The Tempered Steel of Antiquity Grey

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Pub Date Sep 07 2021 | Archive Date Nov 15 2021

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"It's a perfect post-apocalyptic mech-filled SF adventure―like Pierce Brown's Red Rising meets Robotech.“ ―Aidan Moher

Forever shamed for family actions a century earlier, Antiquity Grey is a young woman living in a far-future city of Erth. It is a life of danger and hardship, dragons and advanced technology.

But when she discovers an outlawed and operational mech buried in the sands of her planet, she realizes its secrets hold the power to reverse her family’s dishonor while challenging the Imperium’s off-world oppressive might. The Imperium is not so willing to loosen its grip, needing Erth’s valuable titanium resources at a time when war spreads among the stars. In response, the Governor of Erth sends Star Sentinel―his mightiest mech, which nothing can stand against―after Antiquity.

As she flees into the wilderness in a desperate attempt to uncover the secrets of her past and free an entire planet, Antiquity learns friendship can mean more than family, even the hardest heart of an enemy can soften, and adventure is not what she thought it would be.

"It's a perfect post-apocalyptic mech-filled SF adventure―like Pierce Brown's Red Rising meets Robotech.“ ―Aidan Moher

Forever shamed for family actions a century earlier, Antiquity Grey is a young...

Advance Praise

"An engaging set of protagonists, hidden knowledge, and lost technology regained, in a story that unreels like a SF TV series you would binge in one night!" ―Robin Hobb

"Thrilling, unputdownable, bursting with sense of wonder... The Tempered Steel of Antiquity Grey is a marvel. Teenaged-me would have went absolutely apeshit for this book, and actually adult-me kind of did too." ―John Joseph Adams

"Speakman is a writer on the rise and Antiquity Grey is his best creation yet. Do yourself a favor. Read this book. It is terrific." ―Terry Brooks

"The Tempered Steel of Antiquity Grey kicks off a fierce fight for freedom on an Erth ground under the heel of its star-faring oppressors, action packed as Star Wars, wielding tech as muscular as Iron Man, but centering on a young girl and her diverse circle of friends. What's not to love?" ―Janny Wurts

"A wild ride on a horse that's part Star Wars, part Avatar." ―Mark Lawrence

"It’s a perfect post-apocalyptic mech-filled SF adventure―like Pierce Brown’s Red Rising meets Robotech.“ ―Aidan Moher

"An engaging set of protagonists, hidden knowledge, and lost technology regained, in a story that unreels like a SF TV series you would binge in one night!" ―Robin Hobb

"Thrilling, unputdownable...

Marketing Plan

$5,000 marketing and publicity budget

Key online advertising on Shelf Awareness to booksellers and librarians. Additional advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Two Ask Me Anything events on Reddit's r/Books (19.3 million) and r/Fantasy(1.4 million) communities

ARC Giveaways: On Goodreads, Reddit, Grim Oak Press, and Shelf Awareness, as well as on the websites for Robin Hobb and Terry Brooks

eARCs available on Shelf Awareness and NetGalley

Virtual Bookstore Tour with New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks as moderator

$5,000 marketing and publicity budget

Key online advertising on Shelf Awareness to booksellers and librarians. Additional advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Two Ask Me Anything events on...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781944145743
PRICE $28.00 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)

Average rating from 50 members

Featured Reviews

Many thanks to NetGalley and Grim Oak Press for this Advanced Readers Copy.

This was a book I devoured pretty much all in one sitting. I have never been a big fan of dystopian, sci-fi'ish type stories, but this one grabbed me by the eyes, and took me for a ride. Speakman's writing style is easy to read and has a rhythm that keeps the story driving along. Character building wasn't the best, and would have appreciated maybe some more detail. However, the story rolled along well. I didn't get the impression this was NOT a stand-alone story until I was about 2/3 of the way through, so be prepared for a wait for additional titles in this series. Overall, I felt it was a good read and would easily recommend for YA or older readers.

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This is a YA/soft SFF/dystopian novel set far in the future on Erth (could be our future of Earth or just loosely based on Earth). Without giving away too many spoilers, the people of Erth have been conquered by the Imperium and live under their oppressive rule. The story is told from the POV of Antiquity Grey, so named 'Grey' for her ancestors failure to defeat the Imperium over a 100 years ago and now forced to live among her people in shame and disgrace. She is rebellious and struggles to come to terms with her family's low status and the hardships they face. Often venturing out into the desert sands (with her friend and protector Chekker, a spherical bot) she discovers an ancient mech - which changes the course of not only her future, but potentially the whole world.

I really thought the world building was brilliant - many rich and varied cultures as well as an exciting history (I love stories that have interesting origins) and I thought it was a good balance of sci-fi and fantasy - you have bots as well as dragons! It is packed full of strong female characters and great friendships. One of my favourite characters was Sadiya, a mysterious arabi woman who often speaks in riddles and proverbs and you aren't quite sure whether to trust her or not.

There is a lot of action for such a relatively short story, which I thoroughly enjoyed and binge read over a few days.

The story itself spans only a few weeks and I did find myself thinking that some of the outcomes/character growths were a little unrealistic in that time span but other than that it was a great story! Looking forward to reading more of this world in the future!

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Well paced read that kept me on the edge of my seat! Lovely diversity of cultures and characters. Loved to see how each of them overcame obstacles.

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Antiquity Grey has always known that Grey is not her last name but what she is called due to some family disgrace in the past. Her parents were murdered and she has been raised by her grandmother. Even though she is forbidden to be educated her grandmother has secretly taught her about history and how the "Erth" has come to be ruled by an alien race from the universe. While exploring in the desert near her home she finds a mech in the sand. This is one of the mechanical Robots that defended the planet long ago. Unearthing the Mech sets off an adventure of world changing importance. Antiquity and her friends must rally to fight against the Imperium to free Erth from their grip and restore her family name.
This is an exciting adventure and a thrilling read! I look forward to the next book in the series!!!

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Do you like space fantasy such as Star Wars? Monster movies featuring creatures like King Kong or Godzilla? Giant Mechs? This is the book for you. The titular character, Antiquity, is something of an outcast and she definitely wasn’t supposed to find an outlawed and still operational mech. From there, the fun keeps coming in this non stop high titanium ride sci-fi extravaganza as Antiquity faces up to the lions of injustice. Really enjoyed this fast paced sff romp.

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Received ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Netgalley & Grim Oak Press.

Antiquity finds a giant mechanical robot (mech) in the desert which starts her journey into rebelling against the Imperium. I liked the concept and has good components - there are giant mechanical robots, little bots, dragons, two enemies united, a dystopian society. However, it lacked character development, it felt that characters were introduced just for the sake of it, or just in passing and focused more on the travelling than the characters on that journey. The main character, Antiquity, is willful but most of the book was spent following Sadiya around who spoke in annoying riddles all the time. I liked the beginning and end where Antiquity was doing more of her own plan rather than just naively going along with what Sadiya tells her.

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Wow! This book was ethereal, so vivid and engaging. Definitely would recommend!! The characters and story were well written and skilfully crafted

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Antiquity gray has grown up without a last name her whole life. Then one day she finds a forbidden mech while scavenging in the dessert near her home. This begins a mission that will take her on a journey of self discovery as well as the freedom of her past but also of that of her future. I loved the story it was well written with some original concepts as well as great storytelling with real characters and the writer made everything easy to read and understand. I can't wait for the next book in the series. I would highly recommend it.

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Not sure where the Red Rising comparison came in? Tech, Space, Castes? Without the comparison is a good YA dystopian sci-fi with mech, a solid cast of characters, and hope for overcoming.

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This book is part sci fi, part dystopian with a futuristic " Erth " as its setting. Antiquity comes from a long reviled family who are forbidden from using their rightful name and are instead considered Grey shamed. Her ancestor apparently disappeared during a war with the Celestrials and now Erth has been conquered. When Antiquity finds a lost Mech she unknowingly sets in motion a journey of many challenges but also one of great loss !
Ok I've read the reviews for this and there are several glowing endorsements from highly respected authors but for me personally this certainly whilst good was not perfect. I enjoyed the beginning with Antiquity thinking for herself but thought there were far too many characters sending her hither and yon whilst admitting to her that they were withholding secrets ! I found this meant I viewed Antiquity as weak and easily led at times by a very annoying supporting cast.
The ensemble cast includes a nasty bully suddenly turned ally , a mystic whose abilities were not really explained, two persecuted girls and perhaps most fun to read about a small mechanical bot that resembled a football ! Oh and of course the giant Mech that the cover hints at although it wasn't sentient so is it really a character ?
I've seen comparisons to Pacific Rim , Godzilla and even Star Wars but to my mind this downtrodden society felt more like Mad Max with lawless scavengers and every man seemingly for himself. What was a hugely welcome surprise was the fact that somehow oddly the author managed to include Dragons ! This is sci fi so obviously I suspend belief to a point but there's certainly a lot thrown in here and you won't guess what type of entity Antiquity decides to save as the ends nears !
Bottom line is I did enjoy this in spite of being frustrated by Antiquity being sent on a journey without being told exactly what she was looking for. I adored that she took a strong stance at the end and think anyone looking for a new YA read with a difference should certainly give this new to me author a go.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair

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"The Tempered Steel of Antiquity Grey" is a pretty fantastic YA sci-fi/fantasy mix that I thoroughly enjoyed. It has a great plot (which hooks you from the first page), fascinating characters (who never grow dull), and is written very well. The world in this book is perfectly crafted, with plenty of atmosphere. Can't wait for the second book!

My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.

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Family secrets sometimes surprise even those who are involved in them. Because of secrets revealed to her, a young teen receives pressure to succeed and the drive to save her whole town in The Tempered Steel of Antiquity Grey by Shawn Speakman. The heroine finds a gigantic robot buried in the sand near her home, which causes her grandmother to tell her the story of her destiny. What follows is a pilgrimage to find answers which may save her threatened village. Antiquity enlists her best friends and also picks up some odd balls along the way. This group comes together to learn the skills needed in the exotic lands that they visit. Be aware that there is a glossary in the back of the book that can aid in grasping the science fiction and fantasy terms specific to this novel. I appreciated the pace of this story, seldom slowing down for descriptions of the world in which the group was traveling. Consequently, the characters had little grieving or discussion of how they were handling all the changes in their lives which was somewhat unrealistic to me. However, I believe there is plenty of room for sequels and plenty of folks in the characters’ family trees for a prequel. Think of it as a cross between Arabian Nights and Transformers, but with a lot more female characters. I enjoyed this book and look forward to others in the world, and am thankful for an ecopy from NetGalley which I received for an honest review.

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Antiquity Grey bears the name grey, a label given to disgraced families in the land of Solomon Fray on Erth. In the desert, one day, she finds a long-buried Mech that will toss her into a battle to free her world—woven into a story that draws you in from the moment the Mech is uncovered and keeps you turning pages as Antiquity battles to fight for a better world. A world currently controlled by Dreadths who have ruled and done everything in their power to drag her family through the mud.

With Antiquity discovery, she unlocks a power she has never known before and will use it to unite those who want freedom from the Imperium and dreadths of the world. Enemies will need to set aside differences to unearth the rot that has invested Solomon Frey. New allies will emerge, and from the dust will arise a stronger nongrey version of Antiquity. Antiquity asks those who survived one question "Will you fight and be free beside me?"

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This book was unexpectedly refreshing! I think that in the beginning I thought it would be quite a generic sci-fi story, but I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the world-building and of the story after the initial set-up chapters of the story.

My single complaint is that there are a lot of old, wise mentor-type characters that the protagonists encounter who info-dump and then give the protagonists a quest that they “must uncover on their own” rather saying things outright. I think if it happened only once, it would be forgivable; however, that was not the case.

I think that this is the type of story that many readers will just sit back and read for the enjoyment/escapism. However, I wanted to point out that there was also some explicit thematic commentary present in the story due the parallels to real-world politics in the Middle East. I have never read another SFF book inspired by modern day middle eastern politics, and I think that there are people who would enjoy the representation of those aspects in an SFF story.

All-in-all, this is a very approachable book in the tradition of Star Wars, and I would recommend to both YA and adult audiences.

I'll be keeping an eye out for subsequent books in the series, and I would like to thank NetGalley for giving me the arc in exchange for an honest review!

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This was purely a cover/title request and I don’t regret it at all! I mean, who can resist a book about a girl with an illegal mech trying to overthrow the oppressive ruling class? Certainly not me!

Antiquity Grey is a headstrong, inquisitive girl and during one of her many explorations, she uncovers a mech in the desert. Turns out it was the mech that her grandmother had piloted during the war, but it was sabotaged and it appeared that she had fled the battle she was about to enter. Thus was Antiquity’s family grey-shamed, their name and power stripped and forgotten by all.

Of course Antiquity pilots the found mech into the city to be seen by all. She naively thinks people will be happy, but it only terrifies them for the danger it presents. When she must flee for her life, she’s joined by two of her childhood friends and one of her enemies. They meet fascinating people along the way and must stay ahead of the ever-present danger that lurks behind them.

The Tempered Steel of Antiquity Grey is a good book somewhere between YA and Adult fantasy and will appeal to both audiences. The characters may be teens, but the plot is quite serious in nature and fortunately doesn’t have any of the YA tropes that can be a big turn off to some readers. While I didn’t immediately connect with the characters I did grow to like them as the story progressed and they became more three dimensional. I like the blend of sci-fi and fantasy elements – mechs, dragons, and oppressors who live in the stars made the story extra special. I’m not 100% I’ll continue on with the series, but this was pretty enjoyable.

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This book will take you for an adventure where you will find an interesting past, a new quest to save the world and a legendary great grandmother. It is a fun blend of science fiction and fantasy (more towards sci-fi). The premise is good and makes one wanna read the book, but the real deal is even better, it turns out to be a page-turner read with excitement, action and adventure though unknown.
Avoiding Spoilers, the world this book is based on is ruled by an evil ruler, Imperium, who defeated the ancestors of the natives over a 100 years ago and now their families lived a life of shame. Grey being a rebel and just character was fed up of this shame and disgraceful life, it took a change for better. When she finds her great-grandmother's mech in a desert, she decides to fight Imperium and take back their world.
The book 1 was really good and I am looking forward towards the 2nd installment.

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I feel like this book tried to do too much with too little. The world that Speakman has created seems quite large, but is never explored as fully as it could have been. I wanted more explanations for the way things worked, why things are the way they are, and why I should care what happens. There is just too much here with the mix of both sci-fi and fantasy without any of the best parts of either.

The characters also fell flat for me, and left me disengaged from their struggles and conflicts to the point where I was indifferent to how the story would end.

I feel like this would have been better served as a short story or a novella than a full length novel.

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"If the Imperium wants you, you are friends walking among my path."
Antiquity nodded. "And where does that path take you?"
"To freedom"

A space adventure perfect for fans of Star Wars and Pacific Rim!
THE TEMPERED STEEL OF ANTIQUITY GREY offers a fast paced entertaining read with mysterious family secrets, charismatic characters, cool giant robots and DRAGONS!
I personally liked this one A LOT.
Setted on a distant planet being ruled by a tyranic empire, the respective rebellion must resist and fight to regain the authonomy of ther home using the long lost technology of a giant mechanical vessel that shares a deep conection with its pilot.
The group of heroes must start a journey through inclement deserts, giant tree forests and dark caves inhabited by dangerous creatures being guided by old recordings of their ancestors in order to find this ancient power that will help them defeat their oppressors.
Also references social issues like discriminiation, intolerance and culture clash with characters from different environments coming together for a bigger cause setting aside their differences; also featuring a slowburn enemies-to-friends (to hopefully lovers in the future) trope.
Very much entertainig and the writting style is so smooth anyone can read it.
Highly highly recommended!

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