WINNER of the 2019 IRDA prize for fantasy.
FINALIST for the 2018 and 2020 Indie Book Awards
prize for fantasy.
Joel Manners has created an immersive and beautiful fantasy world in The Martyr's Blood, a grand and epic story involving three-dimensional characters, well-developed magical and political systems, vivid descriptions, and lively, action-filled plots.
A fast-paced and exciting story with a good dose of humor and humanity at its heart.
~ Seattle Book Review
Mixing the usual ingredients with an unusual amount of fellowship, debut novelist Manners fashions a tasty fantasy.
Joel Manners' engaging tale is one of adventure and mystery that keeps readers turning pages and wondering what will happen next.
~The BookLife Prize
A rip-snorter from a master storyteller, The Thief's Tale is packed with action and features an extraordinarily exotic world that absorbs the reader utterly. In elegant prose and a translucent style, Joel Manners crafts a tale that is emotionally intense and psychologically exciting.
~Manhattan Book Review
This is fantasy fiction you can sink your teeth into … a book I want to hand to everyone I love and say, "Here, read this. Don’t ask me any questions. Just do it." If you are a fantasy/sci-fi lover with a healthy love of adventure and romance of the best kind, you will not regret this investment.
An energetic and captivating swords-and-sorcery tale that bodes well for the next book in the series.
In The Thief's Tale, Joel Manners delivers a thrilling and exhilarating heist adventure that doesn't shy away from the shadows lurking underneath. Gripping from start to finish... Vivid, violent, and very addictive!
The Martyr’s Blade … is an epic fantasy in the style of JRR Tolkien, with a dash of George R. R. Martin’s brutal realism. … It is an exceptional debut novel, and a great fantasy novel in general. Definitely worth a read.
The Martyr’s Blade welcomes readers into an incredibly dense and meticulously crafted world that becomes more enrapturing with every chapter. The world-crafting on display in this novel, particularly in the complexity of the plot and the thorough development of each character, makes this an epic tale from the very start, and something very special in the genre. The only real problem is the difficulty one will have trying to put the book down.
Manners’ writing style is impeccable. His descriptions were vivid, his characters were colorful and engaging, and his plot was captivating, suspenseful and filled with action. ... an impressive first novel worthy of five out of five stars as an epic fantasy read that the audience will find very difficult to put down. Manners has definitely won me over personally, as a fan that will wait impatiently for the next book in this series.
The Martyr's Blade is a cohesive and exciting debut novel in the classic sword and sorcery style that starts this promising series. ... With plenty of swordplay and magic, The Martyr's Blade is an enjoyable read that follows many of the genre’s conventions, but still keeps the characters at the center of the story.
A very refreshing and very entertaining novel. Really brilliant!