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The Poisoned Quarrel tries too hard to emulate George RR Martin

The Poisoned Quarrel (Complete Edition)

by Duncan Lay

Momentum Books

Sci Fi & Fantasy, General Fiction (Adult)

Pub Date 30 Jun 2016


I was not impressed by The Poisoned Quarrel. Despite trying time and again to immerse myself in the story, I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t like any of the characters, even the “good” guys Bridgit and Fallon. Brendan and his constant, barely suppressed rage was distasteful in the extreme. The story moves at a glacial pace alternating between Fallon and his crew, Swane and Duchess Dina, and the Kottermani princess. Duncan Lay tries to emulate the vast machinations of George RR Martin, but the story isn’t interesting enough to compare. On the one hand, you have Swane scheming to retake the throne (easily falling under Duchess Dina’s seductive influence). On the other you have Bridgit and Fallon planning for a famine as the guilds and magic users have left. While it may have worked for a serial, the slow pace and lack of a clear story arc doesn’t work for a novel.

Perhaps I would feel differently had I read Lay’s previous work. Normally I enjoy epic fantasy a great deal, but The Poisoned Quarrel couldn’t retain my attention. Rarely do I not finish a novel, but in this case, I could only get around halfway through.


I received a copy of The Poisoned Quarrel from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



Beset on all sides, one husband and wife are all that stand between a kingdom and its destruction.

Fallon and Bridgit are reunited at last, but time is still against them. Having evaded treachery, escaped slavery, and thwarted a hostile invasion, they now find themselves in the eye of a ferocious military and political storm.

In the east, Swane is gathering an army of desperate men to retake the throne. In the west, the Kottermani princess is planning to bring the full force of the Empire down on Gaelland in an effort to free her husband, Prince Kemal. And under their very noses, the Duchess Dina's agents are hard at work turning the people against Fallon and his friends. But worse than this, Bridgit begins to fear her husband may not be the best man to lead the country after all.

Together against the odds, Fallon and Bridgit must dare to hope they can make the late Prince Cavan's vision for a fair and free Gaelland come true. But will the price be too high to pay?

An epic fantasy perfect for fans of George RR Martin, David Gemmell and Raymond E. Feist.

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