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Imperial Wizard Saul Karza has stared death in the face. Instead of an easy ride home to claim his reward, he finds himself fleeing a fanatical dragon cult and a horde of vile creatures - determined to devour his entire party. Just when things couldn't get any worse, he is faced with the even greater horror, of Brael Truthseeker's enigmatic 'Truth'. The Deathsworn Arc Series Imperial Wizard Saul Karza has stared death in the face. Instead of an easy ride home to claim his reward, he finds himself fleeing a fanatical dragon cult and a horde of vile creatures - determined to devour his entire party. Just when things couldn't get any worse, he is faced with the even greater horror, of Brael Truthseeker's enigmatic 'Truth'. 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.


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Imperial Wizard Saul Karza has stared death in the face. Instead of an easy ride home to claim his reward, he finds himself fleeing a fanatical dragon cult and a horde of vile creatures - determined to devour his entire party. Just when things couldn't get any worse, he is faced with the even greater horror, of Brael Truthseeker's enigmatic 'Truth'. The Deathsworn Arc Series Imperial Wizard Saul Karza has stared death in the face. Instead of an easy ride home to claim his reward, he finds himself fleeing a fanatical dragon cult and a horde of vile creatures - determined to devour his entire party. Just when things couldn't get any worse, he is faced with the even greater horror, of Brael Truthseeker's enigmatic 'Truth'. 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.

30 review for The Verkreath Horror

  1. 5 out of 5

    Martyn Stanley

    Well, despite thinking version 6.2.5 was definitive and spot-on, I've found about 30 minor changes I want to make. I will get the edits in and update the paper and digital copies. Please check you're buying version 6.2.6 to make sure you're getting the best, latest version. I love the story though, and I'm really pleased with some on the quotes in it. I like Brael's pearl the best I think: "We get one life, it's our duty to make the most of it." 31st August 2016 - Finished another read! Still a LOT Well, despite thinking version 6.2.5 was definitive and spot-on, I've found about 30 minor changes I want to make. I will get the edits in and update the paper and digital copies. Please check you're buying version 6.2.6 to make sure you're getting the best, latest version. I love the story though, and I'm really pleased with some on the quotes in it. I like Brael's pearl the best I think: "We get one life, it's our duty to make the most of it." 31st August 2016 - Finished another read! Still a LOT happier with this book than book 1. It's got a very different tone to it. It's much darker and feels much more perilous. Highlights? The Duel outside Strak. The stuff surrounding the 'Truth', Elira is definitely great. The battle to get to the smithy and the battle at the bottom of the well. It's definitely a more Votrex and Brael'y book. Part of me wishes I could get more readers of this book to give this a go, because I think it's more likely to hook readers. However I suppose some of the things that might put readers off book one are perhaps even stronger here. On to book 3! Can't wait to see how Book 4 flows into my beginning of book 5 I've written! :) *** August 2017 Re-read Okay, so I love the story in this book. I admit this was an early version I read, 6.2.6 from 2014. It had a few errors in it. Some of them weren't fixed for the recent 6.3 December 2015 version. I've had a long list of errors from a very kind fan called Elda Brooks. I will be implementing the changes she suggests and releasing a version 7 which will hopefully be definitive. Some of the writing was a tad clunky in places. Some of it, I was VERY happy with. Some of it is really good writing. I liked the action scenes in this book and the exploration, and the truth. All the interactions with Elira were great. Especially the scene at the top of the well when Brael loses it and reveals the truth bluntly. I think this is a much stronger book than the first book, the characterization seems deeper, but also subtler. I think it's partly down to the characters being more honest with each other in this book. Also the action scenes I like. The duel was great, can't wait for the rematch (I AM planning it actually!) Also, the battles in the warren. The highlight was probably the battle at the bottom of the well. I wish I'd known what I know now about writing when I did this and I wish I'd taken more time to iron out the tiny errors. However I love the story and I definitely enjoyed this more than book 1. On to 'The Blood Queen'! The Temple of the Mad God is drawing closer! August 2017 RE-re-read! I've fixed another ten or so minor quirks. Version 7.0 is now ready for release and I'm really, really pleased with it. I think 7.0 will be the definitive version of this book! It reads better, it flows better, I think I've smoothed out all the clunkiness. I'm pretty confident that 7.0 Verkreath is now a very polished product. Kindle version is uploaded, now to sort out the Smashwords and paperback versions! November 2018 re-read. I accidentally read the old 2014 version. There were definitely a few quirks in this version, but I still think this was a good book. Highlights were the scenes in Strak near the start, the companions meeting Elira - the Battle in Beren'Gedt Holt and the Battle at the bottom of the well. This book really put the characters through the wringer!

  2. 4 out of 5

    The Celestial Archive

    Ok, I may as well get off my lazy ass and continue reading and reviewing this series. Been putting this book off for far too long and I practically finished it in one sitting. May contain spoilers! Read at your own risk! While this book had more of a nonsensical and avoidable plot to it - I'll get to that later - it was less random than the previous book was. And that may be because they finally have a GOAL, where in the first book they had a goal but on the way they did things at random. Sure t Ok, I may as well get off my lazy ass and continue reading and reviewing this series. Been putting this book off for far too long and I practically finished it in one sitting. May contain spoilers! Read at your own risk! While this book had more of a nonsensical and avoidable plot to it - I'll get to that later - it was less random than the previous book was. And that may be because they finally have a GOAL, where in the first book they had a goal but on the way they did things at random. Sure they met up with Korhan, Vashni and Brael and the other two dead guys, but aside from that... pretty random stuff happened. So we start out the second book with them successful but worn from their battle with the dragon Thrax. And I will be quoting Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation now if you don't mind me: "What follows is a textbook example of an idiot plot or plot that happens because every single character is an idiot". So they decide that instead of heading back towards the empress and investigate what those Heart Stones were, no, the best course of action is to go save a blacksmith's son and a crazy bimbo fanatic, just because they feel a hint of responsibility for having sent them into a plagued town. The plot gets deeper into the absurd when they decide, instead of just evading the city and hope that these people they rescued had some common sense not to go there, they enter. I repeat, this is a plagued city, the air is stinking of death and disease and they enter after having been warned that they are not permitted to leave should they do so. But aside from the occasional look of sadness, horror and disgust our heroes, ladies and gentlemen, give more importance to the architecture of the city than their own safety. I shit you not, the more I read about their interest in how the buildings are constructed the more I felt like the author was making a poor attempt at conveying atmosphere and setting by means of a close to useless and intrusive description. Wait there were at least four instances where I found asking myself why does this matter, so the correct word is "descriptions", with an "s" at the end. It does not end here. There are two more instances in which I went ape-shit. 1. First off we have Brael, Votrex and Saul enter a series of tunnels called the warren and this scene stretches for two painstaking chapters in which Votrex and Brael do nothing but walk and explain, boast and explain and belittle Saul for being human. And Saul's reaction to their not so subtle racism? He is either in awe at the explanations they give or is the Watson. Asking "How come this..." or "I never knew that". Here is where the author absolutely slams the reader in the face with the fact that Saul is incompetent both as a wizard AND as a scholar (person who has read and researched quite a bit). I think this role would have fitted Korhan better had he been permitted to leave her side and join Brael and Votrex in the tunnel. But no, we had to have someone to explain all these complex systems and contraptions and dwarven/gravian habits to, let's make Saul the stupid one. I can't tell you how much I was facepalming myself through that part... And another thing that pissed me off were Votrex and ESPECIALLY Brael's long winded explanations that fell into talking head syndrome... again! I found myself saying countless times, stop it, stop it will you? I won't understand anything if you tell it to me so will you please freaking show me already what you mean? Alas common sense does not fair well with these two characters. And they seem to enjoy showing off their knowledge in words cuz not once did Saul say that he's having trouble following what they say. 2. The second part happens while the others are in the warren, Kyla, the Bereger of the plagued city, announces Vashni and Korhan that the Servants of the Flame have caught up with them. In here they find out the fate of that all too important blacksmith's son and the fanatic sacrifice lady they were so worried about that they risked their lives by entering a PLAGUED CITY! (Spoiler Alert: She joins the Servants to be sacrificed again, and Callen - everyone seems to know his name for some obscure reason - is killed *ha! called it!*) The Servant leader is this big guy that likes to talk a lot and wipes the floor with Korhan; rather welcoming turn of events actually. What pissed me off in this whole scenario however is that when this dude orders for Vashni to be tied up and gagged she does nothing. I mean what the actual fuck?! If I were in her place, not only would I have not given a rats ass about that worthless Callen boy and the town I would have charged head long and confronted the Servant leader myself, just because he suggested it. But I am not Vashni, she lets people do that to her, like a wimp and a damsel ready to be saved. I hold no special affection for this character, as you can tell from the review I have posted on the first book, but this is too degrading to shrug off. Admittedly, until they enter the warrens for a second time, which is about 40 % into the novel, the whole story is one giant idiot plot. When I do sparknotes for what I read, I usually limit myself to up to 50-60 comments for an entire book, but the first 40 % of this book I went through it by adding a total of 70! comments/sparknotes. In other words, the reasons I shot off two stars from the rating was of those 40 % of the novel alone. The plot gets better after that and they find a purpose! They aren't running around like headless chickens anymore. They find a badly damaged gravian girl, called Elira, that showed more personality that a piece of gum stuck to your teachers pants, which is where the others are centered now, personality wise. They are attacked by rodent men, go further into the tunnels, attacked by rodent men again then get out. Casualty: Elira - she couldn't walk anyway why keep her alive, eh? Oh and they find out the truth and start doubting the essence of their religions... Nnnyeah, I don't care. I'm going to talk a bit more about a few things before I go on and write a few of my funnier sparknotes: - Up until now, the author has not once showed intention of making the characters familiar to one another. They are as stiff in their speaking with one another as they were when they met. Aside from this, the distance of the narrator towards the characters is so heavily felt that I don't feel any emotion towards them, nor do I care if they live or die. - The characters that are developed more here, are not Brael and Votrex as one would guess from the cover, but Brael and Vashni. She does not do a whole lot in this book but the things she does mould her and change her personality more than the others. Brael gets, aside from a clearer backstory and motives, actual character development and the part in which he is holding Elira's lifeless body and weeping, not gonna lie, it touched me to a certain degree - there is where he outright bursts in anger and declares the truth to his companions. That there is no God and when you die you do not live a peaceful afterlife. I am thinking that Elira's death hammered this fact deeper into his mind and, while I had not felt any significant or outstanding emotional shift in either one of the characters, this was the scene that made me think the character's feelings are authentic... this is not really a good thing, cuz it means that the reader is not yet emotionally invested in the characters. -And finally I would like to add the phrase I kept saying while reading the long series of symbols and mishmash that constituted the spells and incantations: "Translations or GTFO!" I seriously got pissed at one point cuz the same phrase was repeated over and over and over again, that I just snapped. This is a sure way to drive your readers mad, Martyn, good job! Ok now for my funnier sparknotes: - Ahhh, but human eyes are not attuned to lazy light... - Arrogant prick! Is this book going to talk about how dwarves, gravians and elves are superior to humans, cuz if that's the case then fuck you, Brael. - Saul started in wonder. 'How is this possible?' - You are a magic user, such a thing should not come as a surprise to you! Martyn, do you want me to hate you? - Korhan grinned through his bloodied face. 'I'm going to kill you Hern' - Subtle... -.- - Hern: I am going to skewer you like a pig, you will experience severe pain and breathing will become difficult. -_________- Are you shitting me? - My acquaintance with the Empress has been a long and, hmmm, interesting one. - Ohhhh, he's had sex with her :P - Channel? Store? Prime? These are terms I am not familiar with. - Incompetent Saul at his finest and NO, I don't think he was asking for an explanation in such a case either. This has surely been an awkward read. I've read books with hateful characters. I've read books with pathetic characters. But never up until now, have I read a book with idiot characters. This is a first and it plagues them for at least 40 % of the book and unfortunately has stuck to Saul like tar to feathers. Let's Rate This - 6.8 / 10 Setting and Atmosphere - 6 Plot - 7 Main Characters - 7 Secondary Characters - 8 Antagonists - 6 Writing - 7 Enjoyability - 7 Reviews for the Deathsworn Arc series: The Last Dragon Slayer The Verkreath Horror The Blood Queen Rise of the Archmage The Temple of the Mad God Seeing as this was a really quick read I might do another quicky tomorrow with If I stay. Mockingjay is such a drag! My reviews :) | My Blog | Twitter

  3. 4 out of 5

    D.elliott

    'The Verkreath Horror' has more in common with the sword and sorcery genre than it does high fantasy, yet, like the previous novel it shares and subverts features of each. Violent conflicts, mystical mentor romance, magic, the supernatural and a band of sword-wielding heroes on a perilous journey that tests their physical endurance to it limits, as well as their mental fortitude in the face of Brael's truth: a truth, a horror, that pursues the characters throughout the novel like the monstrous V 'The Verkreath Horror' has more in common with the sword and sorcery genre than it does high fantasy, yet, like the previous novel it shares and subverts features of each. Violent conflicts, mystical mentor romance, magic, the supernatural and a band of sword-wielding heroes on a perilous journey that tests their physical endurance to it limits, as well as their mental fortitude in the face of Brael's truth: a truth, a horror, that pursues the characters throughout the novel like the monstrous Verkreath in the hellish depths of the fallen dwarf warren they traverse. A Gravian, Elf, Barbarian, Wizard, and Dwarf: the novel follows this misfit bunch of warriors on their perilous journey to return the dragon heart stones to their ruler, Empress Jade. Their journey is fraught with danger as they travel underground in a labyrinth infested with the Verkeath: a savage and deadly species of humanoid rat. There is always the underlying knowledge throughout the course of the novel that the stakes are high. The noble dragon may have been defeated in the 'The Last Dragon Slayer' but the battle is not won. The whole of Empress Jades empire is at peril: there is the ravages of the plague, Thrax's fanatical worshippers, and civil unrest about to erupt like a volcano from the depths below. The mystery surrounding the dragon's heart stones remains unanswered and will no doubt be the focus of third book in the series, "The Blood Queen," but still 'The Verkreath Horror' is teaming with action, bubbling with intrigue and introduces a set of new, darker characters who complicate the plot. The journey is not sprinkled with faerie dust, it is so gruelling, even the characters themselves comment, ironically, it has been a far cry from the tall tales about heroes journeys told in the ale houses. Throughout the novel Stanley's attention to detail and world building are impressive. Architecture, functional arrangements, customs are all lovingly depicted and well thought out. I was particularly impressed with the Brael's character: being biased towards sci-fi as opposed to fantasy I was delighted to discover he is depicted as a Mage/Scientist which brought to mind Arthur C. Clarke's quote “Magic's just science that we don't understand yet.” Many of the themes and messages weaved within the novel resonate in our own world and history, which is an example of fantasy working at its best. Brael's truth is symbolised in the figure of the Verkreath, the humanoid rat creatures who are emptied of meaning and souls, driven only by the instinct to survive. Definitely a book recommended for fans of the high fantasy genre and Sword and Sorcery.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ionia

    4.5 stars This book surprised me in a lot of ways. Usually by the time I get to the second book in a series, I feel like I pretty much have the motives and personalities of the characters figured out. Not so much in this series. One of the things that impressed me the most about this book is the way the characters have grown since the first in the series. Martyn Stanley takes his world, his characters and his story seriously enough to care that they learn as they go, grow into the heroes you wan 4.5 stars This book surprised me in a lot of ways. Usually by the time I get to the second book in a series, I feel like I pretty much have the motives and personalities of the characters figured out. Not so much in this series. One of the things that impressed me the most about this book is the way the characters have grown since the first in the series. Martyn Stanley takes his world, his characters and his story seriously enough to care that they learn as they go, grow into the heroes you want them to be and become worthy of continuing on with another book. The Verkreath Horror also surprised me because of the sheer intelligence in his battle scenes. Whereas many fantasy books annoy me because the battle scenes are either too short, too long or everyone ends up running and screaming or standing around confused when they would logically have been chopped to bits in a real battle, this author doesn't allow his characters that luxury. The descriptions are incredibly good and keep you holding your breath as you turn pages, hoping your favourites make it out alive. Whilst this is a darker book than the first, I also saw a line of hope and redemption in this story. I'm still trying to figure out how he managed to make a book so conflicting with itself, and yet pull it off so smoothly. My only complaint: I miss the goofiness between two of the characters. I won't add a spoiler here by saying which two, but one of the reasons I adored the first book so much was the banter and awkwardness between these two. It wasn't present in this story and that made me a little sad. Finally, the ending was not what I expected. Generally these books end on some massive cliffhanger, where everyone is in peril. These characters actually seem to be relatively squared away for the moment. I had to analyse this for a bit before writing this review. I believe this is the best way this book could have ended. The author now has me wondering not if, but when the danger will come. I'd rather wait for the next book thinking characters I have grown to love are safe for the moment. It makes it seem more real. How long can a terrifying beast stay suspended in mid-air whilst we wait for the author to release a book? Nope. This ending was genius. If you love fantasy books and you don't love reading the same thing that has already been done a million times before, this is a great series to go with. Even as someone who has spent much of their life reading fantasy novels from many authors, I still see originality in these books. Check them out, you won't be sorry you did. Hurry up and write me another book, Mr. Stanley. I am not altogether patient.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    'The Verkreath Horror' is the second book in the 'Deathworm' series. Just when they think their quest is at an end the group find themselves being hunted down by Thrax's followers. Trying to escape them they come across new creatures who are perhaps worst than what they are fleeing. I really enjoyed the first book in this series and looked forward to reading this one. Out of the two at the moment, this one is my favourite. It was well written and held my interest all the way through. Even th 'The Verkreath Horror' is the second book in the 'Deathworm' series. Just when they think their quest is at an end the group find themselves being hunted down by Thrax's followers. Trying to escape them they come across new creatures who are perhaps worst than what they are fleeing. I really enjoyed the first book in this series and looked forward to reading this one. Out of the two at the moment, this one is my favourite. It was well written and held my interest all the way through. Even though, Korhan and Vashni seemed to be more in the background, I still thought they were good. It seemed as though the group couldn't get by without Brael and Vortex in this book. Some of my questions about Brael and 'the truth' were answered in this story but not all of them. Saul, was alright and you seen him using his powers more. By the end of this book there is so much that still has me curious and keen to read on. The only part I didn't like was the Verkreath creatures because from the way that they are described they sound horrible. I would recommend this to fans of fantasy, but suggest reading the first book before this. Thank you to the author for a ebook copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I absolutely enjoyed this book. The Verkreath Horror isn't a fun romp through the forest. It's a dark, rough, and accurate, though thoroughly fictional look at the journeys of this group of adventurers. Some readers might think it's too dark and harsh, but in my opinion, I find Martyn Stanley's writing to be extremely accurate in it's harshness. In Deathsworn Arc #2, Korhan, Vashni, Saul, Vortex, and Brael are tested time and again. The trials they must face bring them closer as a group, tests t I absolutely enjoyed this book. The Verkreath Horror isn't a fun romp through the forest. It's a dark, rough, and accurate, though thoroughly fictional look at the journeys of this group of adventurers. Some readers might think it's too dark and harsh, but in my opinion, I find Martyn Stanley's writing to be extremely accurate in it's harshness. In Deathsworn Arc #2, Korhan, Vashni, Saul, Vortex, and Brael are tested time and again. The trials they must face bring them closer as a group, tests their endurance, physical and magical abilities, and survivability. Book 2 is one arduous passing after another, while their belief systems are called into question. Not though, as one reader put it, "Losing their religion". As in the first book of Deathsworn Arc, it is written very well. I am very interested in finding out more about "The Truth", and how the dynamics of the group intertwine with each other. A good read for those readers who like a bit more grit with their fantasy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Clark

    I just finished and I'm still pondering why I liked this book so much! I think it's because, as the second book in the series, we've already killed the dragon so the pressure is off! Now all the hijinx that we get into is just a fun (but perilous) adventure. The whole book is "the escape scene" and I really felt like the problems and their solutions were great, and they all added to the plotline. The verkreath were a freaky addition to our standard list of fantasy monsters. I think this is a gre I just finished and I'm still pondering why I liked this book so much! I think it's because, as the second book in the series, we've already killed the dragon so the pressure is off! Now all the hijinx that we get into is just a fun (but perilous) adventure. The whole book is "the escape scene" and I really felt like the problems and their solutions were great, and they all added to the plotline. The verkreath were a freaky addition to our standard list of fantasy monsters. I think this is a great sequel because everything gets into deeper layers--each character from the first novel (if they are still alive at this point) grows, and we glimpse more of their backstories. The world around them is revealed more and more as well. Although the novel doesn't end on a cliffhanger per se, I think this whole second novel is building up toward the next book, and so the ending wasn't as satisfying as the first book, it's a lot of setting up for what's going to happen next. I enjoyed this book a lot, and I'm giving it a higher rating than the first book. Maybe these will just keep getting better and better. The author gave me a free copy to read, and now I've had so much fun I'm going to go and buy the next book to thank him!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Clarice

    Book 2 in the Deathsworn Arc series is another one full of adventure and danger! This group just keeps running into trouble and they can't seem to avoid it. While looking for Callen, the boy they sent away before fighting the dragon, they come upon a town riddled with the plague. Everyone in town seems to be dying of it and there are literally pits of dead people. To make matters worse, the Servants of the Flame find them and almost kills Korhan in the process. It turns out when one threat to th Book 2 in the Deathsworn Arc series is another one full of adventure and danger! This group just keeps running into trouble and they can't seem to avoid it. While looking for Callen, the boy they sent away before fighting the dragon, they come upon a town riddled with the plague. Everyone in town seems to be dying of it and there are literally pits of dead people. To make matters worse, the Servants of the Flame find them and almost kills Korhan in the process. It turns out when one threat to the kingdom has been vanquished, more pop up in its place. The Verkreath are rat men that live deep underground and when the group has to go underground to avoid the Servants, they run into them with some nasty consequences. And while Vashni is no doubt very important to the group and a very powerful elf, I cannot help but think that Brael is even more powerful than she is. I wish we could see more of what he can do and have hope of it in the following book. All in all, this is one fast paced, adventurous read that is guaranteed to entertain those that are interested in this type of book!

  9. 5 out of 5

    April

    Martin Stanley takes his characters to new heights in this book of the series, as each character grows so do the the other characters. Each character has a certain trait you will either love or hate, but the read itself you will most likely find yourself deeply involved. Martin allows the reader to become one with the book giving just enough information to allow your imagination to do the rest. This is wizards, elves and all the others for adults not your childhood dragon story. Many of these ch Martin Stanley takes his characters to new heights in this book of the series, as each character grows so do the the other characters. Each character has a certain trait you will either love or hate, but the read itself you will most likely find yourself deeply involved. Martin allows the reader to become one with the book giving just enough information to allow your imagination to do the rest. This is wizards, elves and all the others for adults not your childhood dragon story. Many of these characters live and die in unusual yet intriguing ways. As you read the book you will find yourself not only wanting to know more but needing it. Each character has their own dilemmas to add to the problems at hand and you find yourself wondering the answers as much as they do!!! the characters alone make it worth the read!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Angela Maher

    Book two of the Deathsworn Arc series follows directly on from the first installment. The troubles are far from over for the adventurers. The plot moves along at a good pace, without dragging or going over old ground. The dynamics between the members of the group also continue to develop nicely. If you enjoyed the first book, make sure you read this one as well. This is shaping up to be very good fantasy series. Copy received in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Wow, get ready for a wild ride on the epic adventure of Arc 2, because Stanley delivers. I really liked Deathsworn Arc 1, especially the ending with the emotional losses of the final battle and the revelation that the quest had much more to it than we, or most of the seekers, knew or hoped. So I was excited to see how it would all play out. The Verkreath Horror is even better than the first book of the series. The author's writing is confident, descriptive and more visceral, especially in battle Wow, get ready for a wild ride on the epic adventure of Arc 2, because Stanley delivers. I really liked Deathsworn Arc 1, especially the ending with the emotional losses of the final battle and the revelation that the quest had much more to it than we, or most of the seekers, knew or hoped. So I was excited to see how it would all play out. The Verkreath Horror is even better than the first book of the series. The author's writing is confident, descriptive and more visceral, especially in battle but also in all sensory aspects of the different scenes. The Verkreath are a challenging addition, lots of fantastical and frankly horrific elements come with them, and it's all handled well and ups the tension intensely. I admire the way the author stayed true to each character, really allowing each type of being to be shown with their particular gifts as unique and important, like when Votrex rises to leadership with his dwarfian expertise of the underground tunnels.The warrens are claustrophobic and the author works the tension here very skillfully. As a reader I'm confronted with the question: would I have what it takes to triumph over underground savages to complete my quest? All of the details, plot developments and descriptions are fascinating and make Arc 2 a great read. More than that, what I also really like is the truthseeking aspect of the story. There is a subtext about how important it is to keep an open mind, how we might shrink our minds to survive stress but that our strength, like the spells herein, come from openness and focus, and our peril comes from drawing within, and our weakness is revealed in a delusion of not appreciating this one life. Great stuff to think about, and another reason the Deathsworn series is an epic fantasy for our times. There's more to come...the quest keeps growing in scope and in need for wrongs to be avenged, so we have a lot to look forward to.

  12. 5 out of 5

    L.J. Capehart

    Okay, some of the scenes in this book are really somewhat gruesome, I warn you. But if that doesn't bother you or you can easily move past those, this is a worthwhile adventure, continuing the story from book one. I appreciate that Stanley tied up loose ends at the end of book two as well. The characters in the story have distinct, separate voices, which really adds to the reading enjoyment. Many writers out there don't manage that. This group is formed by a varied and interesting cast of charac Okay, some of the scenes in this book are really somewhat gruesome, I warn you. But if that doesn't bother you or you can easily move past those, this is a worthwhile adventure, continuing the story from book one. I appreciate that Stanley tied up loose ends at the end of book two as well. The characters in the story have distinct, separate voices, which really adds to the reading enjoyment. Many writers out there don't manage that. This group is formed by a varied and interesting cast of characters. The writer has a description in the story that sums them up well - "We are a strange fellowship, are we not? A dwarf without a holt, an exiled gravian who, it would seem, might be one of the greatest magicians in Torea if not for a curse, an absconding elf who seems to have an unnatural talent for whispering, and a barbarian who commits himself to becoming a servant and a pupil of that elf... I wonder, Saul Karza, what is your story? What strange tale of circumstance hides in your past that makes you befitting of this group of misfits?" The back stories on each character are shared in bits here and there, filling out each one, making them become even more 'real'. As the second story progresses, they form more of a team, rather than just a group of misfits thrown together on a quest. Stanley has built a well-detailed world, quite rich with details that help you to see it in your own minds eye. The action throughout is well written, paced well, and holds a readers interest. There's still more to come in the continuation, with some mysteries not yet revealed. I'm definitely curious about where the band of adventurers will end up next.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Martyn Stanley! This book doesn't feel like a sequel because it seamlessly takes off where it left off and the characters are so well drawn that I had no issues following the story. It's actually a big accomplishment that you feel like you're amongst old friends, being that most of them are not human. If you thought that once they killed Thrax the Dragon they'd be home free, think again. Seems like dragons are not I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Martyn Stanley! This book doesn't feel like a sequel because it seamlessly takes off where it left off and the characters are so well drawn that I had no issues following the story. It's actually a big accomplishment that you feel like you're amongst old friends, being that most of them are not human. If you thought that once they killed Thrax the Dragon they'd be home free, think again. Seems like dragons are nothing compared to what awaits them. This time, we follow them to a plague-ridden village and an abandoned Dwarf underground city. We also meet the Servants of the Dragon and a new species called the Verkreath. Everything is so entertaining that it was an effort to put the book down and do boring things like working or eating (I wished I could whisper my boss to sleep and just keep reading). If I loved the characters the first time around, this time they were even better. They've only been together a few weeks but the challenges that they've faced have made them better and bound them closer together. My favorite character is still Lady Vashni, the elf, who is as strong and powerful as ever, but is now more compassionate toward her companions. Brael the Gravian (a dark elf) is again especially interesting: the way he explains real life science in elvish terms was simply hilarious (he doesn't call them Oxygen and Hydrogen, but he knows what water is). The magic, the adventure, the perils... everything combines to make a very enjoyable read. Five enthusiastic stars from this reader.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Misfits farm

    A wonderful, delightful trip into the world of fantasy. Great characters that come alive as the tale weaves it merry way. All the things we love about this genre- differing character types, dragons, heroines and more. I love the interaction between the main characters and there jests at each other’s “breed”. How teach has strengths and weaknesses, tales to tell and beliefs of their own. I also love the couple of ethical sentences intermingled amongst the story- “’tis humans who destroy more than A wonderful, delightful trip into the world of fantasy. Great characters that come alive as the tale weaves it merry way. All the things we love about this genre- differing character types, dragons, heroines and more. I love the interaction between the main characters and there jests at each other’s “breed”. How teach has strengths and weaknesses, tales to tell and beliefs of their own. I also love the couple of ethical sentences intermingled amongst the story- “’tis humans who destroy more than they realise”….So true. Fantasy is not usually my “thing” but having enjoyed the first book I was honoured to be asked to review the second. This book will stand alone but better enjoyed having read the first to understand the characters, their relationship to each other and their skills (or lack of!). A light hearted fantasy tale to make you smile along the way intermingled with the realms of fantastical creatures and lands. A book that could be enjoyed by both children and adults. I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. When I enjoy the first book in a series, starting the second always makes me nervous. Will it be more of the same? Will the story move and the characters develop? Will it be as good? "The Verkreath Horror" follows on from "The Last Dragon Slayer" (which is the first book in the "Deathsworn Arc" series, and it surpassed my expectations. The story develops superbly, making this a much faster read than book 1. The ch I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. When I enjoy the first book in a series, starting the second always makes me nervous. Will it be more of the same? Will the story move and the characters develop? Will it be as good? "The Verkreath Horror" follows on from "The Last Dragon Slayer" (which is the first book in the "Deathsworn Arc" series, and it surpassed my expectations. The story develops superbly, making this a much faster read than book 1. The characters naturally become fuller and richer. As with book 1, I had problems with some typos, punctuation errors, and even some missing words on occasion, but none of that is enough to mark the book down. 5 stars - no question.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Larry B Gray

    The Verkreath Horror, book 2 of the Deathsworn Arc, by Martyn Stanley is an outstanding fantasy novel. It is full of action and adventure which will leave you breathless. The storyline picks up where the first book of the series, The Last Dragon Slayer, left off, action and all. The author keeps piling on the plot twist and turns which pull you deeper into the epic tale of adventure. I really like the author's storytelling style and his ability to bring the words alive. Martyn Stanley has put toge The Verkreath Horror, book 2 of the Deathsworn Arc, by Martyn Stanley is an outstanding fantasy novel. It is full of action and adventure which will leave you breathless. The storyline picks up where the first book of the series, The Last Dragon Slayer, left off, action and all. The author keeps piling on the plot twist and turns which pull you deeper into the epic tale of adventure. I really like the author's storytelling style and his ability to bring the words alive. Martyn Stanley has put together a great cast of characters and this helps the book take on more life. It is fun to watch them grow and mature as the story develops. I really liked The Verkreath Horror by Martyn Stanley and I highly recommend this book to all readers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jeru

    This series is far from over and I'm hooked. For a new writer, he's way better than most and pays close attention to the details of his story. There were times that I felt the story slowed down but that wasn't enough reason to put it down. He makes it a point that every details are narrated to the point like you're already there. The characters, the places and even the battles. They were all memorable. I think it may be his style, to make sure that there are no plot holes and that everything fall This series is far from over and I'm hooked. For a new writer, he's way better than most and pays close attention to the details of his story. There were times that I felt the story slowed down but that wasn't enough reason to put it down. He makes it a point that every details are narrated to the point like you're already there. The characters, the places and even the battles. They were all memorable. I think it may be his style, to make sure that there are no plot holes and that everything fall rightfully into place by the end of the series. It may be a bit slow for some, but just right for me. Get this book and you won't regret it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Moore

    Better writing than the first one. However, the story is quite different. It suddenly goes a bit dark and a bit grim. Also it's a bit heavy-handed and preachy in places. I still enjoyed it, but not as much - even though I'd say the action scenes were better. I'll read on at some point... Hopefully the next one will be a bit lighter. Better writing than the first one. However, the story is quite different. It suddenly goes a bit dark and a bit grim. Also it's a bit heavy-handed and preachy in places. I still enjoyed it, but not as much - even though I'd say the action scenes were better. I'll read on at some point... Hopefully the next one will be a bit lighter.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brünnhilde

    Enjoyed it even more than the first one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tony Duxbury

    This story follows straight on from the first book and is no slower in pace. The unfortunate adventurers are faced with one problem after another. There's hardly a pause for breath. This time there is a menace that some of the party had never been aware of. What started as a simple dragon hunt is looking like something far greater is threatening the realm. The outlook is grim. After reading the first book in the series I had expectations of this one and I am glad to say that I wasn't disappointe This story follows straight on from the first book and is no slower in pace. The unfortunate adventurers are faced with one problem after another. There's hardly a pause for breath. This time there is a menace that some of the party had never been aware of. What started as a simple dragon hunt is looking like something far greater is threatening the realm. The outlook is grim. After reading the first book in the series I had expectations of this one and I am glad to say that I wasn't disappointed. Plenty of magic and sword-play. Plenty of foes and villains. Plenty of heroics. The mismatched band of different races all have their own secrets and problems, but come together to defend themselves and each other time after time. I would recommend this to any sword and sorcery fan.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Selaya Morton

    As someone who lives in an area of the world where we coexist with all kinds of wild creatures - bears, coyotes, bobcats and the like - I didn't find the idea of flesh eating or cannibalism quite so repugnant. No, I'm NOT an advocate for it! Any of the creatures I mentioned will do whatever it takes to survive; right up to visiting your backyard in a hunt for food. Anyway... I liked this story in itself. The ongoing adventures (and misadventures) of this company are becoming somewhat addictive in As someone who lives in an area of the world where we coexist with all kinds of wild creatures - bears, coyotes, bobcats and the like - I didn't find the idea of flesh eating or cannibalism quite so repugnant. No, I'm NOT an advocate for it! Any of the creatures I mentioned will do whatever it takes to survive; right up to visiting your backyard in a hunt for food. Anyway... I liked this story in itself. The ongoing adventures (and misadventures) of this company are becoming somewhat addictive in their own right. Hopefully I'll get to check out Book 3 quite soon.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elika

    loved the continuing journey of companions and what they went through. the prose is beautifully done and the pace is fast and leaves you wanting for more.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    It had been awhile since I read Stanley's first book, but as I read I remembered the characters and their quest. I appreciated that killing the dragon hadn't completely fixed things and that the lingering effects of the mind control remained - touches of realism like this strengthened the narrative and gave a solid base to the story. The plague, too, was grounded in reality and behaved much like the Black Plague had back in medieval times. I liked these bits. I also enjoyed getting to see more o It had been awhile since I read Stanley's first book, but as I read I remembered the characters and their quest. I appreciated that killing the dragon hadn't completely fixed things and that the lingering effects of the mind control remained - touches of realism like this strengthened the narrative and gave a solid base to the story. The plague, too, was grounded in reality and behaved much like the Black Plague had back in medieval times. I liked these bits. I also enjoyed getting to see more of the world and the layers to it, as well as Dwarven craftsmanship. And Brael's character came alive much more here in the second book. The party seemed to find their next errands and plot points right after each other with a bit too much convenience (like thinking of Callan and then he shows up). I wish there had been more downtime where they weren't sure what to do that could offer a better chance of the characters talking to each other and deepening the relationships. That was probably my biggest detractor with the story - the characters only ever talked about what they were doing or giving exposition (there was a ton of that). The dialogue as a result came across as somewhat stiff and stilted. And so many uses of "hah", "ugh", and "hmm" really slowed things down. If the characters could just talk to each other naturally, I think it would really expand the world. The book sets up nicely for another installment, making a logical connection through the plot arcs.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leila

    Martyn kindly gave me a free copy of his second book in his ‘Deathswarn Arc trilogy and it has been oh so well worth reading. Overwhelmingly good, it represents truly high quality fantasy for me and has a much greater depth of writing than can be found in many fantasy books coming out these days. Where do I begin to review this brilliant book? There is so much to admire. I don't like spoilers so found it difficult to review this complex and oh so special book. I found it even better than the firs Martyn kindly gave me a free copy of his second book in his ‘Deathswarn Arc trilogy and it has been oh so well worth reading. Overwhelmingly good, it represents truly high quality fantasy for me and has a much greater depth of writing than can be found in many fantasy books coming out these days. Where do I begin to review this brilliant book? There is so much to admire. I don't like spoilers so found it difficult to review this complex and oh so special book. I found it even better than the first in the series, with its exquisite attention to detail in the magical and unique world Martyn has created. It moves on from the rather sad ending to continue the quest for his little band of very diverse ‘warriors’ I really like the theme of the group overcoming tragedy to continue on their dangerous journey. Each of them is tested and changes in the way they think and feel as they struggle with the way forward. They work out as a group with much discussion and differences of opinion, the directions they must follow. They individually have to find the mutual strength to overcome the horrors they encounter on the way. The Verkreath are a vicious band of huge rats that are frankly terrifying... but the individual strength of the group comes from their unity as they attempt to share not only their unique gifts but also their weaknesses. Martyn has created such a fresh and beautifully world which is beautifully written. His group of characters are a fascinating mix of differences, both in breed and personalities. This gives him the opportunity to explore in each of his characters the strengths and frailties manifest in all life, humans or otherwise which began in the first book. It is clear the author is writing about so much more than just an adventure story in the fantasy genre. There are moments of humour to lift and lighten some of the terrifying experiences the little band face as they continue on their journey but overall they face some truly horrifying experiences with breathtaking battle scenes for example. The detailed and descriptive writing is of an extremely high quality and the book captured my interest and emotions immediately, helped by already having read the first book in the series. Fresh, original, terrifying, enlightening and intriguing... I was drawn and gripped into a compulsive and wonderful world of differences. This book for me has been a privilege to read. I began with reading on my Kindle but since have purchased the paperbacks as I was so keen to have them on my bookshelves. Thank you Martyn for a most special experience and so looking forward to the third book in your trilogy. Go read it all you fantasy followers.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Wood

    Books in the fantasy genre have a special place in my heart. Back in my youth, books written by Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Raymond E. Feist, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, and R.A. Salvatore changed reading for me from something I was forced to do into something I enjoyed doing. As an adult, but child at heart, I branch my reading into many different genres always looking for great books. I do enjoy coming back into the fantasy genre though. I do know a number of people who are tired of the fant Books in the fantasy genre have a special place in my heart. Back in my youth, books written by Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Raymond E. Feist, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, and R.A. Salvatore changed reading for me from something I was forced to do into something I enjoyed doing. As an adult, but child at heart, I branch my reading into many different genres always looking for great books. I do enjoy coming back into the fantasy genre though. I do know a number of people who are tired of the fantasy genre though. For those people, I will warn you now that this book series is not for you. Fantasy tropes abound throughout the first two books at least. At one point in this particular book, I wanted to yell at the characters "Fly, you fools!". Plus this book introduces a new sentient creature which while the name the author uses is new to me, it does remind me a lot of a certain creature that can be found in the Warhammer universe, and the game Blood Bowl which I greatly enjoy. From my understanding Warhammer copied this creature from a book written back in the '60's. One concept which has been hinted in the first book and becomes clear by the end of the second book isn't a fantasy trope though and goes a bit against the standard fantasy trope. While at the time of this writing I do not know for sure, but I suspect this concept will be playing a key role in book three. The author did increase his character usage from beyond the standard Arabic alphabet and an abundant use of the section sign, usually when something magical is involved to now including the ash symbol, which to those who are not familiar with this symbol is æ. He does use it more sparingly than the section sign though which I admit distracts me from the book every time I see it. All that being said, I liked this book and I did enjoy reading it, thus why I give it three stars (which if you hover your mouse over the rating says "liked it". It does take me back to my roots of reading for enjoyment. I am beginning to care for the characters and am curious as to how they will fare in the sequel. If you enjoy high fantasy, I would say this series is worth looking at. Plus a bonus to this series is that it looks like all three books would fit into just one of the vast tomes you might find among the books written by one of the authors I mentioned at the beginning of this review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Simon Oakden

    This was better than the first book. The team end up progressively being thrown into a worse and worse situation and you get a real sense of danger at times. There are parts which to put it bluntly are a bit, stomach churning? The Verkreath are a seriously vile species, but they're kind of interesting with it. There was less wierdness between the elf girl and Korhan in this one, and that was kind of good, but I sort of missed it at times too. It's definitely grittier than the first book, I'm surp This was better than the first book. The team end up progressively being thrown into a worse and worse situation and you get a real sense of danger at times. There are parts which to put it bluntly are a bit, stomach churning? The Verkreath are a seriously vile species, but they're kind of interesting with it. There was less wierdness between the elf girl and Korhan in this one, and that was kind of good, but I sort of missed it at times too. It's definitely grittier than the first book, I'm surprised he left the ending as it was as he leaves the survivors seeming fairly safe, and it kind of makes you not so mad about reading book 3, I still want to find out what the dragon stones are for though so I'll probably read it anyway.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ray White

    Darker but better than the first.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy Whitmore

    Bit darker than the first book, but a lot better!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Greyscotty

    O.K: Now I'm finished! I guess I was right about the storyline growing on me but I do have a few comments to make. First and foremost, shouldn't "The Story So Far" appear at the beginning of the book? It's a little redundant placing it at the end. Somewhat meaningless by that point I'd say. Second, the switching between "Servants" and "servant." A bit confusing to say the least. Also, I picked up on some unashamed influences taken directly from other authors; Tolkien (mithril) & Brooks/GRRM (Ell O.K: Now I'm finished! I guess I was right about the storyline growing on me but I do have a few comments to make. First and foremost, shouldn't "The Story So Far" appear at the beginning of the book? It's a little redundant placing it at the end. Somewhat meaningless by that point I'd say. Second, the switching between "Servants" and "servant." A bit confusing to say the least. Also, I picked up on some unashamed influences taken directly from other authors; Tolkien (mithril) & Brooks/GRRM (Ellcrys or red-leafed tree) to name a few. Hell, there's even a play on words regarding a god's name which could have come straight out of Frank Herbert's "Dune." Regardless, I'm going to take a little break from the arc before moving on to Book 3 but I will come back to it soon. Watch this space for 'family' updates. You know of what I speak!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The epic adventure continues! After slaying the Dragon "Thrax" our adventurers must deliver it's Heart Stones to Empress Jade. First, they go to Strak to check on the welfare of the blacksmith's son Callen, and the sacrificial maiden Ellen whom they had rescued against her wishes. The find that Strak has been afflicted with plague. While resting within the citadel, the Servants of the Flame catch up with them. Upon fleeing the Servants, they find themselves faced with even more horrors. The Verk The epic adventure continues! After slaying the Dragon "Thrax" our adventurers must deliver it's Heart Stones to Empress Jade. First, they go to Strak to check on the welfare of the blacksmith's son Callen, and the sacrificial maiden Ellen whom they had rescued against her wishes. The find that Strak has been afflicted with plague. While resting within the citadel, the Servants of the Flame catch up with them. Upon fleeing the Servants, they find themselves faced with even more horrors. The Verkreath, fearsome sentient rat-men. This was another great book, and an intriguing continuation to this epic quest. I look forward to continue reading further adventures in "The Blood Queen" *I received a copy of this book for free. The review is my own, honest and unsolicited.

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