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Publisher's Summary

"A gritty, heart-pounding tale of betrayal and bloody vengeance. I loved every single word." (John Gwynne)

The Pariah begins a new epic-fantasy series of action, intrigue, and magic from Anthony Ryan, a master storyteller who has taken the fantasy world by storm.

Born into the troubled kingdom of Albermaine, Alwyn Scribe is raised as an outlaw. Quick of wit and deft with a blade, Alwyn is content with the freedom of the woods and the comradeship of his fellow thieves. But an act of betrayal sets him on a new path - one of blood and vengeance, which eventually leads him to a soldier's life in the king's army.

Fighting under the command of Lady Evadine Courlain, a noblewoman beset by visions of a demonic apocalypse, Alwyn must survive war and the deadly intrigues of the nobility if he hopes to claim his vengeance. But as dark forces, both human and arcane, gather to oppose Evadine's rise, Alwyn faces a choice: Can he be a warrior, or will he always be an outlaw?

"This makes a rich treat for George R.R. Martin fans." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

For more from Anthony Ryan, check out Raven's Shadow trilogy: Blood Song, Tower Lord, Queen of Fire; Raven's Blade duology: The Wolf's Call, The Black Song; The Draconis Memoria trilogy: The Waking Fire, The Legion of Flame, The Empire of Ashes.

©2021 Anthony Ryan (P)2021 Orbit

What listeners say about The Pariah

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-08-31

Has a great first half then slowly goes downhill

Man, I was super excited for this book, and really enjoyed the first half, but then it just gets very muddied and goes too far into Military Fantasy for my tastes. it seemed like this was finally going to be the actual Fantasy story from Ryan. But instead of writing a cool Robin hood type fantasy story, he takes this awesome character and turns him into a run of the mill soldier with very few actual Fantasy elements. there was almost no magic or any other Fantastical elements. It was essentially Military Historical Fiction. I did enjoy it, I just don't know if I would recommend it.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Samuel Hudnet
  • 2021-09-16

Different - In A Good Way

While a "coming of age," this is not your average hero or anti-hero fantasy story. Given the mystery and grandure Anthony Ryan has produced in his other titles, this one seemed like a let down to me at first, as there really is nothing special at the start of the book. But the writing was still engaging enough, and before long the story picked up and never slowed down all the way to the end.

What stuck out, though, was not the pacing, but the characters - on the whole rather ordinary and without special powers or crazy skills, an oddity for the genre. Magic plays a role, yet is not prevalent in the story, leading to more believable and relatable characters. The dangers felt real and the solutions they employed also real rather than some spell that does just what you need at the last minute.

As usual Ryan delivers an interesting world and in this first volume uncovers a lot of world building. Steven Brand's voice doesn't have a whole lot of inflection, but renders the mood of the book excellently.

So if you're looking for heavy fantasy with lots of magic and magical challenges/combat, look elsewhere (though this series may be good for you in subsequent volumes), but if you're willing to push through a bit at the start for a super-engaging read, get this book.

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  • Richard A Frias
  • 2021-09-02

8.5/10 - Fantastic novel

Any fans of adventure or fantasy would be well served to give this a listen. With a rich world and memorable characters I only regret I listened to The Pariah without the rest of the books in the series already released, I would be binging them now still. Going to go back and listen to some of Anthony Ryan's other works while waiting for the next installment.

What others have said about the performer is true; the story is delivered with a even, near inflectionless voice. Getting lost in long conversations between two or more characters can happen, however given the distinct vernacular of each that fades quickly as you get to know each. Do not let this put you off from reading, this is only a minor point. And in no way has Steven Brand boring to listen to, the story stands out on its own without any aid. I am unsure if having a different performer would've let the story strike in such a profound way as it did.

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  • G
  • 2021-09-13

Excellent

The story is excellent, I am sure due to the writing, but the narration steals the show, a fantastic voice, my new favorite narrator!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Q. Herring
  • 2021-08-28

Anthony Ryan does it again.

as always I was drawn 8n form the start. and taken on a wild ride. now the waiting till book 2.

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  • Paul G. Peppers
  • 2021-09-25

I recommend it!

I found this book to be a slow starter and almost gave up on it. But I continued to listen and am glad I did. I had a sense that the author warmed slowly to his hero.

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  • Michael McPherson
  • 2021-09-24

Great story. Beautiful use of language

The story is everything you’d expect from AR. The language and prose are gorgeous and captivating. The narrator has a raspy voice that takes just a little to get used to but this is easily overcome after an hour or so of training the ear. After that it becomes melodious.
I anxiously await the next book.

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  • Ab.pro
  • 2021-09-24

Extremely Tedious and Annoying Spoilers!

This book has spoilers of its own story. I can see why, because without those I would not even have bothered to make it to about the 1/3 mark.

Very boring and nonsense descriptions of past and the culture of other regions of the world is thrown at you constantly. No none who isn't taking notes can hope to remember and none of it matters to the story such as it is. There is not real complexity in the story either, just a sequence of events that happen and the protagonist reacts to them.

One sequence that stands out, the merry morons of the forest capture a few deserters. A woman in that group tells our ponce of a protagonist some convoluted tale of where she is from and some story about her tribe and her people. Then, we are just straight up told she will make an appearance later. Now, when she does (didn't get that far), I will absolutely not remember the whole thing she described about her past. It was very very boring. Additionally, I guarantee it will not matter either. There is more and more of this. Characters just keep making cameo appearances.

I could not take it anymore. Returned it.

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  • Nick
  • 2021-09-22

Not robin hood or a soldiers story, just gritty Middle Ages

So many reviews talked about a story of Robin Hood turning into a soldier. This is a horrible simplification of the story. The story starts with outlaws who are ruthless and too smart to waste time robbing peasants. So think gritty realism, it’s what Ryan excels at.

Ryan also likes his stories to not be spells and sorcery. It’s more spiritual and heretical mysticism. Holy men and foreign witches. The protagonist is caught in some fate made by powers way beyond understanding. This fate has lots of twist and turns that you can’t predict. A story of outlaw cynicism meeting religious fanaticism. Kept me engaged the whole way through.

As for the narrator he excels at his style and it fits Ryan’s style. As others have pointed out he doesn’t change his voice too drastically to voice any character’s. Each is still unique, but he doesn’t change his pitch when voicing a man or woman, young or old. This story is written and read as a recounting by the protagonist. So it’s like a fearsome warrior is telling you his tale. For me it adds to the immersion.

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  • R. Jernigan
  • 2021-09-20

A fine start on a series

I've heard it done better. Hobb did a better job with the past-reminisce story telling; Rothfuss showed us more richly a ragged character's upbringing; drake gave us a more robust world presentation.

But, look at the company there. Hobb, Rothfuss, Drake. Any author would be proud to be on the same shelf, and this book does not disappoint. Add to that a stellar presentation by Brand, and this is easily worth your time.