Winterbirth : Book One of the Godless World Series

3.36 (3,066 ratings by Goodreads)
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An uneasy truce exists between the thanes of the True Bloods.

Now, as another winter approaches, the armies of the Black Road march south, from their exile beyond the Vale of Stones. For some, war will bring a swift and violent death. Others will not hear the clash of swords or see the corpses strewn over the fields. They instead will see an opportunity to advance their own ambitions. But all, soon, will fall under the shadow that is descending.

For, while the storm of battle rages, one man is following a path that will awaken a terrible power in him - and his legacy will be written in blood.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 560 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 37mm | 394g
  • Orbit
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1841494240
  • 9781841494241
  • 455,386

Review quote

An intriguing and imaginative story... particularly evocative * Dreamwatch * Winterbirth is written with great assurance and tells a gripping story that builds to a grim climax. No one who enjoys heroic fantasy should miss this * The TIMES *
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About Brian Ruckley

Brian Ruckley lives in Edinburgh. You can find out more about him and his work at
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Rating details

3,066 ratings
3.36 out of 5 stars
5 15% (463)
4 30% (924)
3 36% (1,096)
2 14% (421)
1 5% (162)

Our customer reviews

" I shouldnt like this book. Its a war story and I try to avoid war stories as best I can but when delving into the realms of fantasy it is very hard to avoid them. The good ones make manage to go beyond the fighting and Im glad to say that Winterbirth does just that. Dont get me wrong there is a lot of fighting here and blood, a lot of blood but there are also characters that you cant help routing for. The back story in Winterbirth is complex and it shows that we cant really escape our history as It always comes back to haunt us if we want it to or not. Its also not an easy book to explain as there are a lot of things going on both above and below the surface. Brian Ruckley shows us two sides to this world: those of the South who are "True Bloods and those of the exiled "Black Roads. The uneasy truce of the "True Bloods is weakening as the High Thane goes to war against one of his own. And it is this time that the Black Road march South taking those of the Lannis-Haig Blood by surprise. What was never meant to happen comes to pass; the Black Road are conquerors in the South taking castles and spilling rivers of blood as they go. I could spend many paragraphs going into who is fighting who, who is betraying who, who is helping who, and who doesnt know that they need to be acting much faster. Luckily this is all explained as you read. This is no slight tale. There is a weighty and mighty book and knowledge of all the pieces is needed if you are to understand the rules of the game and what the game actually is. As you follow the central band of characters you are left sometimes questioning if events unfold they way they do because of the choices that they make. If you are on the side of the "True Bloods, as our band are, then you may believe that it is all your fault. Though, if you are with the Black Road it is all pre-written and what will happen is already decided. I found Winterbirth a hard but satisfying read. Ruckley, it seems, has the story all thought out in so much so that he cant help it pouring out into sections of over-detailed explanation. Not that I can think of a better way of doing it. Everything is there for a reason " there are no meaningless wonderings through forests " though there is a lot of walking that takes place. The quest element is quite simple " first they need to escape and then they need to find their way back as safely as possible. I enjoyed the bands journey and reading the history of the places they passed through. There is also magic in this world. It is however kept frustratingly enigmatic and hidden that I couldnt really handle what those who wield it can and cant do. This could be considered an overly long introduction to a trilogy, but at this level of the fantasy genre this may be expected, as by the end this story is only just beginning. If there was something that kept me reading even when I was getting swapped in the detail was Ruckleys excellent characterisation " all the characters are solidly portrayed even those whose blood flows a few pages after they are mentioned. He does have a way of making you care about them and you may find yourself gasping about how merciless he is. Winterbirth ends on a high level of expectation and I really cant wait for the next one in the series and to find out the true potential of magic in this tale. For more reviews, views, and bookstuff checkout:"show more
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