• The Last Sword Maker

  • The Course of Empire Series, Book 1
  • By: Brian Nelson
  • Narrated by: Bradford Hastings
  • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (3,696 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the high mountains of Tibet, rumors are spreading. People whisper of an outbreak, of thousands of dead, of bodies pushed into mass graves. It is some strange new disease...a disease, they say, that can kill in minutes.

The Chinese government says the rumors aren't true, but no one is allowed in or out of Tibet.

At the Pentagon, admiral James Curtiss is called to an emergency meeting. Satellite images prove that a massive genocide is underway, and an American spy has made a startling discovery. This is no disease. It's a weapons test. Chinese scientists have developed a way to kill based on a person's genetic traits. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The success of their new weapon proves that the Chinese are nearing "Replication" - a revolutionary breakthrough that will tip the global balance of power and change the way wars are waged.

Now the US must scramble to catch up before it is too late. Admiral Curtiss gathers the nation's top scientists, including a promising young graduate student named Eric Hill who just might hold the missing piece to the replication puzzle. Soon Hill and his colleague Jane Hunter are caught up in a deadly game of sabotage as the two nations strive to be the first to reach the coveted goal. But in their headlong race, they create something unexpected...something the world has never seen and something more powerful than they had ever imagined. 

The Last Sword Maker is an exciting globe-trotting thriller with unforgettable characters that depicts a haunting vision of the future of warfare.

A Publishers Weekly pick of 2018's Mysteries and Thrillers' "Not the Usual Suspects".

©2018 Brian Nelson (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Last Sword Maker

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

Scary Future Possibilities of China VS USA

Having listened to this in Sept 2020 during a global pandemic, that we think originated in China, this novel had a different impact than it would of if I’d listened to it last year.

As technology advances at stunning speeds, nanotechnology being developed now is very real possibility. ALL scientific advancements we are achieving need to begin with the universal question of “Just because we can, should we? “ Nanotechnology can have some amazing benefits at a genetic & molecular level to cure disease, famine and to improve the overall human condition...but at what costs?

The Last Sword Maker is set in our very near future of 2025 when nanotechnology has been fully developed. It includes geopolitical aspects of China vs USA in a rush to develop the technology for military purposes.
The characters in the book are interesting though I would of liked a deeper dive into their back stories. Especially since the plot involves China’s genocide of the Tibet people and the ongoing suppression of individual rights in a communist regime. However this novel wasn’t intended to be an intense study of technology & geopolitics. It sticks to the surface of these much more complicated themes.
Overall, I would recommend this listen. I think Nelson did a good job of writing a thriller that kept me entertained while at the same time leaving me with thoughts of just how fragile our geopolitical climate is with China and actually any nation that can develop technology that would allow for a new kind of war we have not seen since the atom bomb.

As usual Bradford Hastings did an excellent performance!

32 people found this helpful

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Great listen or read

A very surprising twist and it all worked. Just don’t be too harsh or judgmental on the science. It was a good book.
I can easily recommend this book. Narrator was awesome.

20 people found this helpful

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wow

This was a well crafted novel that kept my attention from beginning to end. Thank you!

15 people found this helpful

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A possible reality.

This is not a happy sunshine story, it is a prophetic possibility. Simply put be careful when playing like a god.

13 people found this helpful

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Too gruesome and narration very bland

The story is way too gruesome with descriptions of gratuitous violence that do little to enhance the story, The audiobook instead seems to target listeners with an unhealthy fascination with cruelty and sadism with little real story development. This is not a thriller, it is an exercise in psychopathy. As for the narration - the monotonous delivery and overall bland reading does nothing to improve the crappy story. Don't waste your time on this one

11 people found this helpful

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Lame

I can’t decide if the author was paid by the government to make this propaganda. The characters are stereotypes and extremely simplistic. The plot and action scenes reek of melodrama, pro US, bad China, and only the use of super weapons (for the greater good) can save us. It’s just too much, I would rather read military history.

10 people found this helpful

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so realistic I hope it doesn't become reality

At the pace technology advancement is moving it's easy for me to see this being a reality.

9 people found this helpful

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Good 😊

This audiobook will be the reason I listen to random audiobooks,not just reviewed ones.

9 people found this helpful

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Good book

It starts off great. It does slow down in the middle off the book and I felt myself having to just bore thru some of the parts but I'm glad I did. I will buy book two to see where this series is off too.

6 people found this helpful

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Great concept but weak finish and jingoistic

The problem with super powers is they are so unbounded they ruin a story's logic and plot. As this book finishes it falls into the same trap where arbitrary deus ex machina endings happen. Thanos snaps his fingers and anything happens.
And worst of all it's just a setup for book two. While the nihilistic completion requires only one winner it may not require demonizing one side but this books goes down the rabbit hole of anti communist ideology where communists are evil.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-24-21

Outstanding

Although difficult to gauge the tempo at first, both the story and the narrator gathered momentum and by the end of this audiobook I was craving for more.

A thought provoking tale combining technology and political willpower, both of which are easy to recognise within our contemporary environment - well done Mr Nelson.

3 people found this helpful

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  • McKeon
  • 08-04-20

Great listen

loved this story really good plot very well narrated, would definitely recommend this audio book

3 people found this helpful

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  • Peter
  • 07-09-20

Enthralling

Brilliant! So plausible, yet so frightening to believe that we are so far ahead with science, a scenario just like this could be just around the corner. Couldn’t put the book down. Can’t wait for the author’s next novel - unless fiction becomes fact!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Dennis Power
  • 11-10-18

Unputdownable

A gripping story absolutely loved it I'd sussed what was going to happen with Eric just before the end due to the way the story was written great book

3 people found this helpful

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  • L.C.
  • 03-17-22

Science of the future. Horrific.

I have to say this book scared the poop out of me!
Not for the horrific content but that much of this could one day be a reality!!!!
Brilliant and very thought provoking.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Peggy N.
  • 03-02-22

outstanding

absolutely outstanding story and narrator.
I found it hard to take a break. amazing descriptions and writing style. this is literature not just another mass produced book. not sure about the author's education but he knows what he's doing. magnificent. thank you. we need books like this to stay sane and alive.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marcin Grzadzielski
  • 02-18-22

Great and blood chilling book.

What's really scary in this story is that all of the technology and its murderous potential is right around the corner of being discovered and implemented... Not even the Terminator movies had such a chilling effect on the minds imagination as this book has.
Loved it, but it scared the crap out of me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amelia
  • 12-26-21

I was skeptical ..

Audible told me to pick this book, so I did but I will be honest in that I expected to give it up after a short while because the description seemed a bit blah.
I am glad I read it though as I enjoyed it and will definately be looking out for more in this series!

1 person found this helpful

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  • HellRazor
  • 09-25-21

A Clever Tale But Loses The Plot

Nelson writes well, inventively and believably, introducing the concept of an arms race between China & the U.S. to weaponise frightening nano-virus vector technologies in the near-future.

My criticism is that the book meanders towards the end, brings in an unnecessarily awkward plot device (in the form of The Inventor) and concludes unsatisfactorily.

Good narration by Bradford Hastings.

3.5 *

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lewis's Listens
  • 07-08-22

Absolutely Loved It…..

I’m not gonna lie, I did struggle at the beginning….

I must have “picked” this book up and “put” it down half a dozen times, until one evening I couldn’t be bothered reaching for my phone to turn it off…. An hour later I realised I’d stopped what I was doing and was listening intently.

I found myself drawn into the story and was unable to put it down from then on.

Brilliant story and characters I became attached to.


I have already downloaded the next book and will be starting it as soon as I finish this ‘’’My First Ever’’’ review….

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-23-22

Not for me

I cannot finish this book, I have had enough. I chose it from the Included list and because it is listed as "thriller, action, science fiction ." But, honestly, it is just too ugly, macho, violent and dreary for me.
Nothing wrong with the the performance - it's just the material he has to work with is wrong.

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  • Dan
  • 08-26-22

Slow

Great concept but too much detail and not enough plot or characterisation. Get on with it

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  • Bigdog
  • 05-20-22

Riveting performance, great story

I loved the characters. You saved the little girl. No dogs were killed to establish the evil antagonist... as evil. I appreciated the consideration.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Moira M.
  • 02-11-22

weapons and their wielders

Science and the world at war! A story woven together with real knowledge and care. Not a book for children and young teens (violence and hard decisions), but certainly worth the read if you enjoy war stories. Great narration.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-29-21

fantastic concept

Thoroughly well researched and presented, brilliant SciFi fantasy with military action and repercussions. loved it

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • peter dickson
  • 12-27-21

gripping

I lost sleep for one night, as I was so engrossed with story I listened to it in one session .. a great read!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-17-21

Is it possible

The narration was well done. In this day and time when some countries are at loggerheads could this be possible, well written.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-11-21

Hard to Stop Listening

Great narrator! Very tense dramatic book thar was very enjoyable. Great side plots that fed into the mainstream well

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-21

Brilliant

While a slow burn to establish the story line and the high technology to start with
It certainly flys at exciting speed to the very end
Normally not my genre but really enjoyed it

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  • connie gore
  • 12-08-21

excellent

Loved it! Easy to picture being right there in there story! Exceptional storytelling by the narrator and a well thought out and believable story.

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