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Saga of the Forgotten Warrior #1

Son of the Black Sword

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#1 IN A NEW EPIC FANTASY SERIES from Monster Hunter series creator and New York Times best-selling author, Larry Correia!

After the War of the Gods, the demons were cast out and fell to the world. Mankind was nearly eradicated by the seemingly unstoppable beasts, until the gods sent the great hero, Ramrowan, to save them. He united the tribes, gave them magic, and drove the demons into the sea. Ever since the land has belonged to man and the oceans have remained an uncrossable hell, leaving the continent of Lok isolated. It was prophesized that someday the demons would return, and only the descendants of Ramrowan would be able to defeat them. They became the first kings, and all men served those who were their only hope for survival.

As centuries passed the descendants of the great hero grew in number and power. They became tyrannical and cruel, and their religion nothing but an excuse for greed. Gods and demons became myth and legend, and the people no longer believed. The castes created to serve the Sons of Ramrowan rose up and destroyed their rulers. All religion was banned and replaced by a code of unflinching law. The surviving royalty and their priests were made casteless, condemned to live as untouchables, and the Age of Law began.

Ashok Vadal has been chosen by a powerful ancient weapon to be its bearer. He is a Protector, the elite militant order of roving law enforcers. No one is more merciless in rooting out those who secretly practice the old ways. Everything is black or white, good or evil, until he discovers his entire life is a fraud. Ashok isn’t who he thinks he is, and when he finds himself on the wrong side of the law, the consequences lead to rebellion, war—and destruction.

At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).

"Bestselling fantasy author Correia (The Grimnoir Chronicles) casts a compelling spell with this India-influenced series opener...Correia skillfully sets in motion this story of plots within plots, revealing complex, sympathetic characters and black-hearted villains with equal detail and insight. Full of action, intrigue, and wry humor, this exciting series launch promises many more thrills to come."
— Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"Correia is best known for his action-packed urban fantasies (“Monster Hunter Nation” series) so this non-European–set epic fantasy is a pleasant surprise...Fans who like Correia’s fast-moving style will be pleased with the plethora of action scenes, and epic fantasy readers interested in delving into a new universe should be equally satisfied. A solid choice for admirers of Brent Weeks and Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn” series."
— Library Journal

About Son of the Black Sword:
"This book has everything I like in fantasy: intense action scenes, evil in horrifying array, good struggling against the darkness, and most of all people—gorgeously flawed human beings faced with horrible moral choices that force them to question and change and grow."—Jim Butcher, creator of the New York Times best-selling Dresden Files

“I loved the book, it was great, fast paced, with wonderful characters, and also a lot of wonderful scenes that screamed to be painted.”—Larry Elmore, legendary, award-winning artist, and cover artist for Son of the Black Sword.

About the Urban Fantasy of Larry Correia:
“[A] no-holds-barred all-out page turner that is part science fiction, part horror, and an absolute blast to read.”—Bookreporter.

432 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 15, 2015

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About the author

Larry Correia

115 books3,973 followers
Larry Correia (born 1977) is the New York Times bestselling author of the Monster Hunter International series, the Grimnoir Chronicles, and the thriller Dead Six.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 640 reviews
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,811 followers
May 2, 2016
I have read several books by Larry Correia, the man is moving into different (yet related) genres and I've liked (pretty much) all I've read (okay, one book not so great but you can't pitch all no hitters).

Here we are building a fantasy world and while it has some facets you'll recognize that isn't a big deal' I've said before that with a few thousand years of story telling there can't be all that many truly completely original plot lines out there. This takes the world with a somewhat nebulous past (probably lost technology etc, with bits and pieces still around). There is a civilization that depends on strict attention to and obedience of THE LAW. Our "hero" Ashok Vadal is a Protector as he protects the people from the incursion of Demons from the sea and otherwise upholds THE LAW.

See there was a war in heaven (I've read that somewhere) and the Demons were (the story goes) cast out to Earth where they were more than a nuisance... They were sort wiping out humanity. But a hero arose (Ramrowan) who organized humanity and drove the demons into the sea. Since then the Demons rule the water and humans the land.

This also started the age of Kings...which fell apart because of human greed and selfishness, humans fighting each other. Thus THE LAW was established.

As it happens Ashok Vadal has also been chosen by an ancient magic sword which gives him the experience and most of the memories of all it's former wielders. He is quite literally the most "BA", nasty, dangerous warrior/protector out there.

The world is also one of a strict cast system...all these things come together to make one of the best epic fantasy (beginnings) I've read in a long, long time. While (as I said) there are elements you will have seen in other novels they are used in a great and mostly original way. I was vacillating between 4 and 5 stars as there are a couple of what I suppose I'd call "sour notes" in the book. That said I doubt any of them will take away from the story for most readers and in the finial analysis they are mostly subjective and apply to me.

Okay, makes it across the line to 5 stars and I like it. Highly recommended, enjoy.
Profile Image for TS Chan.
698 reviews868 followers
April 3, 2017
3.5 stars.

This was the first book I've read from Larry Correia, which I understand to be also his first foray into medieval-type fantasy.

The Saga of the Forgotten Warrior was set in a world where land is occupied by the humans and the sea by demons. History had it that during the war of the gods, these demons have been cast down into the world and were subsequently driven into the sea. Tens of generations have since passed, a caste system was formed and the Laws of the land were upheld by a select group of warriors imbued with magic called the Protectors. Ashok Vadal was the most fearsome and skilled of all these Protectors. But he has a secret, one which he was not aware of himself, and one which will threaten everything that the Laws were created to protect.

The plotline presented was a classic example of history being written by the victor, or to be exact, rewritten by the victor, and the reigning authorities will not stop at any cost to conceal the truth. A well-paced grimdark narrative with some brutal and violent scenes balanced with an occasional touch of humour, the characters were fairly well fleshed-out in spite of the moderate length of the book. I'll have to admit that the main protagonist's single-minded devotion to the Law did result in some actions of his which I found hard to accept at first.

Caste systems are the bane of humanity as far as I am concerned, and in this world it went as far as having the casteless, humans which are deemed as non-people. This was probably the one aspect of the story which I've found most difficult to digest. Even so, the story was compelling enough that I was drawn in, in spite of my disgust and I enjoyed it as a whole.

The ending of this debut instalment opened up interesting possibilities and sank its hooks sufficiently to ensure that I will continue with the series.
Profile Image for Beanbag Love.
565 reviews246 followers
October 31, 2018
This is the first of a new epic fantasy trilogy by Larry Correia. He's usually writing urban fantasy or diesel punk or military action. Those forays clearly inform this book and made for a really good fit for this genre.

I like epic fantasy, but I find that the world building can be very slow. I often see reviews where people just couldn't get through to the "good stuff". Not so here. I think Correia's urban fantasy experience informs his world building and he just gets right on with the story. Certainly there's information still to impart throughout, but I was pulled in enough from the very beginning that I never felt distracted by trying to figure out what was what and who was who. His magic system is fairly straight forward and that helps.

The world he's built is one under the rule of Law. Yes, with a capital "L". It has replaced religion (which is illegal in all forms) and is used to perpetuate a rigid caste system from which no one can escape. The lowest of the low have no caste. They're called the "untouchables", "the casteless", basically non-people. They're used for labor but easily discarded while livestock and belongings are protected against harm.

It's a world where there are demons that live in the ocean making sea travel impossible as they can board vessels and kill everyone aboard. There is also magic, but it's illegal in most forms even though it's practiced on the sly.

And speaking of practicing on the sly, systems such as these tend to make black markets and secret organizations the norm. When authority rules absolutely, everyone is at risk of being trampled by it.

Enter a warrior who has been the most fierce guardian of the Law to date. A powerful Protector who is both feared and admired. Mostly feared. Ashok is so devoted to the Law that he doesn't even question when he has to kill an entire group of people for an infraction. He follows the Law absolutely with no doubts whatsoever as to its righteousness.

His world is about to be turned upside down.

There are other characters of course, but Ashok is the most important. He's a lot like Agent Franks in Correia's Monster Hunter International series, but there are some very important differences as well. He's definitely an "I've never failed a mission!" type of guy (a typical Agent Franks phrase for those who haven't read MHI) which makes him a lot of fun to follow and root for on his journey.

The entire world from top to bottom in this series is being turned inside out and the villains have no idea what they've unleashed. I'm hoping for redemption for some and slow torturous death for others, but regardless I will be reading the whole thing.

ETA 10/31/18: The audiobook is also quite good.
Profile Image for Nickolas.
Author 2 books21 followers
March 27, 2015
As Larry Correia's biggest fan I've been looking forward to his fantasy debut for a while now. If I remember properly he's been teasing fans, talking about it on his blog for a couple years now at least. Judging by how incredibly large scale Larry's urban fantasy and alternate history novels have been I've been eager to see what he could do with straight up fantasy. I can happily say that SON OF THE BLACK SWORD will not disappoint the Monster Hunter Nation and it will also likely earn Larry a lot of new fans from the fantasy genre.

Here's the plot synopsis: After the War of the Gods, the demons were cast out and fell to the world. Mankind was nearly eradicated by the seemingly unstoppable beasts, until the gods sent the great hero, Ramrowan, to save them. He united the tribes, gave them magic, and drove the demons into the sea. Yet as centuries passed, Gods and demons became myth and legend, and the people no longer believed. The Age of Law began.

Ashok Vadal has been chosen by a powerful ancient weapon to be its bearer. He is a Protector, the elite militant order of roving law enforcers. No one is more merciless in rooting out those who secretly practice the old ways. Everything is black or white, good or evil, until he discovers his entire life is a fraud. Ashok isn't who he thinks he is, and when he finds himself on the wrong side of the law, the consequences lead to rebellion, war—and destruction.

Ashok seems like a deceptively simple character. Trained by an Order of warrior monks and chosen by the ancestor blade Angruvadal to be its bearer, Ashok is peerless. He is the best of the Protectors, a perfect soldier that carries out orders without question. The massacres he has perpetrated in obedience to the Law have earned him the nickname Black Heart. On the surface he could appear one dimensional but this couldn't be further from the truth. The truth is that Ashok shares literary DNA with Toru, the disgraced samurai from The Grimnoir Chronicles and Agent Franks from Monster Hunter International -- my two favorite Correia characters. Ashok starts out as a tool, a weapon, but this is purposeful. When Ashok's world is turned upside down by a terrible truth his unflinching devotion to the law serves to really complicate matters for him and everyone else.

There's a certain humor to Ashok, despite his stoic, no-nonsense attitude (or perhaps because of it). We have a protagonist that believes so fiercely in the Law that he voluntarily turns himself in to the authorities upon committing a crime, imprisoning himself in a jail that could not possibly contain him. He's not a good man by any means. Over the 20 years he has served as a Protector he slaughtered countless men, women, and children for a number of offenses. And yet this is the man that has been fated to lead a rebellion that will free millions of casteless from tyranny. There's a prophecy but it's a nice twist on the typical simple, innocent farm boy who will rise to defeat evil. Ashok has a fulfilling character arc over the course of SON OF THE BLACK SWORD and there's still much more room for him yet to grow as the series continues.

Correia novels are notorious for ensemble casts of colorful characters -- in the case of the Monster Hunter series several of the supporting characters have been so successful as to earn their own spin-off novels (MONSTER HUNTER ALPHA and MONSTER HUNTER NEMESIS). SON OF THE BLACK SWORD introduces a handful of potentially amazing characters, though the book would have benefitted from giving them a greater focus. A lot of time is wisely spent developing Ashok but the others are given considerably less attention. I'm very interested to learn more about Jagdish the twice dishonored warrior, Rada the antisocial archivist, Keta the Keeper of Names, and Thera the mysterious mercenary. Regardless, this is only the first book of the series and there is plenty of time and opportunity to further flesh out these characters. I also look forward for more to be revealed about Grand Inquisitor Omand, Sikasso the assassin and their motivations come the sequel. Correia writes some of the absolute best multi-dimensional villains you can find in genre fiction.

Those fantasy readers who have grown tired of white bread pseudo-European settings should rejoice because SON OF THE BLACK SWORD has a very obvious Asian flavor to it (for reasons that are hinted at over the course of the novel). I believe that it's safe to say that the Writer Nerd Game Night's Legend of the Five Rings fan fiction has had a major influence on the creation of this world (in the best possible way).

There are lots of fun nuggets of world building. Demons dwell in the ocean and as a result mankind has been confined to land for centuries. Demons occasionally strike forth from the depths and wreak havoc on coastal cities. . Only the lowest of the low are condemned to live near water. "Fish-eater" is used as a derogatory term while "ocean" and "saltwater" are used as curses. Another awesome aspect of SON OF THE BLACK SWORD is the titular black sword. Ancestor blades are extremely rare relics. They are the only weapons capable of easily parting demon flesh and bearers have access to the instincts of all those to have wielded the sword before them. These black swords (such as Ashok's Angruvadal) are the ultimate weapon/status symbol and they are a major driving force of the plot. I will admit that terms like "Inquisition" and "Protector" could have been substituted for something better fitting of the setting but that's a minor nitpick.

The continent of Lok is ruled, not by a brutal tyrant but instead by an uncaring bureaucracy. Religion and superstition are illegal, punishable by death and the Law dictates every aspect of daily life. A rigid caste system maintains order and at the bottom of the hierarchy are the casteless. These untouchables aren't even considered human and as a result they are treated as property less valuable than livestock. For hundreds of years the casteless have lived brief, meaningless lives toiling in fear but a Prophet has been chosen and the rebellion ignited. The history of Lok is obscured to all but a select few though myths and legends are difficult to stamp out entirely.

This wouldn't be a very good review of a Correia book if I neglected to talk about the action. When you open SON OF THE BLACK SWORD be sure to wear a parka because you're going to be bathed in buckets of blood. With his magical sword and Protector training Ashok is the sort of protagonist to do Conan proud. There's a running melee through a mountain town between Ashok and an army of raiders at the end of the book that lives up to Correia's trademark set piece battles. What I appreciate most is that the protagonists are given logical reasons for being able to surviving pitched combat that would fell an ordinary man or woman in moments. It's fantasy, sure, but that doesn't mean it has to be unbelievable.

The plotting is as deft as it's ever been, Correia's writing only continues to approve with every new release. There are a couple of awesome twists, including one with some major implications that I truly did not see coming. Hints are dropped over the course of the novel relating to the true nature of things but there are a lot of questions in need of answering. SON OF THE BLACK SWORD delivers a fun and fulfilling sword & sorcery tale while setting the stage for something even greater for the sequels to come. Correia thinks BIG and I'm confident that Saga of the Forgotten Warrior book two will serve to ramp up the scale to mammoth proportions.

Recommended Age: 14+

Language: I only remember a few minor curses (beyond the made up ones)

Violence: Robert E. Howard levels of violence.

Sex: Hinted at but not shown.

Nick Sharps
Elitist Book Reviews
Profile Image for Twerking To Beethoven.
367 reviews64 followers
May 30, 2020
Not bad. I like the peculiar old-fashioned style of this book. The story is straight-forward, Correia isn't an author who spends hours and hours refining his books, looking for the proper combination of words...and that's perfectly fine with me. Like I said in the past, all I need is a good story, heroes and mean bastards that want killing in deliciously gruesome and graphic ways. In short, when I'm reading a book, I'm looking for mindless fun. Now, check out the cover. Lovely, innit? Gimme more of that cheesy shit, hey!

Good job, Larry.

4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Jeff Raymond.
3,092 reviews180 followers
January 15, 2016
This was fine.

I don't know how else to describe this except "fine." If you've read Larry Correia's blog, you know he takes a more populist approach to genre fiction, and it's one that I'm sort of on the fence about. I tend to like really epic fantasies, and Son of the Black Sword isn't it. It definitely plays to the epic storyline of the Destined Sword and the Changed Hero, but it's almost like fantasy on easy mode. I can see this as sort of like what Terry Brooks was for me 25 years ago, but as someone who looks for more in his fantasy...

This wasn't bad, don't get me wrong. This is a solid story with a decent backstory and workmanlike prose. I just know what I look for in fantasy, and it's just not quite what I need.
Profile Image for Liviu.
2,251 reviews630 followers
April 2, 2015
While fairly predictable and fitting perfectly into the current grimdark epic scene - somehow given the author's reputation I expected something different and more interesting to be honest and I was really eager to read this one as I am not into urban fantasy so have no interest in the books that made him famous - the book kept me interested till the end which is more than i could say about so many current fantasy series.

Its complete self-seriousness without the irony of Abercrombie or the dark and cynical humor of KJ Parker (which for me at least are by far the best writers of grimdark today) and the one note world building (Indian based with castes and names but not gods) which lacked the breadth of David Hair's outstanding Moontide Quartet, left the novel a bit short of my top tier fantasies, though I plan to at least take a look at the sequel, though I have to say I am far less intrigued about it than I was about this one (accurate blurb and the Baen free samples available, some 13 chapters in all should give a very good idea about both the subject and the writing style)

Overall - straight out grimdark, nothing that special with better out there, but not bad either and interesting enough to keep me reading till the end and wanting to take a look at more in the series
Profile Image for The Captain.
1,073 reviews371 followers
December 31, 2019
Ahoy there mateys! Thought I would take a break from the e-Arc extravaganza. Though the first mate and I have very different reading tastes, occasionally we do recommend books to each other. Books the first mate introduced to me included xom-b, holes, and the perks of being a wallflower. He and I both read this one.

We were talking about the book and I enjoyed his viewpoint so I ordered him to write a review. So you get one from me and a bonus additional review from me crew. Please note that I write like I talk and the first mate writes like he thinks. Hope you enjoy!

From the Captain:

This was a recommendation by me first mate. A fun time was had reading this book. There is a sentient sword that I adore. Even if it has a funny name. Everyone wants to own this sword, but: beware making the choice to pick it up. The sword chooses who will wield it, and the consequences tend to be bloody and unfortunate for those not worthy.

Ashok Vadal is the main character. He starts out as a seemingly simplistic character that embodies the Law. However, the Law is not as it seems and is more complicated than expected. Ashok is probably one of the weirdest characters I have read about in terms of his world view and motivations. This is part of what makes him awesome. His choices get harder and harder throughout the book and how and why he chooses what to do is some of the best parts of the book.

Ashok has a complicated relationship with Devedas, his best friend. Devedas was another highlight of the book. Is he a good guy? Is he a bad guy? Only time will tell. Devedas has a sad past, is ambitious, and is subject to envy. Reading his perspective is a fun counterpoint to Ashok.

The bad guy priest is sort of stereotypical. I also found the assassins to be an annoying group with an interesting premise. However I still enjoyed this book. In particular, I liked the magic system. Oh and there is a cool librarian, so bonus for that. A fluff book with a little bit of depth. I will certainly read the next in the series.

From the First Mate:

Having greatly enjoyed Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series and mostly enjoyed his first foray into high fantasy (Into the Storm), I approached Son of the Black Sword with somewhat mixed feelings. On the one hand, I rather like his writing style and am always eager to read more of the writers whose work I enjoy. On the other, outside of the Monster Hunter series, Correia’s work hasn’t really grabbed me.

Son of the Black Sword, much like Into the Storm before it, is an enjoyable tale that is somewhat hampered by the ever present desire on this reader’s part to ponder its endless influences. Like many a reader, I couldn’t quite stop seeing Ashok as a Judge Dredd knock-off almost to the point of expecting him to cry out “I am the LAW” at more than a few moments. The presence of the Swords and their possible origins reminded me so very much of Fred Saberhagen’s trilogy about world-changing swords. The Inquisitors have many parallels in fantasy, but it was the Mord-siths from Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule that seemed the most apt comparison, what with the special ceremonial attire and hyper specific and grotesque social role. And on and on.

Regardless of from where Correia may have drawn various inspirations, the story and the characters are interesting and entertaining. Our good guys are quite likable and our villains are despicable. We even get a few shades-of-grey characters who are well drawn. Where the novel disappoints is only in comparison to Correia’s better work. Son of the Black Sword works through many standard high fantasy tropes but never quite deconstructs nor spins them in a way that would elevate the work to something other than a well-written run-of-the-mill high fantasy novel. Very enjoyable as long as you’re not expecting any new ground to be broken.

After reading the novel, though, I knew I had to recommend it to the Captain. Why, you may ask? Well, any novel that uses “saltwater” as a curse surely will make the Captain smile.

If ye liked this review, check out me others at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...
Profile Image for Marcela (BookaholicCat).
794 reviews151 followers
November 18, 2015
Originally posted at The Bookaholic Cat

Son of the Black Sword is the first book in the Saga of the Forgotten Warrior by Larry Correia. Tim Gerard Reynolds narrates this audiobook.

I’m always in the search of new books and new authors to love. When I saw this audiobook -narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds- available for review I knew here was my chance to give a try to a new (to me) author.

The blurb perfectly explains what Son of the Black Sword is all about, saying more will be giving too many spoilers away.

Son of the Black Sword has everything I look for in a fantasy book. It has a hero that is flawed but at the same time he’s easy to love and admire. It has a complex world with magic where social castes are ruled by a few houses. It has horrible villains and a rich array of secondary characters; but the best part about Son of the Black Sword is that even though everything looks black and white the reality is far from it.

Correia gives the story many dimensions with plots within plots and stories within stories. When you think something is going certain way he throws a curveball and takes the story in a different and unexpected direction. I like when an author surprise me and Correia did it couple of times.

Tim Gerard Reynolds narration is top notch as always. I think he’s one of my top three fantasy narrators. He’s amazing creating unique and different voices for the characters and his performance always enhances the story.

Son of the Black Sword is an amazing start to a very promising series and the perfect book to meet a new (to me) author. I highly recommend Son of the Black Sword to fantasy fans. I also recommend listening to the audiobook; Reynolds performance is simply perfection.
I can’t wait for second book in the Saga of the Forgotten Warrior. I really hope that audiobook will be narrated by Reynolds as well.
Profile Image for L'encre de la magie .
217 reviews114 followers
May 3, 2022
Petit coup de foudre pour cette pépite cachée de Fantasy

Ouf... J'ai tellement adoré !! 😱❤️
Je partais pour une lecture "promenade" et au final, d'entrée de jeu, j'ai été pris dans l'histoire.

On est sur un roman de Post Apo Fantasy, d'inspiration Japon féodal. Après une guerre contre les dieux, les démons sont tombés sur Terre, faisant des Océans leur foyer. Les hommes ne peuvent plus naviguer et les 9 continents sont totalement coupes les uns des autres. Personne ne sait si d'autres civilisations ont pu survivre au cataclysme.
Car la terre appartient aux Hommes, la mer aux Démons. Depuis ces temps anciens, l'Ordre de la Loi veille à ce qu'aucun Demon ne pénètre le territoire humain. La sanction est simple : la mort. (Aucun Hommes ne peut non plus rentrer dans la haute mer)
Les Protecteurs sont ces guerriers qui s'occupent de faire respecter la Loi, étant lié par magie au Cœur de la terre, une symbiose tellurique, leur permettant d'être plus résistant, plus rapide et de guérir plus vite également qu'un homme ordinaire.

Ashok est le plus jeune Protecteur depuis des siècles. Né dans la noble famille des Vadal, il possède une des "Épées Ancestrales", possession des grandes familles, nommée Angruvadal. Cette épée d'acier noire choisi son porteur pour la noblesse et la droiture de son cœur. Le jeune homme se doit donc d'être irréprochable et de suivre le code d'honneur, sous peine que l'épée l'abandonne.

Dans ce monde d'inspiration féodal, la société est régie par la caste dominante : La Prime Caste. Tout en bas de l'échelle sociale, les Sans Castes forment un groupe qui n'ont droit à rien et sont considérés comme moins qu'humain, tout au plus un objet.

Entre survie et complots millénaires, la vérité n'est peut être pas celle que l'on nous a toujours appris.
Mais quand la vérité éclate, elle peut faire trembler bien des civilisations...

Un premier tome extrêmement bien ficelé, qui démarre très fort d'entrée de jeu et qui prend de plus en plus de profondeur en même temps que l'on avance dans les chapitres. Des scènes de combats très visuelles, pas de temps mort (psychologiquement parlant ça monte crescendo), très bonne tension scenaristique et personnage principal à la droiture irréprochable, très terre à terre ce qui le rend assez drôle malgré lui et très attachant au final.
Petite perle, je ne m'attendais pas à cette lecture coup de ❤️ et premier tome incroyable...pour un premier tome !!.

Mots clés : post apo, survie, complots politiques, archives, castes sociales, lutte des classes, honneur, dévouement, contrôle de population, sens moral, magie, vérité, quête personnelle.
Profile Image for Derpa.
258 reviews38 followers
October 23, 2020
In this we have an order of people who enforce the Law. Yes, with capital L. They are super trained people who go around keeping the population in line and also killing demons coming from the oceans. Among them the most hardcore one is Ashok, whose whole life is about his work, while he has no other hobbies, interests or connections.
But even when he thinks he knows everything.... can he really? The slaves are rebelling, the important people are scheming and things aren't as easy as he thought.

This book is something else. So many fantasy stories are relatively simple by structure without any that big surprises and twists. I'm not saying those are necessarily bad, I do love some of them a lot, but here the world building, the concepts and the rules are just different enough to make it unpredictable. I had no idea where the things were leading. Honestly, still no idea what is going to happen later on and I'm sure as hell going to read the sequel. (At this point in time only this and the second part of the series is released, which is something to note for many people who only read finished series. Larry Correia is pretty damn trustworthy among authors so I have no doubt about him going on and finishing it, just saying.)
First of all, the story is set in a huge kingdom (not that original) that is mostly similar to India (that kind of is). There are references to elephant-headed gods of a long forgotten culture, the society is built on castes and even the different landscapes are sounding similar to what you find in India in surrounding places. While the big themes of heroics and rebellions and such are pretty universal across cultures this story has some sort of a special flair that I actually really enjoyed. It also doesn't do the annoying thing that happen in many fantasy novels outside the European historic and cultural foundation; it doesn't make it so every other culture is magical and mystical and perfect. So many still can't get over the fact that every continent, culture and group is equally likely to have flaws.
Then we have the characters. Ashok is as black and white as you can get. Wait a minute, what? I don't like that! I don't like those kinds of people. But hey, the whole story is about him having to face that his beliefs and things he thought he knew were far more complicated than he assumed. He is not a nice person, not at all a fluffy kind of guy. Honestly, he is mostly just scary and unfeeling (for a reason, though), but then you see some things coming to the surface and him having to get used to... caring, I suppose. At one point he tries to smile, which horrifies the people with him. That was hilarious.
Lastly, the powers that are at work pull people in so many different directions and they all have their fully realised plans and goals. I sincerely believe things will turn out fine, though not necessarily without tragedies and losses, but at the same time the equations are complicated here. The culture and social structures are well-realised, which is an absolute must in a story that's about things being way too rigid and change coming. Which is appreciated.

It's still so badass. Must be hard to balance badassery and structure like this and I still appreciate when we get some action scenes of Ashok going all sorts of apeshit with his magical sword and superior military training against crazy odds. So there is that as well, gore is not over the top, but there is some nasty things. Closer to the end there is one specific scene where he has a crazy fight against someone monstrous. It made me go "oooooh, shit" audibly. Otherwise it's a fairly okay fantasy book, I wouldn't worry about it too much.
Among standard fare fantasy this isn't even extremely long, which is a nice change of pace with all the doorstoppers around.

I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy. It's fun, action-packed, interesting and just generally a good read.

Have a nice day and don't take a gun to this knife fight! It's not going to be enough.
Profile Image for Clyde.
791 reviews54 followers
March 20, 2016
I don't read a lot of fantasy, leaning more towards SF and crime fiction. However, I had been eyeing Son of the Black Sword as I had heard some good things about it. So, when my book club picked it as a monthly read, I decided to give it a go. I am glad I did; Larry Correia has written one kick-ass book. I quite enjoyed it.
This is epic fantasy, but not the Euro-centric epic fantasy that is the norm. It has more Indian and African influence with perhaps a taste of Japanese culture thrown in. It is dark, and it is very violent. The level of violence reminded me of Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself.
The main protagonist Ashok, a Protector, is a magically enhanced fighting machine. Using his ancestral black sword, Angruvada, he defeats demons and takes on entire armies of ordinary men. His implacable devotion to and merciless application of The Law has earned him the name Black Heart.
Ashok's world is turned upside down when he learns a terrible truth. The perfect "Protector" that carries out orders without question has his life set on a different course.
I won't get into details as that would involve spoilers. But, I'll just say that Larry Correia has created a world full of wonders. Demons, warriors, magic, shape-shifters, assassins, prophets, inquisitors, and ordinary people high and low all make their appearance. Action abounds and the plot twists under Correia's skillful writing. What's not to like?
Profile Image for Marat Beiner.
230 reviews2 followers
February 17, 2019
A very nice mix of different books into one.
Imagine Judge Dredd wielding a shardblade in a world of noblemen and Scaa fighting demons.
Looks pretty good, wouldn't you say?
If you read Stormlight Archive series and Mistborn trilogy you probably will love this book too. It has great action as Larry Correia proved that he capable of writing, it has an interesting story, it has complex characters, and finally it has a few flips and turns.
Usually I don't like books which are ripped off from others, but in this case, although every time I compared the black sword to shardblade and half-human to Scaa, I still didn't fill like it's a rip off, but a combination of books which made a fresh one, with it's own story.
The book is not among my favorites, as it has a few flaws, but the series has a potential to be one.
I thought The book could be actually a little longer, with more world building, because all the world building was made from flashbacks which by the way, weren't made as good as could have been. I actually got lost a few times in those flashbacks.
In conclusion, I did liked this book, and I eagerly wait for the next installment, and I definitely will recommend it to other, especially because as it seams right now (according to number of people who added this book and the rate of it), it will not be a widely popular book.
42 reviews
October 24, 2015
Everything you need to know about this novel happens in the first chapter. In the midst of a typical frenetic Correia action sequence you gain a good understanding of both the protagonist and the world he inhabits. It it a first-rate piece of writing and demonstrates what a excellent craftsman Correia has become in what may be his best book yet.

The setting is an atypical fantasy world with a strict caste-system governed by an inflexible Law whose compliance is enforced by the Protectors, a band of roving Judge Dredd-like swordsman. The hero is one such Protector, humorless and utterly dedicated to his duty, a man focused on justice untempered by mercy. Think Javert with a magic sword. The main story quickly gets underway and makes for compelling reading, with barely any slowdown in the plot or action as the hero slowly and believably comes to understand the flaws in his worldview. The secondary characters are also uniformly excellent and really add to the depth of the story. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,901 reviews18 followers
April 28, 2019
This is the first novel by this author that I've read/listened to. It was on sale at audible and I scooped it up (even though the cover screamed little kid book, which it is definitely NOT that.) I know cover art shouldn't matter, but I can't help it. Sometimes it does.

I really liked this one. First the narrator is none other than TIM GERARD REYNOLDS. I love his narrations of Michael J Sullivan's books. He narrates the Fantasy genre so well and he did the same here.

This is Epic Fantasy.....and I was completely pulled into this story, which is book 1 of the Saga of the Forgotten Warrior series. The characters were wonderful and fit into this world that the author has built. I also liked the plot and the way it unfolded. With each piece of this puzzle, I was that much more into the story. I just spent an audible credit to get the second one. So 4 stars.
Profile Image for AudioBookReviewer.
949 reviews162 followers
December 22, 2015
My original Son of the Black Sword audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Son of the Black Sword is the first in a series called Saga of the Forgotten Warrior by Larry Correia. Ashok Vadal is a protector in a realm that is ruled by the Law. The Law governs a society of castes from the first and most powerful to the non-people who have almost no rights. Protectors carry out the justice as demanded by the Law. As news of the non-people or the caste-less rebellions against the higher castes begin to increase, Ashok soon discovers a great secret that causes life as he knows it to unravel. As he tries to find his place in the world, he meets a variety of people that test his faith and try to manipulate him. The actions of a variety of unseen people in many different castes and with varied ambitions attempt to shape Ashok’s path in ways that he does not realize. However, he must determine the right path for himself.

I really enjoyed this novel! This is a story that is full of war, politics, magic, and history. Oddly, it felt like a combination of high fantasy and post-apocalyptic stories - the history of the people and the world that they have been living in for generations is seemingly at a breaking point in many different places. The cast of characters reminded me of chess board pieces or an elaborate war game. The actions that the different characters take don’t seem to be that influential until events begin to unfold. As the story progressed, I was engrossed by not only Ashok, who honestly can be a bit flat, but all the different characters. There was a diverse mix of characters from all the different castes and men and women both and they all seemed to have their own motivations and histories, giving them depth. One aspect of the novel that I really liked were the flash backs. They gave insight into the characters right when needed and this was a good way of giving backstory without just stating it.

The narration by Tim Gerard Reynolds was excellent. I couldn’t put my finger on why he was such a good narrator for a while. He is able to add feeling and emotion into the most mundane sentences – it was excellent. He did a good job with voicing and tone, as well. The production quality of the novel was good. One unique aspect of this novel that I wanted to touch on was the south Asian influence in terms of names and caste system. It’s unusual to hear such names and see this influence in novels ordinarily and it was especially refreshing for me. It really would’ve been nice if the accents for the characters weren’t all in shades of European – but I can’t fault the narrator too much the novel isn’t really on Earth. Overall, I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes high fantasy with ongoing action, a complex plot and interesting characters.

Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.
Profile Image for Sterling.
452 reviews33 followers
February 5, 2017
This book wasn't completely original. At the beginning I found myself comparing it to other fantasy novels I have read recently. Their were similarities to The Mistborn series and the Red Rising series. But after I got over the similarities, which only affected my opinion at the beginning of the book, I really began to enjoy this story. The world is absolutely fascinating, their are similarities to Earth but some large differences, like 2 moons, and the characters are so fantastic. I really can't wait for book 2 to come out.
Son of the Black Sword is about a world that has demons living in the seas and man living on the land. Their are classes of people similar to the medieval world but their are also non people. They are people but they are treated like cattle/property. The main character is Ashok Vadal. He is a warrior that battles demons when they dare to come on land and he upholds the law. He has a very interesting backstory that unfolds over the course of the book and he begins to have to make some difficult decisions.
I really liked this book. I would highly recommend it to all fantasy fans. It started out similar to other fantasy stories but it really has a voice all its own. It is definitely worth reading. The audio is done by the great Tim Gerard Reynolds. He is always a fantastic narrator. He adds great depth and emotion to the charecters. Story 5 stars, even though it wasn't original it still deserves 5 stars. Narration 5 stars.
Profile Image for Mary Catelli.
Author 52 books171 followers
November 4, 2015
A tale of the far future -- in high fantasy. (indeed the far future is read between the lines.)

Our hero Ashok, a Protector, is fighting a demon, using his ancestral black sword to good effect, and dealing even with there being two of them. The warriors have fled; the only one standing against hem is a casteless old man with a spear (which, as a casteless, he is forbidden to hold). But then he is summoned back to meet with the dying master of his Order. Not, as a friend of his believes, to be named the next master, but to learn the terrible secret of his past.

This has consequences.

The tale involves wizards who can take hawk form and replace a multilated tongue; giving two children things and rescuing from those who think they are thieves; the name Ashok was born with; a prisoner sparring with the man in charge of a prison; damaged documents with certain information suppressed; a barge used by smugglers; and more.
Profile Image for Enzo.
730 reviews1 follower
August 14, 2016
"Son of the Black Sword" is an excellent fantasy novel. Larry Coreia really steps up in a series introduction book. From the start the book gets its act together in a very short period of time and them keeps the reader engaged throughout. If you want action this book delivers. It really is fun to see the world building that he does but never steps off the pedal.
Maybe its because Ashok is such a great character. Some characters are just easy to fall in love with, Ashok is one of them.
The description of the Orders and the Castes for lack of a better word is great. But it doesn't stop there the real trouble is in the details and Coreia gets them right. Then comes the love affair with the sword. Yes, we all love Excalibur and we all really have a thing for a powerful sword.
Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,401 reviews292 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
November 27, 2018
I guess it could have been interesting with it's India setting and culture. But it was not, it was so boring. And what a idiot he was. I get that he was superior and all, and we are supposed to love him later cos he becomes good. And ooo he buries a guy. Superior asshat
Profile Image for Bill.
13 reviews9 followers
February 11, 2019
Never a dull moment! A unique fun, fast paced story. If you think you might remotely be interested in this book don’t wait .. buy it now!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
268 reviews39 followers
December 17, 2016
Son of the Black Sword was pleasantly surprising. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I chose this as my next audiobook, but Tim Gerard Reynolds can make anything sound good, so why not, right? Larry Correia was an author I hadn’t previously read or heard of, but is (unbeknownst to me at the time) known for his Monster Hunter series.

Ashok Vadal is a Protector, and impartial executor of the law and of the highest caste, but he is also the bearer of the ancestor blade named Angru’vadal. As such, he has the skills and knowledge of the fifty generations of previous sword bearers and is nigh unstoppable. Fortunate for everyone that he’s utterly dedicated to the law, eh? Ashok is a pawn in a much larger and more corrupt game than he realizes is being played and some significant (understatement) secrets have been kept from him about his past. These secrets are what ultimately drive him from the arm of the Protector order and into his new situation. Ashok was an intense MC- his dedication to justice, plus his battle prowess, and his honorable bearing gave him automatic hero status, though I did find his all consuming desire to uphold the law to be aggravating, but I am rationally inclined towards MCs that are morally grey. They seem more realistic to me, though I suppose the unquestioning zealot is just as likely.

Perhaps you may have guessed from the name and the mention of the castes, but Son of the Black Sword is influenced by Indian traditions and culture. I’ve read a scant few SFF books based off Indian culture and the last ones I can remember were Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs and City of Blades, so this was a rare treat for me. I enjoyed the world building and I like the idea of monstrous sea demons and having the best and safest cities in the desert. This is contrary to the usual portrayer of deserts as wastelands and water or the sea as the cradle of life.

Son of the Black Sword left me wanting more, so I obviously went and sought out the release date for book #2. I can’t wait to see where this story leads in the end and if you haven’t checked it out yet, do so because it was pretty awesome!
Profile Image for Adam Calhoun.
298 reviews14 followers
April 5, 2016
What happens to a Lawful Neutral Paladin in a Lawful Evil society when he discovers that his life has been an unlawful lie? How does he slowly transition to Lawful Good?

That's pretty much how I'd describe this book. Which sounds great, until you actually read it. The main character is really, really boring - as are most of the characters - and his transition is *so* predictable that you just want it to be over faster. But cliches are okay if they help some other part of the book along. Is there a big, fascinating world? Colorful characters? An interesting magic system? Clever commentary on society? Fantastic plot?

Nope, nope, nope, nope. The worst part is that there was so much *opportunity* for world-building that is only lazily built upon. The setting is clearly South Asian-ish: everyone has an Indian name, the 'past world' has 'many-armed gods', etc. Except they eat rice balls because I guess that happens somewhere in Asia? And other than that you get a few references to bland European Middle Ages stuff - paladin order, some magic in a mountain somewhere, evil wizards, that sort of thing.

And the characters are utterly forgettable. Who cares about the boring internal struggles of the Paladin? He's utterly overpowered, basically an ubermensch running around chopping down peasants and making everyone looking like children.

The plot was okay. It dragged a bit at the beginning but picked up steam about halfway through, even though characters were suddenly dropped after being somewhat developed.
Profile Image for Leiland Tanner.
5 reviews2 followers
May 10, 2016
This year I pledged to read 35 new books and I've already smashed 21. I have been thoroughly satisfied, captured and extremely entertained by each of those 21 so far, but the king of my 2016 stack without question is Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia. I can't remember how many times I had to just sit and replay an action scene or reread the description of a demon's movements - not because it was difficult to understand - but because I wanted to imagine it again. It's like - I don't even know... but I wish I did.

The book made me proud to say I'm a sucker for honor-bound heroes with haunted swords, demonic villains and magic that isn't G-rated but actually evil, political and religious turmoil and gruesomely vivid battle scene's with that new-age-Sherlock-Robert-Downey-Jr-Slow-Mo SWAG. I also can't count how many times I had to stop the tape, cover my mouth with a fist, make a stink-face and say "Daaaaaaaaaaang".

I usually don't write reviews and just give stars because nobody cares about what I'm writing lets be real, but this book deserved some carne asada. If this isn't made into a Zack Snyder movie or a horrifically graphic HBO series I will be disgusted.
Profile Image for Christopher Harju.
21 reviews52 followers
March 29, 2016
A random pick that turned out to be a worthwhile read! This is no masterpiece nor top notch fantasy, but it's a decent epic fantasy with gray some gray main characters. The world building is great and the characters are well done. The story is solid and quite creative. While it's good in almost every sense, it does not excel in any particular point, other than a very unique back story and creative world building.

Would I recommend it? Sure, if you don't have any other book currently on your "to-read". This will be a safe bet, and provide a high quality fantasy read. Ps. The author does know how to write
Profile Image for Felix.
874 reviews24 followers
September 17, 2015
A man of justice is played as a pawn to overthrow an empire.
This is a beginning foundation of a great tale! Loaded with action and turmoil. Has a feudal Japan social system where poor are beast of burden & non existent and the rich are divine. Will the protector of the rich become the savior of the poor? (Action-Japanese Oni's & a fallen hero/anti hero)
Profile Image for Travis.
437 reviews
October 21, 2017
I think this is Correia's most sophisticated writing. Proving he is more than just gun porn.
Profile Image for Kelly.
273 reviews181 followers
April 14, 2021
I have been looking forward to Son of the Black Sword ever since I read "The Keeper Of Names" in Baen’s Shattered Shields anthology (reviewed November last year). "The Keeper Of Names" is not only an engaging and more than competent short story, it serves as an introduction to a new venture for Larry Correia: the Saga Of The Forgotten Warrior.

Son Of The Black Sword opens with Ashok Vadal, Protector of the Law, battling demons risen from the sea. Where one was reported, two appear. Ashok is gravely injured and unable to fight both. One of the demons is distracted by another man with a spear, allowing Ashok to gain the upper hand and win the fight. Both demons are killed. It is then Ashok’s duty to kill his rescuer. The man is casteless, a non-person, and the Law prohibits non-people to touch weapons. Because the casteless’ intervention surely saved Ashok’s life, he is prepared to be merciful. If the man will put down his spear and walk away, Ashok will let him live. While they argue, the casteless man’s fate is decided by one of the warrior caste.

The incident serves as a brutal but compelling introduction to Correia’s world. It is also a hint of all that will follow. That one moment of compassion will change Ashok’s life.

Following the battle, Ashok is summoned to appear before the Lord Protector. Though he is humble enough not to want the title of Lord Protector for himself, it is assumed it will be offered to him. Ashok is not the most senior, but he is the most feared of all the Protectors. Over nearly twenty years, he has built a reputation for being the ultimate instrument of the Law. He is offered the title and a letter. After he’s read the letter, it will be his choice to either accept the appointment or retire from the Order.

When the contents of the letter expose the fallacy of his entire life, Ashok journeys to the only home he remembers and takes the Law into his own hands, setting in motion a series of events that are both unexpected and foretold. His actions put him on the wrong side of everything he believes in, but on the right side of a battle as old as time, that is between the downtrodden and their oppressors. He will become an unwitting and unwilling symbol for the casteless, for the non-persons, and a reason for them to rise up at last and take back what may rightfully be theirs.

It’s difficult to write something new when creating a world of fantasy. There is a sense every story has already been told, the mythos all pieces and parts, the magic borrowed. Son Of The Black Sword manages to entice the reader with enough familiarity – an embittered warrior, a magic sword, a prophecy – while telling a story that feels fresh. A part of this is Ashok’s character. His absolute adherence to the Law, even when it betrays him, is the fulcrum of this novel. Ironically, having such a stubborn man at the centre makes the rest of the story difficult to predict because you’re unable to guess what his tipping point will be until it happens. Until then, his action and non-action both will affect all other players and plotlines.

The lore here is fascinating and well told. I enjoyed learning the history of the world and the legend of Ramrowan. The politics are just complicated enough to feel real without being too difficult to follow. Where the book truly shines, however, is in the characters. All are well drawn and distinctively voiced. My favourite is Jagdish. He is the guy in the middle. A warrior of low rank and high aims. Unfortunately, every time his path crosses that of Ashok Vadal, his rank falls and his ambitions recede further into the distance. Jagdish is a good man, however, and one of the few who seem able to think outside of the caste box. I also got the feeling Correia enjoyed writing Jagdish as his chapters are full of the author’s trademark wit and humour.

Being a novel of the fantastically epic variety, Son Of The Black Sword serves as the beginning of the ‘Saga Of The Forgotten Warrior’. But it does deliver a complete and satisfying tale while setting up the larger story. I’m looking forward to reading on.

Reviewed for SFCrowsnest.
Profile Image for Gareth Otton.
Author 6 books74 followers
November 5, 2015
I was incredibly interested in reading this book. I have been impressed with both the Monster Hunter books and the Grimnoir Chronicles so I was interested in seeing what Larry Correia could do when he was turned loose on epic fantasy.

I am not disappointed... but that's not without caveats.

Son of the Black Sword is the story of Ashok, a magical fighter who's sole purpose in life is to dispense justice. With his magical sword that has the memories of countless generations of warriors, he is a one man army. However, somewhere in his past is a secret that when revealed will set off a chain of events that could very well change the world.

This book is everything I enjoy in a good epic fantasy. The stakes are high, the action plentiful and the story is well told. It is an enjoyable book from start to finish and a great start to this series.

However, that being said it wasn't what I was expecting. Larry Correia has surprised me in the past with both of his series. MHI looks like a very familiar urban fantasy until you actually read it and find out that its not just a lot of fun but has a fascinating, overarching story as well. The Grimnoir chronicles was equally surprising as it was not what it seemed by the blurb but instead so much more.

Therefore, when I started reading this book I was expecting the same. From reading the blurb I was expecting an epic fantasy and from my knowledge of Larry Correia I was expecting something to take it beyond that and make it his own... only that never happened. Don't get me wrong, this is excellent epic fantasy but there is nothing really new or different about it.

Everything in this novel I have seen many times before. The story is well told and the familiar elements have been arranged to create a story that is new enough that I want to keep reading, but there isn't that hint of originality that would turn this into a 5 star book.

I have been spoiled for epic fantasy in recent years by authors such as Brandon Sanderson who have proved that the genre still has a lot of originality to give. I'm therefore a little disappointed that this book was lacking such originality. Sentient swords, the chosen one and a post apocalyptic worlds have all been done before and that's a shame.

However, this is not nearly enough to diminish my enjoyment of this book more than one star. It was fast paced with lots of action, an interesting story and good characters so there really isn't much to dislike. This is a familiar epic fantasy that is better than most so I highly recommend it.
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