978-1-84149-561-3 / 1841495611






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About the book:

David Farland's "Runelords" fantasy sequence began in 1998 with The Sum of All Men, a career-relaunch novel whose sales far outstripped earlier SF published under his real name Dave Wolverton. Runelords are supermen whose strength, stamina, vision, etc. are multiplied by magical "endowments" transferred from unfortunate donors who are crippled by their loss: the arch-villain is virtually invincible thanks to tens of thousands of endowments. This second book avoids middle-volume doldrums by introducing a vast onslaught of still tougher and memorably unpleasant non-humans which even the villains must oppose. Meanwhile various characters skirmish in different parts of the map, and the hero struggles with unreliable powers conferred on him when he was chosen as Earth King to save the land and humanity--or maybe only a tiny part of each.

Farland maintains a steady flow of new situations, reversals, gambits and's a real shock when one chap who has incurred a dreadful penalty for virtuous reasons is not spared (as expected in the normal chivalry of fantasyland) but pays the full, eye-watering price. One small criticism: the writing contains occasional sloppiness and repetition that a copyeditor should have removed. It's still a rousing, painfully gripping story. --David Langford

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