The Cold Commands

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Overview

With The Steel Remains, award-winning science fiction writer Richard K. Morgan turned his talents to sword and sorcery. The result: a genre-busting masterwork hailed as a milestone in contemporary epic fantasy. Now Morgan continues the riveting saga of Ringil Eskiath—Gil, for short—a peerless warrior whose love for other men has made him an outcast and pariah. 

Only a select few have earned the right to call Gil friend. One is Egar, the Dragonbane, a fierce Majak fighter ...

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New York 2011 First American edition, Hardcover, New in dust jacket New Fantasy novel set in the same world as THE STEEL REMAINS. I've read Morgan and think he's very good. I ... read THE STEEL REMAINS and believe this is probably on the same literary level. "Only a select few have earned the right to call Gil friend. One is Egar, the Dragonbane, a fierce Majak fighter who comes to respect a heart as savage and loyal as his own. Another is Archeth, the last remaining daughter of an otherworldly race called the Kiriath, who once used their advanced technology to save the world from the dark magic of the Aldrain-only to depart for reasons as mysterious as their arrival. Yet even Egar and Archeth have learned to fear the doom that clings to their friend like a grim shadow...or the curse of a bitter god. Now one of the Kiriath's uncanny machine intelligences has fallen from orbit-with a message that humanity faces a grave new danger (or, rather, an ancient one): a creature called the Illwrack Changeling, a boy ra Read more Show Less

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The Cold Commands

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Overview

With The Steel Remains, award-winning science fiction writer Richard K. Morgan turned his talents to sword and sorcery. The result: a genre-busting masterwork hailed as a milestone in contemporary epic fantasy. Now Morgan continues the riveting saga of Ringil Eskiath—Gil, for short—a peerless warrior whose love for other men has made him an outcast and pariah. 

Only a select few have earned the right to call Gil friend. One is Egar, the Dragonbane, a fierce Majak fighter who comes to respect a heart as savage and loyal as his own. Another is Archeth, the last remaining daughter of an otherworldly race called the Kiriath, who once used their advanced technology to save the world from the dark magic of the Aldrain—only to depart for reasons as mysterious as their arrival. Yet even Egar and Archeth have learned to fear the doom that clings to their friend like a grim shadow . . . or the curse of a bitter god.

Now one of the Kiriath’s uncanny machine intelligences has fallen from orbit—with a message that humanity faces a grave new danger (or, rather, an ancient one): a creature called the Illwrack Changeling, a boy raised to manhood in the ghostly between-world realm of the Grey Places, home to the Aldrain. A human raised as one of them—and, some say, the lover of one of their greatest warriors—until, in a time lost to legend, he was vanquished. Wrapped in sorcerous slumber, hidden away on an island that drifts between this world and the Grey Places, the Illwrack Changeling is stirring. And when he wakes, the Aldrain will rally to him and return in force—this time without the Kiriath to stop them.

An expedition is outfitted for the long and arduous sea journey to find the lost island of the Illwrack Changeling. Aboard are Gil, Egar, and Archeth: each fleeing from ghosts of the past, each seeking redemption in whatever lies ahead. But redemption doesn’t come cheap these days. Nor, for that matter, does survival. Not even for Ringil Eskiath. Or anyone—god or mortal—who would seek to use him as a pawn.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Morgan’s gory fantasy delves deep into the war-torn world introduced in 2007’s The Steel Remains. Three veteran warriors, briefly reunited, split up once more to take vastly different paths. The semi-immortal Archeth, disillusioned and apathetic, wearily continues serving her emperor as he slowly adjusts to the news that humanity’s ancient rivals, the magical dwenda, have returned. The tribesman Egar fidgets restlessly in his self-imposed retirement, and the powerful sorcerer Ringil is off slaughtering slaver caravans in an attempt to atone for his failure to rescue his cousin. When the three heroes meet again, they uncover the dwenda’s new, subtle plot. Vivid, bloody battle scenes and enthralling, multifaceted characters are more than adequate to prop up the sagging story line, and the slow pace is at least forgiving to readers new to the series. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Swordsman Ringil Eskiath and his companions Egar Dragonbane and Lady Archeth set out on a dangerous journey to a mysterious isle in search of the Illwrack Changeling, a human raised among a demonic race whose dark magic threatens the world. This sequel to The Steel Remains delves deeper into the psyches of its heroic trio, whose members conquer their inner demons even as they battle to save their world. Morgan brings a fresh approach to epic fantasy, giving his world a hard edge and blending in such sf elements as machine intelligences and extraterrestrial races. VERDICT Morgan's protagonists, with their tough outward demeanor and lofty ethics, lend depth and seriousness of purpose to high fantasy and should appeal to fans of George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series.
Kirkus Reviews
Sequel to Morgan's well-received dark fantasy, or perhaps far-future science fiction, The Steel Remains (2009), following a string of innovative cyberpunk-style sci-fi novels. Morgan's world is a dark, dank, dismal place, haunted by ghosts, gods, evil magic, invading lizards and the specters of vanished super-beings, where life for most tends to be nasty, brutish and short. Ringil Eskiath, war hero, tired, middle-aged and gay in a world where homosexuality is anathema, attempts to rescue an escaping young slave, thereby earning the enmity of the outraged slave-trade magnates, who put a large price on his head. Worse, the Salt Lord, one of the gods--the sort you don't want to mess with--seems to be taking an interest. Ringil returns to the city Yhelteth, where his black-skinned friend Archeth, last of the immortal Kiriath race, advises the sadistic Emperor Jhiral. The rest of Archeth's race, volcano-born and with powerful magic or perhaps unimaginably advanced technology, have all gone--somewhere. Archeth has just dispatched Egar the Dragonbane on a secret mission. Meanwhile, an object falls from orbit, to impact in the desert; it turns out to be an irascible and enigmatic Kiriath Helmsman, Anasharal, a sort of organometallic morphing robot with a knack for spinning very bad news into something that sounds enticing. Violent, intense, atmospheric and highly textured, Morgan's narrative slips rapidly and unnervingly from past to present tense, sometimes in the same sentence, while present action whirls into past recollection with scarcely a drawn breath, and the dialogue crackles with expletives. Add in the subtexts within subtexts, religious, political and philosophical, not to mentions bouts of explicit gay sex, and the whole thing becomes addictive, or repulsive, or both, depending on your viewpoint. A full-immersion experience, uncompromising and bleakly magnificent.
From the Publisher
"Heroic fantasy [with] several surprising twists."—The Wall Street Journal

“[Richard K.] Morgan brings a fresh approach to epic fantasy. . . . [The Cold Commands] should appeal to fans of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series.”—Library Journal

“Pulpy and hard-core, but with a heart of gold . . . Imagine a drawing by Frank Frazetta, come to life in an intelligent story full of dry wit and characters you actually care about.”—io9

“Passionate, fast-paced, smart and furious . . . This is a character-driven and intelligent fantasy. . . . Robert E. Howard would have approved.”—SFX

“The action sequences are sheer brilliance. . . . Morgan’s writing has a power and energy that few can match.”—SFRevu

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345493064
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Series: Land Fit for Heroes Series
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard K. Morgan is the acclaimed author of The Steel Remains, Thirteen, which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Woken Furies, Market Forces, Broken Angels, and Altered Carbon, a New York Times Notable Book that also won the Philip K. Dick Award. Morgan sold the movie rights for Altered Carbon to Joel Silver and Warner Bros. His third book, Market Forces, has also been sold to Warner Bros. and won the John W. Campbell Award. He lives in Scotland.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a fabulous tale

    Warrior Ringil "Gil" Eskiath is an outcast exiled even by his family due to his sexual preference. Recently he has drawn the ire of slave traders as he has raided and freed their merchandise. However, he needs a haven since the slave traders seek his head. Gil goes to Yhelteth where his friend the last remaining Kiriath, Archeth Indamaninarmal serves as adviser to the emperor. Her race stopped the deployment of the dark magic by the Aldrain, but vanished afterward.

    A Kiriath built machine falls from its orbit with the message that the Illwrack Changeling sleeps on an unknown island but was raised in the Grey Places where Aldrain was exiled to by the Kiriath. The machine claims the human lad is showing signs of awakening. When the Changeling arises, Aldrain plans to use it so he can return to this world triumphantly. Gil and his only two friends Archeth and Egar the Dragonbane Majak fighter are the only hope to save mankind.

    The second Eskiath fantasy (see The Steel Remains) is a fabulous tale as the intrepid trio and other allies venture off to prevent the awakening. None of the threesome wants to go, but each has the other's back and a sense that they could obtain some redemption for deeds they have done. The Changeling is a fascinating "villain" who has spent a short lifetime trapped in the other realm while sleeping in this tone. Loaded with action, award-winning science fiction author Richard K. Morgan shows he a skilled a fantasist with thisgreat character driven quest thriller.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I love books by this author, but where is the first book in this series?

    If you will notice, the cover print says 2nd book in the Land Of Heroes series. Well I can't find any such book anywhere. I'm baffled.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    AWESOME FOLLOW-UP

    This was a great read and sequel to The Steel Remains. Very dark and intense. Ringil is one of my favorite heroes in fantasy fiction.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Very Good Read

    Continuation from Steel Remains with more adventures of the first books characters in a fantasy story line with hints of higher technology and mystic magics added for a touch of uniqueness. Same characters from Steel Remains, but explored more in depth of their past and the ongoing threats and adventures of their current lives. If you read the first book you'll love this second book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    TERRIFIC GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAQQAATTTTTTTTTTTTT BOOK

    Ttttttttyyyhguguvhgbcgcvh

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2011

    Response to previous q

    "The Steel Remains" is the first book- and it is excellent.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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