Friday, August 29, 2014

Straight Reading from the Library - Michael John Grist

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Michael will be awarding an autographed print copy of Ignifer's Rise to a randomly drawn winner.


The fate of the world is written in scars. In a bleak industrial city where marks in skin are a sentence to death, Sen is a child condemned. Cursed with mysterious scars carved by his own mother's hand, he leads a fearful hidden life in the city's last abbey.

Then the King's brutal Adjunc attack, and Sen barely escapes with his life. Lost and alone in the city's dark hinterlands, he begins an exhilarating race to find the truth behind his scars. In stinking black sewers and the lava-buried ruins of an ancient civilization, he uncovers a truth far stranger than he ever imagined, laid out by his long-dead mother: an apocalypse god is rising, and only the legendary hero Saint Ignifer can stop it.

But Saint Ignifer is dead.

Revolution rocks the city. The blood of all castes runs in the streets. With a storm of new faith raging out from the barricades, Sen must embrace the terrible fate his mother wrote in his scars- in the volcano's caldera, at the end of the world- before the black jaws of the apocalypse descend. For the Rot is coming, and the Saint must rise.


Ignifer's Rise is a wonderful introduction to a new world... a world composed of many different castes. There is a lot of conflict between the castes and a mystery surrounding Sen and his mother.

There are many characters and, in many books, the sheer number of characters make the story hard to follow. However, Mr. Grist's characters are fully realized to the extent that there's no confusion between them. The main character, however, is Sen and his interactions with the other characters as he searches for the truth.

Sen's journey takes him on a quest not only to discover the meanings of his scars, but the truth behind the legends and the prophecy. The action kept this reader glued to the pages. There was some laughter, there were some tears, and at the end, there was a desire to read the next book in the series.

Well done, Mr. Grist... 4 stars.


Sen bolted into action.

His shoulder took the Spindle in the gut before he even knew he was moving. It drove a grunt from the taller boy and knocked him from his feet, sending them both tumbling across the dry spring grass. More images sparked through Sen's mind, hands stretching through a fence that were his father's hands, but not, a long and shameful walk led by bloodless Molemen, an overwhelming anger rising up.

Sen fought the images back even as he scrabbled in the grass, reaching instinctively for the weapon. He'd never fought before, but while the Spindle wheezed from the blow he managed to grasp the hard metal tool, wet with blood, and pried it away with both hands. Then the Spindle's elbow found the back of his head.

It drove Sen face-first into the grass, head spinning. He felt the weapon snatched back out of his hand and rolled away, expecting another blow to fall, but none came. Looking up he saw the Spindle running away back down the path for the gates.

Sen lurched up, catching a glimpse of Sister Henderson closing in. There was no time. He started after the Spindle at a ragged sprint, down through the trail of white chalk dust the boy had left. His vision was blurry from the blow to the head, the world was turning, and his mind reeled from the strange images and anger, but he could still just pick the taller boy out. He was nearly at the gate, and all Sen wanted to do was hurt him. He pumped his elbows hard, thumped his feet down on the chalk, and reached the gates just as the Spindle was about to straddle the top.

He leapt, snagged the boy's ankle with one hand, and wrenched him off the metal. The boy windmilled down with a thud into the chalk, and Sen threw himself on top, batting away the Spindle's efforts to lash out, throwing his own wild fists at the boy's long thin face.


Michael John Grist is a 34-year old British writer and ruins photographer who lives in Tokyo, Japan. He writes dark and surreal science fiction and fantasy, inspired by authors such as David Gemmell and Orson Scott Card.

In his free time he explores and photographs abandoned places around the world, such as ruined theme parks, military bases, underground bunkers, and ghost towns. These explores have drawn millions of visitors to his website:, and often provide inspiration for his fiction.

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