to say that Michael J Sullivan is one of my favorite writers, and I loved the Riyria series, the characters, and the feel of the stories. Tim Gerard Reynolds is always in top form and I was so looking forward to this new series. I tried, but I don't like the Legends of the First Empire. I listened to the first book in the series, but when the second book was released, I was surprised to find that I could barely remember any of the characters of the first book or much of the story. So, I listened to the first book again, then the second book, but I found myself still not caring about the characters or the story. Well, here we are with the third book and well into the story I didn't care about an important story line, or any of the story lines or any of the characters. I wanted this to be great and I'd settle for good or even OK, but I stopped and can't make myself pick it back up. I can't even point to any specific thing that didn't work for me. A lot of people love this series and I don't want to discourage anyone from trying it. In Riyria, the stories just pulled me into another world, and the characters felt like spending time with friends. For me, all of that is missing from the new series - the magic, the fun, the wonder. I will certainly try more Riyria books or a different series, but I am not going to continue with the Legends of the First Empire series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Dale
  • 2018-07-28

A disappointing offering that does not capitalize on one of the author's key strengths

I would like to preface this review by saying I truly enjoy Michael J. Sullivan's works. The Ryira series is the first contemporary series in years that I have read (listened to) multiple times. I find his insights into his craft entertaining and enlightening (and I confess I share his wife's affinity for Hadrian :) ). Sullivan's strengths are his wonderfully indelible characters, his mastery of combat scenes that place you right in the midst of the action, and his engrossing way of weaving you from each mini-adventure to the next. His books hearken back to the swashbuckling films of Errol Flynn. Really my only criticisms of his works are the character's names, which seem to be borrowed from a peculiar variety of inexplicable sources ("Moya" from Farscape, "Arista" from a record label, "Royce" from a car, "Persephone" from Greek Mythology, Suri from Katie Holmes' daughter, etc), and the gratuitous use of "smirking". EVERYBODY smirks. They don't leer, they don't sneer, they don't grimace, they don't grin. It's like the "chuckling" that pervaded the ridiculous "Twilight" series. Please: find (and use) a thesaurus!

(Spoiler Alerts)
It is because of my admiration for Sullivan that it is difficult for me to say I was quite disappointed in "Age of War". In fact, I find the series is diminishing rapidly in appeal with each book, to the point where I questioned if I would continue with it. After devouring "Age of Myth", I (like many) waited on tenterhooks for its follow-on. But when "Age of Swords" arrived, it took me weeks to get through it. It had the characters endeared to us in the
first book behaving in ways that, at best, went against the grain, or, at worst, were wholly unbelievable. The elimination of one of my favorite characters also did not sit well; I accepted that it might have needed to be done to satisfy the storyline, but the way in which it was done was so clumsily prolonged it was excruciating, and, as noted earlier, was simply not believable (especially on repeat).

Now comes "Age of War". Here, Sullivan pulls a Rowling and disperses with yet another beloved character in a horrid deja vu from AoS. And if that wasn't enough, throughout the book, almost all the characters engage in lengthy internal dialogues of incessant vacillation which undermined the depth of characterization and quickly became wearisome. Having these formerly strong characters churn repeatedly in emotional indecision ("Does Persephone love me or is
she shagging Nyphron?" "Do I still love Reglan, or do I love Raithe, or ???" "Will Tesh notice me? He's so wonderful and I am nothing!" "Ivar said I'm useless so it must be true, mustn't it?") was painful. I think these thought-spews are meant to help us empathize with the characters, but for me they had the opposite effect. In fact, I grew to hate Persephone--who was such a powerful female force in the first book, overcoming both terrible sorrow and adversity with aplomb--so much that I confess I was cheering for the Raow when he was dispatched to eat off her face! And don't even get me started on that self-serving slimeball Nyphron! Those two deserve each other!

Of course, there was more smirking, though less perhaps in this book than the others. (One of the characters actually did sneer!) I also got pretty tired of all the "Tetlin" epithets. Even the cute "Sure?...Pretty sure." exchanges were repeated enough in AoW that they were in danger of becoming cloying. Like Royce flipping up his hood...funny the first dozen times...then, not so much.

AoW was not completely without its bright spots. I thought the chapter where Raithe took a walk with Suri was a real coup for Sullivan, and one of the most beautiful and touching pieces of writing I have experienced in a while. I was also captivated by Tesh. This boy is going places! And he is intriguing enough that I'm already imagining how his tale will spin out and blend with that of Hadrian and his father and the Pickerings--which is
the main reason why I will probably continue with the series. And yes, as others have noted, there was climactic scene that moved me (against my will) almost to tears. (I was saved only by the fact that it wedged an old Barry Manilow song into my head for a bit: Even Now. Darn you Mr. Sullivan!)

I suppose one might argue that a work that stirs such a diversity of emotion is powerful indeed. And perhaps they would be right. Maybe it's just that I am overfond of happy endings.

As for the narration, Tim Gerard Reynolds is as superb as ever; I believe I would pay to hear him read a cookery book!

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Victor @ theAudiobookBlog dot com
  • 2019-01-16

History re-written

Michael J. Sullivan is one of my favorite Fantasy writers out there, alongside Justin Cronin, George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan. He is the bestselling author of the Riyria Revelations series, Riyria Chronicles series and his latest release is the third volume in the Legends of the First Empire series, called Age of Swords.

Before I get into the review thing, I want to tell you that I listened to all of Mr. Sullivan‘s books and that I enjoyed each and everyone of them tremendously. There are 6 in the Riyria Revelations collection with them packed 2 by 2 on Audible, so you get 2 audiobooks for the price of one. After that, we have 4 prequels in the Riyria Chronicles series and 6 more in the Legends of the First Empire, of witch 3 are already out now. If you want to fall in love with Michael J. Sullivan‘s work, read or listen to the books in the way I mentioned above, although you could start every series at its beginning. There are two Free short stories which I suggest that you grab to see how good this team of author and narrator really is.

Age of War continues the epic adventure started in Age of Myth and Age of Swordsin which a group of humans fight for their lives as they try to survive an all out war between them and the Fhrey, the almost immortal beings that we know as Elves. To find out how and why this conflict began you have to read the first two books because I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but let me assure you that it this third book is excellent as well. 

Our heroes have to find a way to fight and defeat a more powerful enemy, equipped with better weapons and commanding The Art (magic). Luckily, heroes will rise, they will fight an epic battle in a legendary city, but the are outnumbered and they need help and weapons.

This new adventure is filled with deadly perils at every step. Will they survive? Do they have a chance to succeed in their endeavors and win an unwinnable war?

As always when it comes to books written by Michael J. Sullivan, the story is great, very well written and delivered with such vividness that you can imagine everything in your minds eye. The characters feel alive and I deeply cared for them, the threat is terrible, the enemy is merciless and the fate of the human race is in the balance once again.

I found myself instantly immersed into this new spellbinding story set in the world of Elan and that’s in part because of the fantastic performance delivered by Tim Gerard Reynolds and part thanks to the riveting storytelling abilities shown once again by Michael J. Sullivan. The fact that all the other audiobooks by Mr. Sullivan are narrated by Tim has to be mentioned in this review, as you may know that we, the audiobooks fans love the same narrator on all books set in a certain universe.

The amazing narrator, voice over artist and actor Tim Gerard Reynolds brings every character to life with passion and professionalism. He uses different voices, accents and subtile changes in tone and cadence to help the listener easily differentiate who is talking at a specific time. He can be in once scene a worried Elf, a frightened child, a ruthless warrior and a treacherous dwarf, switching between them with ease and style.

I want to say once again a big Thank You to both Michael and Tim for the respect with witch they treat the audiobooks community and for the amazing time spent in to this magical world they created and brought to life, with love and passion, for us!.

For me, Age oF War is another epic adventure in the world of Elan, and this perfect team of author and narrator is amazing as always I already pre-ore-ordered book 4 and can't wait to wrap it around my ears when it comes out this Summer.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful