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Publisher's Summary

Aranthur is a student. He showed a little magical talent, is studying at the local academy, and is nothing particularly special. Others are smarter. Others are more talented. Others are quicker to pick up techniques. But none of them are with him when he breaks his journey home for the holidays in an inn. None of them step in to help when a young woman is thrown off a passing stagecoach into the deep snow at the side of the road. And none of them are drawn into a fight to protect her. 

One of the others might have realised she was manipulating him all along.... 

A powerful story about beginnings, coming of age and the way choosing to take one step towards violence can lead to a slippery and dangerous slope, this is an accomplished fantasy series driven by strong characters and fast-paced action. 

©2019 Miles Cameron (P)2019 Hachette Book Group US

Critic Reviews

"A stirring, gritty and at times quite brutal epic fantasy." (Tor.com)

What listeners say about Dark Forge

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    5 out of 5 stars

fantastic series, wonderfilly narrated

the traitor sons series was incredible masters & mages is proving to be just as good! more more more!

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  • phillip inglis
  • 09-09-2019

amazing

loved it, amazing narration brings life to already beautiful words, can't wait for next book.

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  • Andrew hall
  • 02-10-2020

Battles, magecraft, and insidious evil. Great book

Books like this: The Traitor Son Cycle, The Shadow Campaigns, The Spellmonger TLDR: An exciting and worthy sequel to Cold Iron, this time transporting us to distant and exotic lands to be beset by distant and exotic adversaries. Lots of battles, lots of scenery, lots of fun. I jumped straight into Dark Forge after ploughing through Cold Iron in a matter of days, hoping that it would meet the fairly high standard of its predecessor. From the outset, this book looked like it would have everything I could ever hope for. A host of well-developed characters from the first novel, a story far more like a good old fashioned adventure across distant lands than the first was, and what might have been most important from my personal perspective: battles, and multiples thereof. The first book was a bit of a standout for me in the amazing character development but was lacking on scenery, and in that respect, Dark Forge did not disappoint. Our protagonist, Aranthur, spends this book galivanting around exotic and dangerous lands all while either hunting or being hunted by the dreaded forces of The Master, and some of the landscapes, cities, and people are not just beautifully described but truly feel like they exist in a living, breathing world. As for the action, well, were Cold Iron excelled at describing one on one combat or small level skirmishes, this book goes full force into expansive battles, ranging from pitched engagements to gruelling sieges, and they are done extremely well. I’m a bit of a history buff and have a tendency to nerd out on good use of authentic tactics and creative uses of new concepted (usually the realistic application of magic within the context of large scale battles and how that would alter the entire dynamic of combat) and once again, I wasn’t disappointed. The magic system used in Cameron’s world was left a little wishy-washy in Cold Iron, and although it is still lacking the beautiful grounding and physical properties of series such as Mistborn or Stormlight Archive (yes, of course I’m a huge Sanderson fanboy in this respect), it is much more explained in this book than the last, delving into some of the deeper concepts and firming up the rules. I will admit that Aranthur gets somewhat OP in this book, but there are story-friendly explanations that keep that little logic goblin in my mind from tearing his hair out. The story itself goes a lot deeper into the causes of the current conflict that besets Aranthur and his world, as we would expect, but as the drives and motivations of our secretive enemy are revealed, I did at one point hear myself giggling and whispering aloud ‘ooo, that’s fucking clever’. And that kind of response from me is hard to come by. However, despite this book seeming to, on paper, have everything the first book was lacking (pun entirely intended), as I look back at it, I regrettably find myself saying that it just came up a little shorter than its forbearer. Now, that’s not to say it wasn’t a thoroughly enjoyable listen, but that desperate drive to know what happens next just wasn’t there, and I think I know why. Where Cold Iron shone brightest was the characters, their relationships with one another, and the humanising imperfections that they struggled against that truly made them believable. Now, this book did have those very things, in shapes even, but they were mostly contained to our wonderful protagonist, Aranthur. Yes, the other main characters from Cold Iron are with us on this journey, and yes, we are also introduced to a whole range of new ones, but they just lacked that special something compared to what I expected. The last book put so much time and effort into the characters because the scenery didn’t change all that much, but in this book, the opposite is the case. I know, I know. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, but Cold Iron had baked such a tasty cake that after devouring this one, my sweet-tooth was left just a little wanting. I enjoyed this book a lot, and I will certainly be getting the next instalment, but maybe next time Cameron could finetune the balance betwixt characters and storyline just a little more to cook for me a fantasy flan that satisfies all the elements of my very discerning pallet. The narration for this book exceeded the previous, but only in the fact that travelling to distant lands allowed our narrator to go balls to the wall with the accents and characters he brings to life. And bring them to life Mark Meadows certainly did. All I’ll say is wow, what a range. Personal rating: 4 stars Professional rating: 4 stars

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  • Seòl D.
  • 30-04-2020

Incredible story. Incredible narrator.

I loved everything about this book, the perfect follow up to Cold Iron and possibly the best book I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

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  • katof9tails
  • 08-04-2020

Disappointing second part

I quite enjoyed Cold Iron, the first book of the series, but this is disappointing. I’m halfway through and it’s been hard going, even though I wanted to like it and bought extra credits so I wouldn’t have to wait to hear this. It’s pretty much all been a battle -the preparation, the battle itself and the aftermath. 10 hours of fighting with a little bit of magic thrown in and I’m not really sure who our hero’s side is fighting or why. This really doesn’t live up to the promise of book 1, and as book 3 has a military character on the cover, I probably won’t get that I case it’s more of the same.

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  • Asbjørn
  • 08-03-2020

Disappointing

Master and Mages series is a disappointing work by the author of the brilliant Traitor Son Cycle. The plot is meandering and lacking nerve. If he had an editor that told him to cut about 50% he might have a story. I have tried several times now, but I can't manage to get through this book. I want to love it. The Traitor Son Cycle is one of my favorite fantasy series ever. But now I give up. Sad.

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  • Kristian Magnusson
  • 09-09-2019

Consistently brilliant

Loved it. Miles Cameron is a consistent master story teller. A great heroic romp through an alternate Byzantine empire and beyond.

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  • Antony J Steele
  • 31-01-2019

excellent story. miles cameron stays on form.

fast paced adventures. shame there is now the wait till the next one. can't wait.

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