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Publisher's Summary

After a cataclysmic war of the gods, the last of humanity huddles in Bastion, a colossal ringed city. Beyond the outermost wall lies an endless desert, haunted by the souls of all the world’s dead.

Trapped in a rigid caste system, Nuru, a young street sorcerer, lives in the outer ring. She dreams of escape and freedom. When something contacts her from beyond the wall, she risks everything and leaps at the opportunity. 

Mother Death, a banished god seeking to reclaim her place in Bastion’s patchwork pantheon, has found her way back into the city. Akachi, born to the wealth and splendor of Bastion’s inner rings, is a priest of Cloud Serpent, Lord of the Hunt. A temple-trained sorcerer, he is tasked with bringing peace to the troublesome outer ring. 

Drawn into a dark and violent world of assassins, gangs, and street sorcerers, he battles the spreading influence of Mother Death in a desperate attempt to save Bastion. 

The gods are, once again, at war.

©2019 Michael R. Fletcher (P)2019 Michael R. Fletcher

What listeners say about Smoke and Stone

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-03-2021

Narrator almost ruined a good book

Loved the world building and luckily another person’s review said to speed up the narration to 1.1 without that I might not have finished it, it’s like listening to a computer text to speech just slow torture. After that the story came to life I immediately got part two.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dionis Blauser
  • 23-01-2021

Amazing book

This is now one of my favorite books. It kept getting better the farther along I read and the ending was awesome. I found myself making excuses to listen. The narrator was good.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hera
  • 19-01-2021

Speed up play back to 1.1 speed

The strange cadence of the narration is fixed by speeding up the play rate to 1.1. It sounds so much better and is not all stretched out and hard to listen to. They must have messed up the final cut when they released it. Otherwise it’s a great story and narrator.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • FanFiAddict
  • 30-09-2020

Grimdark AF

Ancient, bloodthirsty gods, street sorcerers, rival gangs, faith, and sacrifice all come to play a part is this dark and original tale from one of the best in the biz. It’s bloody, enthralling, and grimdark as f*ck.

I have to preface my review by stating that I, along with Petros of Booknest, alpha, beta, gamma, delta, etc. read Smoke & Stone, gave my thoughts on world-building, characters, the beginning and ending, and even slapped Michael around in regard to the cover design. He was a good sport for the most part.

Having read all of the author’s previous works, I knew that I could expect a grim and bloody tour de force of a novel, but I didn’t expect all of the intricacies the author mixed in to create a truly original story. The use of hallucinogens and wood/stone carvings to morph into god-like creatures, and even gods themselves, and leaving chaos and destruction in their wake. The uniqueness of the world-building as the entirety of it is made of separate but equal rings, each with a significant role to play in the story and its sequels.

I also enjoyed the growth of the characters, especially Akachi. Seeing how he morphed from page 1 to the intense climax makes for a very intriguing read, especially knowing his roots from the first draft. I also enjoyed how the dynamics of Nuru and the members of her caste played out, never seeming to have an edge until just the right moment.

You never quite know what to expect when it comes to Fletcher’s books, but one thing you do know for sure is that you are in for the ride of your life. I still, to this day, do not understand why he, among several other indie authors, is not a more mainstream name when it comes to fantasy/grimdark. I get that his material is pitch-black dark and he uses quite coarse language to get his message across, but Abercrombie seems to do well from what I can see. Fletcher needs to be a household name, and anyone who believes Anna Smith Spark’s and Ed McDonald’s books are phenomenal need to give Beyond Redemption & The Mirror’s Truth a go, let alone Smoke & Stone.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sam
  • 08-01-2020

Excellent Grimdark in a mesoamerican setting

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Fantastic characterisation and a novel approach to magic. The world building is reminiscent of Malazan and there’s tons of depth here.

I didn’t mind Rosa B Watkinson’s performance but found I had to listen to the whole book sped up. Her reading is tortuously slow and if I hadn’t been able to listen at a faster pace I wouldn’t have been able to listen all the way through.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • OlliespotSFFBookReviews
  • 07-01-2020

Highly Recommend this story to all Fantasy fans!!

If someone sat down and asked about what type of elements and ideas I would love to see in a darker fantasy novel, this is the book that would have resulted. The worldbuiding, although not overly described, was ingeniously woven throughout the story, and you feel it there, supporting the great characters along the way to their destiny, which becomes intertwined with the future of Bastion itself. A destiny of hallucinogenic, Godpowered, shapeshifting human monsters feeding the city with blood.
From Plant hallucinogens, mesoamerican priests ingesting said plants, wars between deities, a circular city made of inner circular levels that separate society by status, and cut out of one unimaginable block of uncut stone. Dont forget the crazed, underexperienced and overwhelmed priest taking on a poor girl with powers and a destiny unknown, witty banter, soul carrying blades, and blood, lots of blood to boot. And you have the start of a fantastic series.
The characters are made of A Priest and his bodyguards, sent to the outer circle to bring control and maintain order where the “growers” live. The growers are the poorest, simplest, and most suffering people. Populating the outer ring of Bastion and supplying the inner rings with food, grown from crops. Nothing but the most basic of tools is given to them to carry out their main purpose. There is little comfort to be found here, even their children are taken and sent inward. Priests are sent here to provide spiritual words to control, as well as to be judge and jury to any offence. Priest’s are protected by the “birds”, trained in combat to defend the priests is their purpose, and in this case, the birds serving this Priest are great additions to the story.
The conflict here is a result of a small group, or gang of growers led by Nuru, a powerful young woman driven to change and escape the status quo. Nuru, She is dark, single minded, and brave and strong on the surface but will learn that she hears the things she has to do She is but a product of the society, and uses her plant drugs to help her hear and understand what the plant induced visions are showing her. Of course, this is illegal and before long, the new Priest Akachi, is on the hunt for her and her gang. The mesoamerican inspired names for deities are so perfect for the setting, Cloud Serpent, Smoking Mirror, Mother Death, and I’m guessing that the Gods will play a bigger part in book 2. Nuru and Akachi use the plants to bring themselves into the God/Goddesses dark, smoky and ever changing realm of truths.
I really enjoyed Rosa B. Watkinson’s narration of this book. At first, I wasnt entirely sure her style was working for me. However, after a couple chapters I was on board and ended up really enjoying some of her characters voices
I was reminiscing a lot while reading this, as a result of the content, which I’ll explain by including some info about myself. When in high school, I was fascinated with the Mayan/Meso-American language, calendar and their use of plant entheogens…ummm, plants and animals that contain a psychoactive substance that can result in hallucinogenic and hopefully spiritual experiences. In some case, downright horrifying in the most life changing way. It0 was the mid to late 90’s and talk of the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 had not really taken off yet. I dreamt of being an anthropologist or archeologist, sent off to the jungle to uncover long lost mysteries of these fascinating and complex cities hidden in some of the densest jungles on the planet. Although my life went a different direction, getting to know the Mayan calendar and having my imagination fired by their mysterious cities in the jungle has stayed with me, and this story really brought that back to me.
I’m excited for book 2 and wanted to say this was a great fantasy with complex people on the verge of discovery. I hope to see more of the rings of Bastion as well!

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.