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Publisher's Summary

The Last Smile in Sunder City is a brilliantly voiced contemporary fantasy for fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Rotherweird or Terry Pratchett's Discworld, and the debut novel from high-profile actor Luke Arnold.   

Fetch Phillips fought on the wrong side of a war between humans and magical creatures, and his actions helped to drain the world of enchantment. Now he works on the streets of Sunder City, taking what odd jobs he can while trying to help those whose lives he ruined.  

His first case is to find a missing teacher. Professor Rye is a 400-year-old vampire with a heart of gold in a husk of a body. In a world without magic, most vamps have already crumbled into dust, but Fetch is happy to go looking for some dirt with pointed teeth if it gets him his drinking money. Then, when a young siren disappears, Fetch finds out that this dark world still hides some monsters - and he'd better clean up his act before they come into the light.

©2019 Luke Arnold (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

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What listeners say about The Last Smile in Sunder City

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hard boiled PI in a world that destroyed magic

This book is great for lovers of film noire or scifi and detective stories. I loved the performance. it is read by the author his range of voice acting is broad- at times i didn't believe it was the one voice.

the content on the book is interesting and engaging. As with all good scifi the narrative themes are the real meat. tgemes i enjoyed the most were:
The stories or narrative we tell about ourselves and how they define us to ourselves, to others, how they sculpt our actions and in this case change the world.
How change drives us to seek a future... how the past is often a thing if great longing which can block out the importance of the present.

I took a star away for the story itself because there were moments that seemed a bit slow and I worried the plot wouldn't hold together. on reflection that's probably a feature of the struggle of hard boiled decetective genre.

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Fantastic new author

I loved this book and the narrator. They are a perfect fit, and it is a great reimagining of post apocalyptic word. I really love that it is really close to the date of the disaster. So so good

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A new sub genre brilliantly voiced by the author

With this I believe Luke (the author) has invented a new sub genre of a fantasy world that has gone through a apocalypse and lost its magic. The complete reverse of all the post apocalyptic fantasy I have seen where our world goes through an apocalyptic event and gains magic.

2ndly authors reading their own work normally bring something extra to a performance. Luke does this in spades.

Finally the essentially detective storey is well deployed and provides a great vehicle to navigate the world and never feels forced.

Highly recommended, I am buying the next one

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  • Gaia Marino
  • 11-06-2020

So engaging it was bewitching.

The 5 stars are all well deserved, because this was a brilliantly written debut novel.

Actor Luke Arnold is more known for his role as Long John Silver in the STARZ series Black Sails (which is amazing and you should go binge it right now if you haven't yet), and I had no idea he was such a good writer as well. He claims he's always loved writing, but stopped for a few years. Well I am so glad he picked that pen (or keyboard) back up!

The Last Smile in Sunder City is a fantasy thriller with an amazing noir atmosphere, with lovable and immensely flawed characters. It's their flaws that keep you locked to the book, transporting you right to the dusty old roads of Sunder with detective Fetch Phillips: his painkiller addiction is as vivid as your need to know what happened to old, decrepit vampire Professor Edmund Rye. And when stories from the present start weaving with ghosts from the past, and you meet Amarita, Hendricks, and all the colorful characters that made Fetch who he is today, then you already know you're hooked.

The audiobook makes it even better, even if you're not audiobook people (I personally am not, but I just had to give it a shot): Arnold's incredible acting skills give life to the characters to the point of making you forget he's the one voicing them all. And I already can't wait for the second installment of this new incredible series out in October.

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  • Shoppa
  • 23-10-2020

If you like Dresden you’ll probably like Fetch

Amazing 1st book & intro to a new, flawed hero in a magical world. I enjoyed every minute of this story and the narration by the author was just perfect. So much interwoven, intricate background to set the scene but I never felt as though the essential ‘back story’ stuff took over as it does with many new series.

I’m an avid Dresden fan but this is actually a stronger first novel than in that series. Time will obviously tell if in subsequent books the life journey Fetch goes on will be as amazing, affirming, adventurous, fun and as full of personal growth as Harry’s.

So many intriguing, three dimensional characters and settings were introduced to explain the basics of Fetch’s origin story that the potential for future interactions and story development are quite exciting. The book leaves the reader desperately wanting to know answers to mysteries that were necessarily left hanging. I really like how the protagonist appears to be just as in the dark about many of these mysteries as we are.

My fingers are crossed that 10 Fetch books down the line I will be as invested in him, and his supporting cast of characters, as I am with Dresden’s.

In one book Luke Arnold has created a brilliantly written new potential anti-hero, a fascinating world of myth and magic and a tragic but extremely original back story. There are infinite possibilities. If he can keep the momentum going I’m definitely along for the ride.

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  • Jumpin' Bean
  • 05-02-2020

Terrific

Oh what a luscious turn of phrase Mr Arnold has. Perfect scenes evoked with a word sketch.
And my, also a very talented actor/narrator. If not the best, certainly one of the best author narrators I have come across.
An engaging lead character, with his bag of angst and woes, interacts well with other residents of his world. Conversations you believe, that reveal the person and take the story forward.
If I was being super-picky, I would say that during the middle of the story I was a bit muddled. Also, although there were some very droll moments the overall feel was just the teensiest bit, gloomy. I guess that would be all the angsts making their presence felt.
So happy I gave it a shot. I do hope there are more to come.

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  • Heather
  • 09-03-2021

A fantastic cross between Sam Spade and the X Men

I usually like to read books that mix fantasy with the everyday and a good dollop of humour, like the Inspector Hobbes Series and anything by Heidi Goody and Ian Grant, so I wasn't sure what to expect at first, but the story soon pulled me in and I kept wanting to listen to find out what happened next. The story was an inventive twist on the theme of vampires, werewolves etc, combined with a main character who was more a Sam Spade type. It shouldn't have worked, but it does! The whole set up is entirely believable and the book, while reaching a conclusion of sorts, doesn't go for the nice neat tidy ending but the sort of messy ending you find in everyday life, only with vampires!
And as for the narration, that's superb. I love the contrast between the hard gumshoe American type accent of the main character and the more western accents of the other characters. It could come across as clunky or forced, but it doesn't. It actually skilfully reinforces the otherness of the main character and gives the story an extra vibrancy. I'm currently listening to the second book in the series, and so far I'm enjoying it as much as and possibly even more so than the first.
Highly recommended!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andre
  • 28-01-2021

Love the concept and the book

For me if you enjoy Dresden files, Ben aaronoovitch, then this by Luke Arnold stands as well tall. The author even does an incredible job as a narrator. For me a must read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rowan Daly
  • 23-02-2020

A new highlight for Science Fiction and Fantasy

The maturity level of the writing in this book far surpasses what I would expect from a debut title. I truly hope there will be more books written in this world from Luke. What a success! Gripping from the first chapter. a new interpretation of familiar concepts. A bold new setting and daring lead character. I am consumed with curiosity to know more!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-04-2021

melancholic urban fantasy

Fetch isn't a good man, but he's trying to make amends for a terrible mistake. Noirish and sad and beautifully created world building. Recommended.

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  • kevin
  • 03-04-2021

enjoyed this book

enjoyed it looking forward to hearing more the story was a little strange at first till I got some context from his flashbacks

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  • Laura Catherine Bennett
  • 09-03-2021

Great fantasy detective noir

Loved it. Will definitely listen to the sequel, great story and brilliantly read by the author

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  • Ross Hunter
  • 28-01-2021

full of magic

loved the magic and all the magical creatures in this world. Great first book and looking forward to the sequel.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-01-2021

The new Harry Dresden?

OK so he hasn't got any magic, but Fetch has the same ability to annoy everyone he meets.

Nicely written and narrated by the author, this first instalment about another misfit in a desolate world was funny, sad and made me immediately grab the next book.

I enjoyed it, I hope you do too.

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