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Publisher's Summary

In a world where everyone has power, Nikodemus Kowalczyk was always destined to be an underdog.

Niko has long since given up on his dreams of being a world class battle artist. Thanks to his damaged core and crazy family, he never stood a chance anyway. With money, fame, and untold power on the line, the corporations decide who wins. End of story.

But when a mysterious group calling themselves the Sages of the Underpass threaten to upend the entire system with their unorthodox training and cultivation methods, Nikko soon learns that what was once a handicap might be his greatest asset. The only thing standing in his way is a bitter, hard-hearted veteran who would like nothing more than to see Niko stay in his place. Right at the bottom.

Rocky meets Dragon Ball Z in this underdog redemption story from Dragon Award finalist Aaron Michael Ritchey. Sages of the Underpass is an epic blend of urban fantasy, cultivation, and magical MMA that captures the passion, the power, and the perseverance it takes to follow your dreams - no matter what kind of artist you are.

"Sages of the Underpass is an excellent novel with a fully fleshed-out system for character development. This is a great modern cultivation story!" (Dakota Krout, author of the Divine Dungeon and the Completionist Chronicles)

©2019 Shadow Alley Press Inc. (P)2020 Shadow Alley Press Inc.

What listeners say about Sages of the Underpass

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I was not looking for a sports book

The cultivation in this book isn't really essential to the story. there is little to no progression. It is mainly a book about sports and the philosophy of sports.

8 people found this helpful

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Great Start to a New Series


The book gripped my attention from start to finish. I've read a review below that stated that this was a sports book, and while the theme of the book surrounds the combat, it's not only that, the book focuses heavily on the rapid changes that the main character experiences in life. At it's core this book is about the main character's pursuit of their dream and the realities of life and personal struggles that holds him from it. The story focuses just as much of the industry of the combat as the combat itself, which in my opinion was great it added just enough drama and world building to make the main plot more me.

My only small issue was the pacing in the first half. While i think the three character's had an ending that they deserved at the book's conclusions, i couldn't say the same about the mid way arch. The rapid decision that the main character comes too and his actions from it don't seem to flow well with the previous events. While I understand why they were necessary, in my opinion they didn't fit.

regardless of that, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and i'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

TL:DR - If you looking for a story with interesting and realistic characters give this story a go. It's got everything you could want in this type of novel.


Thanks for writing it,

Albert

3 people found this helpful

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Don't expect a cultivation master here!

This book is beautifully written from the characters to the plot progression. The story is about an average guy and his life in the modern day cultivation world. Don't expect explosive power changes, the focus is more on the the changing mentality of the characters and how they use there power in their lives. I loved this story and know it is an incredible listening experience.

3 people found this helpful

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perfection

loved this book. perfect narration and the story is excellent. if you are on the fence about this book i hope you give it a try.

1 person found this helpful

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I really liked it

I really liked this book, it was deep and emotional. it also had alot of drama, some of it I felt was overwhelming, some was just too dramatic. I usually don't like romance in story's, but in this one I can deal with it, the romance wasn't all encompassing, it was like you were just waiting for it to happen. not like other books where there's just to much of it. the cultivation system isn't explained which I hate, if you're gonna make a cultivation book atleast explain how it works, but the powers and the way it mixs with real life is a really good change. It reminds me of street cultivation by Sarah Lin. The characters are really good, I didn't hate the villains or any other characters. I could see from there perspectives. The Mc has a depth to him that other mcs don't really have. the characters have a sense of depth, a unique personality most characters don't have. the character progression is one of the best I've ever read. From start to finish you could see the Mc wasn't perfect or amazing. he was a normal guy who was tossed the short end of the stick. But from start to finish you could see he had progressed not only in power but in his mindset. don't get me wrong this book isn't all sunshine is roses... I don't like all the chapters or the pov switches. the way the Mc loses all the time annoys me. I hate all the Melo dramaticness. I also hate how hard they make it seem to get big. if you were good like nico zero and started posting YouTube videos and charging subscriptions you'd be big in the industry. other then that this book is awesome.

Travis is good as always. This book isn't for you if you don't have patience. the start of the book was the weakest for me. But if you like fighting and cultivation and a little bit a patience well... this is your holy grail...

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Discover magic!

Sages of the Underpass proves that Aaron Michael Ritchey is a master storyteller... it's an amazing novel!  Kind of a cross between an Urban-Fantasy and a Cultivation Anime, it takes place right down in the SF Bay area. This tale tells of family-life, tied together with food, love, and all of the craziness that comes with raising three headstrong, good young men... all of whom you'd lay down your life for! Now, throw in magic and MMA style fighting, which is seemingly more popular than football. And you start to get picture of Niko's life as he trains to be a battle mage.
I expect you'll be up late listening to this action-packed tale all the way to it's breathtaking conclusion!
Travis Baldree's marvelous performance of this book took the audie award for best male narrator of independently published books of 2021! So hop onto the Travis Baldree train, and discover your new favorite narrator with this book, and discover some real magic!

Quotes that caught my attention: 
"She loved problems. Solutions closed doors, problems opened them!"

"You're pudgy... a snicker doodle away from fat."

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Interesting

Okay im starting to like modern cultivation stories but here is more about the struggles that the fighters go through like family,work and relationships. there are fights but too short and too far between

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Great first book in a series

This is a wonderful story of several different family members trying to push themselves to be better. All set against the backdrop of of a modern world filled with family problems, Demons and martial arts. The first half is a bit slow but after the story gets going it’s a fun ride. I am looking forward to the next book.

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Wow! An instant favorite!

I came into this book completely blind based on a friend's recommendation and wow was I blown away! This was a brilliant story and I really can't say enough good things about it. It is an awesome take on cultivation with a western feel while staying true to its roots. Highly recommended for everyone!

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Interested to see where it goes

First off, practically anything Travis Baldree narrates is good. This story was a little slow to start but the characters have enough depth to keep you listening. It’s not a Gary Sue conquers the world of cultivation story but it’s a good old underdog tale. The terminology isn’t clearly defined anywhere in the book but you get the gist of it eventually if you pay attention. All in all it sets up the second book for a wider plot and I’m interested in seeing where it goes.