Read Elisha Barber by E.C. Ambrose Online


England in the fourteenth century: a land of poverty and opulence, prayer and plague, witchcraft and necromancy. Where the medieval barber-surgeon Elisha seeks redemption as a medic on the front lines of an unjust war, and is drawn into the perilous world of sorcery by a beautiful young witch. In the crucible of combat, utterly at the mercy of his capricious superiors, EliEngland in the fourteenth century: a land of poverty and opulence, prayer and plague, witchcraft and necromancy. Where the medieval barber-surgeon Elisha seeks redemption as a medic on the front lines of an unjust war, and is drawn into the perilous world of sorcery by a beautiful young witch. In the crucible of combat, utterly at the mercy of his capricious superiors, Elisha must attempt to unravel conspiracies both magical and mundane, as well as come to terms with his own disturbing new abilities. But the only things more dangerous than the questions he’s asking are the answers he may reveal......

Title : Elisha Barber
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780756408350
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Elisha Barber Reviews

  • Hanzel
    2019-05-16 09:33

    Priests..........without the ad&d setting, this time the setting is 18th century England.......Nuff said???

  • David
    2019-06-06 12:49

    Updated: Gave book second go to page 200, improved quite a bit as magic finally comes into it. But I'm not loving it. And as there's two more books to the story I don't think I want to continue.I'm stopping at page 130. The book is just not giving me an reasons to continue. And quite a few reasons to stop. There's no hook. Nothing to pull me in further. Nice historical details not enough. Been fairly gruesome so far.

  • Beth Cato
    2019-06-10 11:42

    As a teenager, I was obsessed with the medieval period. In recent years, it hasn't attracted me as much--so many books repeat the same themes and decades. This book reminded me of how awesome well-written medieval fiction can be, in part because it hit on another one of my major obsessions: healers. Usually they are utilized as handy side characters, patching up the hero when in need. Not so here. Ambrose explores the occupation of the medieval barber, a multitasking field that involves hair-cutting, beard-trimming, and all your down-and-dirty doctoring needs.Elisha is a dark and gritty protagonist. He's not some squeaky-clean goody-two-shoes. He's a damaged man who shares a house with his brother and his wife, and hasn't spoken to either in two years. He tends to the medical needs of a street of brothels. He's closed off emotionally. However, his heart is in the right place, and he has a healer's touch and intuition. There's a touch of realism to the events. It truly feels like Ambrose researched the medieval battlefield, the injuries, and the crude surgical methods of the time period. The magical element isn't all lights and glitter; no, it's as down-and-dirty as the mud of the battlefield.I immensely enjoyed the book. It just brings so many fabulous elements together--a medical lead character, an unglamorous and real setting, and a magical system that brings chaos and wonder to the plot. I definitely want to read more books in this series as they are released.

  • Kittie
    2019-05-25 10:00

    A fantastic, magical read! If you love a little history, magic, violence,etc., this book has it all with an incredibly unique storyline! Riveting to say the least! I loved it & cannot WAIT for the following books in this Dark Apostle series! :)

  • C.T. Phipps
    2019-05-18 09:55

    I was recommended ELISHA BARBER by a friend of mine, fellow reviewer Steve Caldwell, who sent me the first two novels with the first in audiobook CD form. I was doing a lot of driving during that time so I had time to soak in the ten hour storyline. I'm glad I did since I feel this is a really overlooked gem in the "gritty Medieval fantasy" collection that seems so popular right now due to Game of Thrones. It's, simply put, about a Medieval barber (more surgeon than hair--though he does that too) who gets dragooned into being a field medic due to a series of tragic events that get him arrested for his brother's death.The books are perhaps the goriest stories ever written about a protagonist who is, at least for the most part, a pacifist. Large parts of the book are devoted to Elisha desperately trying to come up with ways to save the lives of patients who are in need of amputation or having their wounds sewn up. I won't lie to you, some of the scenes had me fast forwarding because they were so gruesome but really help sell this is a setting where violence isn't being glamorized. People die from infection and disemboweling rather than neat little sword strikes.Elisha, himself, is a character who strangely reminds me of the Witcher's Geralt. Not in the context of being a badass--the two characters couldn't be more different in their combat capacity. Instead, they are the unusually empathetic individuals who hold cynical world-weary attitudes born from the fact they know they're from a barbaric time where superstition is valued over reason while hate is more powerful than love. It's as if someone managed to combine Geralt with Doctor Gregory House. The fact Elisha is a working-class hero who doesn't get any of the respect or wealth a educated physician possesses is also a note more toward Geralt than Gregory.The most interesting parts of the book are Elisha's struggle to keep men alive in appalling conditions and you get a real sense of his ice-skating uphill. He is, after all, in the middle of a war and even if he patches the men up--they'll just be sent back to the front unless they lose a limb. Elisha is a bit TOO educated in how to treat wounds and I rolled my eyes a bit that he somehow learned stitching from a Arabic prostitute who used to work at a Middle Eastern hospital. Still, I liked the contrast between Elisha's attempts to minimize pain versus the use of the men as guinea pigs for the court physicians' experiments.The book could have been entirely been about Elisha's suffering but there's actually a substantial plot about witchcraft, plots against the king, and a woman burned at the stake in front of Elisha's eyes who seemingly became an angel. I was less interested in this plot, especially as the witches seemed to be "do no wrong" good guys, but didn't hate it either. I'm also intrigued about the possibilities of Elisha becoming a magus himself since the book's title is "The Dark Apostle" while the next book is called "Elisha Magus."The villains of the book are a bit too one-dimensionally evil for my tastes with the Physician and King being especially heinous [expletive]. Nevertheless, they served their purpose as embodying the privilege and casual cruelty of their stations. As Talisa the nurse said to Robb Stark, his father's death may be of the greatest importance to him but thousands of innocent men on both sides are paying the price for his actions. I also very much like the ambiguity surrounding the character of Bridgit as her own plans went in directions I did not expect.There's some genuinely powerful moments throughout the book with the race to save his sister-in-law, the grim discovery his stillborn nephew has to be sawed out, the horrible discovery in the woodshed, and the punishment Elisha suffers for his midnight rendevouz with a woman above his station. I also felt catharsis at the climax when powerful forces went to town on the worst of the people surrounding Elisha. This is a book with a lot of great moments and they, by themselves, cause me to recommend it strongly.Is it grimdark? Well, I think it's about as grimdark as Game of Thrones where people like Jon Snow are good and noble but they're surrounded by corruption they're mostly powerless to change. Elisha Barber is a decent man caught in a horrible situation and I enjoyed reading about his exploits. It's just I was more interested in Elisha Barber the surgeon than I was in Elisha Barber the magic-seeker.9/10

  • Joshua Palmatier
    2019-06-02 08:46

    This is E.C. Ambrose's debut novel from DAW Books and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. As suggested by the cover, it's a dark, bloody, realistic look at what a "barber" would have had to deal with in that time period, and yet it wasn't too dark or grim or gritty.The premise: Elisha is a barber in a version of England (not quite our own England) who is accused of a crime he didn't commit in order to protect the soul of his brother. His execution is commuted . . . if he's willing to work as a barber on the battlefield of the siege of a nearby duke who has angered the king. In the hospital, with wounded dying right and left, Elisha is forced to confront his own horrendous but necessary actions, which led to the accusation of murder, and his gift as a barber, which includes more than simply patching up and healing the wounded, but also his own brush with magic at a young age . . . and the legacy of magic that he has yet to discover about himself.As I said, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I honestly went into it thinking that it was going to be too dark and gruesome, even for me, who writes dark epic fantasy and doesn't shy away from being realistic when it comes to wounds, torture, etc. And this book was solidly real, with Elisha dealing with battlefield wounds and other gruesome tasks. All of the medical situations were described with just the right level of detail, so that the reader knew exactly what was going on, even though it wasn't being described in excruciating exactness. The author left the worst parts up to the reader to imagine, and as I've found in my own writing, the reader's imagination is plenty gruesome enough.But what I found most appealing was that the author didn't stop by describing Elisha's work realistically. Besides saws and knives and bandages, the author also focused on the fact that healers have to deal with emotional wounds. They need to have empathy for their patients, and they have to focus on making certain the patients want to live as well. Elisha is more than just a barber, he is a healer, and the distinction is made clear with the contrast between his actions and those of most of the other surgeons in the book.But of course Elisha is more than a barber or a healer. It wouldn't be a fantasy novel otherwise. *grin* The magical aspects of the book were also handled well, and Elisha's discovery of his magic was well played. The magic wasn't what grabbed me and kept me reading though. It was Elisha and his circumstances and how he would deal with the convoluted plots he finds himself enmeshed in, even though all he really wants to do is heal those wounded on the battlefield unimpeded.My only real complaint is that at a few points in the book I felt that Elisha was perhaps a little too passive about what was happening to him. There were moments where he could have spoken up in defense of himself and saved himself some pain and torment (both physical and emotional), but he seemed to just accept what was to come as if it were his due punishment. I can see this reaction in him for a few of the situations in the book--he does believe he's there for penance--but not ALL of the situations. I felt he should have defended himself more, even if it wouldn't do any good in the end.But that was a minor quibble in an otherwise great book. So, yes, this is a dark book, filled with a realism that I think is necessary in a fantasy novel, but there was a decided balance between being realistic and telling a good story. It takes the reader down a road of dark circumstance, from which Elisha fights for survival, and it's Elisha himself and his own battle that keeps the reader involved and interested in the book. A strong debut from an author that I'll certainly watch for in the future.

  • A
    2019-06-07 12:47

    Elisha Barber is like a stack of pancakes. You eat them up really fast and they are wonderful in that moment, but then after a little bit of time you are hungry again. Elisha Barber is the story of a barber/surgeon who finds himself treating soldiers during a siege set in 14 century England. The story moves quickly and you are swept up in the weave of the tale. I read the whole book in a bit over three hours. But when done you wonder if it was really that great. E.C. Ambrose does a masterful job pulling the reader into the web of the story, but when I was done I felt little compulsion to read the next installment in the series. I learned quite a bit concerning the treatment of soldiers in Midievel England. I couldn't buy into the witchcraft element of the story fully though. I read fantasy novels often and this was not fantasy nor was it even science fiction. Elisha discovers his power as a magus/witch and even though he is untrained and doesn't understand the rules he becomes this ultra-powerful mage who turns the tide of the siege. I just couldn't buy it. I really liked the storytelling, but won't be seeking out the next installment. I gave this four stars based on the enjoyable / quick read scale, not because it made me think or was a book I will remember in a month.FYI - I won this book as a Goodreads Firstread.Happy Barbering.

  • Angie
    2019-06-10 14:37

    Sadly, Elisha Barber wasn't my thing. I loved the idea of a barber-surgeon who suddenly discovers that he has magical abilities, but it didn't grab my attention like I was hoping. Elisha leaves home to be a medic on the battlefield after he attempts to deliver his sister-in-law's baby, mistakenly thinks he killed her, causing his brother to kill himself. While saving the lives of soldiers, Elisha meets a witch and learns that he is too. Meanwhile, there's the war and conspiracies and other things I simply didn't care about.I never became invested in Elisha Barber. I was mostly extremely bored, because the first third or so is just Elisha doing medical stuff. Then he starts practicing magic, and I liked that part. But then it got repetitive with Elisha getting punished for doing the right thing, but ignoring orders from his superiors. He really had no sense of self-preservation at all! Then things got kind of exciting, then boring again, then it ended.Read more of my reviews at Pinkindle Reads & Reviews.

  • Krystal Hickam
    2019-05-24 11:36

    I would like to first thank the author, publisher, and Goodreads for allowing me a chance to receive an ARC of the book.I was apprehensive at a little at the start of trying to get used to a man named Elisha. Slowly the story starts to build and after each feat of enduring he occurs. Finally finding his inner power through those like him but distant at the same time. The characters are well developed and wrapped in intrigue. It does have a slow start with a little faith needed in the author about explanation. Then it hits hard just like the war itself in the book. And before you know it the book is finished and your on Goodreads looking for the next title in the serious to see what becomes of Elisha and his new found gift. Bridget and if her motives and feelings will finally combine to work hand in hand, and to see what becomes of the Duke. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who likes there fiction with a bit of a romance a kick of action and a dash of mystery.

  • Eric Smith
    2019-05-21 06:41

    To tell the truth I was not really expecting a lot from this book and I was more than pleasantly surprised with my inability to put it down until it was done. The alternate but very familiar take on history with all the brutality and nastiness and awful human behavior was present front and center and the actions of the people in the story were all to believable. All of the characters here are flawed and not all of the them or even most of them are able or willing to overcome those flaws and this makes them more real in their depth and in their weaknesses. I cannot wait to see what happens next.

  • Avivs
    2019-06-07 10:57

    The good thing is that i couldn't stop reading. The story just flow, and that's great. The not so good thing is, the main character. Oh, how much this guy is pathetic. Never seen something like that. He just sits and do nothing wile everyone are stepping on him. No, it's not because he's so good, just very stupid. It was very hard to like someone that you can't respect. Seriously, all the characters seems to be too evil or too stupid. I hope that in the future the author will make Elisha more human in a way that will not leave me feeling so disconnected from him.

  • Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)
    2019-05-25 06:46

    2.5 starsElisha'a lack of agency really ruined the read for me. He's beaten, burned, tortured, and almost hanged until dead. Most of the characters are unfeeling douche bags, and Elisha's love interest didn't deserve his kind regard. I found it frustrating that a man as gifted as Elisha was treated so poorly, and it made it difficult to engage with the story.

  • Eric Kempin
    2019-05-17 14:35

    I recieved an advanced copy of this from my work and while it has a rough start the book is well balanced. I look forward to the next book everyone should pick this up when it comes out

  • Lucie
    2019-05-19 10:43

    Elisha BarberBy E.C. AmbroseDAW Books, Inc.July 2, 2013298 pagesBelieve it or not, this was the first book that I have read that takes place during the Medieval time period. The only reason that I personally gave it a four star rating (4.5 was not a choice), was it took me almost the whole first chapter to really get hooked and that the manner in which they spoke during that time period would hang me up once in a while. Elisha Barber, our main character, is a barber/surgeon. Elisha has to use his surgical skills to perform an unthinkable act to attempt to save his brothers wife during childbirth. Thinking that not only has he lost his child but his wife as well, Elisha’s brother goes to his tinsmithing workshop and takes his own life, never learning that his wife, indeed, survived. Elisha knows that if it becomes known that his brother killed himself, he will be buried in an unmarked grave, in unsanctified ground. Before he can say what happened he is arrested for murder with his brothers blood on his hands. He can come clean which will leave his brother’s death a suicide, or he can keep quiet, serve whatever sentence he gets, leaving his brother to be buried in the church graveyard, as well as in good standing with the Tinsmithing Guild, who may offer assistance to his brothers wife.Elisha ends up on a journey to a battle as his punishment for his crimes (supposed crimes). The town physician takes him on as an assistant to help test out some new surgical techniques on the men injured on the battlefield. Once arriving at the makeshift “hospital” Elisha discover’s things about himself that he has a hard time believing. He is reminded at one point of something he had seen as a child, he had gone with his parents to a witch burning. These were often public events that ended up being like a carnival with vendors and such. Elisha was excited to get to go to see this, but being the peasants that they were, they didn’t have good seats. He weaved his way through the crowd to get up front to have a better view. There she was, tied to the stake, the fire just starting to get going. Then he saw something that he couldn’t believe. Out of this witches body came an angel, the most beautiful angel, as she was disappearing she reached out, caressing Elisha’s face with one of her feathered wings…Once I got into this book it was impossible for me to put it down. E.C. Ambrose made sure that you felt like you were right there with her characters, right smack in the middle of Medieval times. I thoroughly enjoyed Elisha Barber and am already reading the second book in The Dark Apostle series.

  • T.J.
    2019-05-22 14:39

    This book is one of my new favorite fantasy books! It is nicely written tale that takes place in feudal England. When I started it I was entranced but slightly disappointed at the lack of a fantasy element. it seemed to be only a historical novel although well written and very captivating. If you like fantasy with a lot of action you will love this book! It does not disappoint! Although if magic and witches offends...

  • ♥ Ashleigh ♥contrary to popular belief i'm not actually mad!
    2019-05-23 13:34

    Not an amazing book. I enjoyed the 'medical' side of things but the main character had an annoying tendency to play and day-dream about his hair like a 13yr old girl. He also put up with a lot of shit he really didn't need to, just because the people doing the shit-throwing were attractive women. Plus I'm not sure how he can come back from that much magic wielding. Probably won't read the next book.

  • Katie
    2019-05-30 14:44

    I really liked this, dark as it was. I'd say it's more unremittingly realistic than "dark," in the way that usually means as milquetoast dystopia. This reflects what I know of real practice in the period (well, magic aside). The lead character was compelling, and I feel as if this book should have a larger readership.

  • Lauren
    2019-06-15 11:44

    Boooooooring. Impossible to connect or engage with this book. Was thrilled to be done with it

  • Kristin Taggart
    2019-05-31 14:44

    I don't use star ratings, so please read my review!(Description nicked from B&“As a child, Elisha witnessed the burning of a witch outside of London, and saw her transformed into an angel at the moment of her death, though all around him denied this vision. He swore that the next time he might have the chance to bind an angel’s wounds, he would be ready. And so he became a barber surgeon, at the lowest ranks of the medical profession, following the only healer’s path available to a peasant’s son.Elisha Barber is good at his work, but skill alone cannot protect him. In a single catastrophic day, Elisha’s attempt to deliver his brother’s child leaves his family ruined, and Elisha himself accused of murder. Then a haughty physician offers him a way out: come serve as a battle surgeon in an unjust war.Between tending to the wounded soldiers and protecting them from the physicians’ experiments, Elisha works night and day. Even so, he soon discovers that he has an affinity for magic, drawn into the world of sorcery by Brigit, a beautiful young witch who reminds him uncannily of the angel he saw burn.In the crucible of combat, utterly at the mercy of his capricious superiors, Elisha must attempt to unravel conspiracies both magical and mundane, as well as come to terms with his own disturbing new abilities. But the only things more dangerous than the questions he’s asking are the answers he may reveal.”The first thing that should be noted is that this book is not for the squeamish. The author has obviously put in a lot of time researching medieval medicine and surgery, and the details are all too realistic. Pair this with the fact that much of the story takes place on a battlefield, and you’re in for some fairly bloody scenes. As icky as it sometimes is, it’s good to see that the author is taking the time to accurately depict illness and injury in a time of such primitive medicine.Although this is billed as a fantasy, much of the novel’s focus is on the politics behind the war in which Elisha finds himself enmeshed. I do find it interesting to see these situations from the point of view of someone with little opportunity to even observe much of it in action. As a result, Elisha hears about things secondhand from the soldiers and thus acts from limited information in some crucial moments after he’s sent to the front. Unfortunately, the magic in this tale feels a bit shoehorned into the narrative. Under other circumstances, I think I would have found it more interesting, but it doesn’t mesh all that well with the gritty reality of the rest of the story. I think this gets accentuated because the novel’s hook has so much to do with Elisha’s medical skill and the social status (or lack thereof) of a barber that the sudden inclusion of magic is a little jarring. I can see where the magic is likely to be woven more firmly into the story in later books, though, so I can forgive the author a bit of set-up pagetime. Kudos to Ambrose for creating a main character who is both capable of performing the often bloody and painful work of surgery and of being a compassionate man who regrets the pain that he must cause. Elisha’s friends and helpers are the kind of people that a man like him would attract, and the portion of the cast works well together. There are a couple of characters whose motivations and loyalties are ambiguous, and the author does a pretty good job of holding the suspense taut through the novel. The other doctors and anybody who is definitely set against Elisha often come across as a bit of the mustache-twirling variety of villain, but it’s not too bad.Although not quite comfortable in its role as a fantasy novel, Elisha Barber does an excellent job at evoking the crude conditions of medieval warfare and medical care. Throw in some politics and plotting, and the novel stands out among the crowd. I’ll be keeping an eye out for a sequel.This review originally appeared on Owlcat Mountain on July 9, 2013.

  • Whitney St-Marseille
    2019-05-21 07:56

    I was awestruck after reading the first in The Dark Apostle series – Ambrose’s “Elisha Barber.” And being the picky reader that I am, I do not say that lightly. It is enrapturing right from beginning to end. It is the story of a young man named Elisha who works as a barber and a healer in a small town with his brother and sister-in-law, Helena. When the birth of Elisha’s nephew goes horribly wrong and he is blamed for it; Elisha is forced to serve as a medic/healer for the king’s army during the war. He sees this as an opportunity for redemption to save lives in place of the ones he was not able to. Here he demonstrated his affinity for healing and saving lives using unconventional methods, earning the respect of the patients, but making enemies out of the other physicians who deem him unworthy. Elisha believes that every person is worth saving regardless of their birth rank. He does not think it is fair or prudent that the treatment of knights and nobles should be escalated for a mere flesh wound while other peasant soldiers are dying. Unfortunately, this perspective puts him at odds with many and he suffers dearly for it.He meets Brigit shortly after arriving, and is taken aback by how much she resembles a witch he saw burned at the stake when he was just a boy. But how can that be? Elisha’s eyes are opened to the dangerous world of magic and talismans that thrives in secrecy and silence. Witches are killed without provocation, so they guard their identities greatly. He also learns how even just one person can have an impact in the politics of wars and battles regardless of birth, age, size, or reputation.One of the things that I loved most about this novel, is the how the setting of the hospital camp is extraordinarily established. You can get an extremely vivid picture in your mind of what it would look like and how it would feel to stand there in the middle of a crowded room filled with pain and death of the injured and dying. Another aspect that I liked is how Elisha is both an anti-hero and hero. It makes him seem more real and believeable because in real life we are all hereos, villains, and bystanders at certain points. He spends his days working his ass off in the hospital receiving little thanks in return. Despite the success of his ways, he often is made to suffer for it which shows how he puts others before himself. The other side of him is the part that associates with memories of his brother and Helena. At the end of the day, he is just trying to right a wrong he believed he committed; he is trying to fix something that he blames himself for.And a little side note, I was shocked to realize at the end of the novel that it was written by a woman. For whatever reason, the writing (voice obviously) style seemed masculine to me. Focusing less on emotions and more on facts of the situation and surroundings. It's not often that I am shocked like this so I commend the author. It truly is a well-written novel.And I love how the romance is not what you expect. The guy does not get the girl. Not even close. She is in love with someone else. And by the end of the novel, I am unsure how much she is playing him. You'll just have to keep reading to find out. And I most certainly will.

  • Ryan
    2019-05-22 08:33

    This was a rather odd book, for many reasons. Firstly, I will unashamedly admit to picking this up based on the cover alone and secondly, it was well worth it. I don't usually read books set at all in our world, call me old fashioned, but I love reading about completely new and built from the ground up places. In any case, I decided to give this a shot based on the cover design and the premise of it not being too "Earthy". While Elisha Barber is set in 14th century Europe--Britain more precisely--it has little to do with real people, events, or places (with the one exception being London of course). This worked rather well for me because I don't know much about Medieval history save for bits and pieces from various history classes and what I do know fits right in with the gruesome picture Ambrose decided to paint. As much as I love the idea of King Arthur and his Knights, it always bothered me how they showed that time period as being nice and happy and clean when in reality it was dirty, deathly, and disgusting. Ambrose jumps right in with the gruesome truth: people die. A lot. Not only that, but Doctors were just about the best way to guarantee death back then and usually only used as a last, desperate hope. So the setting worked really well for me, the characters, while a bit flat at times, also worked. The main character was supposed to bring out my empathy, but sorta failed at that, not because I didn't like the guy, but really Ambrose wrote her characters just a little too realistically. Their flaws outweigh any of their better traits, except for one or two of the minor characters, and even the big turn of events fell flat for me. As for the magic, well not the best and not the most unique, but after doing some digging I found that she was really going for the realism and based her magic system on what people of the time actually believed. After finding that out, she gains some points. Looking over her reference page ( ) I think it's safe to say that her magic system is based on solid evidence and rooting the system there was a great choice. It's not Merlin magic nor is it too homely, but it hits that sweet spot of my favorite types of magic -- not too powerful, but wonderfully useful and realistic. Overall, Elisha Barber was a quick read and while she had some inconsistencies and minor new author blunders I look forward to checking out where she goes with Elisha the Barber. Worth checking out, but I would pass on buying this one for now (even with the great cover art) til the paperback arrives.

  • Shellie (Layers of Thought)
    2019-05-23 08:58

    Original review is posted at Layers of Thought.A very readable, thrilling, and lurid historical fantasy set in a dark, medieval world.Description: Elisha Barber is the main character who carries the title of his profession as his last name. As the title suggest he’s a barber, which during medieval times was a pseudo-doctor of sorts. This immediately brings out horrific and cringe-inducing thoughts; and this book definitely delivers. It is of course gruesome work, but Elisha has the gift of a healer and is not as barbaric as some of the other “doctors” that he is forced to work among.When the story begins Elisha attempts to assist with the birth of his brother's child. When a tragedy occurs he’s accused of murder and is faced with the choice of working as a surgeon in the King’s war or facing death. When he travels to the battle field, Elisha doesn’t realize that he has powers that are beyond his barbering skills.Thoughts: First off this book is VERY dark and can be shocking. It has details that can be considered gruesome which may not be to the liking of some readers (so potential readers are forewarned). However, the details are often medical in nature and readers who enjoy medical thrillers may like the book. I definitely did. I was completely engrossed from the first pages till the end, and even more so since it felt like I was reading a guilty pleasure. I liked the author’s writing style with gory situations only adding to the intensity of the story for me.As a historical fantasy there are of course historical details from the 1400s England where it’s set. So there is an authentic feel to the book, even though the language is modern. However, there is no basis of historical fact for the novel. I was actually a bit disappointed to find that none of the characters are based on real people from the past. There is also a strong romantic thread, but it is certainly not a romance. I did like this aspect of the novel since the romance is twisted, which is another plus for horror and dark fantasy lovers.I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy medical thrillers, horror, and especially dark fantasy, since it appears that the fantastical element becomes stronger within the second book. It’s a 3-star rating for this debut novel – I liked it. The second book has already been released in hardcover with the title Elisha Magus. I will be reading it hoping for more of the pure escapist pleasure that this first book in the series delivered.

  • Nightwing
    2019-06-10 09:46

    What an engaging story! I was drawn into the world that E. C. Ambrose has created from the first page and was sorry to have to say goodbye as I read the last words. The story begins with a death, actually two deaths and then another one. And then a man confessing to a murder he didn't do so that the man who did do it can be buried in holy ground. The confessed murderer agrees to treat casualties at a local war, to escape his death sentence. And then it gets really bloody. Just another day in medieval England, yes? Not exactly. In this version of history, witches who are burned at the stake sometimes turn into angels who bless small children and mark them forever. One such child, Elisha, grew up to be a barber, so he could help the next angel he should happen to meet. Oh, and help his fellow man as well, along the way. He is also the man who witnessed the two deaths and confessed to murdering his brother, to conceal that his brother had killed himself. And, most importantly, he is the man who, as the story progresses, discovers that not only are there angels all around him, though they call themselves magi, he is one himself. Ambrose does an excellent job of conveying the true grit of life behind the scenes of a medieval battle, with all the blood and saws and cauteries that are a very real part of that life. She also convincingly creates a magical system that works with Elisha's barbering skills to save lives and change futures.Elisha Barber is very talented at healing, but is also very talented at getting himself into trouble. He has a tendency to say things to the wrong people or not say things when he should or, well just a whole set of missteps that lead him to be whipped, branded, and even hung. But he just keeps plugging along, somehow surviving all that happens and healing all he meets, both physically and spiritually.This is the first book in what is hoped to be a long saga about Elisha Barber, a magical, talented man who seems determined to get himself killed in every chapter.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-06-07 07:41

    DescriptionEngland in the fourteenth century: a land of poverty and opulence, prayer and plague... witchcraft and necromancy. As a child, Elisha witnessed the burning of a witch outside of London, and saw her transformed into an angel at the moment of her death, though all around him denied this vision. He swore that the next time he might have the chance to bind an angel's wounds, he would be ready. And so he became a barber surgeon, at the lowest ranks of the medical profession, following the only healer's path available to a peasant's son. Elisha Barber is good at his work, but skill alone cannot protect him. In a single catastrophic day, Elisha's attempt to deliver his brother's child leaves his family ruined, and Elisha himself accused of murder. Then a haughty physician offers him a way out: come serve as a battle surgeon in an unjust war. Between tending to the wounded soldiers and protecting them from the physicians' experiments, Elisha works night and day. Even so, he soon discovers that he has an affinity for magic, drawn into the world of sorcery by Brigit, a beautiful young witch... who reminds him uncannily of the angel he saw burn. In the crucible of combat, utterly at the mercy of his capricious superiors, Elisha must attempt to unravel conspiracies both magical and mundane, as well as come to terms with his own disturbing new abilities. But the only things more dangerous than the questions he's asking are the answers he may reveal.So I just DNF 100 % ,there's NOWAY I would ever pick this back up to finish reading it, lets just say that I'm glad my sister just paid a $1.00 for it from our Dollar Tree, because I would never have picked it up at all, it was put me in a reading slump

  • Liza Perrat
    2019-05-16 11:58

    Elisha Barber is a blend of historical fiction, fantasy and medical thriller set in 14th-century England. Elisha Barber is a medieval barber-surgeon who is forced to go and work as a medic on the bloody battlefield of an inequitable war. When a seductive young witch lures him into her world of sorcery, Elisha must untangle certain magical threads as well as accept the discovery of his new powers.I found this first tale of the Dark Apostle series well written. The lead character, Elisha Barber, is a well-developed, dark protagonist, a man full of flaws but whose heart is in the right place. Through the eyes of Elisha, the author explores the occupation of the medieval barber, which involved hair-cutting, beard-trimming, and basic medical treatment. Through her extensive research, the author vividly brings to life the medieval battlefield, the wounds and the rudimentary surgical treatments of the Middle Ages. The horrors, the grime and the stink also spring from every page.I did have one minor reservation about the beginning of the story. Elisha’s actions do not seem deserving of the heavy guilt he bears. Thus, his reasons for accepting his fate as a battlefield surgeon, to atone for these actions, do not seem entirely feasible. Despite this, I found the story entertaining, and although the supporting cast remains largely one-dimensional, I am sure lovers of dark historical fantasy will enjoy Elisha Barber.

  • Morven
    2019-05-25 13:34

    I started listening to this when I was sad about something. Within a few minutes, I thought, "I don't think I should listen to this now." The beginning is dark. Very dark. Sad. Very sad.Yet I kept listening, even when I saw the character do things he knew he shouldn't -- something that usually makes me want to stop reading, listening, watching -- because the story was so rich, so unusual, that I had to keep listening. Elisha Barber is a barber, in the old sense of the word, back when barbers (or barber surgeons) performed dentistry and surgery. Untrained, but skilled, he is low in social rank, but that is the least of his worries. An honorable, yet stubborn man, he makes choices that complicate and ultimately change his life.Early on I wanted to scream, "Just tell the truth about your brother!" He doesn't. He won't. It would dishonor his brother if he did. Instead, he suffers consequences, but it is the suffering and the journey from this that changes his life.Rich, well-written, it is still not an easy book, for his pain is well-conveyed.Recommended.I listened to the audiobook, which was very well performed. I recommend that version.

  • Normalene
    2019-06-16 08:34

    Sentenced to ply his barbering skills at the battlefront for a crime of Shakespearean scope, Elisha does penance by trying to save as many men from death as possible. The tone is relentlessly dark with few flashes of hope or inspiration until Elisha discovers a childhood brush with an angel may have conveyed some small power as a magus or witch. But witches are burnt at the stake in this alternate medieval England. Barber is a stereotype of the peasant who is a better man than the lords and knights around him - with the accompanying pride - which sets him up for many of the tragedies that he falls into; but the story line was good, the history well-played and the supporting characters make up for a slight dislike of Barber’s constant self-flagellation that doesn’t go away until close to the end. This is set up for a sequel and I’m interested enough to see what happens as he grows into his powers and meets more of the other magi.

  • Joshua Hair
    2019-06-11 11:34

    This book immediately piqued my interest upon reading the summary. I rather enjoy a romp through history, especially so when it involves the likes of fantasy, and the idea of a barber surgeon with magical talents was simply too good to pass up. I had this puppy preordered on Amazon as soon as I read about it on Goodreads. Thankfully, it turned out to be just as satisfying as I had hoped.At this point such a volley of reviews for the book and its predecessor have been published that I feel it pointless to get into the specifics of the story. Instead, I will simply say that it is a thoroughly enjoying ride to find yourself on. While perhaps a bit dry in areas for some people, if you are the type to enjoy historical fantasy (as I assume you to be at this point) then you will not be disappointed.

  • Lissa
    2019-05-26 08:41

    I won this book from the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway program. I have to admit that I was a little hesitant to start this book from the cover alone. I'm not sure the cover does this book the justice that it deserves. I was blown away by the depth of this story and the extremely admirable main character, Elisha Barber. Elisha Barber is a Barber/surgeon during the fourteenth century. After a personal tragedy leaves him headed for the gallows, he is instead sent to the battlefields where he puts his skill to use. The book includes very realistic historical action with a lot of magic and romance mixed in. I look forward to seeing how this series progresses...but hope that the covers are not so disturbing in the future:)

  • R.W.W. Greene
    2019-05-21 10:37

    By page five, when the protagonist is rushing to a fourteenth-century hellish hospital to try to save the lives of his sister in-law and her unborn child, I was hooked. Then it got better."Elisha Barber," first in Ambrose's "Dark Apostle" series, is a fantasy that doesn't rely on the fantastic to appeal. The author did his/her research and brought the stench, horror, grime, and blood of the middle ages back to life on every page. It wasn't a nice time, but Ambrose's hero -- a mostly self-trained EMT (of the day) -- is doing what he can to help people survive."Elisha Barber" is historical fiction. "Elisha Barber" is a medical thriller. "Elisha Barber" is a study in family guilt. And, oh yeah, "Elisha Barber" is a page-turner of a fantasy novel.Get it.