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The Axe and the Throne

Bounds of Redemption, Volume 1
Written by: M. D. Ireman
Narrated by: Matt Cowlrick
Length: 22 hrs and 24 mins
4 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It is a fool's errand, and Tallos knows it, but against his own better judgment and the pleading of his wife, Tallos has committed himself to a voyage north. His lifelong friend's eldest sons are said to have been taken by Northmen, a raiding people ill-reputed for their savagery. The boys are already dead, Tallos knows, and in that dark place of grim reasoning he wishes only to find their corpses quickly so he can fulfill his promise and return to his wife. Instead, he finds something far worse.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2015 M. D. Ireman (P)2015 M. D. Ireman

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

Incredible Narration!

MC is a true artist! Loved his performance so much. A wide range of character personas and inflections Plus the beautiful pace and dissonance were extraordinary.

The story itself grew bolder and more intriguing as the book progressed! I'm happy to say I truly loved it in the end and understood fully--after about one third of the book--why the beginning few chapters needed to be written and such a disjointed seeming manner. Highly recommended for any serious dark fantasy reader.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-11-28

A book of Good & Horrible things.

Game of Thrones is referenced a lot in comparison to this book. The point of view story telling, and a handful of characters are direct clones, and not the good kinds. Luckily, these lesser characters are more secondary and don't ruin the fun.

The book warns you it is a challenge to read, and it is, but it is the fault of the author. The opening chapters jump from different characters in different places long before the reader knows who is who or what is where. Chapter one is about a small village of peaceful farmers afraid a raid of Northmen have come to kill them, while Chaper 2/3/4 are set of flash backs to introduce 3 characters. Then the story jumps back to the present day...then it jumps across the country to some random castle you've never heard of and some political plot you don't care about before returning to the characters you have invested in...only for you tor realize that more time skip has happened and you're unsure if these characters are 8, 13, 14, or 18.

Game of Thrones opens it's story in a specific place and time. Every point of view character you are initially introduced to is part of the same family and from the same place. We meet other characters first through these characters before we leave the area and explore the world as a whole. It makes it far easier for the reader to digest. You start at A and go forward, eventually new characters who have no ties to the current characters are introduced to help flesh out the world and provide new points of view. Axe and Throne here trades it's point of view characters left and right. You'll have a chapter about Cassen then about Cassens servant girl then the best friend of the girl. All to continue 1 narrative but with random skips of time between them. It's awfully annoying.



As you pass the half way point, it's clear both that the book is going to end far before the story is complete, but also that the world is pretty ok once you've explored it. By now you'll have met every character and you'll have a grasp on the world and the place everyone has within it, thus you can start to enjoy some of the more fun chapters.


Of these, the character of Titon, son of Small Gryn, is my favorite. He's a simple barbarian of a Northman, his story having leave his home land to visit the great cities of the south. A prince going "AS YOU KNOW -" before he shouts backstory/lore at other characters who not only KNOW the backstory, but sit and think "I know this and you're stupid" at him happens way too much, but the simple Titon asks questions that the audience has, and receives answers that audience can live with. It's refreshing and very entertaining. What's more, Titon's every action and thought remind me of Conan the Cimmarian. In fact, any time Titon would do something I felt Conan would do, I would get very excited. Conan is a barbarian, and Robert E. Howard would often write Conan as a strong barbarian who neither understands nor likes the civilized people and their horrible ways. The prologue to the book warns that there are no heroes, and nothing is black and white in this book, but it's when characters act as Heroes and Villains in this book that it becomes a great read. Their actions become believable and admirable when they start to act in ways that are more heroic. It's why Titon shines as a character, he is a noble person with a strong moral compass. His every action moves the plot forward and his chapters are a joy to read. He neither stays in the same place, nor do you ever question what or why he does something. You only wonder what obstacle he faces next and what he will do to overcome it.


Meanwhile, characters like Dekar, Titon Jr., Tallos, and Ethal do nothing but waste time and space. I actually like these characters a lot, but they're clearly saved for another book. They're children waiting for something to happen so they can be involved. What makes this whole thing worse is that these are the opening characters in the novel. You meet these characters first and you hope to see their story develop, only to realize over the course of 20 hours of audio that Ethal has made two friends and three cup sizes between her opening and ending chapter, while characters like Cassem and Titon go through an entire arc or continent in the same 20 hours. It's simply not her story, nor is it Dekar's or Titon Jr's. Half of their stories just drop off never to be picked up until some other future book.




To finish it, the book ends several chapters too late.It's as if the second book had dropped 3 or 4 chapters and the first book picked them up instead. Great endings and cliff hangars continue farther than they should and some ending in places you'd expect a new book to open off at. One character is imprisoned near the end of the book, and instead of having us wonder his fate the book decides to start up 2 whole chapters for this guy being in prison.... but why tho? These moments would be a great opener in a future book, but instead just continue a story it did not care to finish. There is at least one chapter to each character that goes farther into the story than it should have, with the more impressive characters getting 2 chapters farther than they needed. It's just..... it's a pretty big problem that won't mater so much when the second book is out, but it's not out yet. Which...makes this book worse.





In the end, it's an enjoyable listen. I cheered aloud in some moments, and groaned in annoyance at many others. The book feels as if it's shaken off the game of thrones covers by the time it ends, but I'm not sure an entire book can be written of the remains of this story, as enjoyable as the story will be once finished.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas Morris
  • 2018-08-03

Not good

The narrator did okay. The pauses might've been too long betweem chapters, and he didn't seem to have a lot of interest, inflection, or tonal characterization. But I'd listen to a better book read by him.

The book itself is atrocious. How did this, amongst the piles of good books strugglong to get published, make it all the way to my Audible? The main story is over and done in the first hour. And I find myself wondering why I should care about what happens after that.

That's my main problem. But there is much more telling than showing. The showing is tropy. Dialogue is borimg, bland, and often cringy. Let's not even talk about if the emotions feel real or the actioms amd reactioms believable.

I'm done with this. It isn't too complex, I'm taking a break from the Malazan Book of the Fallen. The world isn't alive, so nothing inside it is either. It isn't too dark. Rape and murder and 'hard' societies mean nothing if I have no care invested in the characters. Everything needs to mean something in a story. Just being dark for the sake of being dark isn't skill or grit or hard writing. It just comes across as droll and dumb.

Sorry.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Karl
  • 2016-04-06

Just what fantasy needs.

Loved everything about it. Perfect for lovers of grim and dark adventure and intrigue.
Amazing.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David_in_Tennessee
  • 2016-07-01

Better than expected; awaiting book 2

Sometimes you take a risk with an unknown author who has an unknown book based on their reviews on Amazon and Audible. I did so here and felt richly rewarded. Some criticize the many POV chapters and multiple characters. I would suggest being patient allowing the story to develop. This story has many plot twists and great action. The characters are well developed and draw you in to a complex story. The narration by Matt Cowlrick was excellent. Highly recommended were fans of George RR Martin.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Will
  • 2017-01-15

WOW!

This story is Grimdark at its best. I wasn't sure who or what this was about at first, but the summary drew me in. It turned out to be one of the best books I've read in the genre. A character rich story, and raw grit similar to Abercrombie's writing. I can't wait for the next installment to be released.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-08-02

Best Voice Read I've Ever Heard

The story is great, albeit extremely measured and deliberate in its development. But the voice acting is so good it's actually astonishing. Cowlrick becomes each character with a range wide enough to give total distinction to the book's large and colorful cast of characters. The next book cannot come soon enough.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan
  • 2017-02-05

Grimdark Goodness !!

What made the experience of listening to The Axe and the Throne the most enjoyable?

The story is extremely compelling, and sucks you in. Chapter by chapter, character POV after character POV, cannot stop reading and listening. Immediately compares to Game of Thrones and Joe Abercrombie's First Law series. But highly original, deftly and expertly written.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Axe and the Throne?

There are so many. I was expecting Tallos to be the main protagonist. I was disappointed a bit in the lack of his chapters, but as the huge storyline, and world building unfolds, it is easily understandable, why some characters take more precedence than others.

What does Matt Cowlrick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Og my God....where has this guy my whole life!!?? He is one of the ALL TIME greatest narrators EVER! With a quick research he is a voiceover actor with his own studio, and has a billion clients. Strangely he has only done one other book. Hopefully he will continue to narrate other epic fantasy novels. He talents are sorely lacking in this genre. Cowlrick literally has a different voice for every singe character he voices in this book. He reads with such clarity and originality that is is simply uncanny.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Tallos discovered his wife was.....Don't want to spoil it!
Ever chapter with Tallos moved me especially.

Any additional comments?

MD Ireman is a force to be reckoned with. If you like epic fantasy, world building, barbarians, layers of character development, complex storylines all intertwined, and all in Grimdark goodness you owe to yourself to buy both a trade paperback copy AND the audio like I did!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nathan
  • 2016-06-21

Loved it.

Any additional comments?

I don't usually write reviews yet I notice many people who did NOT actually finish the book reviewing it.
"Everyone dies" is a crock you will see people saying yet i promise you no main character really dies in this. Yes people die, but the foundation characters stay in place and go on to develop well. The father and the two north men sons are awesome and the tracker dog man from the village that the title speaks is also glorious. The title makes you also despise characters much like the boy king from GoT. This is an in depth book and not for the feint hearted, but well worth the time spent. LOVED THIS BOOK.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Austin
  • 2016-03-30

A Tremendous Beginning

after reading this, you're left wanting more, and I feel like we're going to get it with the next installment. great way to kick off a series.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • the Weej
  • 2018-02-10

detailed but derivative and kinda pointless

a eunuch spy master in the capitol, a mean little boy king, warrior northmen, and magic isn't real, or is it?! game out thrones? Not hardly, just more of same, but with no larger or deeper goals than viking soap opera.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful