Reviews of Jackal of Nar, the (1999)
Review by StefanY (2007-08-24)
To be quite blunt, I LOVE this book.
When I started it I wasn't sure what to expect. Whatever I was expecting, it certainly paled in comparison with what I got. John Marco brings us a gritty fantasy with believable characters and a plot with many unseen twists and turns. The characters in the book are presented in such a way that there is no cut and dried good vs. evil as in so many fantasy novels. Marco has done an excellent job in portraying the motivations of his characters in such a way that no-one is shown as being purely good and at the same time, even the villains are given redeeming qualities. What this does is flesh out the story in such a way that even though it is still a fantasy novel, the characters and story seem more real.
The plot itself if rife with political intrigue and even when the reader is not immersed in the heat of battle, the story carries you along at a feverish pace that is extremely hard to put down.
If you are a fan of the fantasy genre (and even for most who are not) I HIGHLY recommend The Jackal of Nar.
Review by mordred4 (2005-09-01)
Why have I waited? I've seen John's books at bookstores and always bypassed. Why? Don't really know. First book that I actually read by John was Eyes of God and Devil's Armor both excellent books. Decided to buy Tyrants series and also hasn't disappointed! Jackal is John jump into fantasy and he starts off by hitting a homerun. His mix of military and politics don't disappoint for those who love GRRM, John has it all here as well. The main character Richius I find quite interesting. Being torn for the love of his country to setting out to save a damsel has severe consequences for him. Not to give anything away but everything he has come to love is thrown into disarray. Throughout the book, John also doesn't pull any punches. Which include many jaw dropping surprises. Also John's not afraid to change directions or eliminate a character you've come to love. Which is what I've admired about John's books. With that said I'll end it with this: Expect the unexpected.... I highly recommend this book.
Review by clong (2005-07-20)
The Jackal of Nar features gritty military writing in a style reminiscent of Glen Cook's Black Company series, but with more ambitious and complex characters. The protagonist Richius is certainly flawed, but in a way that rings true to an adolescent thrust into what he comes to see as an unjust war in a foreign country. Blackwood Gayle is pretty cookie-cutter as a villain, but the evil Emperor Arkus and his henchman Biagio are really very interesting characters. This is very much character driven fantasy, with much focus on motivations and ethical decisions. Some of the dialogue and plot development may be less than perfect, as you might expect with a first novel. All in all I thought it one of the more promising debuts I have read in recent years, and I have continued to enjoy Marco's later books.