Blackmark (The Kingsmen Chronicles #1)

Rated 4.70/5 based on 10 reviews
A nation's elite warriors vanished overnight. War devouring the survivors, fanned by a shadowy cabal. This dark and gritty sword and sorcery series from award-winning author Jean Lowe Carlson explores a complex world of treachery, passion, sex, and magic. Readers who enjoy Game of Thrones, the Stormlight Archive, the Kingkiller Chronicles, or the Wheel of Time will love this fantastic adventure. More
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About Jean Lowe Carlson

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Award-winning author Jean Lowe Carlson ND writes adventurous fantasy fiction with a dark twist. Her raw worlds are reminiscent of Patrick Rothfuss, Clive Barker, Brent Weeks, Jacqueline Carey, and Robin Hobb.

Jean holds a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine (ND), and has a keen awareness of psychology and human behavior, using it to paint vivid characters set amidst nations in turmoil or societies with riveting secrets. Exciting, challenging, and passionate, her novels take the reader upon dire adventures while exploring deep human truths.

In 2016, she was the recipient of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist medal for her dark fantasy "Tears". She was also longlisted for the 2016 Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Prize for her dark fairytale "The Man in White".

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About the Series: The Kingsmen Chronicles
“Spellbinding! Strong development of characters, fully integrated storylines with intriguing plot twists, and deep world building. Takes you on a journey you never want to leave!” – Michelle G., Amazon Review

“Like George RR Martin and Joe Abercrombie, Carlson writes in this genre for grown-ups, with flair and elegance. A complex world with characters that develop well, this story reveals as it builds!” - Daniel F., Amazon Reviewer

A nation's most elite warriors vanished overnight. A throne in jeopardy on the heels of murder. War devouring the survivors, fanned to fury by a shadowy cabal born of ancient magic. And the five friends who can stop it, banished to the corners of the continent as traitors. Welcome to a land where dreams die and men do what they must.

This dark and gritty sword and sorcery series from award winning author Jean Lowe Carlson explores a complex world of treachery, passion, sex, and magic. Readers who enjoy Game of Thrones, Outlander, the Kingkiller Chronicles, or the Wheel of Time will love this fantastic adventure.

Also in Series: The Kingsmen Chronicles

Also by This Author


John C Adams reviewed on on Sep. 6, 2019

A tense opener sets the scene, and I became intrigued during the well-crafted prologue about exactly what Elohl is up to.

The writing was very vivid, physical and descriptive. Not in the high-falluting way that plagues some epic fantasy, but in a gritty style that made the invented world real and living, and told a good strong story at the same time.

Elohl was very likeable - the sort of no-nonsense lad I like to see featured in high fantasy. In this first book in the series, he's still a year away from finishing his training to be a kingsman, but I could already feel his confidence growing and could tell that he had much more to give dramatically in future books.

Guardsman Olea was endearing for her love of king's son Alden, whom she is pledged to protect: sharing his bed but also learning for love and marriage.

This is quite a long tale, but I enjoyed it and want to dive into subsequent books in the series.
(review of free book)
Juan reviewed on on March 7, 2018

Wow great book love it
(review of free book)
Madagent reviewed on on Jan. 8, 2018

I stumbled upon this book on smashwords and when I started reading I was immediately surprised by the way in which the book was written. Reading a little more I was captivated by the story itself and after reading some more I was surprised to see how much time had already passed since starting to read.
I have already read a lot of fantasy books and feel that this book can match series like Game of thrones or Wheel of time matching the intrigue and plot twists as well as describing a wonderfull fantasy world.
This book was a great find and I will definitely continue reading the rest of the series to find out how it will continue.
(review of free book)
Abbie Suriano reviewed on on Oct. 31, 2017

I absolutely loved this book. The characters had depth and feeling. This was an exciting adventure, with many twists and turns. I couldn't put this book down and can not wait to start the next book in the series to find out what happens next. I did have some trouble with the names of the characters but I got a little farther in the book the names seem to click. If you are a fan of Game or Thrones you will love this book. I am going to keep an eye out for author and her future books.
(review of free book)
KimmiiB reviewed on on Oct. 24, 2017

This book is honestly one of my favourites I’ve read by this author, I did get it for free via bookbub, and as soon as I picked it up I couldn’t put it down until I finished it ! It starts off with such a hooking first chapter, and then suddenly swaps to the next main character and you absolutely have to keep reading just to sate the curiousity of what happens to each. I’ve been reading books under this genre for about 10 years now, and this one is one of the few that have really leapt out to me - I absolutely cannot wait to read the next books in this series to find out where this story takes us.
(review of free book)
3733 reviewed on on Sep. 20, 2017
(no rating)
I found this book interesting with lots of action and a mix of magic great book
(review of free book)
ATLgwm reviewed on on Aug. 12, 2017

I received this story as part of a promotional give-away in exchange for an honest review.

I am just getting into reading fantasy of any type, but I will tell you this, If I had read this story a couple decades ago when I was just getting into reading, it would have changed my whole outlook on what I read today. I enjoyed very much the character building and slow reveal of the truth of ten yeas prior in the story. At first I was a bit confused but slowly began to understand what the author was doing. And slowly was a good thing. There is a whole lot of story going on here, and getting too much too quickly wouldn't be as satisfying.
My only criticism is mostly due, perhaps, to my own dyslexia. So many of the names given to various characters were just similar enough that I kept losing track of who was who. The author did a lot of work in creating a distinctive language, not to mention a whole history and mythos. For most readers, it won't be a problem, but for those like me, it may prove to be a bit of a stumbling block. Don't let it stop you from reading this fantastic first portion of The Kingsmen Chronicles. Buckle down and hold on tight for a very worthy read.
(review of free book)
Dennisakin reviewed on on Aug. 6, 2017

By far the best book I have read in 2017. Fabulous job Jean!
(review of free book)
smashrm reviewed on on July 10, 2017

A very good read. I bought the second one immediately to read on.
(review of free book)
M. Pars reviewed on on July 5, 2017

Very good! Strong characters in a well-paced story. Looking forward to more in the series.
(review of free book)
William Breen reviewed on on July 2, 2017

A lot going on for the first in a series, but well written, and the characters are very engaging. The plot is there, but not forced, and the tempo of the action is appropriate. Over all, a very fun read.
(review of free book)
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