Category Archives: James Barclay

James Barclay : Heart of Granite (Review) 18 Aug 2016

Author Bio

Heart of Granite  (2016)
(The first book in the Blood and Fire series)

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Blood and Fire has a simple premise of nomadic fantasy nations warring over diminishing resources; it has a strong twist with a main character who uncovers a series of game-changing government lies; it combines politics, war and romance into a gripping story. This is also a bold proposal: our hero may have uncovered the truth, but that doesn’t mean he can prove it. If he wants to save his team he may have to abandon them. If he wants to win the girl he’ll have to persuade her not to turn her back on him. If he wants to prove the lies, he may have to risk a descent into madness. And all against the backdrop of a vicious daily war for survival.


When i start writing any review i like to pull together a list of all that authors bibliography and occasionally i look and go wow. This is one of those…. 1999!! ive been reading James Barclay’s books for 17 years, a writer recommended to me by the great David Gemmell.

James Barclay has always produced some truly spendid, fast paced and action packed fantasy tales, so when i heard about Heart of Granite i was quite excited….. then i saw that it was SCIFI!!! I HATE SCIFI!!

But its James Barclay… the man who cannot write a bad story….. and i have always liked the man…. so i had to read it.

Its turns out that its a Stunning blend of fantasy and SCIFI that managed to WOW an old SCIFI hater like me, utterly gripping, totally original and the start of what will be a truly splendid series.

Fortunately i have a get out of jail free and can still say i hate SCIFI….. Gollancz class it as Military Fantasy…. i like that label.

In this book James Barclay creates a future world, one riven by war, fought by warriors who fly Drakes (dragons) and a variety of other creatures. Its the scope of his imagination that as always is breathtaking. He as usual effortlessly blends the information drops into the plot, so never do you feel you are being fed data about his world, it all emerges and appears before the reader.

The plot as ever with his books is effortlessly complex and deep, but reads and blends into such a fast paced narrative that that complexity is never felt, never bogged down in detail.  This isn’t just about the battle, its about the lives of the warriors and the battles they must personally face.

This is right up there leading the field as my stand out fantasy read this year, and that’s saying something because Mark Lawrence’s latest book is simply splendid.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough


Chronicles of the Raven
1. Dawnthief (1999)
2. Noonshade (2000)
3. Nightchild (2001)
Legends of the Raven
1. Elfsorrow (2002)
2. Shadowheart (2003)
3. Demonstorm (2004)
4. Ravensoul (2008)
Ascendants of Estorea
1. The Cry of the Newborn (2005)
2. Shout for the Dead (2007)
1. Once Walked With Gods (2010)
2. Rise of the TaiGethan (2012)
3. Beyond the Mists of Katura (2013)
Blood and Fire
1. Heart of Granite (2016)
Vault of Deeds (2008)
Light Stealer (2003)
Graphic Novels
Flinch (2009) (with Chris Bolton, Chris Bones, Terry Dowling, Ray Fawkes, Michael Katchan, Anton McKay, Justin Randall, Christian Read, Shaun Tan, Tom Taylor, Mel Tregonning and Colin Wilson)

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