• Age of Ash

  • The Kithamar Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Daniel Abraham
  • Narrated by: Soneela Nankani
  • Length: 14 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

***THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER***

From New York Times best-selling and critically acclaimed author Daniel Abraham, co-author of The Expanse, comes a monumental epic fantasy trilogy that unfolds within the walls of a single great city, over the course of one tumultuous year, where every story matters, and the fate of the city is woven from them all.

Kithamar is a centre of trade and wealth, an ancient city with a long, bloody history where countless thousands live and their stories unfold. This is Alys'.

When her brother is murdered, a petty thief from the slums of Longhill sets out to discover who killed him and why. But the more she discovers about him, the more she learns about herself, and the truths she finds are more dangerous than knives.

Swept up in an intrigue as deep as the roots of Kithamar, where the secrets of the lowest born can sometimes topple thrones, the story Alys chooses will have the power to change everything.

©2022 Daniel Abraham (P)2022 Hachette Audio UK

Critic Reviews

"An atmospheric and fascinating tapestry, woven with skill and patience." (Joe Abercrombie, Sunday Times best-selling author of A Little Hatred)

"Spectacular." (Django Wexler)

"Outstanding." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Age of Ash

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  • Alec McEachran
  • 06-10-22

slightly hard to follow

I enjoyed the story, but I found myself confused about which character was doing what, until the third act. I wonder if they could have been given stronger differential accents or even used different narrators, but then their stories interweave so much that would have been tricky too. I think I will look to read the rest of the trilogy in print.

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Profile Image for James Hewlett
  • James Hewlett
  • 03-26-22

Great world building weak characters

I try not to judge books based on other works by the author as every title should be able to stand on its own merit, but I found it hard to separate my love of The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey when I was reading Age Of Ash by one half of that writing duo, Daniel Abraham.
Being the first part of a trilogy set in a wholly new fantasy world is always going to come with a lot of hurdles, but having the Kithmar Trilogy be named after the grand city setting is a good indicator that the location is going to be just as important as the characters.

That leads me to what I didn’t like about this book; the characters. I really struggled to care about any of them. I tried, I wanted to, but despite everything I never found them likeable enough to cheer for or despicable enough to root against, they were just there.
Opening salvos often take their time establishing a cast, I didn’t love Locke or Jean immediately in The Gentleman Bastards and it took me nearly half a book to get a feel for Kvothe in The Kingkiller Chronicles. The difference is that by the end of the first book in those series I was completely invested in their journeys. I know their names, I know who they are, despite not having a new entry in either series in the better part of a decade.
The frustrating thing about this is I know for a fact Abraham is capable of not just writing characters I know but ones I absolutely love and did from their very first chapters. I refuse to believe all of that work was done by the other half of his pseudonym, Ty Frank, I have read enough interviews with the pair to know they are equally as responsible for The Expanse’s cast of characters.

It is telling to me that while I couldn’t recall any character names off the top of my head I knew the name of the city of Kithamar without even thinking about it.
It’s a huge cliche that the location is a character unto itself but in this instance I don’t have the vernacular to describe it any better. Kithamar is a vibrant, living city filled with real people who have interesting lives, even if the particular lives we follow I didn’t personally find interesting.
The political and social structure is rich and I really felt like I had a good sense of how the denizens of this cultural hub felt about each other and how a day to day interaction might play out depending on who was involved, where it occurred and at what time of day.

This deep world building was excellent and something I greatly appreciate in fiction, but disconnected from strong character work it left me feeling hollow. I struggled through Age Of Ash after having it high up on my most anticipated for the year.
Normally a disappointment like this would put me off continuing with the trilogy but Daniel Abraham has garnered enough of a good will cache with me that I will read at least the second book. Hopefully with the heavy lifting out of the way I will enjoy it more and it will make this one better retroactively. If not, I will be able to to write it off as simply not for me.

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Profile Image for Stewart Johnson (sj.johnson@ntlworld.com
  • Stewart Johnson (sj.johnson@ntlworld.com
  • 03-26-22

Just couldn’t get into it

I may be being mean I’ll never know but I just could not get into this book. For some reason I was just not engaged with it.
I found the pronunciation of certain words by the narrator very odd at times and sometimes I’d become fixated on these.
As I say it might be me I’m getting old.