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Age of Assassins

The Wounded Kingdom, Book 1
By: RJ Barker
Narrated by: Joe Jameson
Series: The Wounded Kingdom, Book 1
Length: 13 hrs and 2 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the David Gemmell Awards 2018

Shortlisted for the Kitschie Award 2018

To catch an assassin, use an assassin.... 

Girton Club-Foot, apprentice to the land's best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But their latest mission tasks him and his master with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life. Someone, or many someones, is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton and his master to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince's murder. 

In a kingdom on the brink of civil war and a castle thick with lies, Girton finds friends he never expected, responsibilities he never wanted and a conspiracy that could destroy an entire land. 

The Wounded Kingdom trilogy begins with Age of Assassins, continues with Blood of Assassins and will continue with King of Assassins

©2017 RJ Barker (P)2017 Little Brown Book Group

Critic Reviews

"Age of Assassins reveals its mysteries with the style of a magic show and the artful grace of a gifted storyteller." (Nicholas Eames, author of Kings of the Wyld)

"Dead gods, dread magic, and a lead that feels like a breath of fresh air. Great fun." (Peter Newman, author of The Vagrant)

"Outstanding. Beautifully written, perfectly paced and assured. Kept me reading well into the early hours of the morning. A wonderful first book - a wonderful book, period - that should be at the very top of your to-read list." (James Islington, author of The Shadow of what was Lost)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good read.

Honestly not sure how I felt about this one. I wavered quite a bit. I definitely lean more towards liking it than not but I think my expectations were too unfairly high. Once a character I didn't like was removed from the story I did enjoy it more and I will pick up the next one as I believe there's potential there.

Joe Jameson is a massive highlight in narration, the man has some serious skills and I'd pretty much recommend anything he narrates.

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  • Koen Van Belle
  • 27-08-2018

Loved it

15 words are too little to express the amount I enjoyed this book.. great find

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  • Swords and Spectres
  • 18-03-2018

Great start to what should be a great series

The only way to start off is by saying that this title did not disappoint. The story was fabulous and the cast of characters equally so. It had everything from intrigue, to romance, to shadowy plots and, of course, a bit of school yard bullying from a thoroughly hateful little wastrel of a boy.

Unlike most tales of assassins, or fantasy protagonists in general, our hero isn’t a muscular Adonis making the ladies swoon wherever he goes. Admittedly, he is a very capable killing machine due to the training he has from his master. He’s a cripple with a club-foot. Not the first thing you’d think of when envisioning an assassin skulking in the shadows ready to slit a throat. R. J. Barker does well to remember his character’s limitations and often highlights when his disability is causing him pain or distress. Its little bits of attention to detail like that which bring a welcome touch of realism to a fantasy world.

I won’t delve too much into the story, after all I don’t want to spoil anything. But I will say that the relationships, be they positive, negative or somewhere in-between, are well-formed and the characters all have … well … character to them. None of the named/important characters feel like they were just thrown in.

The world is also pretty detailed. This excites me more than most when it comes to a fantasy novel, as it means the author is fully intent on going deep into his creation. Nothing worse than a series that has little depth to the background.

My only slight negative was that I didn’t think the narrator would gel well for the whole story. Just at the start I kind of felt his voice wouldn’t fit. Thankfully, I was wrong and he settled down really well into it and did the varying cast of characters justice with his narration. Either that or I got used to him so quickly that it didn’t bother me (which would be a plus in itself).

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • TClews
  • 27-08-2017

Superb tale of murder and intrigue.

Reminiscent of the Farseer trilogy, excellent audiobook. highly recommended with brilliant narration. I enjoyed every minute from beginning to end.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • JPA
  • 16-09-2017

Damned fine debut!

Would you consider the audio edition of Age of Assassins to be better than the print version?

Can't say. I've only listened to the Audio, but the story was 5* so I would say they are equal.

What did you like best about this story?

Right up my cobbled street. Medieval setting with a fantastical flare that reveals antlered war mounts and colourful armour; reinforced kilts and good ol' Welsh names! I don't see that enough, and as a history geek (specifically Anglo-Welsh wars), this impressed me muchly.

Have you listened to any of Joe Jameson’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Nope, so N/A

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Murder mystery in a magic-tainted medieval castle.

Any additional comments?

The story had me guessing at suspects throughout. I'd like to claim I'd figured it out early on... or at all, truth be told, but I didn't. I had suspicions about the right sort of people, but I never guessed at reasons, motives, secrets until they were revealed. Bravo, RJ. Bravo.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane Miller
  • 10-10-2018

Rediscovering Fantasy

I used to read a lot of fantasy many years ago but lost interest in the late eighties when much of it seemed formulaic and tired. This book however kept me interested from the first page. The world and characters are different and interesting whilst also feeling familiar. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about it and have bought the second book in the series straight away so I continue to escape to the Tired Lands.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Jon Jonassen
  • Jon Jonassen
  • 02-07-2019

Too few memorable monents..

Good performance, book contained too few memorable monents, in addition to a slow-going main plot

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lee
  • 28-06-2019

give this one a miss

I have listened to a lot of audio books in the last 18 months and I would advice people to steer clear of this book , it prattles on and on and really never develops its main characters and it got so bad i started passing chapters towards the end as it was that boring , if you want a good book series try joe abercrombie and the blade itself , or the priest of bones , or the grim company or sorcerers isle or a throne of bones or waylander ,

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Eddie
  • Eddie
  • 20-05-2019

Outstanding

What a story. It may be fantasy, but it weaves in political intrigue and murder mystery just as easily. I was totally hooked from the beginning. It never let up, You wanted to know how this was going to end, so much so I wanted to speed up the narration (although didn't).

Joe Jameson does a fantastic job of bringing each character to life with their own voice and inflections. It was so good, even when I switched to Kindle version I did so hearing his voice. I cannot tell you what his actual voice sounds like he switched between roles so well.

I cannot wait to read books two and three.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Poppey
  • Poppey
  • 29-03-2019

Well!

What can I say! This was one of those books which turned out to be not quite what the title intimated it would be. Not alot of assassins in sight and characters which really didn't hold my attention.

It was a pleasant book, but not a great one and wasn't for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Dr KJ Cross
  • Dr KJ Cross
  • 04-12-2018

Good story made perfect by one of the best narrators

Simply put, Joe Jameson can turn a mediocre/average book into something quite special – he is my go to narrator for fantasy stories. This is actually better than an average book, and probably deserves a better score than it has.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Simon Slater
  • Simon Slater
  • 13-11-2018

Couldn't stop listening

Very enjoyable listen. I wasn't expecting big things from this book as I have no experience of the author but the genre and subject are of interest (and I had a credit to spend) so thought I'd give it a go. And I'm very glad I did.
Narrator was very good and despite being a big book (13hrs)i didn't tire of the voices used for the main characters.
Would definitely recommend

1 of 1 people found this review helpful