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Publisher's Summary

Following Peter Newman's brilliant debut, The Vagrant. This is the much-anticipated sequel, The Malice.

In the south, the Breach stirs. Gamma's sword, the Malice, wakes, calling to be taken to battle once more. But the Vagrant has found a home now, made a life, and so he turns his back, ignoring its call. The sword cries out, frustrated, until another answers. Her name is Vesper.

©2016 Peter Newman (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"This is a must-read." ( SciFi Now)
"An original and engrossing world...written with confidence, flair and imagination." (Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of the Shadows of the Apt series)
"A unique and imaginative world where the only hope rests on the capacity of human beings to love." (Melinda M. Snodgrass)

Reviews of The Vagrant:
"For fans of classic science-fiction literature, this is a must-read." (SciFi Now)
"Come visit this brilliantly imaginative land of winged swords and broken solar cells." ( SFX)
"The Vagrant is a joy to read: an original and engrossing world, a strong story and a protagonist who is intensely charismatic despite - or because of - his silence. Newman's debut is written with confidence, flair and imagination, bringing his dark world to marvellously macabre life." (Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of the Shadows of the Apt series)
"A stunning and ambitious debut novel set in a unique and imaginative world where the only hope rests on the capacity of human beings to love." (Melinda M. Snodgrass)

What listeners say about The Malice

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Strange Thing to Notice (vague plot spoilers)

It is a strange thing, to notice that, like the first novel, the beginning is a dark affair. The characters are disgusting, in both appearance and (in vesper's case) deed. The events are dark, and disheartening.
Twice now, I've found myself wondering if I should even continue; when events take turns that are so appalling to my own desires. But, if one doesn't hate what one sees, how can one find joy in the changes that emerge.

The ending, again so like the Vagrant, has a completely different taste to it. Some villains and enemies get their just due, and we find satisfaction in the bonds forged, certainly.
And though this is a trick (again); it feels sure, and lighthearted compared to the blunt foreboding of the novel's beginning.

This, though; seems to be the magic of the novels. Though great works are done, though many die, and much changes; one still feels a sickening sense of wrongness. In the Vagrant, this was at the Six, and their Shining City. And at the state of the world.
Here, it is a much more dangerous wrongness, for it stems from Vesper herself. Her moral growth is still in progress, and one must wonder if she has learned nothing between her initial encounter with the First, and her final conversation with the keeper of The Seven.
Her good intentions, and the lies they bring, may have dire consequences. But, I've yet to read the final book, so all is conjecture.

Vesper is a glorious main character. Very flawed, as a result of her naivety and good intentions. She is the type of heroine to be learned from. She is the embodiment of our generational successors; and her relationship with the Vagrant and the world she discovers is a unique glimpse into the mess that is each generation's attempt to set straight the world their forebears have so skewed.
One can only hope that such a complex plight can be portrayed as well as it has been presented.

1 person found this helpful

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Great continuation

I absolutely love this series. If you liked the first you’ll like this one and it’s expansion of the universe and how it came to be.

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Just plum amazing

One of the best book series I have read in the last decade. Love the world and the people.

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Fun book

Awesome story line! I was totally engulfed in this entire story. would definitely recommend this series

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Beautiful language, calming, exciting, capturing

Peter Newman writes with a poetic language, unfolding the story with vivid descriptions and perfectly fitting metaphors and at the same time leaves much free space for the readers to fill in the gaps with their own imagination. This world is beautifully narrated by Jot Davies with a captivating, steady voice that makes you feel like you are there.

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  • Mr. M. Edwards
  • 11-22-17

More tales from the blasted world

This second part of The Vagrant trilogy is as listenable as The First with an eclectic group of characters and a delve into the cause of the state of the world.
It builds on The First book while mirroring the journey that both sword and baby took. The prose is amazing and vivid, the reveals by turns shocking and sad.
So far this series is giving The Acts of Caine books a run for their money, it all depends on the payoffs in the final book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-26-16

excellent follow up

A great follow up to the vagrant and Jot Davis is awesome as usual

1 person found this helpful

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  • T D H
  • 10-16-20

Very enjoyable

A sword and magic quest where the main character solves almost all the confrontations by diplomatic means. I could see how some may be frustrated by this, but it is wonderfully refreshing.

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  • Andrew hall
  • 10-02-20

A lot of potential, but just fell short

Books like this: The Dark Tower, Malazan Book of the Fallen, Revelation Space

TLDR: A return to the demon-infested lands as a now twelve-year-old Vespa takes up her father’s sword. The main storyline may be lacking compared to its predecessor, but the side stories and lore-filler we are provided with almost make up the shortfall. Almost.

I wasn’t blown away by Book 1 in The Vagrant series, but I loved the universe. Because of that I gave The Malice a go. Unfortunately, where I was somewhat on the fence of love and indifference of Book 1, this time around the winds of fate blew me just enough to fall off said fence and onto the indifference side. That is not to say that this is a bad book, because it most certainly is not. For a listener with a certain kind of taste, this book will be very enjoyable. I just don’t have that taste. Allow me to explain.
This book sees us return to the shattered, demon-infested world twelve years after the events of Book 1, and this time it is little Vespa who takes up the mythical sword of Gamma. Where before the quest was to get the sword to safety, this time it is to take it into harm, to try and close The Breach and defeat a new threat that is rising. We get off to a good start, but very quickly the whole host of potentially interesting characters that we are alluded to are whittled down to just Vespa and one half of her bodyguard, Duet, and therein lies the problem.
Neither of these characters really grabbed me. Vespa was ok. She is an innocent girl who over the course of the book has her eyes opened to the true horrors that her sheltering father has protected her from. She has a decent amount of character development and a realistic progression by the novel’s end. This is done fairly well, but not astoundingly well. But Duet, well, I just didn’t like her. Not in the way that many characters are written to be disliked. In the way that I just didn’t connect with her. There was potential there, but she kind of just filled the spot of a guardian while her story-arc was pretty half-baked. And when that accounts for 50% of your main characters, your narrative is going to take a hit. I just never felt the need to keep listening. There was no tug to pop in my headphones and squeeze in an hour here and 30 minutes there. Because of this, the novel took far longer than it should have to finish. I expect that scraped away more of the positive aspects of the book and left me to linger on the negative than was usual. Again, not a bad book, but it just didn’t grab me like I hoped it would.
There were other side-stories going on, thank god. Ones with a little more spice to them. The first of which was that of Samael, a fallen knight who begins to regain his humanity. This was done beautifully, and when his path finally connected with Vespa’s, things for the main storyline started to pick up. Unfortunately, this was about two thirds of the way through the book. There was also a series of flashback chapters to over a thousand years before, to the events that led to the formation of the Empire of the Winged Eye. This I loved. Finally, some much needed context after the rather vague explanations given in Book 1. I could have very happily listened to an entire novel about this history and the series of events that led to the world being in such a terrible way and still been left gagging for more.
The novel’s story itself was, I’m afraid, a little lacklustre. There was a vague and non-descript new adversary that was growing in power, and the way it was dealt with left me completely unsatisfied. I didn’t really get much of a sense of foreboding from The Yearning. We just keep getting told that it’s really bad with any real context. Not the right way to write a unfathomable evil in my opinion.
One aspect that I did truly love about this book was the glimpse we got of Verdigris, the city that had rebelled against the infernals in Book 1 and had now been eking out its existence as a free city, with a populous that are part human and part demon. The time Vespa and Duet spend here is some of the most interesting in the book because of the way the city has learned to cope with the odd duality of its people. I loved it. Then we come to the ending, as the book continues for some time after the true quest has ended. And this too is a very positive aspect. The story itself may not have been first class, but the realistic tying up of loose ends and practical outcomes to the problems still faced by the inhabitants of the world are, for lack of a better word, satisfying (one of my highest terms of praise if you have read any of my other reviews). In fact, the landscape is set for the next book in such a way that, despite my lack of love for this book, I expect that I will buy Book 3 eventually.
As with the first novel, Jot Davies’ performance was first class. There was a far thinner rota of ghastly demons in this book for him to wrap his incredible vocal range around, but those that were there were done to perfection. This man can voice evil beings, and for a book set in a world beset by an unending horde of such beasties, he is the perfect man for its narration.

Personal Score: 3 stars
Professional Score: 3.5 stars

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  • David Lidström
  • 01-05-20

Great - but without the charm from the first book

Digging deeper into a brutal and scary world, this second book follows Vespa - and a goat of course - in a more classic way where we are allowed to actually know what she is thinking.

Although the charm of the first book is lost - where the protagonist is somewhat of an enigma - this opens up an opportunity to describe the world in a deeper way, which I think was needed.

I enjoyed the book, its characters and the story - but since the first book is so special I'm afraid that this second book could never live up to the first part.

Still highly recommend if you enjoyed the first book!

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  • Sam Lucas
  • 03-22-18

Brilliant second instalment!

Loved it to pieces, very reminiscent of the original. The protagonist really surprised you! I am hoping to see more of the world in a third book.

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  • Darrel
  • 12-21-16

just keeps getting better

Liked the first book loved this one loveable characters and a good story and we'll narrated.

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  • SmilingMrJ
  • 11-30-16

The kid and a kid journey forth

A great return to the stunningly bleak world of the Vagrant. Really sucked me in

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  • Roshan
  • 07-21-17

Meandering writing

Story has some great concepts but is written so poorly it becomes a chore to follow. The main character also makes some ridiculous decisions that only occurred to progress the story. With all the potential, it's really a shame.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Peter Hawkins
  • 02-01-19

Brilliant narration. Best I have heard for ages.

not quite the genius of the first book but still worthwhile. characters a bit directionless at times and none as well liked as Goat.