The Dark Thorn

The Dark Thorn

by Shawn Speakman

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"The Dark Thorn is one exciting book. From start to finish, there are strong characters, dangers lurking around every corner and cliffhangers that will leave you breathless. A fine tale by a talented writer." -- Terry Brooks

Beneath the streets of Seattle, a long-forgotten war is about to be renewed...

Richard McAllister, a spiritually destitute homeless man and Knight of the Yn Saith, protects one of seven portals linking his world to that of Annwn, where the fey Tuatha de Dannan of antiquity have been relegated by a long-running religious war.

Unknown to Richard though, powerful forces are aligning against him and all he stands to keep safe. In the wilds of a discarded world, Philip Plantagenet, son of Henry II, moves to claim a birthright nine centuries in the making, one that drives him to eliminate the Tuatha de Dannan--at any cost to both worlds.

In the halls of Vatican City, Cardinal Vicar Cormac Pell O'Connor schemes to control the Heliwr--the Unfettered Knight--one who possesses the great power known as the Dark Thorn.

The three men are on a collision course with history--and their futures.

For in the wilds of Annwn, death comes as easily as magic.

Haunted by a past he can't forget and a knightly responsibility he can't shun, Richard is drawn into levels of machinations--and two worlds--far darker than any he has prepared for.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013515772
Publisher: Grim Oak Press
Publication date: 11/25/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 248,136
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

SHAWN SPEAKMAN grew up in the beautiful wilds of Washington State near a volcano and surrounded by old-growth forests filled with magic. After moving to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, he befriended New York Times best-selling fantasy author Terry Brooks and became his webmaster, leading to an enchanted life surrounded by words.

He was a manager at one of the largest Barnes & Noble Booksellers in the country for many years and now owns the online bookstore The Signed Page, manages the websites for several authors, and is a freelance writer for Random House.

He also contributed the annotations for The Annotated Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, published in 2012.

Shawn is a cancer survivor, knows angel fire east, and lives in Seattle, Washington.

Customer Reviews

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The Dark Thorn 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
DustyCraine More than 1 year ago
I’ll be honest. I bought this book out of charity. Shawn Speakman is the webmaster/great guy who helps Terry Brooks maintain his web presence. When Shawn found out he had cancer he found himself in the unenviable position of being without health insurance. This book was released, in part, to help pay for his medical treatments and perhaps as a result I wasn’t expecting much when I started reading The Dark Thorn. Into the first or second chapter I found myself shaking my head and wondering if Shawn was going to rip Brooks off and create a semi-“Word and the Void” semi-“Shannara” hybrid. But I continued to give it a chance because despite my initial suspicions that it would pale in comparison to Brooks, I found myself really starting to enjoy the lore. I found it darker than Brooks which, in my opinion, is a good thing. It’s unfair to compare Speakman to Brooks given one is a perennial best seller and one is new to publishing his own work but I have to believe he knew those comparisons would inevitably come. But what surprised me, is that I found it every bit on par with a Brooks novel. For this being a self-published novel it surpasses some of traditionally published work I’ve read. If Speakman isn’t careful Brooks is going to find himself out a webmaster and up against a brand new (friendly) competitor. But back to The Dark Thorn, this book deals with religion rather heavily, in particular, the Catholic Church. That said, as a Christian, I didn’t find any of it offensive. The main character is a knight of sorts, entrusted with protecting a portal that leads to another world in which the fairy tale creatures of our world escaped as Christianity and Catholicism grew and expanded in influence. There are other portals around the world, each with their own knight protecting it. These nights are granted a legendary weapon from King Arthur’s court. Richard, our central character, carries Lancelot’s Arondight. Another character possesses Prydwen, King Arthur’s shield. Other legendary weapons make appearances and it’s fascinating how they almost become secondary characters themselves. Or at least guest stars. I’ll keep this spoiler free, but there are so many interesting aspects to this novel that it becomes literally one of my favorites ever. And this is coming from a guy who loves the Terry Brooks, loves Stephen King, and loves Michael Connelly. When you consider that Speakman will likely be compared to his long-time friend and mentor it should be a massive compliment when I tell you, without hesitation, that Speakman doesn’t aspire to be in the same company, he IS in the same company. The fantasy genre has a new player. I can absolutely recommend The Dark Thorn and not just to fans of Terry Brooks. I can recommend The Dark Thorn to fans of fantasy in general. It’s a great book.
ChrisLeboeuf More than 1 year ago
Shawn Speakman has combined the world we know today, with a world we wish we had known surrounding the British Iles in the time of Arthur. He has used literary expertise to write a spectacular tale of history, magic, and myth. Shawn has developed a tale so interesting that I have decided to read more on the Tuatha de Dannan and the legendary King Arthur. This is an excellent literary piece that I would recommend, right next to Terry Brooks and Anne McCaffery. Thank you Shawn, for writing something that would bring me into this world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the beginning this book has caught my attention. I first picked it up due to Terry Brooks promoting it on his book tour and decided to give it a shot even though I am not into urban fantasy all that much. I was thoughrly surprised. The story was fast paced and had plenty of twists and forshadowing of what is to come. Looking forward to more from Shawn!
Buck_Thunderstud More than 1 year ago
Richard McAllister is a knight of the Yn Saith, protecting a portal between Seattle and Annwn, the world of the Fey. Nice set up, and I'll do this with no spoiler other than the obvious - it goes badly. The story that builds from a slightly slow beginning is a work of fantasy in a great form. Taking elements of new age urban fantasy such as The Dresden Files and combining it with Tolkien-esque and Brooks' style fantasy worlds of magic and intrigue, Speakman creates a unique blend, pulling inspiration from not only these authors, but older stories of knights and wizards. In short - a great opening story for Shawn Speakman. I highly recommend it, and sit here frustrated that two more books do not yet to exist for me to dive into next.
Sarah Shepard More than 1 year ago
I was enthralled by this book the minute I picked it up. The main character Richard drew me in with his struggle to balance his life with his job. I enjoyed the way that Shawn gave the characters life as the plot moved along at a pace that made the book hard to put down. The mixing of our world with one of both lore and history is refreshing. His way of keeping the story moving and not being predictable with all the twists and turns is refreshing. Those that enjoy the legend of King Arthur, the history of Britian during the time of King George, and reading about Christianity and the struggle of the Catholic Church from its founding to today will enjoy this book. Shawn did a great job at mixing all of these parts and taking them into the fantasy realm. Keeping one foot firmly planted in the here and now and one in the world of the Fey. Shawn will be a force to be reckoned with in the future. I look forward to reading his next book. I would recommend this to any fan of fantasy.
jeffkJK More than 1 year ago
ok im a big jrr tolken fan and over the years became a big terry brooks fan thats how i found out about this book and i ve read lots of fantasy books and after reading this one i would love to see more from shawn i would say his writing is right up there behind tolkien and brooks. shawn i think has a good future in this area. i would love to see shawn and terry conbime thier worlds down the road in a book that would be very cool thanks for the enjoy ride jeff
Tom-S More than 1 year ago
The Dark Thorn by Shawn Speakman is an interesting blend of Arthurian legend, european history and classic fantasy. Shawn creates a unique world with engaging characters that everyone can appreciate, more especially those who have studied the legends of the british isles. His writing style is intelligent, yet accessible. I frequently read fantasy, particularly Terry Brooks, Dennis L. McKiernan, R.A. Salvatore and many others, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I look forward to the next book in the series and would recommend Speakman's work to anyone. Bravo Shawn!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one that will stick with me. Powerful story that is very well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hope the story continues! There is a angst that makes it hard to read sometimes because you want the best for Richard but his sadness also makes the story have hope.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story, interesting characters, intriguing factions, and really interesting use of Arthurian legends mixed with modern political intrigue.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it was well written. Yes, there are times when the story becomes a little tangled and hard to follow. Keeping up with dozens of characters (and the fact that they're referred to by title or type, then name, almost at random) was a chore sometimes. But it was an exellent story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and that's what matters. Further, I like fast paced reading. I know some fans of fantasy like stories that have a dozen subplots and that plod on forever. I'm not one of them, and felt this story had all of the essential detail that I needed, but never became bogged down. I plan to buy the next book shortly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The storyline and lore were well built. I personally felt that the characters and their interactions were overdone, however. Too much at one end of the scale or the other. Not very subtle. A good read, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Dark Thorn tells the story of Richard McAlister who is protecting 1 of 7 portals between our world and a fantasy world called Annwn. A mix of urban fantasy and some traditional fantasy, this book had vivid storytelling, wonderful characterizations, and solid world building which, really made this an enjoyable read for me. Although the storyline had a lot of details, everything just worked. Highly highly highly recommended! Speakman is a very talented writer. Just read it, you won't be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read, I enjoyed it. A couple of typos, but not overwhelming. I would like to see a follow up.
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stooge40 More than 1 year ago
Having known Shawn through his website, The Signed Page, I was a little skeptical on whether I would enjoy this book or not. After all, here was a "webmaster" self publishing a book. C'mon, how good could it be? But Shawn has always been a straight arrow when dealing the signed editions of books so I figured I'd give him a chance. So how good could it be? Excellent! 5 stars good! Shawn does a great job of fleshing out characters, coloring landscapes and feeding fast paced action through the written word. Great premier Shawn, waiting for the next book, I'm buying!
MistressCami More than 1 year ago
I'm not really sure how I came across this book originally; however I'm very happy that I did! It was a wonderful read with a well orchestrated plot and characters that have real personality. I love the mix of fairy tails he utilized, they really blended well. I cannot wait for the next story, I'm hoping for more of Richards tale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a well constructed tale that leads the reader into worlds many of us wish existed. I was most pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained I enjoyed this story as much as I enjoy a Terry Brooks novel and I highly recommend it. Shawn is a talent on the rise and I for one can’t wait for his next book.