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The King's Henchmen

By: Craig Halloran
Narrated by: Alexander Cendese
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Summary

A washed-up pro athlete is transformed into the deadliest warrior in the world.

Still reeling from the tragic events that threw his life into turmoil, Abraham Jenkins now rides the lonely roads as a delivery man. Until one day fate intervenes....

Abraham is suddenly catapulted into a bizarre fantasy world unlike anything he's ever imagined. A world of assassins, monsters, and brutal lords. To survive, he must lead a notorious group known as the King's Henchmen on a do or die mission.

Surrounded by henchmen who don't trust him, and a ruthless king’s death sentence hanging over his head, Abraham must do whatever it takes to live long enough to save a kingdom in chaos and figure out how to return home. Because even a humdrum life on the road beats braving a bloody kingdom in chaos.

This one-of-a-kind gritty fantasy adventure series offers everything from the classic Chronicles of Thomas Covenant to the savage world of Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

©2019 Craig Halloran (P)2019 Podium Publishing

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blah

Its a shame the writer is clueless about how to write women. Totally takes you out the story as the female characters seem like they are written by a virgin whom is clueless about how an woman thinks or behaves.

6 people found this helpful

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  • CW
  • 02-07-22

Stopped after 2 mins

The orator was now suitable to the story. Could not listen beyond the first paragraph

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A***** Performance from every aspect.

Has all the ingredients for a top grossing TV series. I cannot recommend enough. Happily listen to this again and again.

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good listen

I enjoyed story so far wasn't easiest book to get into but once story gets going was a good listen

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-02-21

The main character is literally mentally deficient

The performance is very good. The narrator did a bang-up job of narrating this story. It takes a turn for the worse when we realize the main character has two brain cells at best. I'm not sure how anyone can read stories in which the protagonists are so incredibly, stupendously idiotic. He makes blunder after blunder and only plot armor keeps his neck from the guillotine. Seriously, if you are like me and can't stand protagonists that are mentally deficient, don't pick this one up.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Jason
  • 18-03-21

MC's are usually dumb, This is the authors fault.

im 7 hours in and the MC still thinks its a dream. This author just needs to see a therapist between the magic sword and his men inside other men fantasy he has some issues to work out.

10 people found this helpful

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  • The Bookwyrm Speaks
  • 06-09-19

Incredible series starter

I have been a big fan of Craig Halloran's writing ever since I discovered his Darkslayer series. When I heard he was writing a completely new series I was excited to see what he was coming up with. When I found out it was portal fantasy, I had flashbacks to books like Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame and really got psyched about where he would take the book. I can happily report it keeps the best traditions of those others, while blazing its own path.

Abraham Jenkins, ace pitcher for the Pittsburg Pirates, had it all. A hugely successful career, a beautiful loving wife and a son he loves to death. That is until they are killed in a car crash, and he's left alone in his misery. Walking away from baseball and his former life, he is now driving a beer truck, just trying to forget his past. Passing through a tunnel in West Virginia, Abraham's truck ends up in a cave. As he exists the truck, a man runs past him, and Abraham is stunned. When he recovers, he discovers himself in a new body, that of Ruger Slade, leader of the King's Henchmen.

The King's Henchmen are the King's troubleshooters, expendable hunters of the kingdom's enemies, but they have been on a bad luck streak lately. Their missions have been failures, and they are facing increasing pressure for success, or its back to prison for most of the Henchmen. Joining the Henchmen in the middle of a mission to return a group of evil witches alive to the king, Abraham finds himself in a world where people live and die by the sword, quite literally. Having to establish himself in his identity with the Henchmen requires him to assume a brutal aspect. He desperately needs to get the witches back, or the Henchmen are done for good.

When things go terribly wrong, Abraham and the Henchmen must face the wrath of the king, as well as the king's son, a prince who will do anything to bring the Henchmen down. Luckily for the Henchmen, the dying queen intervenes, and they are given an impossible task to redeem themselves: Get a supposedly mythological item that can save the life of the queen. Well, if anyone has a chance of pulling it off, it's the Henchmen, if they can only recapture the magic that made them so successful in the past. Adding a new ally, they make their way towards their goal, and what they discover will change their lives forever.

Like his other series, the author relishes creating complex characters, and The King's Henchmen is no exception. Abraham is a great character, trying to move on after an awful tragedy, all while adjusting to a world not his own, and suddenly being responsible for more lives than he's comfortable with, some of which would rather see him dead than follow him. The secondary characters are fleshed out well, and you get a good feel for motivations. The plotting is taut, and you never feel as though scenes are just filler. The world building is some of the best the author has attempted so far, and you really feel right there on the ground in the various scenes in the book.

This was the first time hearing Alexander Cendese narrate, but I was not disappointed. He has excellent pacing, and really does a great job nailing the various characters, bringing them all to life. I look forward to hearing him narrate book 2 of this series.

The overarching storyline has plenty of room for expansion, and I am very excited to see where the author takes it. I highly recommend this book, and will be following up on the subsequent volumes. Definitely a good addition to Craig's writing portfolio.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Mitchell
  • 02-08-19

Meh in the beginning, middle, end does not exist

Why do so many writers use naivety or dumbness to move stories A man who played pro baseball who fell into some of the pitfalls that go with that is so naive and trusted everyone never questions if people are using him he never questions anything

The performance was great but the material did him no justice

9 people found this helpful

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  • Frae
  • 05-09-19

The King’s Henchmen

The first book in the Henchman series is an introduction into the world of Abraham. Abraham is a mature man, who has lost his family in a tragic accident. Abraham is from the near now, but is magically teleported to a land of fantasy and lawlessness. He finds himself in the body of a man, Ruger, who is in charge of a group of brutes who work for the king.

The series of Henchmen is a bit darker than Mr. Halloran’s typical work, but it is clear that he has a lot of fun writing it. Craig has grown as a writer, and continues to do so. It has been a great honor to watch him gain his voice, and confidence.

The King’s Henchmen is easily my favorite book that Halloran has written, and I highly recommend it. If you’re a fan of Robert Bevan, Stranger Things, Classic DND, and all things fantasy with an epic twist, you’ll enjoy this one.

Alexander Cendese has a great voice, which matches the work very well. It sounds like he connected with the work, and embraces the characters. This is my first time hearing Cendese perform, and it is a pleasure to listen to him. Cendese seems like he could be an up and coming star of audiobook narration.

I cannot wait to listen to the next installment of The Henchman Saga.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mary Karowski
  • 20-11-19

What a cool unique take on a LITRPG style world

It’s not a game, but you are no longer you. Nor is everyone in this world how they appear to be. The body you inhabit has actually had several Others in it. You were taken from out world and places in the body of the King’s Henchmen, the captain no less. Now you must succeed in the impossible, not just for your survival but also for the survival of the other henchmen. Will they accept you as who you have become or will resent you for who was here before you? What a cool and unique take on things. Great fantasy novel. Very gritty. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator or publisher

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica
  • 12-11-19

Dark Fantasy

I was given this audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review. Goood start to an epic fantasy world. The main character was transported from a sad dark life in our reality to a dark life that is definitely not our reality. Good narrator brought the story to life. If you like your fantasy dark I recommend giving it a listen.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Suzannah
  • 25-10-19

Testosterone filled, unapologetic and Jalapeño cheese flavored

Okay, maybe not flavored but it’ll still make you crave it. It’s a good American take on a transmigration novel. I’ll go ahead and say this now, some women will not like some of the more lusty characters but I appreciate the world the author has created and like how he makes such things part of the characters foundation and not seem like an author’s unfulfilled wish. It’s just the way of that medieval-styled world, take it or leave it.

The story starts off just how you find the characters, a little off footed and confused. But the writing is solid and does much to give us the characters perspective. There’s little clues dropped here and there of how and why transmigration is possible but nothing’s revealed completely.

The narrator is really good and has you immersed in the story before it really begins. My only negative is that like most good first books, it goes by way too quick and doesn’t answer nearly half the questions it poses. But it does give you a long peek into book 2.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Austin
  • 04-10-19

Denial.

Nobody likes a Main character who is in denial. He refuses to see what is in front of his eyes, insistent it is all a dream. Thus he does stupid shit, and just goes with the flow.

He doesnt ask questions, he doesnt try to learn the history, he doesnt Adapt.

Why did we spend so much time on Earth? Why is he a famous pitcher if he never uses any of that knowledge? Why doesnt he plan ahead?

One of his first acts is in a tavern where he orders food and drink. He drinks ale, He tells us he doesnt want to get drunk because of his past addictions. His very next action is to get drunk. He then starts a brawl with pirates. The author is all over the place and cant seem to decide what to do.

The narrator is decent and can do multiple voices, however his pacing needs work. All of the text is fast paced. Some things should be slower and more deliberate.

Another big point is how all the chapters seem to end aburptly. There is no real reason to end the chapters where they do. During all of the travel when he could have been gathering information he is either brooding or has his thumb up his rear

This book could have been great with a better and more involved MC. As it is I cannot recommend this book and wont be continuing on to the next books.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin Potter
  • 20-10-19

A very promising premise but fell down a bit

I struggled to rate this one, as there are a few aspects that I really loved but others that just didn't work for me.

First, let' talk about the audiobook narrator.
Alexander Cendese once again gives us an all-star performance! His voices are wonderfully crafted and even his female voices are believable. He has excellent control of vocal inflections and his tempo shifts throughout the text are nothing short of masterful.

Now, for the story.
First, I actually quite like the main character. In strong counterpoint to some of this author's previous work, Abraham Jenkins is a good person with a strong moral compass who is trapped in the torment of having lost his wife and child. Although I don't quite believe some of his actions and motivations, he's a great character.

My only real issues are A, I really dislike main characters that are instantly and automatically expert warriors that are virtually undefeatable. I can accept it when the character is a war veteran and it's explained. And yes, a certain amount of combat ability is muscle memory, so he would inherit a certain amount of his host's skill. But not all of it. He certainly would not still be the best swordsman in the world.

And B, I'm left having flashbacks of the torture that was Thomas Covenant, in that we have a character who goes from the real world to a fantasy realm but doesn't believe the world he's in is real. Except that this breaks down in his reactions and internal motivations.

**small rant here. Feel free to skip it***
See, the big issue is that writing a character who truly doesn't believe what he's experiencing is real is an extremely difficult thing to do believably. If he truly didn't believe in the world around him, he would not agonize over any decision. He wouldn't put any thought whatsoever into how his actions are going to affect anyone. And he certainly wouldn't put any thought into the thoughts, feelings, or general well-being of those around him. Nor would he go out of his way to protect any of them. And for that matter, he probably wouldn't do much to safeguard even his own life, since he would be expecting to just "wake up" if he "died" there.
***okay, rant over***

The majority of the side characters are sadly little more than set dressing until the very end, but there are a couple of gems.

While I understand why the author chose to open with a prologue that takes place around the middle of the story, I can't help thinking the story would have been better as a chronological narrative. If he wanted to make it clear from the get-go what kind of story we were reading, I think he would have been better served using the epilogue (or a shortened version of it) to open the story.

Speaking of the epilogue, I still can't wrap my head around why it's there. At first I thought maybe it was there to explain a few things that are left as wide, gaping question marks during the main story, but it doesn't really answer those questions. It gives some good background and does a good job of adding substance to several characters (while adding a giant inconsistency), but overall it felt completely unnecessary.

My best guess is that the author wrote it as a prequel novella to be a freebie for email subscribers. But again, I can't fathom why it's present in the audiobook. Especially at the end.

Now, the plot of the story is rapidly paced, with a new battle or other conflict around every corner. The downside to this is there isn't a lot of depth to it. Much of it just seems a little too convenient, particularly the way the main character "shares" memories with the body he inhabits.

However, for all that, if you accept this book for what it is (just good action-packed fun sans explanations or any real message) and don't mind its flaws too much, it is a lot of fun to read.

If you like your fantasy deep and epic, this probably isn't the book for you.
But if you're looking for a more conan-esk heroic fantasy featuring a main character from the "real" world, then this might be just what you were looking for.

3 people found this helpful