The Winds of Khalakovo

The Winds of Khalakovo

by Bradley Beaulieu

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The Winds of Khalakovo by Bradley Beaulieu

Among inhospitable and unforgiving seas stands Khalakovo, a mountainous archipelago of seven islands, its prominent eyrie stretching a thousand feet into the sky. Serviced by windships bearing goods and dignitaries, Khalakovo's eyrie stands at the crossroads of world trade. But all is not well in Khalakovo. Conflict has erupted between the ruling Landed, the indigenous Aramahn, and the fanatical Maharraht, and a wasting disease has grown rampant over the past decade. Now, Khalakovo is to play host to the Nine Dukes, a meeting which will weigh heavily upon Khalakovo's future.

When an elemental spirit attacks an incoming windship, murdering the Grand Duke and his retinue, Prince Nikandr, heir to the scepter of Khalakovo, is tasked with finding the child prodigy believed to be behind the summoning. However, Nikandr discovers that the boy is an autistic savant who may hold the key to lifting the blight that has been sweeping the islands. Can the Dukes, thirsty for revenge, be held at bay? Can Khalakovo be saved? The elusive answer drifts upon the Winds of Khalakovo...

Product Details

BN ID: 2940016321233
Publisher: Quillings Literary
Publication date: 03/02/2013
Series: The Lays of Anuskaya , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 245,677
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Bradley P. Beaulieu began writing his first fantasy novel in college, but in the way of these things, it was set aside as life intervened. As time went on, though, Brad realized that his love of writing and telling tales wasn’t going to just slink quietly into the night. The drive to write came back full force in the early 2000s, at which point Brad dedicated himself to the craft, writing several novels and learning under the guidance of writers like Nancy Kress, Joe Haldeman, Tim Powers, Holly Black, Michael Swanwick, Kij Johnson, and many more.

Brad and his novels have garnered many accolades and most anticipated lists, including two Hotties–the Debut of the Year and Best New Voice–on Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, a Gemmell Morningstar Award nomination for The Winds of Khalakovo and more:

* Top Ten Book and Debut of the Year for 2011 on Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist for The Winds of Khalakovo
* Best New Voice of 2011 on Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
* 2011 Gemmell Morningstar Award Nomination for The Winds of Khalakovo
* Top Ten Debut for The Winds of Khalakovo on The Ranting Dragon’s Best of 2011
* Top Ten Debut for The Winds of Khalakovo on Mad Hatter’s Book Review Best of 2011
* Honorable Mention for The Winds of Khalakovo on LEC Reviews Best of 2011
* Top Five Book for 2012 on Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist for The Straits of Galahesh
* 2012 Most Anticipated for The Straits of Galahesh on Staffer’s Book Review
* 2012 Most Anticipated for The Straits of Galahesh on The Ranting Dragon
* 2013 Most Anticipated for The Flames of Shadam Khoreh on The Ranting Dragon

In addition to being an L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award winner, Brad’s stories have appeared in various other publications, including Realms of Fantasy Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Writers of the Future 20, and several anthologies from DAW Books. His story, “In the Eyes of the Empress’s Cat,” was voted a Notable Story of 2006 in the Million Writers Award.

Brad continues to work on his next projects, including an Arabian Nights epic fantasy and a Norse-inspired middle grade series. He also runs the highly successful science fiction and fantasy podcast, Speculate, which can be found at

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Winds of Khalakovo 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 536 reviews.
Paul_Genesse More than 1 year ago
"The Winds of Khalakovo by Bradley P. Beaulieu is awesome epic fantasy with a Russian Czarist slant by an award-winning author. A Song of Ice and Fire meets Earthsea in this highly original and exciting novel set in the Grand Duchy of Anuskaya, an archipelago of bitterly cold islands where flying ships soar on dangerous winds. "Life in the bleak islands was already difficult before the wasting disease blighted the land and started killing the inhabitants. No one knows what has caused the blight, or that Prince Nikandr Khalakovo has been afflicted by it. Nikandr has been hiding the illness for months and his betrothed, the strong-willed Atiana Vostroma does not realize that she will marry a dying man who is in love with a darkly beautiful Aramahn woman, Rehada, who keeps many secrets from her aristocratic lover. "Atiana, Rehada, and Nikandr are all strong point of view characters who power the plot of this fast-paced novel full of spectacular imagery and emotional punch. The book is rooted with realistic characters in a harsh world that can only be tamed by the elemental magic practiced by the Landless Aramahn, who specialize in air, earth, fire, water and the stuff of life as they wander the world seeking knowledge and wisdom. Also fascinating were the Matri, the matriarchs of the great families who submerge themselves in freezing water and leave their bodies to navigate the dangerous aether and help guide the wind ships that follow the ley lines that connect the islands. "Winds is a page-turner with twists, turns and palpable danger as Nikandr risks everything to protect a young Aramahn boy, an autistic savant, who may be the key to healing the blight. Atiana struggles to stay loyal to her family and the man she is supposed to marry. Rehada is very conflicted and perhaps the most interesting of the three, especially when she uses her magic to bond with the suurahezhan, or fire spirit. "Civil war and the violent Maharraht, a splinter faction of the noble Aramahn, provide plenty of conflict as Nikandr, Atiana, and Rehada fight for what they love in this exceptional novel. "Highly recommended." -Paul Genesse, Author of The Golden Cord
Fantasy_mom More than 1 year ago
I loved the complexity of this book, as well as the author's imagination and writing style. The book took a good few chapters to settle in to a plot, but the character development was good and I did manage to figure out who was who. I wonder if the paper version is formatted differently, but the Nook version lacks any graphical notice of a jump through time, as is customary. From one paragraph to another, you will find yourself following a different character or jumping ahead in time, which is one thing that makes this book a bit difficult to follow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The reader starts this book by seeing a description of major family names. As the reader, you may get worried about the complexity of the story. As you begin reading, you are presented with a world somewhere around the end of the Renaissance, and pre-Industrial Revolution by our history. There are ordinary descriptions of man and woman, villages, an aristocracy with castles and mansions, soldiers on foot and horseback, and grand sailing ships stocked with cannons. But then the descriptions of the world, while still appearing natural and ordinary through the viewpoint of the character, begin to make less sense. There is now talk of people and elements aboard a ship. Ok, they are mages of sort. Controlling the wind for a sailing ship, brilliant. The other for the weight of the ship. Seems unnecessary unless you plan to overload the ship. Changing the weight to raise the ship? If a ship goes too far out of the water, it will tip. There is a strange lack of water being mentioned here. Wait, lets look at the front of the book again. Oh, now I get it. Through first-person viewpoints of several characters, the story and world in "The Winds of Khalakovo" unfold. While the author expects you to hit the ground running in the understanding of the world he has created, it greatly adds to the immersion the reader receives. By seeing what the characters regard as commonplace or the mysterious, what is lowly and what is extraordinary, the reader gains an appreciation for the elements of the story and how it unfolds. As for the story itself, you are given a healthy dose of adventure amongst a backdrop of politics and fantasy. Different character viewpoints show you not only the complete story, but the different opinions and aspects that different points of the world's society hold to be true and more important. Emotions are complex and well described, and a sense of urgency is well kept through most of the story, pulling the reader in. The author has done a fantastic job of setting a very good story into a wonderfully crafted original world. The novel is a page turner that will leave you wanting to continue on through "The Lays of Anuskaya" after the last page is complete.
RussS More than 1 year ago
This is a fairly dense book. The plot is moderately complex with a fairly large cast of characters. The use of Russian as a basis for language and culture tends to add to the complexity. The story itself is not bad, it just never managed to rise above mediocre. My biggest complaints would be the poor explanation of the aether and the rather abrupt end. A lot happens at a very quick pace in the final fifty pages. The ending was unexpected and, frankly, left the story feeling unresolved. I read this on a Nook, and the formatting was horrible. There were a range of problems: words running together, hyphens in the middle of words, line breaks splitting paragraphs. I also found the lack of breaks between scenes problematic - a paragraph in one time or location followed immediately with no break by a second paragraph in a completely different time or space. Oh, and the maps are virtually worthless on the Nook. The publisher would do well to consider enlarged multi-page maps for ebooks. In the end, I always ask myself two questions when I complete a book: Would I read another book in this series? Would I read an unrelated book by this author? In this case, I probably would not read either.
NookSusan More than 1 year ago
A good fantasy read with a great ending that makes me want to read the next one!
KellySwails More than 1 year ago
If you like epic fantasy--think George R. R. Martin or Brandon Sanderson-- you'll love this. Imaginative world-building, great character angst, and a complex plot makes Winds a novel that you can lose yourself in. You won't realize you've stayed up past your bedtime until you look at the clock and see you need to be at work in four hours!
Bobbi Betancourt More than 1 year ago
I liked this book, it had a Myst feel to it, the characters were very interesting and I found myself concerned about what happened to them. I gave this book 5 stars because it held my attention throughout, the multiple plots were interesting and the journey through this story was a ride to a different world.Only a few things that I found frustrating were the difficulty of some of the names of the characters which I eventually nicknamed everyone so I could keep track, and i would have liked a lead in at the beginning of the book. Something describing the way of life in this world. I will buy another of his books!
Matthew_MacNish More than 1 year ago
It's been about two weeks since I finished this book, and I needed that time, because it was a lot to absorb. I was a huge fan of epic fantasy when I was young--Tolkien was my first love, but authors like Eddings, Jordan, Brooks and others filled my shelves as a teen--but of late I've read very little of it. George Martin is really the only fantasy I've read this decade, and I can't even call A Song of Ice and Fire, High or True Fantasy (not that I mean that as a slight, George's books are phenomenal, just very nontraditional, in a good way). Beaulieu's book is incredibly similar in its inability to fit into a tidy little box. There were some things that struck me about this novel as the levels through which I was introduced to it expanded. - The cover. It's a steampunk-ish, alternate world, air-ship orgasm of a cover, and yet it's painted with such an air of mystery, it's clear this is no juvenile manga-style tale of another world (not that I don't love those too, but I digress) - Brad's reading from what was then probably a third stage draft of the sequel. Brad's voice, tone, diction, and resonance probably played a part, but for me it was really the richness of language and culture that drew me in. I heard him read from the sequel before I read the original, but it gave me enough of a taste for the world that I knew I would have to return. - The cultures. I don't want to attribute every fantasy I ever read to Tolkien, because as much as I wish it did, it doesn't work that way, and another thing that makes Winds stand out to me is the fact that is does not borrow Orcs, or Elves, or Dwarves. It includes the landed of the great duchies, who are only very loosely based on Tsarist Russia, who I thought were mostly pretty cool, except for amazing standout characters like Nikandr, Atiana, and Victania, but more importantly it included the fascinating Aramahn, a culture that was part Indian Hindi, part Arabic Muslim, and part Japanese Buddhist, whose religion, or more specifically, spiritual system of beliefs, was what really drove this story for me. It's key characters were the morally conflicted Rehada, the vaguely autistic Nasim, his guide and elder Ashan, and the clearly devout, confused, radical, and yet still sympathetic Soroush. The Aramahn really made this book for me, and I look forward to the subsequent volumes in which I hope they will explored even more deeply. I would recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys fantasy, but also for anyone who is looking for something truly new and unique.
Timothy Hopkins More than 1 year ago
Fantastic book, coulnd't stop reading. Loved the full tangle of emotions and actions of the characters as people truly act and react. Just wonderfull!
BGKenney More than 1 year ago
The Winds is a thick book and a heavy read. Or, is that a heavy book and a thick read? Either way, it’s physically big and mentally engaging. We’re not in Middle Earth any more. No, we’re in Anuskaya. Gone are the English-based names of people, places and things. Here the populace meet at the palotza and are protected by the strelitz. Here the duchies of Khalakovo and Vostroma are to be bound in a wedding and the bride docks her four-masted wind ship at an eyrie. At that point I thought it was a great book and a good read. Then he introduces the Aramahn with their controlling powers over the spirits of nature and I’m hooked. What I liked the most about the book was that these weren’t air spirits or fire spirits these were hezhan. The havahezhan were spirits of the air and the most commonly referenced in the book. These are summoned and used by the Aramahn to pilot the great windships. Beaulieu uses this wealth of language in The Winds very well. It is refreshing to have a Russian/Cyrillic language base in a fantasy book. One that also doesn’t lean on tired stereotypes. If you want to embark on a long, rich, exotic journey stop reading this and go pick up The Winds of Khalakovo by Brad Beaulieu. You can thank me later!
Philippe_Sylvain More than 1 year ago
As you can figure out from the blurb, there's a definitive influence from Russian names and lore in Winds of Khalakovo, the latter making the book quite distinctive. That presence is not simply felt in the names of the inhabitants of Anuskaya or the locations but also in the definition of clothing or choice of beverage (vodka) and in denominating some concepts, like the kind of 'elementals' from a parallel world, which I'll get to later. Russian names are not part of the easiest anthroponomy to follow. Even more when they are applied to various specimens of hezhans (hava, dhosha, suura, etc...). On the other hand, the names of the characters become familiar easily enough since there's a nice diversity in them. The only aspect of this choice of "language" that I didn't like is the use of "Da" and "Nyet" in place of yes and no. That's the only element of the Russian language that is actually applied and it feels weird (more so in italic) or out of place. I could speak further of the names but what is capital is the protagonists to which they are applied. We mostly follow Nikandr, the young Prince of the archipelago of Khalakovo, his lover, Rehada, who is an Aramahn part of a terrorist group and Atiana, the daughter of the duke of Vostroma, his betrothed. Nikandr is a dedicated man, conscientious and adventurous with a strange illness in link with the state of the world trying desperately to find a cure and in love with flying on his airship. His role takes more importance as the story slowly unfolds and aside from a couple of dubious moments when his actions are driven by god knows what, he usually stay true to himself. But then, I think I would have liked him better if he eventually had blown a fuse or two. Concerning the two other PoV, the feminine ones, I was fascinated by their decisions and path of action in the face of what they have to live through. Nikandr is straightforward, an exemplary heroic human being, while some of his male counterparts from other duchies are dumb, spoiled and mischievous. The women in Winds of Khalakovo are more subtle. Rehada is haunted by her past, in search of retribution she thinks will permit her to feel better but not at any cost. When you're part of a group of hidden extremists, you have to manage truth is many cunning ways. Her part is what makes the story more profound. The conflict between the whole duchies and the Landed (the 'free people') is one of the main theme and she make's it more captivating. As for Atiana, she feels both fragile, frustrating and tenacious. She's the character through which we can glimpse the experience of touching the aether, another concept at the heart of one of the book threads, 'world-endingly so'. However, as for Nikandr, the author sometime chose to make her perform some extraordinary tasks without the knowledge of them, it felt fortuitous or astounding depending on which occasion. By the way, the three of them have special talents inherent to the magical or fantastical elements of Beaulieu's book. Other elements in the book catch the eye rapidly, right off when you look at the cover. The windships are a great idea, formed from windwood, piloted by Aramahns connected to wind spirits and driven in aether 'currents'. Their complexity was probably not easy to put to words and above all, they create mythic battle scenes, which were somewhat hard to imagine. Recreating fighting in the air with ships was risky, potentially entertaining but mostly confounding. The battles involving the 'elementals' (hezhan), are less evasive. Although the hezhan have difficult names to follow and are based on the usual elements (air, fire, water, earth, spirit), they bring more dimension to the tale. Along with a couple of more magical concepts like the kind of soul-stones, it all makes up for many fantastical features. The world feels richer for it but the story is also encumbered. This approach makes me think of Brandon Sanderson or Brent Weeks. Some portions of the book are defined by this instead of being enriched by it. The author's writing is smooth, slightly polished with a slow cadence. Usually, the chapters are short, creating a great rhythm. Sadly, there's a weird presence of PoV switches in the middle of the action that make the prose more complicated for nothing. To his credit, I think he wrote an intricate story with several storylines that may not always fit perfectly well together but that are essentially compelling. Dukes are fighting for power, the world in on the verge of complete destruction, love is blossoming and everyone wants to play his part in it. I'll definitely read the follow-up, The Straits of Galahesh.
Josquin More than 1 year ago
This was an extremely frustrating book for me. There is so much good here- the world, the political situation, the religious landscape, all of it is fascinating, and the story is, for the most part, quite good. But Mr. Beaulieu loses his way by the end, and to say the conclusion is unsatisfying is the worst sort of understatement. The greatest problem, though, is that an otherwise fun read is consistently sabotaged by a combination of sloppy editing and awkward writing. Either this book had no editor, or it deserved a much better one than it had. There are continuity problems, (in one scene our hero dismounts from his horse- twice), grammatical errors, and in some cases incorrect words. The e-edition is also not the greatest. Words often run together, or get broken up when they shouldn't be. It all adds up to a book that I really wanted to enjoy, but couldn't. By the last page, I was more angry than excited. This could have, and should have, been done much better.
cleone More than 1 year ago
Story concept was interesting, but too long, descriptions are repetetive - just didn't hold my interest for 492 pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exycyxr!6 hate it
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay, but thevocabulary was not introduced well and very hard to understand. Complex plot, and I would like to see better books by this author, but I skimmed it in order to prevent total boredom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thaibebop More than 1 year ago
I have always been interested in stories with airships, though I can’t recall what story first introduced me to such a concept, I remember many examples. By airships, I do mean something like Spanish flying galleons, whether by magic or some complex steampunk technology. There are many famous examples to examine, such as the entire Fantasy Final franchise, which always features airships of some kind. Hayao Miyazaki films never seem to disappoint when it comes to air travel. There is, however, a pitfall to airship stories, it is not wise to build the story around the technology used. That is why, I believe, Steampunk as a genre has not really taken off, too much love of tech. So, I picked up Mr. Beaulieu’s book, the first in a yet unfinished trilogy, with an airship prominently displayed on the cover, I was not expecting much. I was pleased to find that while the story needs more development, it is about people not tech.  There are three main characters in Mr. Beaulieu’s first novel, Nikandr Khalakovo, who is a prince and struck with a wasting disease. Atiana Vostrama, Nikandr’s betrothed from a rival family, who is quite talented in riding the aether, something the woman of powerful families do. Then there is Rehada Ulan al Shineshka, a member of a what is essential a terrorist group and Nikandr’s lover. The story, revolves around these three people and a mystical boy named Nasim and what they do to save each other, Nasim and stop the all the powerful people from killing everyone. While easy to follow the story doesn’t provide enough detail to truly become apart of the world. At this point, I will not entirely hold that against the novel. Many fantasy novels take more than one book to fully explain their plots, which can equally be a negative and a positive. In the case of Khalakovo, I am not sure yet.  There is a rift in the aether of this world that is causing the wasting disease that has inflicted many, including Prince Nikandr. It is somehow related to three people, long since dead and gone, but reincarnated in the novels current time. One of these reincarnations is in the boy Nasim, and he can either heal the rift or use it to destroy the world. This is why a group of Aramahn, known as the Maharraht, who are the terrorists that Rehada is a member of, want the boy. The Landed don’t understand this connection, but Nikandr does. The story is played out well through the relationships Nikandr has with Rehada and Atiana and includes a few airship chases and battles, complete with muskets and cannons, and elemental spirit attacks. All over the saving of this boy who everyone is trying to either capture or kill.  The world that Mr. Beaulieu has created is quite intriguing. It is a grouping of large islands that hold two different kinds of people. The first are the Landed, a group patterned after late Czarist Russia. They are the Landed for they have settled tracks of land on the islands and tend to remain there, building societies. The next is the Aramahn, who are a mix between the Gypsies of Eastern Europe and flashes of Arabian culture. Even though these people have villages within the controlled area of the Landed they are more want to travel around somewhat like nomads, yet they tend to do this individually. These two groups have a rocky relationship as the Landed are very ordered and like to control things as well as look down on the Aramahn. They also hire the Aramahn to help fly their airships, because they Aramahn can control elemental sprits that move back and forth from the real world and their world around the islands. It is these spirits that seem to keep the airships afloat. The Aramahn are for the most part peace loving people who are too free spirited for centralized control and deeply spiritual, believing in reincarnation and forgiveness of those who have wronged them. There are several aspects of this world that are unclear. While I don’t believe every last detail needs to be clarified to enjoy a story, sometimes certain aspects must be to help convey the impact of what you are reading. The spirits that the Aramahn bond with are not well defined. Why they manifest as they do is not fully explained. Why the Aramahn can bond with them when others can’t is not fully explained. Even their importance is not fully explained. This leaves the importance of the rift and the boy Nasim in question. The three godlike beings that caused the rift as well are a big question mark, even after Nikandr is exposed to one of them. It is not clear how the rift was even caused and why Nasim can fix it.  There is also the aether, which was a cleaver invention of the author that involved a slightly erotic and understandably vulnerable ritual undertaken by the aristocratic women of the story. This is where Atiana’s natural aptitude shines, when she ‘takes the Dark’. However, it is not fully explained how the aether is connected to the world or why these women can do this when men can’t, which takes away from Ataina’s gifted use of it. So, again, while very entertaining the impact is lost.  The relationship between the Landed and Aramahn is unclear as well. So, the distrust and sometimes dislike between them doesn't provide enough of a emotional motivation to be believed, especially when they work so close together. That calls into question the airships themselves. These people live on islands, so water going vessels should be common, and they are, but mostly only as fishing boats. So, why did the Landed take to the air with the help of their distrusted neighbors, especially when they have technology to make ships that would rival Napoleonic aquatic warfare? Only an arms race would explain this, but that level of tension between the Landed kingdoms is only hinted at. While there was many well written dramatic scenes played throughout the story many fell flat for me as I wasn’t convinced of the importance of the players or the setting or some other aspect. The battle scenes and chase scenes while having potential were too civilized to have the raw emotional effect that they should. The relationship between Nikandr and the women in his life was a bright point. The affections between them where very different with both women and for different reasons. Although, the intimacy between Nikandr and Rehada made more sense, as it there was more history between them that allowed for more relationship building moments that humans naturally experience. While his relationship with Atiana seemed predestined, it was not explained by what.  Nikandr’s connection with Nasim, though strong, is another aspect of the story left unclear. The Landed, at least the aristocracy, wear amulets that are connected to their life force. Nikandr’s is dim because of his disease. Somehow Nasim helps him through the stone he wears, but it is not clearly explained how or why. Nikandr develops an undying loyalty based on only what he suspects Nasim to be, because Nasim can’t talk, or just doesn’t most of the time.  All in all The Winds of Khalakovo was an entertaining read, and easy to breeze through. The world has the beginnings of a steampunk fantasyland that could at some point, with more development, become a highly detail playground for readers. The main characters are easy to like, though that is hardly important, it helps the story as so many of the other characters are very flat, very underdeveloped. The first book in The Lays of Anuskaya is an easy read for when you don’t want to tax yourself. With more attention to detail Mr. Beaulieu could make this story something for the imagination to reveal in rather than challenging it. This is only the first book, so perhaps the blurry view of Khalakovo can be cleared up.
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