Cry of the Newborn by James Barclay
With his Raven series, James Barclay made himself a cult hero. With the Ascendants of Estorea, Barclay stepped away from the action adventure realm and settled into a very fantasy style book. More character focus and interestingly enough styled after the Roman Empire, Cry of the Newborn – the first in the series – makes for an interesting introduction to a new realm for Barclay to play in.
But in stepping away from the action adventure focus, Barclay left himself open to critics who would call anything else “boring.” Sad to say, you’ll find a lot of such critics, who only read fantasy books which are Tom Clancy books set a thousand years earlier.
Thankfully, for those of us who are more able to accept character development (as well as political development), this story is a Godsend.
Set in the Estorean Conquord, an empire which has stood for almost a millennia, four children are born in the town of Westfallen. They are the hope of a people who – in a land where magic is outlawed and feared – believe that magic can return, and can help. These people use their magic – the ability to manipulate various forms of nature depending on one’s given skills – to help their town thrive. But if their secret ever got out, they would all be put to the sword by the Chancellor of the Order of the Omniscient.
The Estorean Conquord is ruled by its Advocate, Herine Del Aglios. But Del Aglios must also contend with the Chancellor, Felice Koroyan, a devout follower of the Omniscient and just as political. She is feverish in her deliverance of what she deems as justice to those under her purview.
So it is with all fear and determination that the people of Westfallen must hide the existence of the newborn babies, who they believed to be the Ascendants. Essentially, through stringent mating control, the people of Westfallen birthed four children whose powers were active, rather than passive (ie, control the weather instead of just predicting it).
But while all of this is going on, Estorea continues to expand outwards, bringing Estorean control to all within its reach, as well as the religion of the Omniscient. However they soon run into the Tsard, who not only repel but begin to push back into the Estorea, creating havoc along the way by annexing Atreska.
We follow the exploits of Del Aglios’ son, who is a general in the army, Del Aglios herself, as well as the Exchequer of the Conqourd, Paul Jhered. It is Jhered who eventually sees the benefit of the Ascendants, and strives to protect them from outside harm and/or control. He eventually sees them put to fight against the Tsard, and the story comes to a close with an apparent victory under their hands.
However before the story closes Gorian, one of the four Ascendants, displays the most sickening action of his continuing megalomania, before being exiled by his brothers.
The story displays a beautiful depiction of what happens when people are granted power. Some abuse their power, while others nurture it and attempt to wield it as little as possible. You hurt for the family that is slowly being torn asunder by Gorian’s maniacal beliefs, and watch as the inevitable comes to bear.
The first of two books, Cry of the Newborn is really a brilliant piece of fiction. Not for anyone who is wanting a quick and easy read, Barclay weaves a tale that has you thinking about our places in the world we live in, and what we would do if gifted with power above our kind. Definitely one for any fantasy lovers shelves.
This Cry of the Newborn book review was written by Joshua S Hill
All reviews for: The Ascendants of Estorea
Cry of the Newborn
The Ascendants of Estorea: Book 1
Shout for the Dead
The Ascendants of Estorea: Book 2
Have you read Cry of the Newborn?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Cry of the Newborn reader reviews
9.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen
Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discont...
Chronicles of the Black Company
Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead. Then comes the prophec...
On the world of Kuf, the Macht are a mystery, a seldom-seen people of extraordinary ferocity and discipline whose prowess on the battlefield is the stuff of legend. For cen...
Shadow Ops series
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer. Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the d...
The Rigante Novels
Born in the storm that doomed his father, Connavar grows to manhood among the mist-covered mountains of Caer Druagh, where the Rigante tribe dwell in harmony with the land ...
The First Law
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body...
The Drenai Novels
The Legend Druss, Captain of the Axe: the stories of his life were told everywhere. Instead of the wealth and fame he could have claimed, he had chosen a mountain lair, hig...
The Aspect Emperor
R Scott Bakker
A score of years after he first walked into the histories of Men, Anasurimbor Kellhus rules all the Three Seas, the first true Aspect-Emperor in a thousand years. The masse...
Prince of Nothing
R Scott Bakker
A score of centuries has passed since the First Apocalypse and the thoughts of men have turned, inevitably, to more worldly concerns... A veteran sorcerer and spy seeks new...
The People of the Black Circle
Robert E Howard
Conan the Cimmerian: he rose from boy-thief and mercenary to become kingof Aquilonia. Neither supernatural fiends nor demonic sorcery could oppose the barbarian warrior as ...
A man wakes in the wilderness, amid scattered corpses and inquisitive crows. He has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. The only clues to his former existenc...
They burned her home. They stole her brother and sister. But vengeance is following. Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she'll have to s...
The Thousand Names
The King of Vordan is dying, and his daughter, Raesinia, is destined to become the first Queen in centuries – and a ripe target for the ambitious men who seek to cont...
The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach
Set in the awe-inspiring world of the Malazan Empire, three tales of the enigmatic and eccentric necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach collected in a single, readily av...
Having risked their lives and souls to capture the fortress of Stormgard, a band of weary soldiers known as the Company witnesses their commander's descent into madness...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Edinburgh, 1874. On the coldest night the world has ever seen, Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation. But Dr Madeleine is no conventional medic and surgically implants a cuckoo-clock into his chest. Little Jack grows up different to other children: every day begins with a daily wind-up. At scho...
The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow's Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow...
A Tale of Time City
Diana Wynne Jones
When Vivian is evacuated from London in 1939, she expects to be staying in the countryside. Instead, she is whisked away to Time City – a place that exists outside ti...
The Guns of Empire
As the roar of the guns subsides and the smoke of battle clears, the country of Vordan is offered a fragile peace... After their shattering defeats at the hands of brillian...
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasu...
For Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the four...