The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy #1) by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

A Steamroller of Weird Fantasy

The Gutter Prayer is an amazing debut novel from an author who has made a living writing RPG and whose work may be well recognized by gamers. You can find his Wiki page here. It has apparently served him well if The Gutter Prayer is any indication.

This book takes the typical trope of the wayward, desperate, poor who topple the mightiest in power, and raises it to a whole new level. The entire volume exudes the massive amount magic within. Each main character, initially remains either unaware of their potential or has no idea they even have such. The reader will go through the changes and events with them that shape the plot, and only learns what they do as it happens. This is one of my favorite writing styles. Gareth Hanrahan had years of experience in taking gamers through adventures, all this this definitely shows in his debut fantasy novel, revealing the story through the actions and consequences of the protagonists and antagonists within it. Full of unique characters and highly imagined creatures, the originality is refreshing.

The blurb sets the basics quite well. The best part is the surprises that the author keeps coming. Once the action has reached its boiling point, you’ll be heavily invested in the characters and storyline. Even if the astute reader manages to figure out who the real enemy is, it will still keep you riveted as the action plays out.

This is an amazing read you don’t want to pass up on if you like dark fantasy. The setting has a cross between black powder, alchemy, and steampunk industrialization. The pacing is fast and action packed, the characters are extremely well realized and the story is great. The writing is smooth, easy to fall into and will shock you unexpectedly at times.

This could well be my favorite debut of 2019 to date. Highly recommended.

I don’t often use editorial reviews as part of a review, but if they pique your interest, then they’ve done their job well. Here are some excellent ones for The Gutter Prayer I couldn’t resist sharing.

Editorial Reviews

“The Gutter Prayer is captivating and complex. Guerdon is a city that seethes with history, horror, and hidden secrets, and Hanrahan’s assured style is reminiscent of China Mievelle in the best way possible.”―Nicholas Eames, author of Kings of the Wyld

“A gripping tale that meshes beautifully with its fascinating, darkly inventive setting.”―James Islington, author of The Shadow of What Was Lost

“Employing an enviable skill with both plotting and prose, Gareth Hanrahan has inThe Gutter Prayer woven an intricate and finely crafted web of compelling characters navigating a city rich in dark and original wonders. I await the sequel with the keenest anticipation.”―Anthony Ryan, author of Blood Song

“Beautifully written. Gripping. Guerdon is the city of my dreams.”―Anna Smith Spark, author of The Court of Broken Knives

“Laced with the blackest of humor and packed with magic and mayhem, this is fantasy turned up to 11.”―Anna Stephens, author of Godblind

“A groundbreaking and extraordinary novel . . .Hanrahan has an astonishing imagination.”―Peter McLean, author of Priest of Bones

“This is genre-defying fantasy at its very best. An absolutely stunning debut. Insanely inventive and deeply twisted. I loved it! Highly recommended.”―Michael R. Fletcher, author of Beyond Redemption

“With living candles, ancient ghouls, broken gods, and more, The Gutter Prayer brims with cool and often twisted ideas.”―Peter Newman, author of The Vagrant

“Hanrahan brings the sights, sounds, and smells of Guerdon to life with crisp, lyrical prose that moves swiftly between thrilling action sequences and imaginative worldbuilding.”―Publishers Weekly

“A wonderfully bizarre vision, The Gutter Prayer reads like a collaboration between Hunter S. Thompson and H.P. Lovecraft.”―The Guardian

A group of three young thieves are pulled into a centuries old magical war between ancient beings, mages, and humanity in this wildly original debut epic fantasy.

Enter a city of saints and thieves . . .The city of Guerdon stands eternal. A refuge from the war that rages beyond its borders. But in the ancient tunnels deep beneath its streets, a malevolent power has begun to stir.

The fate of the city rests in the hands of three thieves. They alone stand against the coming darkness. As conspiracies unfold and secrets are revealed, their friendship will be tested to the limit. If they fail, all will be lost, and the streets of Guerdon will run with blood.*The Gutter Prayer is an epic tale of sorcerers and thieves, treachery and revenge, from a remarkable new voice in fantasy.

About this book:

A group of three young thieves are pulled into a centuries old magical war between ancient beings, mages, and humanity in this wildly original debut epic fantasy.

The city has always been. The city must finally end.

When three thieves – an orphan, a ghoul, and a cursed man – are betrayed by the master of the thieves guild, their quest for revenge uncovers dark truths about their city and exposes a dangerous conspiracy, the seeds of which were sown long before they were born.


Cari is a drifter whose past and future are darker than she can know.

Rat is a Ghoul, whose people haunt the city’s underworld.

Spar is a Stone Man, subject to a terrible disease that is slowly petrifying his flesh.

Chance has brought them together, but their friendship could be all that stands in the way of total armageddon.


  • Series: The Black Iron Legacy (Book 1)51TDCR11O0L._SY346_
  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (January 22, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316525316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316525312




Click the cover to get your copy.


51E6dIhl5AL._US230_About the author:

Gareth Hanrahan’s three-month break from computer programming to concentrate on writing has now lasted fifteen years and counting. He’s written more gaming books than he can readily recall, by virtue of the alchemical transmutation of tea and guilt into words. He lives in Ireland with his wife and twin sons. Follow him on twitter @mytholder.

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