April 9, 2016

The Lord Collector by Anthony Ryan

Blurb: Author's note:The following story takes place in the same world as my novel Blood Song, the first volume in the Raven's Shadow trilogy. I wrote it because I wanted to more fully explore characters who appear in Blood Song and the sequels Tower Lord and Queen of Fire. Readers familiar with my work are sure to recognize a certain pale-eyed, raspy-voiced Sword Master of the Sixth Order, and those curious as to the origins of the Tower Lord of the Southern Shore will find answers here. The tale takes place at the midpoint of the timeline described in Blood Song, a time when King Janus, with typical ruthlessness, is in the process of further consolidating his grip on the Unified Realm.

Format: The Lord Collector is a novella set between Blood Song and Tower Lord in the Raven's Shadow series. I am reviewing the audio format of the novella as narrated by Steven Brand. The audio book is 1 hour and 37 minutes in length. The novella was published in June of 2015. The tale is told in limited 3rd POV with the primary character being Jehrid, the Lord Collector. 

Setting: The novel takes place along the Southern shore of the Unified Realm. The Southern shore is a treacherous environment due to the high amount of smuggler activity. The setting revolves around the shore itself as well as the 'blades', an area that most of the locals avoid due to the dangers it poses to any who sail near the threatening waters. 

Characters: The main character Jehrid holds the desire for vengeance within himself on the mission his Tower Lord requires of him. Jehrid sees past the charade that Sollis and his brothers attempt to put up and as a soldier Jehrid is a capable warrior and strong minded. Sollis returns as the familiar harsh swords-master from Blood Song and much of the tale's emphasis is development of Sollis and his knowledge of certain information relevant to the Raven's Shadow trilogy on this secret mission. 

Plot: Sollis, accompanied by brothers of the 6th and 2nd order, arrives at the Southern shore tasked with locating a certain passenger from a shipwreck. With the intention of finding out the purpose of Sollis' seemingly foolish quest, the Tower Lord of the Southern shore dispatches Jehrid, The Lord Collector, to accompany the order brothers. Along the way, Jehrid finds the quest to not be so foolish after all as the passenger Sollis seeks lives. In an attempt to rescue the passenger, much is revealed to Jehrid about not only the quest, but the nature of the world itself. 

My Thoughts: The novella was short but sweet. The now familiar writing of Anthony Ryan is always a joy for me to absorb and I was delighted to revisit Sollis as he has been my favorite character in the Raven's Shadow Trilogy thus far. Though the novella itself was short, only taking the time of my commute to and from work to finish, I still found it enjoyable as there was not only some nice information revealed that I was able to connect with the trilogy but also there was enough action, character development, and plot to sweep me from beginning to end. I also enjoyed the narrations of Steven Brand in the audio format. Brand has a commanding voice that gave the story an enjoyable tone to listen to. If you enjoyed the Raven's Shadow series and have somehow overlooked this novella, its brief but definitely worth a go. 

About the Author: Anthony Ryan was born in Scotland in 1970 but spent much of his adult life living and working in London. After a long career in the British Civil Service he took up writing full time after the success of his first novel Blood Song, Book One of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy. He has a degree in history, and his interests include art, science and the unending quest for the perfect pint of real ale.

Author Website: Anthony Ryan's Website
Buy the Novella: The Lord Collector on Amazon

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