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The Black Hawks

Articles of Faith, Book 1
Narrated by: Colin Mace
Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
4 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

Non-member price: $19.75

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Publisher's Summary

Dark, thrilling and hilarious, The Black Hawks is an epic adventure perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch.

Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory - he dreams of going home.

When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.

All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.

With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company - mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.

Prepare to join the Black Hawks.

©2019 David Wragg (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"A remarkably assured debut...I can’t wait to see what happens next." (Anna Stephens, author of Godblind)

"Everyone loves a good mercenary tale, but The Black Hawks offers more besides: a protagonist who's refreshingly rubbish at fighting, a supporting cast who'd be fascinating if they were just standing around in a supermarket, and an author who knows when to dodge cliches, and when to jump in and splash like a kid in a puddle." [Nate Crowley, author of 100 Best Video Games (That Never Existed)]

"Check out The Black Hawks - it’s full of fun characters, mercenary antics, twists, turns, and contains my favourite fantasy lemon." (Peter Newman, Gemmell Award-winning author of The Vagrant and The Deathless)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Mitch
  • 05-12-2019

Good story, uneven audio volume

Above average story well performed. While the twist wasn't mind blowing, it was good and a well thought out plot. The pace of the story was a bit rushed in the first few days depicted. Aside from that this was a great story and contains a fountain of lore the author masterfully weaved in to the dialogue. Highly recommend to anyone on the fence.

An annoying thing that may or may not be isolated to my experience was the uneven audio volume. I appriciate the reader varying his voice to enhance the experience but I had to turn up car and headphone volume to hear certain parts, then would be assaulted when he returned to a standard volume. Perhaps an audio mixing issue, or maybe just my unique situation.

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  • Skrapps
  • 19-11-2019

Unlikeable Hero

I saw comparisons to Joe Abercrombie... Nope. I wanted to punch the hero. Confusing story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cindy
  • 08-10-2019

Oh Yes!

Awesome book. Great storyline, great characters, great narrator. Well worth your attention. next please.., Do Hurry.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Julie Moran
  • 07-11-2019

Excellent!

Seriously the best thing I’ve read since finishing Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy. Comparisons tend to annoy me, but this was similar in tone, snarky banter, and characters you just can’t get enough of. It was very entertaining, action-packed, giggle-worthy in a lot of places, and chalk full of great characters. Word of warning, however, if you’re a little wary of profanity then keep that in mind – but for me, well, I just loved all the banter even if it is a little crude at times.

As the story begins we meet Chel, he’s about to find himself between a rock and hard spot, which is just par for the course, by the sounds of it. Chel is sworn under oath in the service of his uncle, which seems to involve, mainly, carrying clothes around – yep, that’s Chel, he’s like the newbie sent out for everyone’s coffee and believe me he doesn’t enjoy his role at all, it’s just not what he imagined! Then the City is attacked by the fire-wielding Norts and Chel attempts to flee before becoming a fireball himself. This is when he is unwittingly roped into the service of a young prince, Tarfel Merimonsun and their adventure really begins. Chel’s prior obligations are removed when the Prince makes a bargain with him – Chel will become the Prince’s protector, relinquishing the oath to his uncle and upon delivering the Prince to safety Chel will be released. By this time Chel has figured out the idea of ‘honor’ and ‘service’ are not what they were cracked up to be, so, wanting nothing more than to go home, Tarfel’s offer appeals and so the deal is struck.

Unfortunately for Chel it seems that there are other parties interested in the Prince and so it isn’t long before trouble catches up with them.

Enter the mercenary group known as the Black Hawks. There’s Loveless, Lemon, Rennic, Whisper and Spider. Every one of them is distinct and the author makes them easy to envision. Some you’ll love more than others but you will never tire of their presence, or their pithy quips. All are very different characters indeed and they have an easy camaraderie. I can’t deny that when they entered the scene they stole the show a little. But, that’s not to take anything away from Chel and Tarfel. Their story is very easy to enjoy and are the sympathetic characters you’d imagine. Chel, what he lacks in sword skills he makes up for in smarts and determination, a moral code and sheer good luck. Tarfel is completely clueless but very endearing in his gullibility. The relationship between the prince and protector develops throughout the story and is one of the winning elements to the book, as is their interactions with the mercenaries. As for the Hawks, they’re just so well ‘drawn’ and even the more brooding members of the crew will eventually work their magic on you or at least you’ll be relieved when they show up in the middle of a tight spot.

As to world-building, there is no magic or monsters in this one. Just lots of skirmishes, running, narrow escapes, injuries, fighting and a good deal of stabbing. I was constantly on the edge of my seat and a few times gasping in surprise or relief.

I enjoyed this so much so that about 40% of the way through, I ran straight to Goodreads and messaged the author to ask if he was working on book 2 because I had to know there wouldn't be a 2 year lag until the next book. Fortunately, the next installment will be out sometime late next year. Or so that seems to be the plan. I was ecstatic. And that was before I'd finished the book. And now? Now I'm OVERJOYED, because GOD! THAT! ENDING!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Peet
  • 31-10-2019

Fantasy filled with f...swearing

Colin Mace is an excellent narrator, my reason for purchase. Wragg too f-bomb potholed

1 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • waster196
  • 30-10-2019

Frustrating

Firstly, the story itself. Wragg is clearly a solid and talented writer and has created a band of likeable and well developed characters, in a world I was keen to explore. The story progressed a little slowly, but kept me interested.

Secondly, the narration. Mace gave life to these characters and for the most part I enjoyed the narration. This is the first narration I have listened to by Mace, and I will try more. However...

The main reason I am writing a review is because of the quality of the production. Sound quality et al is fine, but I could not possibly recommend this audiobook unless you are fine with having your hand on the volume dial constantly, as Mace (or the production, I honestly don't know which is to blame) goes from too loud to too quiet almost constantly throughout the book, particularly when voicing characters. This was particularly prevalent in the final quarter of the book.

This made for an incredibly frustrating and uncomfortable listen which I just could not enjoy and I found myself wishing it would just hurry up and end.

I recommend a different format for this book as I'm intrigued by any sequels and will be continuing, just definitely not with audio.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful