Blackwing is the first book in the Raven's Mark series by author, Ed McDonald. The book is artfully vulgar. What I mean by that is that McDonald's dialog is very good, and his characters--mostly mercenaries with a penchant for hard living and heavy drinking--speak as you'd expect them to. But there's an art form to their cursing. Watch a season of Deadwood and you'll know what I mean.
Part of what made Blackwing such an entertaining read was actor, Colin Mace, who lent his voice to the audio book. A grizzled 'merc' is one thing, but an English grizzled 'merc' is an angry, drunkard ride without breaks. It's like whenever Neil Gaiman reads something, if, in this case, Neil were on a three day bender and wielding a gnarled wooden cricket mallet.
The story itself is unique, different from other dark fantasy tales. Set in a post apocalyptic landscape brought on by a magical war, against an enemy of angry demi-gods, life is harsh, brutish and short for most.
The events in this first book are so earth shattering, that I wonder how the rest of the series will hold up over time. But for now, Blackwing is a very good debut in a series with a lot of promise.