The Devil Lancer

The Devil Lancer

Captain Elliott Parrish of Her Majesty’s 17th Lancers cavalry division finds most of his assignment in the Crimea insufferable.Rampant cholera, missing supplies, and inept planning quickly mire the promise of a decisive summer victory for the British. Facing a harrowing winter campaign, Elliott must rally disheartened men through sickness, battle and starvation...

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Title:The Devil Lancer
Author:Astrid Amara
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Devil Lancer Reviews

  • Sarah

    Loved it.

    The slowly built bleakness of war, interwoven with a paranormal aspect was nicely done. I was expecting to be completely depressed, and while it was sad and miserable in parts it was occasionally uplifting. I think this was down to Elliot. He was such a great character. Ilyas was magic too and appealed to my love of tall, dark and broody. There were definitely parts that were a bit hard to read, re war and battle. But it fit within the context of the story. I am a compete sap for an ep

    Loved it.

    The slowly built bleakness of war, interwoven with a paranormal aspect was nicely done. I was expecting to be completely depressed, and while it was sad and miserable in parts it was occasionally uplifting. I think this was down to Elliot. He was such a great character. Ilyas was magic too and appealed to my love of tall, dark and broody. There were definitely parts that were a bit hard to read, re war and battle. But it fit within the context of the story. I am a compete sap for an epilogue, this was had me rather warm and fuzzy.

    I read another review that mentioned pacing, and I would have to agree. However, for me this was not a deal breaker. I read fast, so long books suit me to read. I feel like I've gotten bang for my buck. It reminded me of the length of The Archer's Heart... Perhaps not quite as long!

    So, great book by one of my auto by authors that ticked all the boxes of a great mid winters read.

  • K.J. Charles

    God damn, that hit the spot.

    Excellent historical setting, really vivid and well realised and so compelling on the incredible stupidity with which the Crimean War was conducted. Terrific fantasy elements, really scary at points. A tender romance (weirdly enough, since one guy was possessed by a devil, but hey, it worked) with some very hot moments.

    That was basically *exactly* what I wanted to read right at this moment. And I read it. Win!

    The pacing could have been a tad tighter - it

    God damn, that hit the spot.

    Excellent historical setting, really vivid and well realised and so compelling on the incredible stupidity with which the Crimean War was conducted. Terrific fantasy elements, really scary at points. A tender romance (weirdly enough, since one guy was possessed by a devil, but hey, it worked) with some very hot moments.

    That was basically *exactly* what I wanted to read right at this moment. And I read it. Win!

    The pacing could have been a tad tighter - it's a big book, it could take it - and I'd have been tempted to cut the epilogue, but on this scale of hugely readable historical fantasy, I'm nitpicking. I really went for this.

  • ItsAboutTheBook

    I’ve known for a few years Astrid Amara was writing a book about the Crimean War. My first thoughts upon hearing that were, “I’ll be skipping that one,” and, “But I want another Hanukkah book.” Yes, I’m a greedy reader. I only have the consolation I didn’t say those things out loud. As we got closer and closer to release of the book my interest increased. By the time I had it in my hot little hands I was really hoping no one else would want to review

    I’ve known for a few years Astrid Amara was writing a book about the Crimean War. My first thoughts upon hearing that were, “I’ll be skipping that one,” and, “But I want another Hanukkah book.” Yes, I’m a greedy reader. I only have the consolation I didn’t say those things out loud. As we got closer and closer to release of the book my interest increased. By the time I had it in my hot little hands I was really hoping no one else would want to review it, yet I was still wary. I’m not really a fan of military fiction, nor am I a fan of historicals. So, after years of waiting and having run the emotional gamut of disinterest to excitement, I can now concretely say I have reached the point of being stunned with how fantastic this book was.

    Captain Elliot Parrish finds he really doesn’t understand the logic behind the actions of a lot of the commanding officers’ orders. They don’t necessarily seem to be in the best interests of the men, the horses, or the war effort itself. And everyone pretty much agrees Cornet Ilyas Kovakin is a little creepy. Well, Elliot thinks he’s a little sexy, too. Elliot finds himself interested in Cornet Kovakin, not only for his looks, but he wants to know what a Russian man is doing fighting for the British and why he seems to be under the direct command of the spymaster. Ilyas Kovakin is a mystery. Elliot really likes mysteries. Ilyas has a bit more on his plate than he can really handle. He’s charged with finding ancient artifacts that house daemons. He’s doing so on behalf of the British government. He’s also desperately trying to maintain control of his own body as he’s been possessed by one of the very daemons the British are trying to collect. Of course, it would be far too easy if he were the only one looking to collect the artifacts, which are small boxes. A band of men, who are also possessed by daemons, are also trying to find them all. The big complication is the band of men are his friends being led by his brother, Alisher.

    Elliot knows languages and puzzles. It makes command happy to have Elliot working with Ilyas to solve the mystery of the boxes as he can also oversee Ilyas’ actions and report back to him anything that could be amiss. Elliot doesn’t particularly like spying on the spy. His fascination for both the boxes and Ilyas quickly make working with Ilyas easier. Eventually, Elliot learns just how far the British government is going to control Ilyas. Coupled with the disasters in tactics he’s been seeing throughout the war, Elliot finds it pretty easy to begin the process of shifting his allegiances to Ilyas. The men continue to work together as well as fight in the Crimean War. Ultimately, Elliot does the right thing.

    As I was reading this I found I really cared about the Crimean War. I actively hated Lords Cardigan, Raglan, and Lucan. I began to refer to them by derogatory nicknames. Lord Cardigan was “The Sweater Guy” and Lord Raglan was “The Sleeve Dude.” I can see that America played no part in the Crimean War and it was completely over, but I cared about what was happening to these men and animals. Whereas the story was about two men coming together under extraordinary circumstances and against all odds, it was told fantastically against the backdrop of a very real and very horrible situation. In many ways, Elliot had it easy. He was British amongst the British and only had to fight the war while watching his men and horses die all around him from exposure, disease, and starvation. Ilyas was a stranger, fighting a daemon, fighting his brother, and literally going to war against his own homeland and people, all while being cruelly manipulated by the British government.

    The paranormal aspect of this book was well balanced with the romance and military aspects. Elliot and Ilyas very much had to deal with the daemons just as they very much found themselves falling in love and fighting a war. They also had to figure out what the Greater Good really was. Lives were at stake. Either civilians or servicemen were going to die, and possibly very many of them, if Elliot and Ilyas made the wrong choices. Amidst a backdrop of a continual stream of wrong choices from the commanding officers, Elliot and Ilyas found themselves in pivotal situations that would drastically change the outcome not only of the Crimean War, but future wars as well. Their choices and sacrifices make for very good reading.

    This is an excellent book. It’s not merely an excellent book for historical, or paranormal, or military fiction. Hands down this book is excellent. I would absolutely recommend this to any reader despite their reservations about the subject matter. Yes, old battles can be told in interesting ways. History can be exciting. Running out of your bedroom and yelling, “Chapter 12 just started and the Light Brigade is about to charge!” kind of exciting.

  • Joyfully Jay

    The Devil Lancer was a wonderful novel. Or rather it was two wonderful novels. Let me explain. The author has done an excellent job of integrating the hellish nightmare of the Crimean War with an epic fantasy. However, there were times when I would have preferred the author pick one path or the other. The historical context is exceptionally rendered and the reader is quickly drawn into the brutal hell of a senseless war. Most people have heard about the Charge o

    The Devil Lancer was a wonderful novel. Or rather it was two wonderful novels. Let me explain. The author has done an excellent job of integrating the hellish nightmare of the Crimean War with an epic fantasy. However, there were times when I would have preferred the author pick one path or the other. The historical context is exceptionally rendered and the reader is quickly drawn into the brutal hell of a senseless war. Most people have heard about the Charge of the Light Brigade, but fewer realize this was part of a wider conflict that was so mismanaged on the part of the British and French that it’s a wonder anyone survived. I could sense Elliot’s desperation as he becomes the hapless pawn of bungling commanders. His devotion to his country, to his men, and to the horses that carry him to battle is painfully elegant and utterly heartbreaking. This part of The Devil Lancer was so well done it was incredibly easy to become swept up in the action and the agony of Elliot’s fierce determination to survive.

    Though he also serves as a solider, Ilyas is dealing with an even greater foe. The demon that resides inside him is slowly destroying his self-control and the end result is a creature that lusts for blood and destruction and little else. Desperate to escape the demon’s clutches, Ilyas hopes that Elliott’s love of cryptology will help him decode a complex language that may offer clues to his situation. This aspect of The Devil Lancer was also extremely well done and just as interesting as the history. Ilyas, like Elliott, is a prisoner of his situation. He is as intense and brooding as Elliott is cheerful. The two are a natural fit and you can’t help but enjoy the brief moments of happiness they carve out of the chaos. But as good as both the historical and fantastical elements of The Devil Lancer are, sometimes I felt as though the one detracted from the other. Just as I settled into the historical groove, I was pulled out of the moment and set on the fantasy path. This was a little frustrating, but only a little. It really was small issue and it didn’t excessively detract from my overall enjoyment, but did prevent me from giving it a perfect rating.

  • Cristina

    I truly loved Astrid Amara's

    The novel is a very exciting combination of great characters, historical accuracy and supernatural occurrences that conjure up a book that is in turns compelling, scary, moving and even, on some occasions, unexpectedly amusing.

    Captain Elliott Parrish and Cornet Ilyas Kovakin - the devil lancer of the title - are two amazing characters, full of nuances and with very nicely layered personalities. Apparently opposed - Elliott with his intellectual pursuits and rati

    I truly loved Astrid Amara's

    The novel is a very exciting combination of great characters, historical accuracy and supernatural occurrences that conjure up a book that is in turns compelling, scary, moving and even, on some occasions, unexpectedly amusing.

    Captain Elliott Parrish and Cornet Ilyas Kovakin - the devil lancer of the title - are two amazing characters, full of nuances and with very nicely layered personalities. Apparently opposed - Elliott with his intellectual pursuits and rationality and Ilyas, dark and passionate - the two MCs complement each other and provide the story with a very well portrayed sense of progression in their mutual trust and relation.

    The supernatural element in the story, a dark tale of 'ghost coffins' and demonic possessions, is perfectly weaved through the historical reality of the Crimean War, with the tragic Charge of the Light Brigade and the siege of Sevastopol taking centre stage and giving to the plot a solid anchor.

    Despite some changes and a few factual liberties, listed by the author in her Afterword, the novel is infused with a beautiful sense of time and location and the hardship of life on the frontline through the merciless Crimean winters and summers is so vividly depicted to be almost palpable.

    I really loved Amara's writing style, elegant, relentless and moving and thus perfectly suited to a plot full of unexpected events.

    Highly recommended!

    (Richard Caton Woodville, 1895)

  • Vivian

    Magic and romance set amongst the carnage and boredom of the Crimean War.

    Fantastic sense of of place, which is both good and bad. Especially when the place is disease-ridden muddy fields that either swelter or are frozen. Daily life of a cavalry soldier is well documented here. Moderately pace. This is a war story with mystery and a romance in that order. A nice mix of superstition and religion woven into this Victorian period piece featuring Russian moles, lifelong soldiers and the

    Magic and romance set amongst the carnage and boredom of the Crimean War.

    Fantastic sense of of place, which is both good and bad. Especially when the place is disease-ridden muddy fields that either swelter or are frozen. Daily life of a cavalry soldier is well documented here. Moderately pace. This is a war story with mystery and a romance in that order. A nice mix of superstition and religion woven into this Victorian period piece featuring Russian moles, lifelong soldiers and the futility of the war. It does a good job of valorizing individuals and highlighting the utter nonsense of the act.

    Ilyas carries a heavy burden. Half Russian, Half English he is mistrusted by both sides, but he rides for the British. Not favoring either side, but reveling in the carnage of war he's victorious on the front lines and behind them. Ilyas has a dangerous secret.

    Elliot is drawn to Ilyas. It's more than his mysterious good looks, but he wants to succumb to the urges plaguing him. A lifetime soldier he knows the dangers of both his profession and his obsession of Ilyas.

    Their story is one of pain, suffering, and celebration. In each other, they find something more than they hoped for.

    I found the stark reality and their furtive movements successful in finding a way to have a relationship under the circumstances. The mystery and supernatural element of the story was really well done and evidences research. I found it engaging and added intrigue to a military story that didn't revolve around espionage. Not that it isn't present--what kind of war would it be without spies?

    There were a couple times when this definitely touched me, and while tears weren't necessary I certainly felt the tragedy and suffering. The charge of the Light Brigade was as horrible as I imagined, like many of the military actions before it and just futile and illogical.

    In the end, a war might have a winner, but everyone loses something.

    Overall, worthwhile read if one is the patient sort and can handle the less savory aspects of war.

    Favorite quote:

    For those interested:

    Lord Alfred Tennyson's

    ~~A copy was provided to me for a No Glitter Blown review~~

    ~~~

    ~~~

  • Kaje Harper

    This book melds two of my favorite genres, a fascinating historical set in the mismanaged debacle that was the Crimean war, and a paranormal fantasy with some bite to it.

    The war dominates the landscape, and the day-to-day lives of the two main characters. Elliott is a Captain of the British Lancers, a good horseman, a good man, and a decent leader. Unfortunately he's under the command of the same oblivious, petty, wasteful and inept leadership as everyone else in that battle zone. It's impossib

    This book melds two of my favorite genres, a fascinating historical set in the mismanaged debacle that was the Crimean war, and a paranormal fantasy with some bite to it.

    The war dominates the landscape, and the day-to-day lives of the two main characters. Elliott is a Captain of the British Lancers, a good horseman, a good man, and a decent leader. Unfortunately he's under the command of the same oblivious, petty, wasteful and inept leadership as everyone else in that battle zone. It's impossible not to feel for him - not to ache and rage, and recognize the huge losses that come when a wealthy leadership plays petty power games with the lives of those they control.

    Elliott has to hold back his men when they might have saved other soldiers from slaughter, and then send them forward on futile charges under heavy fire with no good objective. He has to watch his subordinates and his friends (and his beloved horses) die of cholera, of wounds gone bad, and freezing, and starvation, while the top brass retire to their luxury quarters to complain about the quality of their beef. He hangs onto the shreds of a belief that following orders is a point of honor and that somehow, someone will get it right enough to bring them through this horror of a war.

    The author made me feel the despair, the bitter cold, the aching bones when men and horses are asked to go beyond their strength. There's an amazing strength in Elliott, who maintains his integrity despite the conditions and who has an open heart and mind. He at least also has a good friend from childhood - Henry - and a fine horse, and a young servant boy who does his best. And his secret and best consolation, and most puzzling enigma, becomes Ilyas.

    Ilyas is half British, half Russian, once a bandit of sorts in the company of his Russian half-brother and friends. Until a chance encounter infected the whole bandit company with demons. Ilyas was left for dead, and tried to escape via Britain. But his demon self was considered a potential tool of war, and his mother was quickly taken as a hostage for his good behavior by the British high command. Now he's trapped between the ravening demands of the demon growing stronger within him, the pull of his brother's company amid the enemy, and the British Army's orders to locate more demons for their use.

    The only thing that still makes him feel human, and in some kind of control, is his attraction to a good-natured, handsome, blond English Captain. He should fight that attraction with all his might. All he can bring Elliott is danger - danger from the demon getting loose, danger from the men Ilyas must deal with, danger of being caught in the act of sodomy. And yet, he can't make himself walk away from the only person who sparks the man he once was inside his demon-possessed soul.

    This book was fascinating, gripping and intense. The picture of men at war was bleak and real - all too familiar a situation. The resolution was satisfying, despite losses along the way. I had a bit of a format issue with the B&N copy, and much appreciate the author eventually sending me a free replacement for it. I recommend this for readers who appreciate both authentic historical settings, and a dark paranormal with a happy ending.

  • Tess

    *4.25 stars*

    This was well-written, intense and vast in scope. I would classify it as a historical with an m/m romance (there was a depth to the historical aspects that isn't always found in a typical historical m/m romance) ... and there's also a paranormal thread running through this. The author's depiction of life for the British soldiers and officers in the Crimean war seemed very real: fighting under inept leadership in a harsh and unforgiving climate with poor supplies and pervasive s

    *4.25 stars*

    This was well-written, intense and vast in scope. I would classify it as a historical with an m/m romance (there was a depth to the historical aspects that isn't always found in a typical historical m/m romance) ... and there's also a paranormal thread running through this. The author's depiction of life for the British soldiers and officers in the Crimean war seemed very real: fighting under inept leadership in a harsh and unforgiving climate with poor supplies and pervasive sickness. I felt so much for these poor guys.

    The romance is between Elliott, a British captain, and Ilyas, who is half-Russian and half-British. Ilyas has been struggling with a daemon that has come inside him (I can't even begin to explain this part of the plot!). Elliott is fascinated by, and attracted to, Ilyas from the beginning and it's fortuitous that his superiors have asked him to keep an eye on Ilyas. Their relationship develops slowly (which I always like) and after some initial distrust they start working together and needing more from each other -- companionship, friendship and intimacy. They have to get through a huge amount (the war and fighting off the other daemons) before they can get their HEA. The HEA certainly felt well deserved and believable for the times.

    I recommend this if you enjoy history, military history, historical m/m or paranormal historicals. The two things that kept this from being a 5 star read were that it felt a little long and I would have preferred a tad more focus on the romance, otherwise I really enjoyed this.

  • Aimee ~is busy sleeping~

    Enjoyed this so much. Loved her writing as always, loved the amount of research that clearly went into this, loved the mix of historical fantasy, and most of all, loved Ilias and Elliot together.

    This would have been five stars but for the long sections about the ongoing war and battles-reading accounts of all the unending deaths, misery, and losses from such inept leadership was painful and frustrating to read.

    *Also, this book is on sale for only $1.99 for a limited time! It's a pretty lengthy

    Enjoyed this so much. Loved her writing as always, loved the amount of research that clearly went into this, loved the mix of historical fantasy, and most of all, loved Ilias and Elliot together.

    This would have been five stars but for the long sections about the ongoing war and battles-reading accounts of all the unending deaths, misery, and losses from such inept leadership was painful and frustrating to read.

    *Also, this book is on sale for only $1.99 for a limited time! It's a pretty lengthy book (475 pages, but it flew by in a day because I was so engrossed) so I think it's def worth it. 1/2/15

  • Xing

    The Devil Lancer is an interesting retelling of the Crimean war with a paranormal/fantasy twist. Some things worked for me, but others didn't. Overall, it was a good distraction from the present.

    The overall world building is excellent. The author really, REALLY did her research in terms of the setting and the events of the war. Unfortunately, my knowledge of this specific war and time period was pretty much non-existent and I ended up having to Google a LOT. To the point that it actu

    The Devil Lancer is an interesting retelling of the Crimean war with a paranormal/fantasy twist. Some things worked for me, but others didn't. Overall, it was a good distraction from the present.

    The overall world building is excellent. The author really, REALLY did her research in terms of the setting and the events of the war. Unfortunately, my knowledge of this specific war and time period was pretty much non-existent and I ended up having to Google a LOT. To the point that it actually started feeling tiresome and I would just quit doing so. There were a few major battle scenes that were also difficult for me to visualize since I had to do some research on the terminology, which kind of detracted from my enjoyment. However, I feel this is just a "me" thing, and I wouldn't have the author really change her writing or "dumb" it down as it would also take away from the authenticity of this era.

    In terms of plot, The Devil Lancer is a story about demonic possession. It wasn't until I was halfway through the book that I realize I don't really like possession stories outside of fanfiction (oops!). The story also took quite a lot of setup time. It wasn't until about 25% into the book that I felt the story picking up. While the story did pick up midway into the book, pacing was probably my biggest complaint. I felt like the story was moving very slowly, regardless of the time jumps from one chapter to another. A good amount of the story could have probably been tightened or removed in my opinion.

    I also felt like the story didn't really provide the emotional punch I was looking for. There were certain events that happened that I felt like didn't leave the impression it should have. For example,

    However, the relationship between Ilyas and Elliot was a nice build up, even if the start was kind of slow.

    So despite all my complaints, The Devil Lancer definitely had its moments. I liked the one-on-one fight scenes in the book, most of the paranormal/fantasy aspect of the plot, and Elliot's character. The sex scenes, while brief, was tastefully done (or as much so for a war story in the mid-1800s). Over all, if you are looking for an immersive historical fantasy/paranormal war romance, give The Devil Lancer a shot.

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