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Extended Audio Sample Low Town: A Novel Audiobook, by Daniel Polansky Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.84 out of 53.84 out of 53.84 out of 53.84 out of 53.84 out of 5 3.84 (25 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Daniel Polansky Narrator: Rob Shapiro Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Low Town Series Release Date: August 2011 ISBN: 9780307934291
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In the forgotten back alleys and flophouses that lie in the shadows of Rigus, the finest city of the Thirteen Lands, you will find Low Town. It is an ugly place, and its cham­pion is an ugly man. Disgraced intelligence agent. Forgotten war hero. Independent drug dealer. After a fall from grace five years ago, a man known as the Warden leads a life of crime, addicted to cheap violence and expensive drugs. Every day is a constant hustle to find new customers and protect his turf from low-life competition like Tancred the Harelip and Ling Chi, the enigmatic crime lord of the heathens. 

The Warden’s life of drugged iniquity is shaken by his dis­covery of a murdered child down a dead-end street . . . set­ting him on a collision course with the life he left behind. As a former agent with Black House—the secret police—he knows better than anyone that murder in Low Town is an everyday thing, the kind of crime that doesn’t get investi­gated. To protect his home, he will take part in a dangerous game of deception between underworld bosses and the psy­chotic head of Black House, but the truth is far darker than he imagines. In Low Town, no one can be trusted. 

Daniel Polansky has crafted a thrilling novel steeped in noir sensibilities and relentless action, and set in an original world of stunning imagination, leading to a gut-wrenching, unforeseeable conclusion. Low Town is an attention-grabbing debut that will leave readers riveted . . . and hun­gry for more.

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Quotes & Awards

  • For a first-time author, Polansky has managed to craft an assured, roaring, and rollicking hybrid, a cross-genre free-for-all that relishes its tropes while spitting out their bones. And he does it all while spinning one hell of a gripping mystery. Much like its grim, perversely charismatic antihero, Low Town stakes a narrow turf—then completely owns every inch of it.” The A.V. Club (The Onion)
  • Festooned with sorcerers and demons in a pre-industrial otherworld setting, Low Town…is a fantasy-crime hybrid with serious noir chops…Gritty, cryptically funny and relentlessly inventive. Winnipeg Free Press
  • Low Town is a strong, confident debut that should go down well with readers who enjoy their fantasy on the noir side. It’s a novel you can enjoy for its atmosphere as well as its story, full as it is of well-drawn scenes from the city’s underbelly.…Low Town delivers a fast, entertaining story in less pages than it takes some major epics to get out of the realm of basic exposition. I had a blast with Low Town, and I’m definitely keeping an eye out for whatever Daniel Polansky comes up with next. Tor.com
  • If you like noir and hard-boiled mysteries, you might want to give Low Town a chance. You’ll definitely find it darkly rewarding.” New York Journal of Books
  • Polansky hits all the right notes in his intelligent first novel, a blend of dystopian fantasy and hard-boiled crime....Sharp, noir-tinged dialogue and astute insights into class struggle mark Polansky as a writer with a future. Publishers Weekly
  • A strong debut novel with a hero who doesn’t waste time worrying about the moral implications of cutting someone’s throat. Kirkus
  • Polansky's writing is confident and punchy from the offset. The action rips along at a brilliant pace allowing us to experience this gritty world through the eyes of a thrilling, dangerous, flawed, yet strangely endearing protagonist. This is modern, dark fantasy at its best and a debut to be envied. British Fantasy Society
  • Quite brilliant...[Low Town] is as good a debut as I've read in along time. [It] has it all - and as the name suggests, it is sharp, steely and viciously bloody. Highly recommended. John Berlyne, SF Revu

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brennan Griffin | 2/18/2014

    " Noir fantasy done better than I've seen it done before. Quite good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Craig | 2/12/2014

    " Really enjoyed this one. I've tried to read a number of the new breed of "dark, noir-tinged fantasy" novels that seems to have cropped up in the past few years, books by authors like Joe Abercrombie, Richard Morgan, etc., but this is the first one I've been hooked into and kept reading. The book follows a man called the Warden, a former agent of the crown's secret police (or Black House) who now makes his living as a low-level crime lord/drug dealer in the slums (Low Town) of the capital city of Rigus, as he investigates the murders of a number of children. Managing to track down one of the killers, he witnesses first-hand as the man is killed by some sort of supernatural creature, similar to something he'd seen many years before on the battlefield and suggesting a magic user is somehow involved. A very atmospheric and exciting book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Courtney | 2/7/2014

    " excellent. strange mixture of fantasy and pulp noir. loved it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zvi | 2/1/2014

    " Pretty good mix of noir and fantasy. It covered most of the bases here with swords and magic instead of revolvers and fedoras -- a mysterious yet upright protagonist, with a deeply cynical worldview, who in spite of himself tries to do the right thing; the corrupt police force (in this case involving real torture); a journey through social classes, from the very poorest to the wealthy and useless aristocracy; the society of another racial type, foreign to the protagonist.... Part of the fun of the book is seeing how well these tropes of 30s and 40s noir fiction map onto a fantasy world with magic. I thought it was reasonably successful and a good page turner. I did guess the ending a while before it ended, and I thought the book's treatment of women could've used some work, but that's common enough in noir. I'll be interested to see what Polanksy comes up with next. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Corey | 1/18/2014

    " Really a 4.5 a thoroughly enjoyable book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 1/18/2014

    " Former soldier and spy turned drug dealer becomes a reluctant detective after literally stumbling over a child's body. His quest takes him from the scum-filled slums to corrupt castles and pits him against the monsters, both human and non, who inhabit those landscapes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Smithygreg | 1/10/2014

    " I really liked it, but I thought it left a few too many loose ends towards the end. I guess that was intentional, but I would have liked a bit more closure.. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Berin Kinsman | 12/18/2013

    " Solid first novel that takes gritty crime drama and sets it in a low-fantasy world. Highly enjoyable. I hope Polansky enjoys a long and distinguished careers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beleth | 11/16/2013

    " Jops, el final del libro no me ha gustado demasiado :( "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zachary | 10/9/2013

    " An excellent start to what I hope is a long-running series. Equal parts grit, heart and black humor. Fantastical, but grounded. A very worthwhile read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josiah | 9/8/2013

    " Pretty good read though I sort of lost interest in the the end, but maybe I got caught up in other things. I liked the setting and writing, though sometimes it seemed conflicted and uneven. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tanya | 6/9/2013

    " Liked it, but everyone sneered a lot, weird "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Myke Cole | 2/27/2013

    " Fantastic voice. My favorite kind of characters: flawed, struggling, complicated. This is one up there with Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Drapeta Berry | 11/5/2012

    " This book is dirty, gritty and fab "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 10/23/2012

    " Good not great. Sometimes the diction is great and sometimes it seems thesaurus driven. The action and noir parts are well done. I'll probably read the sequel when it's published in the US. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ian James | 10/22/2012

    " a very interesting book combining the elements of noir with fantasy. I wish the world was fleshed out a little more but i guess the ambiguous nature of the world is part of its charm "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stéphanie Amesse | 8/2/2012

    " Very, very cool. Looking forward to more from Mr. Polansky. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rosa | 1/27/2012

    " First book of the challenge... I liked it more or less, though it has a lot of innecesary swearing and a VERY predictable end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brennan | 11/8/2011

    " Noir fantasy done better than I've seen it done before. Quite good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Agathafrye | 10/26/2011

    " Noir mystery mixed with fantasy. Strange, but it totally worked. The ending surprised me in a good way. Daniel Polansky, you da man. Nice first book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ian | 9/30/2011

    " a very interesting book combining the elements of noir with fantasy. I wish the world was fleshed out a little more but i guess the ambiguous nature of the world is part of its charm "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tanya | 9/17/2011

    " Liked it, but everyone sneered a lot, weird "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 9/16/2011

    " This was a cross between the King's Landing parts of A Song of Ice and Fire, The Wire, and a cheap airport paperback. I wanted to like it, but I felt like the author focused on the least interesting parts of the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stargrave | 9/10/2011

    " Pretty good read though I sort of lost interest in the the end, but maybe I got caught up in other things. I liked the setting and writing, though sometimes it seemed conflicted and uneven. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nita | 9/9/2011

    " Fantasy noir will always make me think of Jonathan let hem, but this is closer to Perdido Street Station, or how i remember perdido street station plus it's pre-industrial but urban magic feel. Hmmm... Martha wells there too?

    At any rate,suitably engrossing, hence theater rating. "

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About the Author
Author Daniel Polansky

Daniel Polansky was born in Baltimore in 1984. His first book, Low Town, was released in 2011. Two sequels followed, Tomorrow, the Killing (2012) and She Who Waits (2013). His follow up series, the Empty Throne, began with Those Above (2015) and concluded with Those Below (2016). His novella, The Builders, was nominated for the 2016 Hugo Award. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

About the Narrator

Rob Shapiro can be heard narrating audiobooks such as the bestseller The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood; Frank: The Voice; and the fantasy noir Low Town. He performed several seasons of radio comedy on Minneapolis Public Radio and voiced the titular lion in Leo the Lion. Shapiro is a musician and composer with his critically acclaimed band Populuxe. He is also a business consultant and software system designer.