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Blacksent: Book of the Umbra

by:
Michael A. LaFlamme & Michael D. Poe (Author)

ISBN: 0-7414-3810-0 ©2007
Price: $14.95
Book Size: 5.5'' x 8.5'' , 244 pages
Category/Subject: FICTION / Fantasy / Epic

Blood-debt haunts Ncon, an Assassin’s unforgiven legacy. With the swordmage Figment, and the wizard Zandor’s subversive guidance, Ncon returns to his homeland to face his God, and kill once more.

Abstract:
“He is written about in legend, whispered about in the dark corners of the world. He is shadow; he is wind. Yet none know his name or his face; for this, to be sure, is a Master Assassin from McAmal.”

Ncon tried to deny the legacy of McAmal, the Deamon-ruled island of his birth, but his blood-debt remains unforgiven. Aided by his friend, the flamboyant swordmage Figment, and under the subversive guidance of the wizard Zandor, Ncon must return to McAmal to face the GrandWeir, God of the Assassins, and kill one last time.

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Customer Reviews

  Different , 05/05/2007
Reviewer: Mae Lynn
I found this story absolutely amazing,,,,,,,,,keeping me on the edge of my seat. It is well thought out, fast paced, and well written. Love the characters, especially Ncon and his mother Tala. The derring do is wonderful. Enjoyed the travelers and all their accomplishments. The use of the sword and wizardry,,,,,,abundant. New and refreshing mannerisms of the characters.

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  Old school fantasy with a new age twist , 05/07/2007
Reviewer: Angela Sasser
I have been working on this project as an artist for awhile and I have to say that I am excited to see it come to fruition! It was an even more joyous experience for me to read the book and see the characters I was depicting come to life. Overall, the book is an enjoyable experience with a high fantasy adventure feel that sword and sorcery fans are sure to enjoy. However, what keeps this from being a higher rating are a few cons which may be due to personal preferences of my own. Firstly, though entertaining and fast-paced, I felt that the dialog was often the only thing to define the characters, who were numerous and often defined only by their verbal interactions. I was often left straining to remember what the characters looked like, what their histories were, and how they knew one another. More attention to their mannerisms, their inner thoughts, and their memories would color them with a bit more life (Ncon and particularly Figment being the exceptions to prove the rule). I also felt that the numerous characters often stretched the plotline and pulled focus away from the main characters, Ncon and Figment, who were often more interesting than the others. When it comes to Ncon and Figment in particular, I was not sure who the main character should have been. Figment's rather large part in the first half of the novel and endearing dialog throughout brought the novel's attention mainly to him. The man is a scene-stealer and oftentimes poor Ncon is left brooding or commenting on the situation from the sidelines. These two characters (along with so many others) warred for my attention and gave the novel a slightly scattered feel which I believe can be improved if it were focused mainly around Ncon's trials in McAmal (and his parents experiences there) or Figment's tales of his marriages and past lives. I felt that for Ncon to be more of the main focus, there should have been more attention to his character development, particularly after he left McAmal and met Figment for the first time and less attention on the side adventures of characters such as Haelan, Cona, and Dallon (which could be saved for another book altogether). The early years of Ncon sound even more intriguing to me than Ncon as he appears in the novel proper, because the majority of times he is shown in the novel, he has already gone through most of his endearing and interesting character changes. The book is hampered by small typos (mainly homonyms) which an automated spell checker will not find. Also, of minor concern was the random use of curse words throughout. It's not that they're inappropriate for being bad, rather, the usage of such curse words gave the novel a more modern feel and often felt overused. I felt the curse words in other languages such as McAmalese to be more appropriate and add more of a mood than the usage of very modern cursing by other characters, which seemed out of place. My favorite scene has to be the sequence in Chapter 8:"Mountain Secrets" where Ncon works his way into the princess' bedchamber in order to assassinate the queen. I was so shocked by the ending to that particular scene that I had to stop and go "What on earth?" That scene was also written with more of a punch. Attention to such details as the festival, the clinging girls, and the gruffness of Ncon's dismissal of those not having to do with his mission really set the scene in a way that created atmosphere and anticipation, as well as shed light on the way he used to be as an Assassin (something which I wanted to see more of throughout the novel). All in all, this is a great adventure with characters that have so much potential. I would not recommend this for anyone under 13, however, due to adult content. With this project beginning with such fervor, I look forward to seeing where it takes us!

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  heroic fantasy adventure connoisseurs , 03/30/2008
Reviewer: Rick Birnan
Highly recommended for heroic fantasy adventure connoisseurs., February 6, 2008 By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) - Blacksent: Book of the Umbra is a fantasy novel of murder, intrigue, and high adventure. Ncon Barsin tried to repress his connection to the Deamon-ruled island of his origin, but he holds an unforgiven blood-debt to the Assassins. A gregarious swordmage and a mysterious wizard accompany him in his quest to break the chains of his past. Ncon must return to confront the dread GrandWeir, god of the Assassins, and commit one final killing in order to become master of his own destiny, in this action-packed epic of intrigue and tests of character. Highly recommended for heroic fantasy adventure connoisseurs.

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