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A Sellsword's Compassion

The Seven Virtues, Book 1
Narrated by: Steven Brand
Series: The Seven Virtues, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

War sweeps the land as the sons and daughters of the late King Marcus battle over who will claim their father’s throne and able-bodied men and women flock to one cause or the other in the hopes of a better tomorrow. At least, most of them. 

If life has taught the jaded sellsword Aaron Envelar anything, it’s that hope is for fools and causes are a sure remedy for breathing. But when his latest job leads him to the corpse of a prince and a conspiracy that threatens to destroy the entire realm, Aaron is forced to choose sides in a war he doesn’t want, between forces he doesn’t understand.

Thrust into a world of mythical assassins, a madman with superhuman strength, and a nagging ball of light with a superiority complex who claims to be the embodiment of compassion, Aaron takes on his hardest job yet - staying alive.

This debut novel from Jacob Peppers is a new entry in the great epic fantasy tradition of Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Joe Abercrombie.

©2017 Jacob Peppers (P)2018 Podium Publishing

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for G. P. Brown
  • G. P. Brown
  • 05-11-2018

An enjoyable fantasy!

This was a decent fantasy tale that fell just a tiny bit short of being anything special or memorable. The writing, plot, characters, and world were all good but just lacked that special something to make this book able compete with the very best the genre has to offer. It did still prove a worthwhile and enjoyable read and a good start to a new fantasy trilogy! It is hard to say what sort of fantasy tale we got in this one. It felt a bit like reading a Brandon Sanderson or Michael Sullivan style story mixed with a bit of Abercrombie style "grit". It felt like Jacob Peppers was a fan of both Sanderson and Abercrombie and was inspired to write a story that was a weird love child of both! It leaned slightly more towards Sanderson than Abercrombie which is probably why I ended up enjoying it as much as I did. I really liked the premise of the story. Aaron Envelar is a jaded sellsword who's latest commission is to rescue a guy from a group of thugs who captured him. The job sounds dangerous but pays well enough for it to be worth the risk. Things go wrong when Aaron arrives to find the thugs towards the end of torturing his target and way more skilled than described by his paymaster! Things get even more complicated when the guy he is meant to save dies right after revealing he is actually a prince of the realm. As if getting caught up in a massive political assassination scheme was not bad enough Aaron also finds himself lumbered with the Prince's annoying magical companion. Co, a floating orb of light who claims to be the embodiment of compassion, is putting a serious crimp in his style with her chronic nagging at him to be a better man! The world was a decent one as well. The story was set in a kingdom which has been divided for years after King Marcus died with no clear heir. His children have been warring among themselves since and it has made for harsh times for the people. The story was a fun one. I liked the mix of action and intrigue and we also got a tiny bit of humor and romance thrown into the mix to keep things interesting as well. Another big success was that the characters were a likeable and/or interesting bunch. The story mainly focused on the jaded sellsword Aaron but he was supported by a fun core group of secondary characters and some decent characters outside the core group as well. Aaron could be an ass at times but he was mostly likeable enough and easy to root for as his job gone wrong got him stuck on the right side of the battle lines. He also showed some positive character growth over the story which I always enjoy. If I was to point at a flaw I'd say both the romance and the humour could have been a little smoother and better. They were still decent enough but I felt like if Peppers had really nailed both of those then this could have been a 5 star read as this story did have most of what I'm looking for in a fantasy tale. He just never quite put it together in a way that worked every single time. Plus I feel like Aaron's relationship with his nagging orb of compassion companion could have been way more fun that it was! It was fun but felt like it could have been even more fun if that makes sense? Outside of the Orbs and their magic the story was fairly light on magic. What we did learn of the Orbs (there was 7 of them altogether) seemed pretty interesting and hopefully we will learn even more about them and their powers in the sequels. A big plus for the story was the way Peppers used tiny flashback scenes to flesh out his characters and give us a deeper understanding of them. This worked mostly for Aaron but Co's magic helped us get a tiny glimpse into a few of the other characters minds as well which I liked. All in all I enjoyed this one. It might not be super original fantasy but it was fun and I'll definitely be reading the sequels. Audio Note: This was narrated by Steven Brand. I always feel like Brand is a weird narrator to rate as some of what he does is really good but that he has some big drawbacks as well. He has a great voice for general narration and is easy to listen to but does not voice act for the dialogue at all. I feel like that lack of voice acting can hurt a story when there is a focus on humorous dialogue or a lot of female characters as Brand does not act out the scenes or voice the characters!

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  • OB
  • 31-08-2018

Greater than the sum of it's parts

Great narration from Steven Brand, lifts an already exciting novel that subverts a expectations and concludes in a satisfying way. Great characters, world building and *magic* - can't wait for the next in the title.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Poppey
  • 28-06-2020

Men Die and Gods Laugh

This book, for me, was a slow, slow start and it took to Chapter 15 before I thought this could be a decent listen. It possibly had something to do with the pedestrian narration, or the disillusioned anti-war hero scenario, which is a little worn. I don't think the world building was great. Aaron, as a mercenary, I have to say, sucks. He's meant to be a professional, yet he seems to spend most of his time on his back. The 7 Virtues seem to be spirits, one of which is inside of Aaron. I don't think it is a particularly great series (very little magic), so far, but I’m willing to give it another go with Book 2.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Katalin Bresztyenszky
  • 09-07-2020

solid casual listen / read

I found this a solid casual read to accompany mundane tasks. It reminded me a little of the Gentleman Bastards so if you've enjoyed that, you might like this book. The plot interesting enough but not so complicated that you need a lot of brain power to digest it. The concepts overall have been done by so many others before that it's hard to find anything originality in them. I was hoping for a refreshing new take on them but unfortunately this book is not it. That said, it is still a solid enjoyable story so if you're looking for something to entertain you while washing the dishes, this is a good choice. My only real issue with it is that the main female character I find so far very uninteresting and honestly feel like if she was not part of the story that would not change anything so that's a shame.. In fact it would be a little more interesting at least without her. I am definitely going to listen to the next book in the series and see where it goes.

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  • Ian
  • 22-07-2019

Only a short book but it’s fine and no padding

Good story telling, interesting mix of characters and one of my favourite narrators. A very good opening to what could be a great set of books.