• Spellmonger

  • Spellmonger, Book 1
  • By: Terry Mancour
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 18 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (13,495 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Nominee, Audie Awards - Fantasy, 2018

Minalan gave up a promising career as a professional warmage to live the quiet life of a village spellmonger in the remote mountain valley of Boval. It was a peaceful, beautiful little fief, far from the dangerous feudal petty squabbles of the Five Duchies, on the world of Callidore. There were cows. Lots of cows. And cheese.

For six months things went well: He found a quaint little shop, he befriended the local lord, the village folk loved him, he found a sharp young apprentice to help out, and, best yet, he met a comely young widow with the prettiest eyes.

Then one night Minalan is forced to pick up his mageblade again to defend his adopted home from the vanguard of an army of goblins - gurvani, they call themselves - bent on a genocidal crusade against all mankind. And that was the good news. The bad news was that their shamans were armed with more magical power than has been seen since the days of the ancient Imperial Magocracy - and their leader, a mysterious, vengeful force of hate and dark magic, is headed directly to Boval Vale, along with a massive invading army of gurvani. The good people of Boval and their spellmonger have only one choice: To hole up in the over-sized Boval Castle and hope they can endure a siege against hundreds of thousands of goblins.

When the people look to him for hope, Minalan does his best, but the odds are depressing: There are multitudes of goblins, and they want Boval Vale as a staging ground for a vengeful invasion of the whole Five Duchies. Add to his troubles a jealous rival mage, a motley band of mercenaries, a delusional liege lord who insists victory is at hand despite the hordes at his door, a dour castellan, a moody, pregnant girlfriend, and a catty ex-girlfriend who specializes in sex magic - all trapped in a stinking, besieged castle with no hope of rescue, and you'll understand why Minalan is willing to take his chances with the goblins.

All that stands between the gurvani horde and the people of the Five Duchies is one tired, overwhelmed baker's son who wanted nothing more than to be a simple village spellmonger.

©2011 Terry Mancour (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What listeners say about Spellmonger

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Why so serious?

I’m sick of reading the nonsense posted about this book and it’s continuing series. Do not buy this if you expect Sanderson, Tolkien, or Jordan. Do not buy this if you plan to get so serious about your fantasy that you’ll be changing the background of your phone to the book cover-art. Do not buy this book if you’re easily offended. Do not buy this book if you expect to glean some sort of grand wisdom or are seeking catharsis to rival Oedipus. This series isn’t offering that.

This series does offer an enjoyable story, a plot based around common and well known fantasy themes, but in a completely different light (mostly a militaristic one). The main character isn’t a white knight, and yeah, he’s a bit of a scumbag. He’s an elitist asshole, but I think that’s the point of the story. If you want to read a story about a hero that’s valiant to begin with, then go read something more serious, and change your phone background while you’re at it.

I had a really long winded bit in here, mostly about reviewers bashing on anything that hints at misogyny, because it’s not allowed to exist or something... All I’ll say on the subject is that in order for a character to develop beyond a flaw, they must have a flaw to begin with. Just because it’s tender ground the author walks upon doesn’t mean the redemption (later in the series) is lessened for it. If you live in a fragile little world that can’t handle anything beyond your moral high ground, don’t buy this book.

Anyhow, If I were to tag a filter onto this series it would go under fantasy candy. It’s not the hardy meal you get from the wheel of time, nor is the author the iron chef that Sanderson is, but if you multitask and want something to pass the time here’s your ticket. It’s not super serious, it’s got some pretty comical moments for sure, dark ones too. It is a fantasy novel, cut right from the same cloth most are cut from. There’s a simplicity in that that really allowed me to enjoy the story, because the theme is already a given. The narration isn’t bad, no heavy breathing or anything, fine sound quality as far as I recall. I recommend this title to anyone that loves the genre but needs an escape from the ever present serious overtone.

513 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Terrific Book! A great adult fantasy series.

Would you consider the audio edition of Spellmonger to be better than the print version?

Do you love a good coming of age fantasy where the young promising lad leaves his tiny village, comes of age and power, returns to marry his childhood love and live happily ever after? This is not that. If you would rate a great book with one star because the "F" word is used, save yourself and the author the bad review and move along. Now, for the rest of the adults, don't hesitate for a second on purchasing this book! I loved it! My wife whom is only mildly interested in any sort of fantasy, loved it. I will go ahead and add a note about the next two books here. Book two is not quite as good as this one in my opinion but still very good. Book three is as good or better than book one. The narrator is excellent.

360 people found this helpful

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Immature Storytelling Makes This a Thin Read

Any additional comments?

The world-building here is decent, but the use of anachronistic language pulls you out of the story a lot. The author falls into the old trap of telling us everything, rather than showing us via imagery. It's very much a "this happened, then this happened, and then I had a genius ideas and we won" kind of narrative.

Also, the "hero" is kind of arrogant, woefully underdeveloped, and sexist. Pretty much all the female characters are there to have sex with the protagonist, whose behavior isn't much better than a frat boy. If a female character shows up, she either had sex with him in the past, or is going to have sex with him, after he's either peeped at her using magic, popped her bodice open using magic, visited her shop while her husband is out in the fields (and she's pregnant), he's part of an occupying army, he pays for it, or she's so grateful he saved her country, she just shows up naked in his bed.

305 people found this helpful

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Listen to the Critics

Seriously. I read a lot of negative reviews, but in a moment of temptation I bought this book anyways (what can I say... I have a weakness for crappy high fantasy).

I'm pretty much really sorry I did. This story goes on several hour long tangents that have no relevance to the plot, stars a lead with absolutely no personality, and has two heavily objectified female support characters who seemingly has the sole story function of getting banged so the author can feel better about his life.

there is almost no imagery: the whole story was "then this happened. then this happened. then this happened." there was almost no character growth. the fight scenes felt as dusty and dull as an academic tome on abstract tactics. the magic system had no real definition, and contradicted itself half a dozen times. the scenes that Could have been juicy, emotional, and rich in detail were almost universally exceptionally bland.

none of this information is new: everything I've said has already come up. I just wish id listened.

272 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Shockingly good, best book in years

Any additional comments?

Pros:
-Great engaging story
-Skillful narration
-Protagonist has a sense of humor that was very unexpected for the genre but makes him so much more relatable.
-Manages to be unique in a crowded, tired genre. Mancour wrote a masterful book.

Cons:
-Some listeners might not like the long descriptions of scenes/settings/events/etc (I do, however)

Verdict:
This is the best book I've listened to/read in YEARS! Minalan is funny, interesting, complex, horny, has a sense of humor that I've found to be unprecedented in the genre, and is just a very real character in a detailed and exciting world. You will not regret this purchase.

232 people found this helpful

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  • GW
  • 05-16-17

Shocked at the positive reviews.

I really am shocked. Rushed conclusion, endlessly repeating explanations, gratuitous lechery, and inconsistent characters. The setting and the world building have potential but the actual text feels completely unedited from original manuscript. I might not have been so annoyed if the entire last chapter had been removed, as it literally just rehashes everything that was revealed to the main character in the previous chapter. The whole time the rehash is happening the main character is obstinately refusing to understand basic concepts he knew all about throughout the book. Absolutely aggravating. Horrible finish to a below average book.

The performance was fine, if a little stiff. Maybe that was the intention, it matched the character well.

227 people found this helpful

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Sophomoric ego-porn for 15-year-old boys

What was most disappointing about Terry Mancour’s story?

Prepare to be told how amazing the main character is... by the main character... every 15 minutes, and while you're at it prepare to be told how this makes getting sex from farm maids (married or not) easy as pie, every 30 minutes... because that's functionally all this is. - Sure there are other elements present, too... but if you genuinely hate sexism, and a protagonist droning on about how great he is, without *EVER* encountering any valid conflict... you won't hear any of the other parts, because your tolerance for unbidden bravado will be filled for the day. You'll also find that if lazy or childish anachronisms bother you, (such as King Arthur calling something 'Hella pimp!' in the 11th century etc.) you'll find this book to be a rainbow of pain. Yes, it is a bit annoying that a wizard in a locale that is still developing siege weapons and crossbows understand particle physics, but that's not the stuff I'm referencing. This person *specifically* invokes the northern California surfer vernacular. He calls people a "tool", and warriors go out to gather "intel". The following is an actual quote, "When my name was called as one of the successful candidates, I was amazed. I'd thought I'd screwed up royally!" - "" -Sincerely, Min, Medieval Wizard at War with all of Goblinkind

The prosecution rests.

219 people found this helpful

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  • K
  • 02-13-17

A great start to a new fantasy series.

If you have read the publisher's summary it might seem, as it did to me, that this is just a mindless fantasy war story. Fortunately, it is not.

The 18+ hours of writing are put to good use in developing good characters as well as world building. The characters have distinct personalities and motivations with a Harry Dresden like main character. That is, he's a smart, decent, and powerful wizard who becomes very sarcastic whenever he's in a jam (which is often).

The action scenes are all very well written and spaced out nicely throughout the book keeping things from getting to dull. In between the action you learn about the characters, the magic system, and that there is more to the story than a simple warmongering horde of goblins.

If you enjoy fantasy this book would be a good edition to your collection.

171 people found this helpful

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This book was painful.

The narrator does a great job on a terrible book. The story is lackluster, the magic system is dreary, the names and places are not interesting. I would stay away from this one, if you like authors like Robert Jordan, Shae Ford, or Brandon Sanderson.

160 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Finally. I've been waiting for the audio version of this series for two years.

I'm not going to review just this book. The entire series is a work of art. And what surprised me at first is the fact that the first few books are the boring ones yet they contain a lot of action. When the author really gets into the world building (especially Minalan's property, best I can describe without spoilers, is where the story really takes off. ) that makes the long books worth it. Listen to it or dive into to reading them, you can't go wrong. I've read them all up to date and I will still purchase the audio because they are that good.

111 people found this helpful

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  • Mike
  • 05-22-17

Waste of time

Put in a less crude way, the sentence 'let's get this straight you have to have sex with your ex to save us all' should be enough to tell you the level this book is set at. The story line is crude beyond belief with no character development. The main character tells the story, which is basically him bragging for over 20 hours. Magic system is basic although it focuses a lot on sex magic !!!! Maybe the sort of book I would have liked when I was 14. Narrator was good though. Which I could get my money back. Don't understand why it had so many good reviews ?

55 people found this helpful

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  • Iain
  • 01-22-19

Derivative, tired sleazy male power fantasy.

I couldn't finish this despite the good narration. Initially it reads like it wants to be a swords and sorcery version of Jim Butchers excellent Dresden Files, but it lacks the characters and character of Jim Butchers work.

It's overloaded on exposition and the main character while seeming initially charming is actually a sleazy letch with nothing interesting going on with him, as he seems more interested kissing a woman until she "submits" and "likes it." and at other times reminding the reader of all the times he's manipulated women into having sex.

The whole thing made me feel uneasy particularly as the main character refers to having "thoroughly molested" the the above mentioned woman.

If the story dealt in some way or made commentary of the main characters rapey tendancies it would have been something but after the third or fourth time I said "f*** off" out load at the misogynistic guff presented in the book I had to turn it off.

34 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 06-07-18

Avoid - condones sex with a underage girls

Tried to listen. However story was beset with main protagonist talking about sex
At times it appears author is condoning sex with 15 year olds. Had to stop
Beneath all that it is a pastiche of more classical fantasy including Tolkien, Brookes and Eddings. This doesn’t add anything new.
The pacing is also odd with frequent jumps between past and present.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 03-31-17

Give it an hour of your time and you won't regret it

This took me a few minutes to realise that the performance was matching the character to perfection, brilliantly witty
Can't wait for book two

26 people found this helpful

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  • Alan R
  • 03-10-17

If only a sixth star was available...

Good story, well written. John Lee's narration is fantastic. I look forward to the sequel(s).

18 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 06-25-17

I won't be listening to the next...

Yeh not my bag, as someone else said it just seems a bit like the account of one mans life who has an extremely large ego. If someone is going to be the saviour of the day, don't write it in 1st person. It's just not appealing to the British sense of modesty.

14 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Martin Palmer
  • 06-23-17

Takes Soooo Long to Get Going

What would have made Spellmonger better?

The author keeps going on these lengthy digressions about various aspects of the world he has created. Even seemingly minor characters are given their entire back story and it seems the history of every location we visit in the story.

What was most disappointing about Terry Mancour’s story?

The author fails to keep the story ticking over - got bored and lost interest. I feel there's a good story in there but it would've been better if he worked the detail in whilst keeping the story moving rather than stopping the action for long periods of time.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator does a reasonable job with the material he has to work with. Most other books I've returned have been because of the narrator. That's not the case on this occasion.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Nik
  • 04-02-17

did not finish

it may be that this story improves but it's so dull. The narrator is so dull. I think the sex storyline is maybe to find some excitement but again, dull.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Craig Starkey
  • 07-31-20

Author is a obviously a creep

I lasted 8 hours ignoring the ‘women are only for sex’ bit as the story is good, then the Auther went full pedo with a 15 year old girl, Its creepy weird and add nothing to character building or within story context and ruins a good story. Dont bother. Find a Joe Abercrombie book, way better.

12 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Gillan
  • 07-27-17

Abuser does magic

Child rape of two 15 year olds and a sexual assault before the plot really gets going really drags my opinion down.

As others have said, the book is mostly the protagonist bragging and the author living out his sexual fantasies. The plot itself would be okay, if a little eye rolling in places, if not for the rape and assault, standard fantasy fare of winning against overwhelming odds and setting up more books in the series.

John Lee's performance is great, shame about the subject matter.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Kathryn yeo
  • 01-10-20

Sexist

Horribly sexist where women are only there for sex. Disappointing. The second book in the series is even worse... why did I go there?

21 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Leilani Coetzee
  • 07-04-17

Slow and steady with a climactic ending

At first I was a bit aprehensive, but soon I was bewitched by the magnificent storytelling that Podium publishing is known for finding. I would recomend Spelmonger for anyone over the age of 17.

12 people found this helpful

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  • marnie
  • 03-20-17

great story

loved this story, humerous in places, well read and keeps you hooked, highly recommend it

11 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-31-19

Brilliant Concept and Fantastic Performance!

Absolutely loved this story by Terry Mancour. Never read one of his books before but as John Lee was the narrator, I had an inkling it would be a decent read and I was not disappointed.

Written in the first person under the character of the Spelllmonger, you find that this is no ordinary Mage in every way. He also has a loyal apprentice who follows wherever his master takes him.

It's an extremely witty and clever story of fantasy. There's a whole lot of action, a spot of frolicking and real danger around.

I liked it so much, I'm about to download book 2!

Happy reading folks. I definitely recommend this one. John Lee is brilliant!

9 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Shirley
  • 04-14-17

Dull

The story started with promise however reading about the exploits of a male chauvinist is as dull as dishwater (cliche intended) I did not complete the book.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Trevor
  • 04-30-18

The Spellmonger is a must Read...

The Spellmonger is a must Read...

A really enjoyable story, with plenty of action, a great back story, welcome humour and an adult spin on things...

It took a chapter or two to get used to John Lee narrative / voice, but once he started using other voices to create the different characters, I really warmed to him and but the end if the book I’m a new fan of his style and I’m glad that the Spellmonger series has kept him, as it wouldn’t be the same with anyone else.

Highly recommend this book and look forward to listening to the next book in the series...

6 people found this helpful

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  • kingston
  • 05-20-19

Give this a pass

Tedious listen. In my opinion, this book sounds/reads like a diary entry. "I did this... I did that...I.. etc." The story is told to me rather than having it unfold organically. 7 hours and could not bring myself to finish it. The narrator breaks/pauses slightly between words and makes it difficult to follow or immerse myself in the story. Dialogue between characters are fine; only the narration is jarring (which is practically the whole book...judging from the 7 hours I've put into it).

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ruth
  • 12-16-18

Could have been great

A clever & interesting story, but the “hero mage” had values that left me nauseous. He was distressed by the sexual abuse of a young male apprentice but happily paid to have sex with two young teenage girls (who the hero believed were sold to him for the night by their innkeeper father). I prefer my feudal heroes to not choose to pay for sex with young teenagers sold to him by their fathers. Each to their own but for me it tainted the story to the point that I won’t be continuing to the second book.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Nancy
  • 07-31-17

fantasy with a difference

second half of the story was a lot better than the first half, making the book a bit hard to relate to, at first. a few irreverent moments make it a little more entertaining than most, at least it doesn't take itself too seriously. while I thought the narrator good, overall there were moments the reading came across as a bit pompous and sometimes I felt they emphasised the wrong word in the sentence and gave the whole thing a different meaning, something that was supposed to be funny coming out as serious or the joke being lost. All in all pretty good, though. Will be following up with the next instalment.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • boots
  • 11-04-19

Disappointed

I enjoy my afternoon walks - look forward to them because that is when I can listen to my audiobook and “be somewhere else”. Unfortunately that is not the case with this one. The main stumbling block is the narrator. His character voices are good but since the book is written in the first person (narrator) I find it difficult to ignore the voice and submerge myself in the story. His delivery is quite staccato with sometimes odd word emphasis. Other reviewers have said that improves and the story takes over but I find myself thinking of other things while whole paragraphs - even pages - go by. So, reluctantly, I am returning this one. (Never done that before -sorry)

2 people found this helpful