June 4, 2016

Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner

“Life or death decided by a hairbreadth. That's just the way it was.” 
― Marc TurnerDragon Hunters

Blurb: The sequel to When the Heavens Fall features gritty characters, deadly magic, and meddlesome gods

Once a year on Dragon Day the fabled Dragon Gate is raised to let a sea dragon pass into the Sabian Sea. There, it will be hunted by the Storm Lords, a fellowship of powerful water-mages who rule an empire called the Storm Isles. 

Emira Imerle Polivar is coming to the end of her tenure as leader of the Storm Lords, but she has no intention of standing down graciously. As part of her plot to hold on to power, she instructs an order of priests known as the Chameleons to sabotage the Dragon Gate. There’s just one problem: that will require them to infiltrate an impregnable citadel that houses the gate’s mechanism — a feat that has never been accomplished before. 

But Imerle is not the only one intent on destroying the Storm Lord dynasty. As the Storm Lords assemble in answer to a mysterious summons, they become the targets of assassins working for an unknown enemy. And when Imerle sets her scheme in motion, that enemy uses the ensuing chaos to play its hand.

Format: Dragon Hunters is the second novel in The Chronicle of the Exile. I was provided a Kindle edition of the novel by the author in exchange for an honest review of his work. The Kindle edition is 496 pages in length. The novel was originally published February 9th of this year. The tale is told in limited third person POV between multiple characters.

Setting: It was refreshing to read a novel that is set around the sea. I feel that this is a setting that seems to be somewhat absent in the genre. Dragon Hunters features a culture that celebrates the sea and more specifically, dragon hunting. Dragons in this story are unique in that they dwell in the sea, a somewhat unique place whereas I'm used to them dwelling in or on a mountain. Yet, nevertheless, they are quite terrifying and satisfying all the same. The main story is set in Olaire which is a large city on the sea. The city features no shortage of schemers and plenty of room for backstabbers. I was very pleased with the way Marc Turner presented his world and he does an excellent job with world building in this second novel so that I was able to grasp scene without having read the first book in the series. 

Characters: There are several POV characters in this novel. Each character line is handled carefully and their individual development was a big part of Marc Turner's story. Marc did an excellent job of creating a good emotional attachment between myself and the characters through his tale so that when knives started to fly I began to really care about the outcome. The characters vary, and as do their voices. This is always an important factor to me when reading in fantasy. I like the characters to speak differently from one another so that I feel each character is truly distinct. There are some writers that seem to struggle with this but Marc Turner delivers solid individual characters with distinct voices and good emotional baggage that helped me to get to know each of them in a just a short amount of time in my reading. There was good character change at the end and I felt that each characters really went through hell, which is an important factor to me for good characters. Great characters overall!  

Plot: Olaire is run by Storm Lords which are powerful water mages. Several parties converge due to Dragon Day, their yearly dragon hunting event. As this day approaches, the Storm Lords are all presented with mysterious summons. During this convergence a group of assassin-esque priests known as Chameleons are requested to sabotage the Dragon Day event by disabling the dragon gate. The purpose of the sabotage and whom requested it are masked to us, but someone wants power and the streets will run red for that individual to gain that power. The ferocity of the dragons really shine in this novel and the mysterious scheming and knife-in-the-dark tactics (especially with a mysterious bright eyed assassin) made this book's plot really enjoyable to read. The nicest thing was that I hadn't guessed the parts to the story and was presently surprised by the twists. It was a great tale overall. 

My Thoughts: I hadn't read book one going into book two and I really didn't need to. Everything I needed to know was presented to me and it was all very well written with very good descriptors, dialogue, and layers. I hadn't heard of Marc Turner before Dragon Hunters but I look forward now to seeing what all his future novels will look like. He's one to watch for sure and if you like a good story with a ton of layers, I would definitely give this one a shot!

About the Author: Marc Turner was born in Toronto, Canada, but grew up in England. He graduated from Lincoln College, Oxford University, in 1996 with a BA (Hons) in law, and subsequently joined a top ten law firm in the City of London. After realizing that working there did not mix well with simple pleasures such as having a life, he fled north first to Leeds and then to Durham in search of a better work-life balance. Unfortunately it proved elusive, and so in 2007, rather than take the next step and move to Scotland, he began working part time so he could devote more time to his writing. Following the sale of his debut epic fantasy novel, When the Heavens Fall, he started writing full time.

Why writing? Because it is the only work he knows where daydreaming isn’t frowned upon, and because he has learned from bitter experience that he cannot not write. The authors whose work has most influenced him are Steven Erikson and Joe Abercrombie. Consequently he writes fast-paced, multi-threaded novels with a liberal sprinkling of humour; novels written on a panoramic scale, peopled by characters that stay in the memory. Or at least that’s the theory . . .

Author's Website: Marc Turner's Website
Buy the Book: Dragon Hunters on Amazon


  1. I jumped into Dragon Hunters without reading the first novel too, and was also blown away by Marc's writing! I need to go back and read book one, before the final book comes out, so I can be all caught and be ready to see how he ties all these complex story lines together :)

    1. I picked up a copy as well. I was surprised I could read a second in a series and still be so grabbed. Good book!