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Deathsworn Arc #1

The Last Dragon Slayer

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Saul Karza, wizard of the Empire, has been given a quest by the Empress herself: To find and slay a mythical 'noble dragon' - said to be near invulnerable.

Instead of leading a large band of soldiers, archers and spell-casters; he sets out with two immigrant dock-workers and a homeless dwarf.

What Saul needs is the legendary 'Last Dragon Slayer' on his side, because on this deadly quest, it's not only Saul's favour with the Empress that's at stake - but also his life.

The Deathsworn Arc Series of Dark, Epic Fantasy Adventure Novels:-
Deathsworn Arc : The Last Dragon Slayer
Deathsworn Arc 2 : The Verkreath Horror
Deathsworn Arc 3 : The Blood Queen
Deathsworn Arc 4: Rise of the Archmage
Deathsworn Arc 5: The Temple of the Mad God

The Deathsworn Arc is a fantasy series with themes of atheism and pragmatism, it contains graphic violence and mature themes.
Recommended for readers 14+ only.

290 pages, ebook

First published September 19, 2012

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About the author

Martyn Stanley

14 books186 followers
Award winning writer, Martyn Stanley is married to his wife, Rachael, and has two young children. He lives in a small village on the Staffordshire, Cheshire border and is a director at a small manufacturing unit. He has always been interested in writing, and over the years has spent many hours writing for pleasure on forums, as well as writing some short stories. "The Last Dragon Slayer" is his first novel, and his second and third books, “The Verkreath Horror” and "The Blood Queen" (along with other planned books), form part of the “Deathsworn Arc” series.

He has also authored the 'Lambton Worm' and 'Return of the Worm Slayer' a re-telling of an old English folktale and a sequel.

He has long been an avid reader of Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld,” and it was partly due to his love of this fantasy series, that he sought to write his own “epic fantasy” books. Unlike Terry Pratchett’s work, his books have a darker tone and address some adult themes, including questions of faith and moral philosophy.

Martyn has many other varied interests. He completed his Open University General Science degree and graduated with First Class Honours in 2019, the course material provided inspiration and ideas for his books. The course has also led him to read a number of other science-based books for pleasure, which has further strengthened his atheist leanings. As part of his degree he studied Creative Writing and Advanced Creative Writing - being awarded a distinction in the latter.

Martyn is interested in video games and gaming culture, particularly fantasy adventure and role-playing games. He enjoys playing the guitar, and spent a few years in a rock band during his miss-spent youth! Besides this, he has an interest in martial arts, and although no longer practising, due to family commitments, he holds a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo. This is something he would like to resume doing, time permitting!

His latest novel is the subversive YA Vampire novel, 'Ofelia'. which won the Literary Titan Silver Book Award for 2021.

Martyn won first prize for the DriveTribe 2017 Award for Best Article.

Martyn's 1st prize winning article:-

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Displaying 1 - 29 of 108 reviews
Profile Image for megHan.
604 reviews87 followers
April 10, 2014
All I had to be told was that there was a dragon in this book. Dragons are just ... well ... my thing. I love reading the different interpretations of this creature. And this book did not disappoint. It was fun and had a great adventure, reminiscent, in ways, of other books that I have enjoyed, like Lord of the Rings. I can't wait to read the rest of the series and find out just WHAT is going to happen next.

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Martyn Stanley.
Author 14 books186 followers
March 18, 2022
Re-read again. I didn't actually read the latest version because I don't have that in paperback. I think in hindsight it was a good thing to hire pro editor Mike Rose-Steel. The work we did on this book was definitely worthwhile and though this version is good, it does have it's flaws.

Re-read again! (August 2016) I wanted to re-read this to see how the series flows into the first 30,000 words of book 5 which I'm currently working on. I like this book, I think it's a great book, but I also think it could have been better. I'm sure my style has developed significantly since I wrote this. I just hope everyone who reads it sees through the odd clunky sentence and continues the series. I feel this book is just the tip of a really huge iceberg. The story I'm telling is only hinted at in this book and you don't really get to know the characters very well. In some respects I wonder if book 1 + 2 would make a better book. I've started reading book 2 and really enjoyed the depiction of a plague infested town. The characters starting to gel is really satisfying too. Still, book 1 is a perma-free, I am considering moving back to paid. I don't know. If I wrote this again, I don't think I'd change the story much, but I'd change the writing in places. I am glad I worked with Mike on this, I just read the version just prior to working with Mike Rose-Steel and I can remember some of the major changes we made and they were all good. Onto a re-read of book 2!

Re-read again. I didn't actually read the latest version because I don't have that in paperback. I think in hindsight it was a good thing to hire pro editor Mike Rose-Steel. The work we did on this book was definitely worthwhile and though this version is good, it does have it's flaws.

Re-read again! (August 2016) I wanted to re-read this to see how the series flows into the first 30,000 words of book 5 which I'm currently working on. I like this book, I think it's a great book, but I also think it could have been better. I'm sure my style has developed significantly since I wrote this. I just hope everyone who reads it sees through the odd clunky sentence and continues the series. I feel this book is just the tip of a really huge iceberg. The story I'm telling is only hinted at in this book and you don't really get to know the characters very well. In some respects I wonder if book 1 + 2 would make a better book. I've started reading book 2 and really enjoyed the depiction of a plague infested town. The characters starting to gel is really satisfying too. Still, book 1 is a perma-free, I am considering moving back to paid. I don't know. If I wrote this again, I don't think I'd change the story much, but I'd change the writing in places. I am glad I worked with Mike on this, I just read the version just prior to working with Mike Rose-Steel and I can remember some of the major changes we made and they were all good. Onto a re-read of book 2!

Re-read (August 2017)

I've just read this back to back with Conan the Barbarian: The Stories that Inspired the Movie you can check my review here:- https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... . Now I used to read 'The Savage Sword of Conan the Barbarian'. I have to say though, if you take Conan as the archetypal Sword and Sorcery character/story... Then I don't know if my own books are a good fit for the genre. Why? I don't think it's because they're bad, but because they're different. YES! There ARE swords and there IS sorcery! However there isn't a near invulnerable, swarthy, super-warrior, throwing wenches over his saddle and watching pretty much 90% of his comrades getting slaughtered. I suspect the format of a Conan story is more palatable when read as a monthly short rather than a book full of shorts back to back. The stories have a similar framework and become almost a little predictable, though Red Nails [Included in the book I just read (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Nails)] was an exception. That really DID have a few genuine surprises. I like this story, but I think if I'd wanted to trad pub it, I would have had to have expanded it by 30,000 words and developed the characters of the rest of the party more. As it stands I think this is a really decent read for a Kindle, part-one-of-series. I DO think I can understand why it didn't get picked up by any of the agents or publishers I contacted about putting it into print. I've started reading Verkreath again now and this book flows very seemlessly into that. I wonder if a monster, several part volume would be a more publishable paperback, I need to see the whole story flows well into book 5. I'm really keen to finally get book 5 published, I know a lot of people are waiting eagerly for it, but I'd hate to put it out too early. In many respects I wonder if producing a prequel to this story and putting it out as the first book to read, could be a good idea. Why? I like this book, but I'm convinced my writing has improved massively since I wrote it. I've just signed up for Open University A363 Advanced Creative Writing. I'm sure the level two course brought my writing forwards and I'm hoping this will do the same again. I fear in one day, maybe after another twenty years of desperately trying to raise my game I might look back on this saga and think it's terrible. I hope not, but that's a fear I harbour....

October 2018 re-read.

Well, I finished A363 Advanced Creative Writing and got a Distinction! That's quite impressive for a third year degree course! I got 88% for my science fiction horror script and I'm hoping to submit it to the BBC Writer's Room later this year. I read this again, to fact check my short story 'Lady Death' which I'm hoping to publish soon, and to prepare to write Deathsworn Arc 6: Emergence. Though I DO wonder if DSA6 should be the last one? I'll see where the story takes me, but if it does finish the saga, then DSA6 will end up being called 'God Slayer'.

Will there be more adventures in Torea? Yes! I don't know if it's a novel or a series, but I have a tale brewing centering around Fox Zaelwarsh.

So what did I think of this book? I still like it, but I feel like I could write it better now. The experience of writing 6 novels, dozens of short stories, scripts, plays and poems - part of completing two 60 point University Creative Writing courses has improved my game I think. I really think this is perhaps unsurprisingly the weakest book of the series. Should I re-write it? No, I don't think so. I like it, I think it's good. But I think the rest of the series is better, FAR better. I'm still a strong advocate of just writing. You can read about how to write novels and practise with short stories, and scenes and poems forever, but you'll still learn a lot when you try to write your first novel. You'll learn even more when you write your second!

Martyn Stanley

Jan 2022 re-read.

I am re-reading this whole series in prep for releasing the now complete 'Deathsworn Arc 6: Emergence'. I read this book back now, and I still like it. I don't think I was as daring in this book as I was in some of the later titles, but I think I was bold and mould-breaking in some ways. I think if I wrote this again, there are bits I'd write a bit differently, but the bulk of the story I'm still really happy with. I do like the ending, and I like the way the reader is introduced to Vashni in this book. The way she acts and tries to portray herself - even though it isn't strictly honest, I think says a lot about her and links to past and personality very well. Book 6 has turned out to be a monster. The story REALLY goes off-piste in 6 I think, but in a good way. Can't wait to share book 6 with you all!
Profile Image for Tiffany.
138 reviews44 followers
April 7, 2014
The Last Dragon Slayer is my return to High Fantasy novels, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Martyn Stanley's style of writing appeals to me in it's directness and non-usage of "typical" High Fantasy flowery type language. The characters were interesting. Their interactions and relationships that developed were entertaining, especially the female elf Vashni and the male human Korhan. I also enjoyed and appreciated the ethical and moral decisions that the characters made. It was nice to see characters that didn't just go around maiming and stabbing things all willy-nilly. While I felt the fight scene with the Dragon could have been a little longer (it is supposed to be an extremely difficult to kill creature right?), it was written well. All in all The Last Dragon Slayer has accomplished in way fewer pages what most take hundreds to achieve. A very likable, and good read. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.
Profile Image for Nicko Mocanu (Elril Moonweaver).
204 reviews101 followers
May 31, 2018
This book is the first in a series that I was asked to read and give my opinions on. Well I finished it and I have mixed feelings about it :/ To tell the truth, I expected it be less random than it turned out to be and, I dunno, I wanted the author to make me care about the characters, but unfortunately, with just 2 exceptions, I did not. Which is a shame because if done well these characters would have been badass.

May contain spoilers! Read at your own risk!

First off this book should have not been called "The Last Dragon Slayer" (pff, like there aren't any other dragons out there and Korhan's gonna be the only one who's gonna kill'em all - the title I am guessing does not refer to Silus by any chance, he's almost ignored after they leave Trest). I think this book should have had a small subtitle at the bottom "Korhan gets humiliated" because that's what most of the plot revolved around at it was... jarring to say the least, but I'll get to that a bit later.

This book was too short, it did not explain enough, it just went in a liniar pattern and the things it showed such as culture and whatnot, but the rest was either repetitive or unimportant (they bring up at least five times the discussion of what to do with a brain-dumb bandit... I had no fucks to give anymore by the time they were leaving Briem).
The races presented here are stereotypical: on the good side we have: humans (that I believe are separated into normal humans, barbarian and wizards), dwarves, gravians (or dark elves - which I found quite interesting) and the prerequisite elves; and on the bad side we have: dragons, orcs, trolls, goblins. I mean no offence, but this seems like a really poor attempt at divesity, because I don't understand what they are all doing crammed in that tiny patch of land.

Ok now, on to the characters... Oh, boy.

I have to say from the get-go, 70 % in the story I was feeling like I knew next to nothing about the characters. In my oppinion there is no character development, except for one which is rather a downgrade.
Korhan is the one who gets character development, but in the negative sense of the word because he is downgraded, to a stableboy, workhorse, handmaiden and slave all in one, by - guess who? - a woman ofc. But not just any woman, a slender, feisty, elf woman that humiliates him just to better him.

My sister gave me the clue and when I thought about it, I realised she was right, Vashni is a high-functioning sociopath (highly intelligent individual that does not empaphize with people unless they get something out of their relationship with said people and that look down on people, toying with them for their own amusement) < this is the very definition of Vashni. She's a freaking high-functioning sociopath! No wonder I couldn't stand her. She may have her strong moments, but my god, can she be a bitch! And that happens most of the times.

Saul is not the character I thought he would be. I thought that, as hte leader of the group he would be more authoritative, both in and outside of it. However he's more the negociable type and, as I said in one of my status messages, his way of handling some situations borders on Ned Stark stupidity.

Of all the characters I wanted Brael to be the one the author focused on, him and his banishment (and Martyn, you were really subtle with that "There is no Kirkfell. No Ishar and no halls of the afterlife" thing, there goes your super secret "truth" down the drain). I would have preffered to read more about him than about Vashni/Korhan. it would have been a welcoming change of subject.

The rest of the characters are Votrex, Harald and Silus which I personally voted as "Most likely to die at the end" (like i do in every midseason and season of The walking Dead). Turns out I was 2/3 right. Votrex lives, but he is rather useless, yeah but I vote him for the next 2 volumes ^_^. These characters had little to no character development, I still don't know who Harald is. In my mind he is a barbarian-like person with the name Harald slapped across his face and that's it.

I will also take the time to adress the idea that these characters, aside from being poorly characterised and developed, did not have distinct speech patterns. When the author fell into the "Talking Head Syndrome" territory, I couldn't figure out who was talking, because they all sounded the same (except for Vashni and Votrex, one was arrogance incarnate and the other used aye a lot :P).

The plot had little in it. Truth be told it was a 200 page book, but I feel like it could have had more to it than the group going from point A to point B, while talking, solving a problem at point B, going from point B to point C, finding obstables in their way from B to C, solving problem in C then continuing on to D and then to E.

I felt that all the events that happened in the novel were randomly placed there so that the characters could have something to do. They are not crucial to the plot, but they are there. Oh and one more thing that bugged me. The focus was TOO. MUCH. ON. VASHNI. AND. KORHAN. Seriously at around 80 % when they train in swords I felt the desperate urge to skip the pages because I felt like I was reading the same thing I had read not 15 pages before. It was overwhelmingly intrusive this plot line and most of the times unwelcomed.

The writing style is not spectacular, but it's not bad either. Yes, the author does tend to halt the story to explain this and that thing or to explain this feeling of Korhan or why Vashni did this and that, but aside from these pauses the story flowed... I wouldn't say nicely, but rather, jittery.

As for my enjoyment of the story, I dunno. These elements I've enumerated above kept me from being fully emmersed in the story and while I would not recommend it to avid fantasy readers who've probably read a whole lot of the genre, I would recomend it as a light read for uninitiated of the genre. This book, being the beginner of a series, has flaws, however I do admire the effort of this person in trying to make a story that he wanted to tell to the world. I hope that someday I would become just like him. Someone who can publish their book and show the world the story I've been working on for the last...uhh almost 10 years.

Let's Rate This - 5.8 / 10

Setting and Atmosphere - 5
Plot - 6
Main Characters - 6
Secondary Characters - 7
Antagonists - 5
Writing - 6
Enjoyability - 6

Reviews for the Deathsworn Arc series:
The Last Dragon Slayer (Deathsworn Arc, #1) by Martyn Stanley The Verkreath Horror (Deathsworn Arc, #2) by Martyn Stanley The Blood Queen (Deathsworn Arc, #3) by Martyn Stanley Rise of the Archmage (Deathsworn Arc, #4) by Martyn Stanley The Temple of the Mad God (Deathsworn Arc, #5) by Martyn Stanley
The Last Dragon Slayer
The Verkreath Horror
The Blood Queen
Rise of the Archmage
The Temple of the Mad God

My reviews :) | My Blog | Twitter
Profile Image for Mimi.
145 reviews7 followers
March 4, 2016
'The Last Dragon Slayer' starts with a wizard named Saul Karza, travelling with three others (two men and a dwarf). He has been given the mission to kill a dragon which is rumoured to be about.

Lacking in skilled warriors, he tries to recruit Silus Mendelson, who is known as the last dragon slayer. Once he is recruited they set about travelling to complete their quest. On their way, they come across Brael, a Gravian and he decides to join them.

Shortly after that, when they run into trouble they meet Vashni, a elf who can whisper. After finding out what they plan to do, Vashni joins them feeling as though they will not win without her. Together the group set out to take on the dragon.

After finishing this book my first thought was that I wanted to read the next one. This story was well written and had characters that I really liked.

Vashni, was intriguing because she could whisper and get into people's minds. It made her seem very powerful and someone who you wouldn't want to cross. Silus Mendelson, was good as well and at the beginning I didn't think he was going to join the mission.

Saul and Brael were the only characters that I found disappointing. I just felt as though you didn't see enough of them. But I think you will when you read the rest of the books in the series. I liked Thrax, and thought that he seemed clever and cunning.

As well as the characters, I found the setting interesting and was reminded of stories such as Lord of the Rings.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I would recommend this to fans of fantasy.
Profile Image for Michael.
281 reviews77 followers
March 15, 2018
Since I only made it to 60% of this book I can't write about its ending. I rarely fail to finish a book but this one was just too much for me. I won't recommend it but I won't totally crush it either (there may be people out there that did like it).

I liked the initial idea of the plot but it didn't seem to be going in the direction of the dragon anytime soon. I didn't like the Elf female (who appeared to be the main character). If you were given the choice to have your senses removed one by one, would you let someone do that to you? I wouldn't. And that is why I failed to finish this book. In my opinion, the barbarian would have to have been a prize numbskull to allow that violation. Call me sentimental if you like but I couldn't deal with that.

Hey! I've just realised, that's an emotional response! Okay, so there is some basis for giving this 2 stars instead of 1. I may even go back to my Kindle in a year or so and complete it.
Profile Image for Dawn.
1,177 reviews46 followers
October 4, 2015
I love a good fantasy novel - especially ones with elves and dragons! - and "Deathsworn Arc: The Last Dragon Slayer" definitely hits the spot.

There's some pretty good re-imagining of elves here which really caught my attention (I can't say more without giving it away!), and the character illustrations at the end of the eBook are amazing.

(Note to Martyn Stanley: Brilliant move to have those illustrations at the end - was good to see how close my mental pictures came to "real thing".)

There's some dodgy punctuation (more, the further through the book you go), a handful of typos, etc. which was infuriating... but that's me.

Any fan of fantasy should give this a go.
Profile Image for L.J. Capehart.
Author 6 books2 followers
April 11, 2014
The story that I read was not what I was expecting! It developed into mostly a story about two of the characters, with very little of the first character introduced. But it was still a good adventure. I'm curious where the story will move on to in the next book.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Ionia.
1,436 reviews67 followers
December 16, 2013
Martyn Stanley is a talented new voice in the fantasy genre, and his book, "Deathsworn: the Last Dragon Slayer" Surprised and delighted me. Just when I thought there was no more room for yet another book about slaying a dragon, came this one--and it made me think twice about that judgement.

Here is what I loved about this book:

First of all, the main character is not your average,"I shall succeed at everything except keeping my ego in check" type of hero. This was important to me as I have seen this in far too many books. I liked that this character had faults and wasn't perfect. It allowed me to feel closer to him and to identify with his purpose and plight that much more.

I applaud the dynamic between the characters in this book, in particular the relationships between the members of the group that ended up travelling together. I enjoyed wondering what would happen between a burgeoning love interest and two people that could have either become friends or ended up at odds. The author has a talent for creating tension between his characters and keeping the reader engaged for the duration of the story.

The battles scenes are well placed and strategic and reminded me somewhat of a movie. Martyn Stanley is good at anticipating the desires of the reader and fulfilling them in such a way that keeps you wanting to get to the next page.I never felt the pace drop in this story and it kept me reading even late into the night.

I also liked that the reader was introduced to the characters without miles and miles of pointless back story. You come into the novel where the characters are at in their current life and get to know them via their life from that point forward, rather than wading through the early lives and times of said characters. This was a nice angle for a fantasy author to use.

One of the more exceptional portions of this book, was the language that this author gave to the elves. I liked the original dialect and felt it helped them to stand out from the other characters in the book. I was transported to another world, rather than just reading about it second-hand.

I think this book is evident that Mr. Stanley is an author to watch--a promising new talent with a bright future ahead of him. I am greatly looking forward to his next book.

Overall, this was a wonderfully refreshing fantasy novel with lots of surprises and reasons to love it. I would recommend this to anyone who is tired of the basic formula and is looking for something that has not been done before. Great book.
Profile Image for Anna.
561 reviews10 followers
May 8, 2015
When I started reading this, I was looking forward to it. For once no big countries at war, not the whole world at peril, but merely an interesting collection of people out to fulfil a quest. The plot itself is a little simple, but it would do.
The main focus of the author seems to me to lie with the group who go out to kill a dragon anyway. Since I do enjoy character-centred story telling the most, that is fine with me. However, there are few characters in the book who are fleshed out. The elf gains the most profile - she has a strong personality and hints of a background story. The dark elf shows some potential as well. All other characters remain flat.
A main issue I had with the book were the endless, repetitive dialogues. It is not necessary to retell every hour of riding from every character's perspective. Yes, people have a thought and then later discuss it with others. They may have the same conversation several times. That's okay in real life but annoying for the reader. A lot of what was put into plain speech should have been communicated non-verbally or left unsaid but still tangible for the reader.
Likewise, the moral 'dilemmas' that the group discussed at length left me cold. More so because the characters remained wooden, too uniform in their manner of thinking and speech (even the 14 year old village boy talked like a 50 year old scholar).

Overall, this read like a first draft to me that needs much fleshing out to become a genuinely enjoyable read.

Other issues:
- Why is there just one (the standard alibi) female character (that is of course pretty, dressed in tight clothes and hard to get)? She's mildly interesting, but considering that none of the men is properly fleshed out and essential (apart from the dark elf and perhaps Saul), why could there not be a second woman or an interesting, significant female they encounter on the road (I don't count 'Ellen' into that category)?
- Punctuation is a big issue with commas missing in one spot and being completely misplaced in others. Many apostrophes are missing.
- If someone coughs, please describe it, rather than letting him say 'Cough... I don't feel so good.'
- There were words missing, others misplaced.

Please consider this an honest, well-meant review, even if it contains a lot of criticism.
9 reviews2 followers
January 27, 2013
I liked this story. It's well written and interesting, and different. I think it's the kinky relationship between the warrior and the elf, it's a bit weird, but it's intriguing and makes you want to read on to see how it develops. All in all it's kind of strange, we don't get too much background information on the characters involved, but I think we get enough to be interested. The pace is pretty good and the constant moral and ethical debating is interesting.

I didn't like the weird elvish language bits, trying to imagine how to pronounce words with the funny symbol in the middle gave me a bit of a headache at times, I wish the writer had left this out!

Having said that, there's not that many bits like that and I ended up just reading the common ones as 'Mirsha' and 'Rishine' even though they are supposed to sound different according to the notes at the front of the book. I can see why he did it, I don't like it though.

The battle at the end should have gone on longer too, but I liked the gritty realism, I'll defo read part 2 if it ever comes out.

I suppose it was a bit short, could have done with a bit more 'meat'. Enjoyable though.
Profile Image for Linda Parkinson-Hardman.
Author 26 books34 followers
December 5, 2013
A key element of any good fantasy novel is the ability to make the characters truly believable, even if they are outside of the normal human experience. Elves, dwarves and dragons seem commonplace inside the world of the story and the reader doesn’t question them. Martyn has created a great set of characters and personalities that are wholly true to themselves and the story.

This is a typical fantasy novel; bunch of local tough guys are given a task to fulfill by a ruler and go off to rid the land of an enemy (in this case a dragon). As such you sort of know what to expect and when; this could detract from the story, but it doesn’t. Martyn blends characterisation with location and the bigger, broader questions of life in a blend that keeps the reader interested from the beginning. He also delivers some wonderfully unexpected ‘punches’ at just the right intervals to make them read to the end.
Profile Image for J. Kahele.
Author 15 books441 followers
September 28, 2015
Imperial Wizard Saul Karza has a problem.

He has to kill an invulnerable dragon and he's left his army at home.

There's only one thing that will turn his fatal failure into survivable success - The Last Dragon Slayer.

Saul Karza, wizard of the Empire, has been given a quest by the Empress herself: To find and slay a mythical 'noble dragon'; said to be near invulnerable. Instead of leading a large band of soldiers, archers and spell-casters, he sets out with two immigrant dock-workers and a homeless dwarf. What Saul needs is the legendary 'Last Dragon Slayer' on his side, because on this deadly quest it's not only Saul's favour with the Empress that's at stake - but also his life.
I liked this story. It was very well written, although I didn’t like the strange elvish language, I despise when authors create languages that only make sense to them.

I have to tell you if the story wouldn’t have been so well written, I probably wouldn’t have finished the story, because I found the characters annoying and unlikable and normally that is big no-no for me.
But the story was good and if the characters would have been more likeable, it would have been an excellent read.

My rating 3.5 out of 5.0
Profile Image for Clarice.
400 reviews6 followers
February 12, 2016
It surprised me just how much I liked this book. I am a fan of The Hobbit series but admittedly have never read the book and I haven't read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy either. However, this book reminded me of the movies and it was quite an intriguing journey as this little group go off to fight a huge dragon. There's already a dragon slayer in the midst, a cursed dark elf, an elf, a dwarf, a wizard, and two dock workers. They don't sound like much, but together they become quite the group and must endure a few trials and humiliations (mainly one character's humiliation) to even reach their destination. There is little hope that they will make it out alive without some intervention and the female elf that joins them provides them with some help. However, the dark elf stays cursed and one of the dock workers becomes quite enamored with the elf, who seems to also have some trouble tailing her as well. She takes this worker under her wing to attempt to teach him some mental defense against magic and those that can bend other's minds to their will and to help him become a better swordsman. After all she puts him through, it's amazing the man puts up with it. But he does and is rewarded for it. Quite a fascinating read!!
Profile Image for Leila.
442 reviews212 followers
February 1, 2017
I loved this book! I confess I am a fan of epic fantasy and in particular anything concerning dragons. Elves and dwarves also intrigue me so the book cover and title caught my attention immediately. I was not disappointed. The standard is high especially when you remember it is a debut novel too. It is an amazing blend of an overall action/adventure quest to find and kill a dragon, with a well constructed plot containing unexpected twists that jump out at the reader... combined equally with a fascinating in depth study of a small group of really interesting and unique characters. For me it is the differences between this little group both physically and within their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses that are so absorbing. Also, I am always drawn to novels where some of the more serious questions of life are thought about and discussed. It always adds so much depth to the interaction of the characters. Their dialogue is fresh because of their differences. I will be reading the following books in the series without a doubt. Highly recommended! Martyn Stanley's first book is well worth reading.
435 reviews8 followers
September 28, 2015
This story started out slow for me then picked up the pace. I mean how can you put such an awkward group together and call them anything but. The last dragon Slayer is a mystical person thought to have been just a kids tale or something made up for kids to look up to! Think again but wait it gets better! yeah this book caught me off guard and kept me reading what can i say I really liked the way it plays out!multiple characters in a group that should have failed from the beginning!!
35 reviews4 followers
March 23, 2017
Author sponsored review
This was a really good book! I wasn't sure I would enjoy it, but once I got into it, I really did. Essentially, a dwarf and two humans are on a quest for the Empress to slay a dragon. However, they wish for Silus to join them as he was with the last party who killed a Noble Dragon. Along the way they pick up a dark-elf (gravian) Brael, saving him from the executor's block. After rescuing him, they are rescued from the resulting pursuers by a mysterious elf named Vashni. As a group, they then continue on their quest, helping those they encounter on the way. At the same time, Vashni takes Korhan on as an apprentice in order to help him build resistance to "whispering", which is a form of mind control. As they journey towards the dragon, Vashni also trains Korhan in swordsmanship. Will it be enough to slay the dragon? Read the book to find out!
Profile Image for Rosie Amber.
Author 0 books118 followers
March 10, 2015
The Last Dragon Slayer is high end fantasy and is the first book in the Deathsworn Arc series. It is about a quest to kill a Noble Dragon.

Saul Karza is a wizard and he is travelling with two men from the North, and a dwarf. They have been sent by the Empress Jade to put down a dragon. They are travelling through the land of Torea in search of Silus Mendelson, the last know dragon slayer in the hope he can help them and will join them. The Empress had no warriors, archers or mages to send with Saul instead he must rely on mercenaries.

They find Silus in the village of Trest, sadly he no longer leads the life of a respected hero, but with little else to do each day he reluctantly agrees to join the band. As they leave Trest, they rescue a Gravian or dark Elf who was just about to be be-headed. Dashing from the scene they hope to have escaped but they are followed and face the angry Berger and his men.

There future looks bleak until they are saved by Vashni an elf and a thief. She has magical skills and can whisper into minds when needed. She's also a remarkable fighter. She decides to ride with the band and meet the dragon they must slay.

Together the band travel to Brunwelt to face the mighty dragon, they've become friends and a team whilst travelling and face the danger together. Just when they thought it over Saul tells them they must collect the dragon heart stones, powerful objects which will lead them on to their next adventure.

This is a well written book, with very good character descriptions and dialogue. Vashni quickly became the lead character with her lessons she taught Korhan. I would have liked to have seen more from Saul because he opened the book and was the leader. A couple of points became repetitive Kirkfell was the place everyone hoped to go in the afterlife, too many characters had the same line to say about it and I felt Vashni's two attempts to decipher Braels' curse were just a repeat of words the second time, there was a missed opportunity to drip feed us some more information about it.
Profile Image for Jeru.
4 reviews
December 2, 2013
I started reading this book few days ago. I was caught by the title of the book – and the genre which I rarely do read. But hey! I do have an epic imagination! It drove my interest more so by the looks of the book cover. Although it gives you an idea of what you’re about to dive into, do not be fooled that you know half the story. The cover gives you a brief introduction that no amount of words could describe and it drove me more to go on and finish the book in 4 days.

I like how the book started off. The pictures of the characters were there, which helped me more on how I visualized the story as I went on reading. Saul Karza the emissary of empress Jade was sent to a task to assemble a group of warriors to slay a dragon -- as he enters the town of Trest with a companion to sell swords from the northlands and search for the last dragon slayer.

The story started quite slow but it is Martyn Stanley’s own style to establish a familiarity with the characters, names and the places. Epic Fantasies don’t appeal to most people because it requires too much thought and vivid imagination. And he definitely made it easy for the reader to establish the setting and the plot. I was always up waiting for something –uhmm a fight scene?... That’s what happens when you get so excited about dragons and an army of men with shields and steel! Lol…

The story may seem “basic” for many, but I upon finishing the book, I reckon this is just the beginning that made me feel that there’s probably more to this epic on his up-coming titles... so stay tuned. I’m on to his book 2. Because I need to find out what happened to my favorite characters.
Profile Image for Ayla (I'm not here).
30 reviews53 followers
December 20, 2013
3.5 stars

The book is about Soul (a wizard), Korhan and Harald (northmen), and Vortex (a dwarf) who are joint on a quest to slay a noble dragon
On the way they are joint by silus(the last dragon slayer), breal (dark elf)and lady vashni(an elf)

You only truly appreciate the value of life when someone is trying to take it from you ,i want to feel that again even if it means riding to my doom.

Even if death is certain, I still thank you, a dignified death is always preferable

We cannot control the life into which we are born; only what we do with it.

I appreciated simply being "alive" enough that tiredness did not compel me to sleep

What I liked:
The book is very well written, engaging and enjoyed it
The characters are interesting, believable and do come to life in the book, I'm there with them i can hear and see them walking and fighting

What I didn't like was the weird relationship between Vashni and Korhan for me it was a little disturbing and kind of wished vashni would die at the end even though she was making a better man out of Korhan, she could of chose a different way to do it.
that's been said she was very interesting and i kept feeling she will betray them any second now

I couldn't read the whispers and spells but I guess martyn stanly meant it to be like this and i liked it.

The end

Profile Image for Alex.
65 reviews3 followers
December 9, 2013
There isn't anything more enjoyable than loving Book One of a new epic adventure series, is there? I'm thrilled to have a new series to dig into. Stanley is a great fantasy writer offering a grand world with a dragon slaying mission at the heart of Arc 1, which proves to be solidly plotted, full of characters strong enough to carry a series, layered with some twists and mysteries.

The characters are great, and dialogue is well executed, which both moves the plot forward and lets the characters come to life. I ended up really liking one character in particular, the female elf Vashni, and having a caring but strong female character on a quest is a really terrific choice. Her scenes were always excellent, and one in particular at the end was very moving, which is a testament to how much I came to be invested in the characters.

There's a lot to think about, too, in this book. There is a theme about "The Truth" that runs throughout, that is a way of looking at the meaning of life. I like the depth this theme offers and how it helped us understand the character's motivations.

The book provides both an intriguing resolution, a plot twist and a cliffhanger at the end--which is quite a feat! I highly recommend you join in jumping in to this series for an intriguing escape and a winning quest.
December 15, 2014
**This Review was done in conjunction with NerdGirl. For more information, please visit their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NerdGirl.NG **

I love dragons. Good or evil. Dragons are some of the coolest aspects of fantasy literature. This book deals with a group of fantasy characters on a question to kill a dragon. It sounds like you typical fantasy tale except that the author really crafts his characters and interpersonal dynamics really well. He plays upon them and it really brings another level of depth to this story. The dragon is a really interesting character, he is evil but he is also very intelligent and has a real grasp on morals and honor. It's really interesting dynamic and it really shows there's a bit of a grey area when we look at our moral fortitude as a human race. Overall, I think the book was quite a good action read. I think it needed a bit more editing time, as I saw some errors in the text, but the story is solid. I definately think that this author has serious potential and really understanding character development. I assume the next two books in the series continue in this same vein, and if so, I bet this author really took the time to plan a really interested series of novels. I highly recommend it for fantasy lovers.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lcdk.
114 reviews1 follower
December 16, 2013
I especially admired reading through Deathsworn Arc because it wasn't hard for me to see early in the book that Martyn Stanley clearly has a true passion and plenty of talent when it comes to writing in the fantasy genre.

I have always been a huge fan of most fantasy books, so naturally I found myself sucked in quite quickly because the book has a solid foundation made up of everything that makes the genre so appealing to me. There's warriors, dragon slayers, lots of combat, and a mystical, dynamic world - everything that you would want to find in a book like this, but with the author's own unique and very creative twist that effects almost every archetype that he has chosen to incorporate into this book.

Overall, it's different and not a typical read for the genre but I think this is what makes Deathsworn Arc so satisfying for me; the author isn't afraid to do something different and he does a hell of a good job at it.
Profile Image for Vlada.
110 reviews
August 21, 2016
First things first: I'd love to thank author for contacting me and emailing me a free copy of this book.

It was quite captivating, though I found the name of the novel a bit misleading: the dragon slayer happened to be the minor character. The storyline was moving towards the battle with the dragon but it was more focused on the relationship between elf Vashni and human warrior Korhan.
The journey of the group was mostly carried out by the dialogues and it gave an opportunity to learn more about characters and their opinions on different matters of course, but I was missing the more elaborate description of the scenery.
The ending left me wondering what's going to happen next. Will the dark elf be able to remove his curse? Will Korhan have enough of patience to continue his apprenticeship? What is the Empress Jade really like? What will the group encounter on their way back?
Well, I guess we'll see that in the next part :)
Profile Image for Elisa.
3,186 reviews25 followers
January 30, 2016
This book is free on Amazon as I write this review. Go ahead and download it… NOW!
What a fun, edge-of-your-seat fantasy novel! This is the setup for a series and, in a few strokes it creates a world that you will want to visit. The characters will seem familiar: a wizard, a dwarf, elves, strong warriors and a dragon; and they all have traits that we've seen before. The most original character is a "black elf" whose cursed story shows how this novel can go to new, yet familiar territories. The characters are so well fleshed out, that in the end I felt like they were old friends. My favorite is Vashni, a lady elf (I challenge any female reader not to secretly wish to be like her). As a vegetarian, I loved her lessons about the minds of animals when she encourages another character to give up meat. I look forward to reading the rest of the series so that I can find out what happens next with this strange crew in their quest.
Profile Image for Donna.
34 reviews2 followers
February 11, 2017
The book is not so much about the Last Dragon Slayer, who plays a relatively minor part. It is more focused on the relationship between Vashni and Korhan, two of the others that make up a rag-tag bunch of adventurers on their way to hunt down a dragon. I won't give away what happens, but needless to say this relationship is very odd and reminds me of a magical "50 shades of grey" minus the sex and with a plotline.

Having said that, this was a much better read than the aforementioned book! The main characters are very well portrayed, although i'd like to have seen a little more of the others making up the journeying group. The pacing of the story during action scenes was spot on, and the ending was satisfying, if somewhat predictable. Overall, an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Misfits farm.
1,792 reviews60 followers
September 26, 2015
I am not usually into fantasy tales but I loved this book- until the end. The characters built nicely as did their relationships along their journey. The fight that they were aiming to was over very suddenly as was the book. I know that this is part of a series but please don’t stop half way through a sentence so to speak. The descriptions of people and places were so good that you could picture each in your mind’s eye. Rich detail of fabled beings and places. The story as much about the characters and the journey than the final quest. An enjoyable read but I do like an ending even if it leads into the next book.
I was given a free copy of this book for an open and honest review.

Profile Image for Larry B Gray.
Author 6 books154 followers
February 24, 2016
Deathsworn: The Last Dragon Slayer by Martyn Stanley is a great example of what a fantasy adventure novel should be. It will keep you glued to it pages from the start.

The author has done a great job of developing a tale that is full of adventure and intrigue. It is fast paced, with twist and turns throughout the book. I found it easy to read yet complex and exciting.

I liked the cast of characters that Martyn Stanley developed for his story. They were real and very believable. It was fun to watch them grow and mature as the book progresses.

I really enjoyed The Last Dragon Slayer by Martyn Stanley and I highly recommend this book to all readers.
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