Category Archives: A J Smith

A J Smith: Dark Blood (Review)

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A J Smith UK

AJ Smith has been writing stories set in the lands of The Long War since he was at university. Defining the world and adding detail became an excellent distraction from his degree (which was in psychology, philosophy and sociology) and has remained equally distracting ever since. Interestingly, the maps came first, and then the world and its characters began to take shape in the writing.

Since graduating, Tony has been working with troubled children in a high school in Luton and has had various articles related to counselling and youth work published. Fantasy fiction has always been his own version of therapy and a place where he can make up what happens next rather than waiting for the real world to decide.

Dark Blood

(2014) (The second book in the Long War series)
A novel by A J Smith

Dark Blood

In the court of every city in the lands of Ro, a sorceress sits. And in the minds of that city’s people, each sorceress weaves a song. She and her sisters sing of the liberation of the land, the taming of the highland tribes, and the birth of a precious new race: the children of a dead god.

Of course, they do not sing of the death of young Prince Christophe at the hands of that god. Particularly as his replacement dances so well to their tune.

Yet all songs have an end. An ending speeded when the assassin Rham Jas Rami accepts a commission from Bromvy Black Guard, traitor duke of Canarn.

The rebellion of Ro has begun…


I was (am) a big fan of A J Smiths debut novel, while it’s not a perfect fantasy book, it was cleverly written (a little on the epic side) …well read my Review.

Writing a review for an author is also even more of a pleasure when you meet the author and you find out they are genuinely a really nice person. (if you get a chance to go to the next Goldsboro books Fantasy in the Court you really must)

So how does book 2 measure up? if I’m honest its significantly stronger than book 1, the author seems to have taken his licks from the book one reviews (and there were a few, a fair few uncalled for) but channeled the feedback and energy into a tremendous second book.

There is a significant clarification to the plot, the protagonists and the overall plot. What had in book one slowed the flow and i think led to confusion for some readers has been solidified into a much tighter defined intense story, answering many of the questions outstanding from book one.

I feel the author has been channeling his inner GRR Martin, the world and over all plot is wide-ranging, with a large cast, of which no character is safe. The characters are also on the real side, there are dark personalities, frailties, flaws, all of which making up real people, for me a very GRRM character building trait. Book 2 continues its narrowing of focus with the characters, giving a much more defined group for the reader to follow than book one, which was as much an intro into the authors mind and world building as it was telling the story.

As second books go it’s a great triumph of writing and shows there is much more to come from the new voice in fantasy.





Long War
1. The Black Guard (2013)
2. Dark Blood (2014)
The Black GuardDark Blood

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