The Reviews

Praise for The Flames of Shadam Khoreh

Publications

“The Lays of Anuskaya is a special series with one of the best concluding volumes in the history of epic fantasy.”
“All in all, The Lays of Anuskaya series is dark, ambitious, complex, and populated with a great cast of characters that leap off the pages. If you are looking for a quality read that’s different from everything else on the market today, this series is definitely for you.”
“In remarkably short order, Beaulieu has marked himself as an epic fantasist that any reader of the subgenre should take a look at.”
“Don’t doubt though that The Flames of Shadam Khoreh and The Lays of Anuskaya series as a whole is an excellent choice for any fantasy reader. It should stand proud in the ranks of epic fantasies that transport readers to incredible worlds that will beg for exploration long after the final page is turned.”
“The Lays of Anuskaya trilogy is one of the best new fantasy trilogies, because there are only a few [...] that have as much depth, originality and style. This trilogy is a perfect example of what a talented author can achieve when he puts his mind and heart into writing an original story.”
The Flames of Shadam Khoreh is the capstone of a landmark series full of intrigue, swashbuckling, betrayal, sacrifice, and love.”

Authors

“A marvelous accomplishment. I am so impressed with how [Beaulieu] tied everything together, giving everyone such a satisfying, noble, and strangely uplifting ending. Well, almost everyone. Let’s face it: This third book was a bloodbath.”
The Flames of Shadam Khoreh brings together everything that’s been building to an ending that I did not see coming. Fans of epic fantasy who like rich, textured, layered fantasy with strong characters and really cool magic, this is the kind of book for you. This isn’t simplistic fantasy. This is deep, rich, layered stuff. I can’t praise it enough.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to read all three books in The Lays of Anuskaya, each one better than the last, and after reading The Flames of Shadam Khoreh I’m happy to report the three-year journey was well worth the ride. If you’ve been on your own quest for the highest quality epic fantasy—for exceptional worldbuilding, character development, magic and a sense of wonder—I’m equally happy to report that you’ve found safe harbor in the work of Brad Beaulieu, and I hope you enjoy this port of call as much as I have.”
Gregory A. Wilson, Author of The Third Sign
“Beautifully written and delicious to read. It’s not that often that a series of books sweeps me away, but these books did. Highly recommended.”
“Intricate yet fast-paced, full of Byzantine politics, unexpected alliances and high-stakes action, The Flames of Shadam Khoreh is an outstanding capstone to a fully realized epic.”
Rob Ziegler, Author of Seed

Praise for The Straits of Galahesh

Publications

“Dark, ambitious, complex, populated with a great cast of characters that leap off the pages, The Straits of Galahesh is just what the doctor ordered if you are looking for a quality read that’s different from everything else on the market today. The Winds of Khalakovo turned out to be one of the very best SFF works of 2011. Somehow, Bradley P. Beaulieu has raised the bar even higher for this sequel, making The Straits of Galahesh a “must read” speculative fiction title for 2012.”
“If you’re the kind of reader who enjoys Steven Erikson’s approach of throwing readers into a setting without too much guidance and letting the story do the job of explaining the details as it progresses, you should have a great time getting to know this fantasy universe. While that happens, you’ll be treated to healthy doses of feudal and international politics, strong characters, unique magic, romance, spectacular battles on land and in the air, and a story that continues to broaden in scope. The Lays of Anuskaya is shaping up to be a fine fantasy trilogy.”
“Beaulieu presents a [...] vividly realized tale of heroes torn between duty and love.”
“In the title to this review, I called The Straits of Galahesh a Russian Bear of a novel. Like The Winds of Khalakovo, this is a thick, dense secondary world fantasy that requires a full engagement from the reader to really get the best enjoyment out of. And yes, given the stakes, and the scope of the novel, this is definitely epic fantasy.”
“If you read The Winds of Khalakovo, then you will want to read The Straits of Galahesh. If you haven’t, then buy and read them both. This one is full of excitement, suspense, and betrayal. Lots of betrayal, some intentional, some not. I’ve read a great deal of fantasy in the last year, and almost all of it was good to great. The Straits of Galahesh was one of the best.”
“Bradley P. Beaulieu’s The Winds of Khalakovo was one of the best fantasy books of 2011, so I could hardly wait to read its sequel, The Straits of Galahesh. This sequel is bigger and better than its predecessor and manages to hook the reader from the first page.”

Authors

“Reading Bradley P. Beaulieu’s The Lays of Anuskaya series is like traveling through grand undiscovered country, being in a place that is familiar enough to understand and different enough to amaze. […] The Straits of Galahesh continues the breakneck pace of a fight for an entire world, touched by passion, love, and loyalty. As a reader, almost every chapter added to my sense of wonder and realization. I can’t recommend this fabulous fantasy series highly enough. Read it.”
“With The Straits of Galahesh, Beaulieu returns to the vibrant fantasy he introduced in The Winds of Khalakovo. A gritty book packed with big ideas and Byzantine politics, and inhabited by compellingly flawed heroes, Straits is the sort of fully realized epic one can sink into for days. It sings with action, magic, and heart—the perfect second act in a brilliant series.”
—Rob Ziegler, Author of Seed
“Anyone who still believes epic fantasy is stuck in a familiar rut, devoid of innovation, needs to strap on a scimitar and stand next to author Brad Beaulieu on the deck of one of the windships which soar through the pages of The Straits of Galahesh. Beaulieu has already proven that the right combination of complex worldbuilding, compelling characters and supremely confident storytelling can combine to produce a exceptional book; but with this superb sequel to The Winds of Khalakovo, he’s also proving that he can deliver an exceptional series. Whether you’re a novice to the field or a grizzled veteran of epic fantasy, this is a breath of fresh air and a sign of good things to come. Either way, you’re in for a wild, exhilarating ride.” Gregory A. Wilson, Author of The Third Sign

Praise for The Winds of Khalakovo

Publications

Authors

Publications

“Debut novelist Beaulieu paints a detailed and realistic portrayal of individual fates bound up in social responsibilities as well-grounded cultures clash… The prose is often poetic—airborne skiffs under attack “dropped like kingfishers” and “twisted in the air like maple seeds”—and the characters have welcome depth.”
“Overlaid with the rich feel of Cyrillic culture, Beaulieu’s debut introduces a fascinating world of archipelagic realms and shamanic magic worked primarily by women. VERDICT Strong characters and a plot filled with tension and difficult choices make this a good option for fantasy fans.”
“Since creating the Hotlist, I’ve come across some incredibly talented fantasy debut authors. One only has to think of Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, Naomi Novik, Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss, Hal Duncan, Brian Ruckley, and many more. Well, Bradley P. Beaulieu has the potential to be as good, or even better, than any of them.”
“The Winds of Khalakovo is high fantasy full of magic, swashbuckling, and political intrigue. I applaud what he’s done here and can’t wait to see what’s next.”
“All in all, The Winds of Khalakovo is an amazing first volume in what may become a series to challenge more established epic fantasy series like A Song of Ice and Fire and Malazan Book of the Fallen. However, at this stage, I dare not make such a lofty claim just yet. The Winds of Khalakovo was not without its minor flaws, but this near-perfect novel promises a bright future for Beaulieu’s The Lays of Anuskaya. If you are a fan of the epic fantasy genre, you should definitely give this book a chance.
“If there is any justice in this world whatsoever, this book will be short-listed on next year’s Hugo ballot.”
The Winds of Khalakovo is a satisfying entry into the Epic Fantasy fold that may seem familiar in some ways, but Beaulieu takes those familiarities and evolves them with his own unique and complex flair. I give The Winds of Khalakovo 8.5 out of 10 hats.”
“Put simply, this is a great, intelligent novel, set in a fully-realised and complex world. [...] Highly original and engaging, The Winds of Khalakovo is one of the best debuts of this year, which also shows room for growth and expansion. Highly recommended.”
“I was impressed by the skill and creativity displayed by Bradley P. Beaulieu in his debut. In particular, I enjoyed the author’s accessible writing style, was drawn to his compelling main characters, and found the novel’s unique setting and unpredictable story refreshing and exciting. In short, Bradley P. Beaulieu is another terrific addition to the Night Shade lineup, while The Winds of Khalakovo is one of the year’s better fantasy debuts…”
The Winds of Khalokovo is filled with clean prose, intelligent language, and brilliant imagination. Reading this fantasy was like sinking my teeth into a rich and exotic dessert.”
“Without a doubt one of the best fantasy debuts of 2011. [...] The Winds of Khalokovo is an exciting, exotic and captivating debut fantasy book, which combines several different elements in an entertaining way. The author has created a richly-detailed fantasy world which will fascinate fantasy readers and keep them glued to the book. Highly recommended.”
The Winds of Khalakovo is a very praise-worthy debut, one championed by an engaging story, strong believable characters and a richly detailed world. Beaulieu shows readers here that he plans on making a name for himself in the fantasy genre, and he has every right to if he continues to write books like this one. The Wind of Khalakovo begins an all new series, which after this first book promises very good things indeed. A highly recommendable debut.”
“There is a lot here for epic fantasy fans to sink their teeth into. As I said in the opening to this review, Beaulieu has taken the opportunity to mine some unexplored veins for ideas in this secondary world. There is a genius to use Russian culture on a world template—an archipelago, very different than one might expect in a Russian culture inspired novel.”
“One of the main elements of this novel that really had us nodding in appreciation was the setting. The use of an archipelago for the country/kingdom felt fresh. Beaulieu focuses on one main area, while still giving subtle nods to a much larger world. The use of airships in this novel was very well done, and felt completely natural. Mainly though, it was the inclusion of two distinct cultures that was fantastic. The character Nikandr Khalakovo and his betrothed Atiana Vostroma are very Russian, from traditions to language, to dress. It comes across smoothly and effortlessly. The other main culture is the nomadic Aramahn who feel extremely Middle Eastern influenced—perhaps Turkish or Persian. What is impressive is how these two wildly different cultures can coexist in this novel and feel natural together. “
“In short, it was brilliant and I loved it. [...] Once I finally got my head around this though (and the unfamiliar Russian names), Winds became extremely rewarding and engrossing. The mysterious nature of the aether, the hazhan and the role of Nasim to both the characters and myself as the reader gave a much greater weight and realism to the story.”
“Beaulieu has written an incredibly complex novel filled with rich cultural detail and plenty of symbolism. In fact, many reviewers have compared The Winds of Khalakovo to Steven Erikson’s Malazan novels in world building, meaning that readers might often have to go back to catch details they might have previously missed. This complex world building is a huge undertaking on the part of the author and could possibly serve to delight readers. Regardless of how you crack this egg, having your debut book compared to Steven Erikson’s Malazan books is one hell of an accomplishment. For fans of complex worlds and books that set an impressive foundation for an incredibly promising epic fantasy series, you need look no further than The Winds of Khalakovo. Despite its flaws, it’s a book to pay attention to written by an author worth noting.”
“Another thing that makes Winds stand out to me is the fact that is does not borrow Orcs, or Elves, or Dwarves. It includes the landed of the great duchies, who are only very loosely based on Tsarist Russia, who I thought were mostly pretty cool, except for amazing standout characters like Nikandr, Atiana, and Victania, but more importantly it included the fascinating Aramahn, a culture that was part Indian Hindi, part Arabic Muslim, and part Japanese Buddhist, whose religion, or more specifically, spiritual system of beliefs, was what really drove this story for me. Its key characters were the morally conflicted Rehada, the vaguely autistic Nasim, his guide and elder Ashan, and the clearly devout, confused, radical, and yet still sympathetic Soroush. The Aramahn really made this book for me, and I look forward to the subsequent volumes in which I hope they will explored even more deeply.”
“The setting here is a unique one. The place names and character names give The Winds of Khalakovo a distinct Russian feel, and the windswept archipelago geography is pretty cool too. I gotta give Beaulieu credit, he definitely found his story a unique setting without pushing epic fantasy readers too far outside of their usual European-like setting comfort zone. That said, there were a lot of the same elements that we see played out repeatedly in the genre at play here as well. Beaulieu does play with and challenge a few of these norms though, especially in terms of his female characters, and I for one was greatly pleased. Personally, I’d love to see more authors do the same thing as Beaulieu has done, but push the normative boundaries even further.”
“An Adventure From Page One Until the Very Last Word.”
The Winds of Khalakovo is the opening part of a series with limitless potential. I have super high hopes for the sequel, The Straits of Galahesh which was just recently released. Beaulieu has created a tremendously original world inhabited by compelling characters. What is not to love about a fantasy novel inhabited by airship flying Russians? The Winds of Khalakovo is a challenging read but it is certainly worth giving a chance and I am confident that Beaulieu can address the concerns present, and carry on all the stronger.”

Authors

“Elegantly crafted, refreshingly creative, The Winds of Khalakovo offers a compelling tale of men and women fighting to protect their world. Politics, faith, betrayal, sacrifice, and of course supernatural mystery—it’s all there, seamlessly combined in a tale driven by intelligent and passionate characters whose relationships and goals a reader can really care about. A great read!”
“Well worth exploring… Beaulieu [depicts] a strange culture [with] a remarkable fantasy/magical reality feel.”
“Bradley P. Beaulieu is a welcome addition to the roster of new fantasy novelists. The Winds of Khalakovo is a sharp and original fantasy full of action, intrigue, romance, politics, mystery and magick, tons of magick. The boldly imagined new world and sharply drawn characters will pull you into The Winds of Khalakovo and won’t let you go until the last page.”
“Sailing ships of the sky! Bradley P. Beaulieu’s The Winds of Khalakovo is an energetic, swashbuckling novel with a distinctive flavor, a lush setting, and a plot filled with adventure, interesting characters, and intrigue. Exactly the kind of fantasy I like to read.”
“In The Winds of Khalakovo Beaulieu navigates through a web of complex characters . . . dukes, duchesses, lovers, and more, while building a rich and intricate world thick with intrigue. He plots the course of Nikandr Iaroslov Khalakovo, a prince laden with disease and courtly responsibilities, and deftly brings the tale to a satisfying end that leaves the reader hungry for the next installment. Beaulieu is a writer that bears watching. I look forward to his next novel.”
“If Anton Chekhov had thought to stage The Three Sisters onboard a windship, with a mix of Arabian Nights and Minority Report thrown in for good measure, the result would have been Bradley Beaulieu’s The Winds of Khalakovo—a startling combination of fantastic elements which seems at once both comfortably familiar and refreshingly new. It’s a wild ride well worth taking, and an exceptional debut from an author who takes risks and consistently delivers.”
Gregory A. Wilson, Author of The Third Sign
The Winds of Khalakovo by Bradley P. Beaulieu is awesome epic fantasy with a Russian Czarist slant by an award-winning author. A Song of Ice and Fire meets Earthsea in this highly original and exciting novel set in the Grand Duchy of Anuskaya, an archipelago of bitterly cold islands where flying ships soar on dangerous winds. “Life in the bleak islands was already difficult before the wasting disease blighted the land and started killing the inhabitants. No one knows what has caused the blight, or that Prince Nikandr Khalakovo has been afflicted by it. Nikandr has been hiding the illness for months and his betrothed, the strong-willed Atiana Vostroma does not realize that she will marry a dying man who is in love with a darkly beautiful Aramahn woman, Rehada, who keeps many secrets from her aristocratic lover. “Atiana, Rehada, and Nikandr are all strong point of view characters who power the plot of this fast-paced novel full of spectacular imagery and emotional punch. The book is rooted with realistic characters in a harsh world that can only be tamed by the elemental magic practiced by the Landless Aramahn, who specialize in air, earth, fire, water and the stuff of life as they wander the world seeking knowledge and wisdom. Also fascinating were the Matri, the matriarchs of the great families who submerge themselves in freezing water and leave their bodies to navigate the dangerous aether and help guide the wind ships that follow the ley lines that connect the islands. “Winds is a page-turner with twists, turns and palpable danger as Nikandr risks everything to protect a young Aramahn boy, an autistic savant, who may be the key to healing the blight. Atiana struggles to stay loyal to her family and the man she is supposed to marry. Rehada is very conflicted and perhaps the most interesting of the three, especially when she uses her magic to bond with the suurahezhan, or fire spirit. “Civil war and the violent Maharraht, a splinter faction of the noble Aramahn, provide plenty of conflict as Nikandr, Atiana, and Rehada fight for what they love in this exceptional novel. “Highly recommended.”
Paul Genesse, Author of The Golden Cord