#SPFBO Review : Iarraindorn by Phil Dickens

Posted On 26 August 2021

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Iarraindorn by Phil Dickens is the second book that I picked up from my Third Batch of books that I’m aiming to read and review this month which will then be followed by my update post.  After this batch I will have three books remaining and will post my fourth and final batch of books during the following month.  My reviews so far are linked below and you can find feedback from my first and second batch of books here and here and further information on SPFBO here.


Iarraindorn took me a little by surprise because I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this one and it fairly quickly managed to intrigue me with it’s unique style.

As the story begins three Druids, under the cover of night, make an animal sacrifice to the gods and watch for a sign.  Unfortunately, what unfolds as the storm clouds gather is the last thing they expected.  They are beset by demons like beasts with red eyes and sharp teeth who storm the village.  At the same time, in an inconspicuous mud hut a man and wife (Caiside and Genovefa) await the birth of their first son (Nuadhu).  The timing of these events is no coincidence and it soon becomes apparent that the attack on the village was driven by an enemy eventually known as the Great Adversary and his army, the Sons of Cain, who seek the newborn child.  The warriors make a good stand and eventually, with some divine assistance the village succeeds against this deadly threat.  The Archangel Anael came to their aid, her mission to protect Nuadhu who becomes known as the Champion of Man.

From there onwards we follow Nuadhu through the years and observe his training and relationships with his parents, his younger brother Pwyll and Anael.  Eventually the villagers begin to resent what they see as a potential threat and Nuadhu’s position becomes a little more difficult until one day the King of the tribes visits the village.  He has heard of Nuadhu and has made the decision that the risk he poses is to great and his life is forfeit.  Anael manages to escape the village with Nuadhu and Pwyll after their parents are murdered and the brothers are determined to seek revenge.

I must admit that the early chapters were probably my favourite parts of the read with Nuadhu and his brother growing up and training – however, I would point out that these chapters move at a rapid pace with little time spent on descriptions and the like.  To be honest this is another fairly short read at a little shy of 200 pages and so there’s a lot to get through and I guess it could have become quite wieldy if the author dwelled too long.  As it is, we are fairly soon introduced to an adult Nuadhu – a young man who plans to bring down his enemies.

In terms of setting.  The story takes place during the Iron Age, I think towards the latter years as we have the inclusion of the Roman army as the story unfolds.  I’m certainly not an expert though so I could be wrong on that score.

Overall I found this an easy read, it went in a direction that I hadn’t seen coming at all and was a bit shocking but at the same time I have a little light bulb at the back of my head about where the story might go next and I am intrigued enough to want to see what actually happens.

In terms of criticisms. Well, I hate to sound like a broken record, but, I think that the length of this is perhaps my biggest issue.  I think with a little extra the characters could have had a lot more impact and felt more rounded, the same really with the setting which was very thinly drawn with little detail about everyday life thrown into the mix.  It is an interesting concept but I would have liked to have a better feel for the people and place is all.  Obviously this is a personal preference and short and sweet works well for some readers.

I received a copy courtesy of the author for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

  1. Deathborn by CE Page
  2. Graves Robbed, Heirlooms Returned by Ashley Capes
  3. Stranded by Rosalind Tate
  4. One of Us by ML Roberts
  5. Berserker by Dimitrios Gkirgkiris
  6. Stone Magus by Stephanie C Marks
  7. Book of Secrets by Claudia Blood
  8. Dragonbirth by Raina Nightingale
  9. Carrion by Alyson Tait

13 Responses to “#SPFBO Review : Iarraindorn by Phil Dickens”

  1. Tammy

    This one sounds interesting! I think that 200 page length is a bit awkward, between a novel and a novella.

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    With such a short page count, this book is a rarity in the fantasy genre, but the premise sounds intriguing… 🙂

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