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1. Peril's Gate: Alliance of Light:
2. Stormed Fortress: Alliance of
3. Traitor's Knot: Alliance of Light:
4. The Curse of the Mistwraith (Wars
5. The Cycle of Fire: Stormwarden
6. Grand Conspiracy: Alliance of
7. The Ships of Merior (The Wars
8. Fugitive Prince: Alliance of Light:
9. To Ride Hell's Chasm
10. Grand Conspiracy: Alliance of
11. That Way Lies Camelot
12. Daughter of the Empire
13. Warhost of Vastmark (The Wars
14. Stormwarden (The Cycle of Fire,
15. The Master of Whitestorm
16. Fugitive Prince: The Wars of Light
17. Shadowfane (Cycle of Fire/Janny
18. Keeper of the Keys (Cycle of Fire,
19. Servant of the Empire
20. Mistress of the Empire

1. Peril's Gate: Alliance of Light: Volume Three (The Wars of Light and Shadow series)
by Janny Wurts
Paperback: 784 Pages (2010-01-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$5.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0007101082
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

For the Natural Balance to be maintained, the halfbrothers must never fight. If they do, one is sure to perish and the Mistwraith will regain its evil power over their world. Even now, Lysaer—convinced of his own godhead and aided by the treacherous Koriani Sisterhood—is tracking Arithon the Masterbard through the snows of the winter-locked mountains and the Barrens of Daon Ramon. Arithon is tortured by the knowledge that for the sake of future generations he must not be killed, no matter the cost of others' lives. Fighting valiantly to prevent unnecessary suffering, he strikes out on his own; but he is injured and failing fast. Meanwhile, the ancient Paravians are stirring, summoned by trespassers on their sacred domain; and the Fellowship of Seven are battling on many other fronts, as the Mistwraith's wards begin to break, and khadrim and free wraiths roam the land.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (39)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable
Peril's Gate picks up right where Grand Conspiracyleft off: Arithon is once again on the run, pursued by an Alliance of Light army led by its Lord Commander, Sulfin Evend, and his half-brother Lysaer. The Koriani enchantresses are also still trying to capture Arithon, with Elaira forced to walk a precarious line between betraying her order and helping her beloved. In Arithon's desperate bid to stay ahead and stay alive, he receives help from Earl Jieret's war band, an elite force but one surely not strong enough to prevail against the vast forces of the Alliance of Light. The Fellowship of Seven is unable to lend much assistance, as they are scrambling to keep Athera from falling apart... but help may still reach Arithon from an unexpected -- and maybe unwelcome -- direction...

Parts of Peril's Gate have the same level of suspense as the second half of To Ride Hell's Chasm, which is one of my favorite standalone fantasies. In one sense, this book is one big chase scene similar to the end of Hell's Chasm, but because these characters and this world have by now, after five previous novels in the WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW series, acquired so much depth and so many layers, the wild chase in Peril's Gate has much more impact than you'd expect and may just be the most dramatic chase scene I've ever encountered in any medium.

Still, while the chase takes center stage, there are several sub-chapters offering glimpses of other events taking place on Athera, so the story continues to deepen even as you're pulled along in the whirlwind of Arithon's desperation. Most significantly, Janny Wurts describes the Fellowship's desperate efforts to protect the planet after Morriel's misguided actions at the end of Grand Conspiracy, but you'll also read about the actions of Prince Kevor, Dakar and Fionn Areth, the machinations of the Koriani enchantresses, and several others.

The final quarter of the book contains one of the most grueling scenes in the series so far, as Arithon is forced to relive the most traumatizing events in his past, this time experiencing them from more than just his own perspective. Janny Wurts doesn't pull any punches describing this truly harrowing experience, which at times is so intense it may give readers a visceral reaction. At the same time, this unforgettable finale shows Arithon growing and transcending his suffering in an almost mystical way, giving Peril's Gate a spiritual dimension that's quite unlike anything I've encountered in fantasy before.

There are other chapters and scenes in this book that are simply unforgettable, making Peril's Gate one of the strongest installments in the series so far. You'll find true heroism and heartbreaking sacrifice in the chapters focusing on the Companions as they try to protect their liege Arithon. You'll also learn much more about Athera and its history. Finally, even though you won't find an "Ars Arcanum" section at the back of these books, there are several highly intricate magic systems displayed in these novels, and Peril's Gate begins to show their differences as well the real depth behind them for the first time.

While the first two novels in the Alliance of Light arc of this series contained a bit more set-up, all the pieces are now firmly in place in Peril's Gate, resulting in a more rewarding novel that doesn't let up in pace or intensity until you've turned the final page. Not only is this one of the strongest books in the series so far, it's also one of the most memorable fantasy novels I've ever read. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Psychologically fascinating
A brilliant scintillating climax of a book as each battle Arithon must face, whether with his half brother, or with the Koriani, or with the myriad of characters and forces along the way stops my heart in fear that he will be killed or destroyed. His beloved Elaira is with him in spirit as he faces the most grueling trial ever - Kewar's Maze. Here he faces the most his fearsome enemy -- himself and his deeds -- and finally comes face to face with a mighty centaur. All others have died in this maze.

I repeat - Mistwraith is an incredibly compelling, action filled, gut wrenching, heart stopping adventure with one of the most incredible love stories I've read in a long time.

5-0 out of 5 stars In-depth character study of stunning proportions
For the uninitiated, I would recommend reading the first in the series, Curse of the Mistwraith, and continue on through the set. The tragedy, however, is that most of the series is out of print. Further, the latest one, Traitor's Knot, had to be ordered through Amazon, as my local bookstore never seems to have any books by Janny Wurts. I'd recommend buying just the first one, or check your local library first, rather than buying the entire set at once. For many, Janny Wurts is incredibly wordy. True, her books are long (my hardcover copy of this book runs to about 700 pages), yet in truth she challenges the reader to understand and visualize her well-crafted fantasy world, empathize with her complex characters, and follow the twists of her far-reaching plots.

Peril's Gate continues the tale of two half-brothers, Lysaer and Arithon, having drunk from a fountain which sustains life for 500 years, then held in thrall of a curse which binds them to enmity, as heirs to two royal lines they plunge the world of Athera into war. As a backdrop, the lands have been split for centuries - the ancient royal lines had been ousted from power, persecuted and hunted like wild animals by the narrow-minded townborn people, they become clans living in the wilds, forests and mountains. Through deceptive statesmanship, wholly in thrall by the curse, Lysaer rallies the townborn to destroy Arithon, who is supported by the clan lines. Worse, each brother has an inherent gift - Lysaer has the gift to summon light, Arithon that of darkness...and as people naturally associate light with good, dark with evil, it takes little persuasion to convince others that Arithon is demonspawn, dubbed the Spinner of Darkness. Never mind that Arithon is Athera's Masterbard, trained to mastery of magic, and sanctioned by the mysterious group of Sorcerers dedicated to the protection of Athera known as the Fellowship of Seven.

In this latest installment, we see Arithon hounded on all sides by Lysaer and his allies, through harsh mountains in winter, until he finally seeks sanctuary in Kewar Tunnel, known as Davien's Maze. This Maze is the gate to peril which the title refers to. It was created by a rogue member of the Fellowship of Seven, a Sorcerer of brilliant artistry, who had instigated the rebellion which overthrew the royal lines. For that act, he gained the title of Davien the Betrayer. The Maze is a complex series of tests, not the least of which is to examine the traveler's guilty past and conscience. Each death caused by a person's hand is experienced through the eyes of the victim, their widow, their children. No memory, no matter how far back in a person's past, is exempt from blistering reexamination. Those who have trod the Maze before have been rendered mad with guilt, trapped in their minds by unending rings of compassion for their victims. This is the danger into which Arithon treads, fully aware that his ancestor died as a result of entering the Maze, and that upon his gifts as Masterbard, master of magic and shadow, and last heir of the High Kings, rests the possibility of healing the division between the townborn and clans, the return of the Paravians (centaurs, unicorns and elves) and the safety of all Athera against the wraiths which are crossing space to invade the world.

I cannot speak highly enough of Janny Wurts - her works put most authors to shame. Rather than clothing her characters in drab descriptions, she understands them, highlights their flaws and strengths. This Maze that she devised lets the reader truly understand the character of Arithon to dizzying depths. This then, is her strength, while she deftly weaves disparate plot threads with seeming ease, and brings the reader to understand the mythical fundamentals of spellcraft.

I highly recommend this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Gone on too long
Unfortunately, as with many of my favorite authors, it appears that Janny Wurts has fallen prey to the lure and curse of an extended series. The series that was well-written and interesting has become boring and grueling to get through. I really enjoyed the writing and premise in the first few books, but as it gets longer and longer what was once fresh has become worn and overdone. Our hero has everything brutally ripped from him in every book, yet goes on and makes a miraculous escape each time - over and over and over. And how many Koriani plots have to fail before they just give up???This particular book suffered from a severe overdose of description as we hear multiple times about the beauty of Ath's creation in excruciating detail, blah blah blah. I don't disagree with the philosophy, the problem is the repitition. Although I've read Traitor's Knot, I still hope that the NEXT book will mercifully kill the series before it has lost all redeeming qualities.

I would love to go to the store and pick up a single-volume fantasy novel. Book series seem not to know when to stop anymore.

5-0 out of 5 stars Truely Superb
I thoroughly enjoyed this book in the series ... well drawn characters, good plot, a complete world.

The best thing is the story told.The outcome is never predictable and the solutions drawn for a given situations truely brilliant.The characters come alive during the telling, to such an extent that you could believe they are alive, not figments of a persons imagination.There are many separate story lines told, but each is compelling.Janny manages to tie them together completely and never contradicts herself despite the complexity.A simple story in a complex, living world.

I truely anticipate the next and last book in this arc of the Wars of Light and Shadow.I will be sorry to see it end. ... Read more

2. Stormed Fortress: Alliance of Light: Volume Five (The Wars of Light and Shadow series) (Bk. 5)
by Janny Wurts
Paperback: 656 Pages (2010-04-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$5.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0007217811
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

The heartstopping conclusion to the Alliance of Light series brings Lysaer's army of Light to besiege the great citadel of Alestron. Master of Shadow, Arithon, has discovered that young Jeynsa s'Valerient whom he has sworn to protect, has joined the ranks of his disowned allies within the threatened citadel. Worse, following a failed rescue attempt, his beloved Elaira, his double, Fionn Areth, and the spellbinder Dakar are also trapped within Alestron's walls. The chancy wiles of Davien the betrayer must spirit Arithon across the enemy lines to attempt a perilous rescue mission. Arithon must seek the heartcore of his talent, even while embroiled in a savage battle against those he has vowed to protect. But treachery strikes from deep within the duke's ranks. Arithon stands alone at the hour of reckoning as the true purpose of the Koriani enchantresses becomes, at long last fully, unveiled—with the covetous Prime Matriarch now poised to snatch a prize, a prize beyond that of merely integrity and life!
... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Another engaging installment by Janny Wurts
I have been a fan of Janny Wurts for many years, and rank her right up there with Raymond E. Feist and R.A. Salvatore. My initial introduction to her work was the amazing collaborative work on the Empire trilogy with Feist. Later I read "Curse of the Mistwraith" and became hooked on her in her own right.

Stormed Fortress is the next in the Mistwraith series, which centers around two half brother Princes - Lysaer who wields the power of Light, and Arithon who wields the power of Shadow. In many respects, Wurts' books are an analysis of how people have a preconceived notion that things of light are good and things of darkness are bad, as we find ourselves rooting for Arithon, who has been dubbed the "evil" Spinner of Darkness.

In this installment, Lysaer is bringing his war host of the Alliance of Light to bear on the ancestral home of the s'Brydion clan, Alestron - the fortress to which the title aludes. He does this as punishment for their actions, having worked as spies in Arithon's interests in prior books. Whilst Arithon had vowed to stay clear of the conflict, he finds himself dragged in to Alestron by his own cathdein - the steward of his realm. So the siege is set for a rather protracted siege.

Is it slow? Some might say so, but personally I see Wurts as giving us greater insights into the characters, weaving in political machinations, assassination attempts, devastating sabotage and incredible magic. Yes, the book pretty much begins and ends with the siege of Alestron, yet so few of us understand the drawn-out conflict of a siege, the demoralization, the hunger, the frustration. Wurts captures all this and more so very well, while continuing to weave the complex threads of her plot and set the stage for the next book in the series.

There are those who complain about the language she uses, stating that it is unnecessarily heady and verbose. It is true that she likes to use the fullness of the English language, however she uses words which exactly express and flesh out her vision. To those who complain, I would say simply to get a dictionary. Trust me, there are far worse authors - Tolkien's work tended to describe every blade of grass, while some others I recently read appear to have taken a dictionary with the express intent of finding impossible words while spattering language structure with an assortment of linguistic peculiarities of different nations (I won't mention names, but feel free to peruse my previous reviews if you're really curious).

In all, it is a very good read and I highly recommend it. However, I urge the reader to go back to the beginning of the series or you'll be impossibly lost if you try jumping in with this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars The very exciting conclusion to Arc 3, Book 1 of Arc 4 to be released this year.
Of all the superlatives I've used in reviewing these books, I have to say this one tops them all. The story comes to a thrilling pause on its way to the next Arc, which Janny says will be out in the Fall. "Initiate's Trial." I can hardly wait! Even though there is no cliff hanger here, the story must continue. I felt such sadness to come to the end (temporary, to be sure) of my time spent in the world of Athera. Sigh. You've got to read these books. In order, please.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time
This isn't actually a review but, rather, a warning to anyone who would try to read any of these overblown books. The only other writer I can think of that compares to Wurts is Robert Jordan. The only difference between them is Jordan wrote for teenage girls and Wurts writes for herself. These novels are impossible to follow what with her dense and confusing language. It takes her 100 pages to describe a simple scene because she is simply so in love with herself and her use of what she thinks is beautiful prose. Not to mention she also draws her own covers that resemble harlequin romance bodice rippers. It was no accident that she was dropped by her publisher several years ago due to lack of sales. Wurts spent years trying to get distributed in the U. S. and only recently has been able to get her books published again in America. There are much better authors out there. You have been warned.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Fantasy Book of the Century
Janny is the best fantasy author of this century and possibly of all time. Most fantasy falls from the Tolkien tree with elves and dwarves, but Janny's works are unique. Her stories are far more akin to Frank Herbert's deep novels that combined politics, religion, morality, and human conflict than Tolkien and yet they are distinctly fantasy novels. The physics of Athera are logical and provide plenty of room for conflict, surprise, and ingenious plot-twists.

Stormed Fortress is simply a fantastic book in a series of great books. You may struggle at times to work through each book, but it is worth the pay off.

I have read Stormed Fortress three times now. I rate it in the top ten greatest sci-fi/fantasy books of all time.

I just wish all of the books were available in hardcover.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant conclusion to the Alliance of Light
Stormed Fortress is the conclusion to the five book, third arc of the Wars of Light and Shadow and does so brilliantly. The characters of Arithon and Lysaer continue to evolve and we see aspects of each that cause one to reflect on their actions in the previous volumes. We also get to see more of their internal motivations and struggles. For those who have expressed the opinion that Lysaer is one-dimensional this volume reveals a side of him that must evoke a sympathetic response. In addition we get to see more of the forces at work on Athera. ... Read more

3. Traitor's Knot: Alliance of Light: Volume Four (The Wars of Light and Shadow series) (Bk. 4)
by Janny Wurts
Paperback: 656 Pages (2010-04-01)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$3.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0007101147
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

 Having conquered the maze and acheived self-redemption, Arithon, Master of Shadow, is now the guest of the formidable sorcerer, Davien the Betrayor. No one knows how his influence will affect Arithon's recovered mage power, or his newly awakened rogue talent for prescience. Meanwhile Arithon's relentless enemies will stop at nothing to acheive his downfall. The Koriani enchantresses are determined to make him their captive and their pawn. And as the Alliance of Light fanatics regroup after their defeat, the core of their priesthood now stands corrupted by a dark cabal who plot to enslave their leader, Lysaer, and use the Mistwraith's curse as their own private weapon to break the world's order. The sorcerers of the Fellowship compact are sorely beset and the clans are counting their ruinous losses. Arithon, who holds their last hope of survival, chooses the most dangerous course: heart and mind he dedicates himself to avoiding killing, though allies and enemies muster for war, single-mindedly blind to the consequences.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Things get very ugly in Athera
I've read several reviews complaining of Janny's prose being overdone and convoluted.I see where this is coming from, and I have on occasion 'rested' from reading this heavy series by reading something light.And yet, when I do, I truly miss this world and hurry back to it as fast as possible.When you are in the midst of it, the words almost create an aura of magic such that I could die happy wrapped in its beauty. :)

In this book, Arithon heals from one trauma only to plunge himself into the middle of another. His doofus brother, Lysaer, has gotten himself wrapped up with some necromancers and Arithon has to try to save the world (and his brother, btw) from their dark and nefarious crutches. Elaira is shut off from their empathic connection during this process and she (and I) nearly die of fear for his life. More of the heart stopping action, the beautiful soaring prose, and the gradual revelation of the mystery that weaves the world of Athera into such a magical and beautiful place. The only drawback is that one more book read brings me one book closer to the ending of this bewitching, compelling, and marvelous tale.

5-0 out of 5 stars The return of the initiate mage!
This is the next installment of the Mistwraith series. As stated in my reviews of the other books in the series, I would strongly urge the potential buyer/reader to read the series in order, to make the most sense. Some people find her works rather..."wordy"...to say the least, so don't say I didn't warn you. Personally, rather than off-putting, I find her work refreshing and absorbing.

In this book, we see Arithon, Prince of Rathain, return from Davien the Betrayer's refuge. Crippled no longer, Arithon has regained full access to his mastery of magic. As Athera's Masterbard, gifted with command of Shadow, and now also with access to his s'Helas ancestral trait of farsight, Arithon is a force to be reckoned with. Despite this, he remains committed to shed no blood with his use of magic. So, with cunning and guile, he sets out to sully the name of Lysaer's Alliance for Light, while handing Prime Sildie and her Koriani Order another setback. Ironically, he is asked by the Fellowship Sorcerers to root out an evil nest of necromancers who pose a threat to Lysaer, as they have the potential to infiltrate the Alliance for Light, and ultimately destroy the Compact which the Fellowship is sworn to uphold.

We delve deeper into Arithon's soul in this novel, and explore the beauty and connection of the boundless love between Arithon and Elaira, a Koriani enchantress. Further, the book clearly spells out the sacrifice which Arithon is making, both for the Fellowship and for Athera.

I highly recommend this brilliant and well-crafted book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Piece of Original Fiction
This series of books is by far the most entertaining and well written piece of fiction I have ever read!Although I agree with other reviewers that at times Janny's writing can be complex and convoluted, by no means is it POOR writing!I think that too many people are used to having plot lines and simple characters spoon fed to them.This story is Complex and slightly Convoluted and the characters are complex, to say the least.However, this is what makes the story so intriguing.It's not just a simple good against bad, black or white story line.Arithon is painfully flawed, he makes mistakes and he misjudges people.This is again what makes the writing and the books so appealing.I couldn't say that Traitor's Knot was my favorite installment in the series, but that's because it had so many painful developments in the plot.All of which were necessary in order to wrap up all the complex facts that were hinted at in previous books.If Janny had not included all these side stories and issues, she would have been criticized for not having tied all the bits and pieces up as we approach the end of this series.

If you're tired of the same old straight forward Tolkien spin offs then Janny Wurts's writing is for you!If you like everything to be simple and predictable with a heaping load of cliches thrown in for good measure then pick up an Ann McCaffery book.I for one am thrilled and excited whenever one of these Fantastically Good Books is released.Keep up the Great Work Janny, I can't wait for November when "Stormed Fortress" is released

4-0 out of 5 stars not bad
I liked the book it moved the story along nicely not earth moving but good and I am looking forward to the next book in NOV

4-0 out of 5 stars Traitor's Knot
Got book quickly but I didn't expect the paperback edition to be 6" x 9" rather than the normal paperback size of 4" x 6 3/4". ... Read more

4. The Curse of the Mistwraith (Wars of Light & Shadow, Book 1)
by Janny Wurts
Paperback: 841 Pages (2009-05-01)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$2.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0586210695
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

The world of Athera lives in eternal fog, its skies obscured by the malevolent Mistwraith. Only the combined powers of two half-brothers can challenge the Mistwraith's stranglehold: Arithon, Master of Shadow, and Lysaer, Lord of Light. Arithon and Lysaer soon find that they are inescapably bound to a series of events dictated by their own deepest convictions. Yet as the sorcerers of the Fellowship of Seven know well, there is more at stake than one battle with the Mistwraith: between them the half-brothers hold the balance of the world—its harmony and its future—in their hands.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (63)

1-0 out of 5 stars Worst thing I ever read
There is absolutly no back story.Are the other "worlds" really worlds or other parts of the same continent/planet?Why do some writers seem to think they have to create complex names that are impossible to pronounce or remember?Too many characters.Too much change of heart for the half-brothers, back & forth.Characters appear out of nowhere & accepted by main characters like they have known them forever.Too many "kingdoms" and the relationship between them is never explained to my satisfaction.I know this is volume 1 in a series and more will probaly be expained later on, but to get readers to continue, I would think you would want to include a littel more history to keep from confusing us.It was like walking into a movie halfway through.If this is an example of how this writer thinks, I will never read her again.I'm glad I bought this at the library bookstore for $.50.It was a waste of my time.

5-0 out of 5 stars I fell in love
This may have been one of the best books I've read. It certainly has one of the most complex, intrigueing, and intense, brilliant, and enchanting main characters I've come across in a long, long time. I am so glad there are more books because I'm not ready to let go of Arithon.

It took some time for me to get oriented in the complex world that Janny has created. But once I did, it was hang on because the action is exciting and potentially deadly, the evil is truly scary, and the two half brothers are fascinating. Essentially the book is about what the title says - wars of light and shadow. One brother commands light, the other shadow. In a sense, it's the old war of good and evil, or of consciousness and unconsciousness; but the complexity and ambiguity of good/bad, light/dark are not so easy to discern.

The one character that I fell in love with is Arithon in all his intensity, his deep understanding of the consequences of action/non-action, love/hate, good/bad are so painful at times that it brought tears to my eyes. And even though events take place in a fantasy world, the conflicts, tensions, and emotions are very real and pertinent to today.

1-0 out of 5 stars I found this book boring
After reading (and loving) Master of Whitestorm, I was eager to give more of Janny Wurts' writing a try, but sadly, Curse of the Mistwraith left me very dissapointed. And bored.

It started out well enough, and for about the first 60 or so pages, I felt there was a plot here just straining to get out. Something truly special and interesting. Reading on, I began to find that the writing was becoming tedious (far too wordy) and the characters had all lost their appeal. I didn't care what happened to them, and the utter lack of any real gripping conflict soon turned the whole experience into an ordeal.

I would like to have given this book a chance through to the end, but what's the use when I don't care for the characters, the plot, nor the world and it's history? (which just seems too vague) This series is long, and I've wasted enough time on book one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this unique and amazing epic!
Simply put, I loved this book.From the intriguing Prologue, to the turbulent climax, to the cautiously peaceful denouement, I loved this book.It was a reading experience and I am looking forward to continuing with the rest of this powerful series.

The main characters, half-brothers Lysaer and Arithon, are a living embodiment of Light and Dark in all its permutations: each always in contrast but both absolutely necessary to the other.Born on the splinter world of Dascen Elur and raised to loathe one another, Lysaer and Arithon are thrust by circumstance into the ancient world of their ancestors, Athera, where fate has decreed them to be that world's freedom and bane.Athera is under curse of a Mistwraith and has been shrouded in fog and misery for an age. With the assistance of the Fellowship of the Seven and against the interfering powers of the Koriani, Lysaer and Arithon work to free Athera from the curse and restore the world's royal lines.

I found this work to be especially powerful because it hits at the heart of human nature.The Wraith exploits Lysaer and Arithon's virtues to twist them against one another.How often do we see this in the real world - virtue turned vice by circumstance where the actor is so certain he or she is right that they are compelled to carry out their purpose to completion at any cost.The book explores the theme that seeking an ultimate goal can be an ugly business.There are consequences to the disagreeable actions that often seem necessary and justified when serving the "greater good."

My favorite aspects of Wurt's work are the wonderful depth demonstrated in the characters, the richly imagined setting, and the beautiful and effective literary style.There is nothing one-sided or simple about the characters in this work. Each demonstrates emotional intensity, conflict, selfishness, guilt, altruism, hope - all the emotions constantly at battle in "real" people. The setting is richly imagined, detailed and intriguing. This first volume gives the reader the necessary insight and information without overloading history and backstory. Finally, I really enjoyed the style of the novel. In particular, I like how the prologue sets up the story source and the chapter design lends itself it the historical, story-telling aspect of the novel. I think the language used is poetic and dramatic without being over-the-top.

The driving force behind this book and the entire series is the author's dedication to telling a rich, detailed story with breathtaking scope. Wurt's prose is lyrical and enchanting; she is literally able to weave the story. Too few authors carefully craft their work in such a manner.

5-0 out of 5 stars Complex and rewarding
"The Curse of the Mistwraith" took me completely by surprise. Based on (obviously mistaken) assumptions, I expected something completely different - epic fantasy, yes, but nothing even close to the gorgeous prose and astounding depth I found in this novel.

The plot of this story is hard to summarize, partly because there are so many twists and turns that it's almost impossible not to run into spoiler territory very quickly. Two half-brothers, Arithon and Lysaer, are on opposite sides of a conflict that spans generations. As they become involved in the struggle against the Mistwraith that keeps the world of Athera in a stranglehold, the reader quickly realizes that the half-brothers' conflict doesn't just go back generations, but literally ages.

The novel is old-fashioned, in a good way: rather than the standard cotton-candy fantasy tomes you find nowadays, here's a book that requires the reader's full attention and engages it on several levels, from the gorgeous prose to the elegant narrative structure to the real challenge of trying to understand many of the characters' motivations.

There aren't many wasted words in this book. I can't remember the last time I had to go back and re-read sections so many times, both from a genuine desire not to miss too many details, and for the sheer pleasure of taking in the richness of the prose again.

Best of all, this is only book one of a longer series, some of which is still in the process of being written. This novel is (thankfully) a solid story on its own, not to say several stories - but at least it has a beginning, an end and no cliffhangers. At the same time, it sows a great many seeds and gives a lot of hints, some more oblique than others, about what will happen in the future. You'll be satisfied by the ending, but at the same time, you'll want more.

The one thing that had me balancing between giving it four stars or five is that, for a long time, I found it hard to connect with the majority of the characters. There are very few ordinary people in this book, not much light dialogue or humor, and early on it was hard for me to think of the characters as actual people. Especially the early part of the book consists of several tableaux in which everyone and everything is larger than life. However, as you read on, you discover that what I initially thought a weakness has a very solid motivation... and as you get into the last 100 or so pages of this book, the characters will have become very much real and understandable to you. I had to wait a day or so to let the ending of this story sink in before attempting to write about it.

I don't want to hammer home the "old-fashioned" word (which, again, is meant in a very good way here), but I found myself imagining a different fantasy genre... one in which most of the last 30 years hadn't happened. When hearing the word "fantasy", people wouldn't immediately think Harry Potter or sexy vampires or 12 book series that never end. In such a world, you can probably still find an innocent reader, brand new to the genre, who just finished reading "Lord of the Rings" and is now eagerly looking for something that has similar depth and elegance. If I were to make a reading list for such a hypothetical reader, "The Curse of the Mistwraith" would definitely be included.
... Read more

5. The Cycle of Fire: Stormwarden / Keeper of the Keys / Shadowfane
by Janny Wurts
Paperback: 704 Pages (1999-06-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$179.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061073555
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Her magnificent high fantasy trilogy--Stormwarden, Keeper of the Keys and Shadowfane complete in one volume.

Sorcerery and Destiny

For centuries, the elusive Vaere have trained sorcerers to stand against Shadowfane's demons, who seek nothing less than mankind's destruction and the world's total conquest. Now, the demons have won corrupt human allies, and the last, great defenders have fallen--the Firelord died mad, and the Stormwarden languishes, imprisoned and disgraced.

New champions will arise from unlikely beginnings--an orphan and an apprentice, a fisher girl and her disaffected brother--each with a power, a secret, and a flaw that will shape their destinies.

The demons awaken. The champions choose sides. And it begins again: The Cycle of Fire, Janny Wurts's magnificent high fantasy trilogy, complete in one volume for the first time. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Used Edition of Cycle of Fire (book)
Book was in very good condition (as described), arrived ahead of schedule, and there were no problems whatsoever.

Great Job!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good omnibus edition
This book, "The Cycle of Fire", is an omnibus edition including Janny Wurts' trilogy of the following three books:

Stormwarden (The Cycle of Fire, Book 1)
Keeper of the Keys (Cycle of Fire, No 2)
Shadowfane (Cycle of Fire/Janny Wurts, Bk 3)

This story was pretty well-written, and one could even say that there is definitely potential for writting a prequel book or two and a sequel book or two as well.

I enjoyed the story, and I hope that you will too.

4-0 out of 5 stars Ok but not Great
This book captures you in its intriguing story line. There is much sorcery and is very imaginative. I won't get into the story line but I will mention a couple of things. The ending did not satisfy me I wanted more of a resolution in the ending and did not get it. The ending was written in such a way that there could have been another series after the Cycle of Fire Trilogy. The characters work hard with every ounce of their being and overcome incredibly difficult obstacles but once again I did not feel the release or the easing of their work or feel that the characters really gained anything from it except for saving their world. I alone wanted to feel the reward of the extreme hard work of the characters after reading such a long book, I did not feel that I experienced it.The book being so long I wonder if it was really worth reading with the kind of ending it had. If you don't mind the type of ending or resolution thatthis book has then read it, if not then the book will be a waste of time.

2-0 out of 5 stars Starts well, but ...
The first book in this trilogy is good - perhaps very good.But it's all downhill from there, sadly.The prose gets more and more involuted; the dialogue migrates from 'wooden' through 'strained' all the way to 'frankly preposterous'; and the descriptions (especially of the 'magic') strain analogies well past breaking point.The final few chapters are a strain to read :-(

Conclusion - if you enjoyed Daughter of the Empire et al, read them again and leave this one alone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read It
This book was wonderfuly vivid. it is a high action fantasy book.
a (Just cant put down)of witch there are all too few. she just pints a picture in your mind. as soon as you think you know whats going to happen she turns it 180 degrees. but it is just as good on the other side. ... Read more

6. Grand Conspiracy: Alliance of Light
by Janny Wurts
Paperback: 736 Pages (2001-01-01)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$22.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061054666
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

On the world of Athera, two half-brothers gifted of Light and Shadow defeated the Mistwraith. But its revenge left them cursed to life-long enmity, stirring war and deadly intrigue.

Arithon s'Ffalenn, Master of Shadow, trained mage and masterbard, is the last Prince of Rathain. His life has become the cipher upon which the world's fate will turn: he is the target of powerful enemies.

His half-brother, Lysaer s'Ilessid, is now hailed as an avatar. His fanatical following has formed an Alliance of Light sworn to destroy the Master of Shadow. The Prime Enchantress of the Koriani Order seeks his capture to defeat her arch rivals. And trapped by binding vows, Elaira, who holds Arithon's heart, is commanded to arrange his betrayal.

Amid building entanglements of spellcraft and conspiracy converging to bring Arithon down, contending foes bid for power -- and their battle will threaten the bindings that imprison the Mistwraith itself...

Amazon.com Review
Janny Wurts's justifiably skillful and lovingly composed Wars of Light and Shadow series joins the ranks of Robert Jordan's protracted Wheel of Time series, et al., as either--depending on which camp you hail from--the height of high fantasy or the deeply frustrating (yet persistent) problem with the genre.

All that said, Wurts has wooed many fans to her series with compelling characters, a tremendously complex (and painstakingly developed) web of plotlines, and distinctively lush and lyric storytelling. Grand Conspiracy represents part two of part three of a five-part epic--to her credit, Wurts broke the series' third story arc (Alliance of Light) into three parts only reluctantly. The action in this installment surrounds Arithon s'Ffalenn, the fugitive Master of Shadow and the victim of the title's grand conspiracy. Everyone's got it in for him these days, and even his beloved, Elaira, has been shanghaied by her Koriani cronies into playing a role in his betrayal--she must transform an innocent, Fionn Areth, into Arithon's double to draw him out. Grand Conspiracy delivers more of the same, perhaps lacking a bit of the action of previous installments; check out Curse of the Mistwraith if you're new to the series. --Paul Hughes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

1-0 out of 5 stars Takes the fun out of reading for fun
The convoluted sentence structure and strange choice of descriptive words sometimes requires reading a sentence two or three times to understand what is being said. I've loved her works in the past but this is too painful to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best yet :)
If you've read any of my reviews for the other books in this series, you're probably wondering at the number of 5 stars I've been assigning these books, but in all honesty, I couldn't assign this book anything less, and wanted to give it more.

The complexity of the book, and indeed the series as a whole, is simply breathtaking.

In this book, the Koriani witches develop a plot to snare Arithon s'Ffalenn, Prince of Rathain and Master of Shadow. While Lirenda, the second in command of the Koriani develops the plot, the Prime Matriach (leader of the Koriani) develops her own masterful plot both against both Lirenda and the Fellowship Sorcerers entrusted with the care of Athera.

The tension slowly built in the book, yet the last 100-150 pages were unstoppable page-turners, making it hard to put down.

I do strongly recommend reading the prior books first, to develop a full understanding of the characters. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another compelling volume!
Janny Wurts continues her Wars of Light and Shadow series in this engaging book.Although of the best characters (Arithon) does not appear until a little later in the book (around page 80), the rest of the book more than makes up for his lack of presence early on.The book also features one of Ms. Wurts' best endings, leaving the reader wanting for more.Fortunately, the sequel is just as enjoyable.To fully appreciate this book, one should start at the first book in the Wars of Light and Shadow.That volume is Curse of the Mistwraith.

3-0 out of 5 stars Janny Wurts on the decline.
I'm a big fan of Janny Wurts since her Empire trilogy and I swallowed the first novels of this series in rapid succession so far. The tale of Arithon and Lysaer and the Curse of the Mistwraith that has doomed the half-brothers to eternal enmity proceeds after an interlude of several years. During this time Arithon has spent years overseas in the search of the lost Paravians while Lysaer has once again increased his political machinations to consolidate his righteous crusade against his hated brother. The relative stagnation of the feud is interrupted when Morriel, leader of the Koriani witches, employs the full power of her magic order to finally bring down Arithon.

Wurts' major strengths that I appreciated so far are her ability to spin complex and intruiging plots containing elements of high fantasy, politics and passionate affairs of the heart. And a willingness to let her main protagonists suffer and her knack in exploiting these small tragedies to further raise the stakes in the story itself while enhancing the emotional attachment of the reader to the protagonists.

Alas Wurts has reached a level where she simply starts to wear out these talents. Her style of narration in Grand Conspiracy is full of heavy flowery phrases that it just gets annoying. She looses herself in the complexity of her plot, wanting to follow too manyindividual yet somehow linked story lines with the same intensity (i.e. chars like Jieret, Lirenda and other secondary protagonists). Also I think that she exaggerates in showing the falseness of Lysaer's crusade and the way he and his minions use various instruments (one being the same black art of spell casting that Lysaer is accusing Arithon of abusing) becomes rather stereotype. But the most annoying factor has become the level of whining and self-pity shown not only by Arithon, something we're used by now, but also a large scale of other characters (Elaira, Jieret, Fionn Areth and even to some degree the Fellowship Sorcerers). The biggest disappointment is Elaira, who still fails to win free from the hold of her Koriani sisters on her life and soul. Instead we get to see her once again exchange "heartbreaking" scenes of longing and dispair and of course lots of forgiveness between her and her lover Arithon. Where has the innovative passion gone from Ships of Merior when Elaira and Arithon discover their love during a combined magical effort to heal a fatally wounded civilian (a scene which will probably be among my all time favorite episodes in fantasy/sci-fi literature).

Of course Grand Conspiracy has still its strengths. Wurts' application of various types of magic and the descriptions of spell casting as a delicte art are first class. And the long awaited appearance of Davien the Betrayer occurrs with such a careful and elaborately carved introduction that I'm really eager for more of Davien in the next sequels.

But as a conclusion these few highlights aren't enough to make up for many disappointments in the overall progress of this otherwise great fantasy series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Actinic
The Wars of Light and Shadow series continues with, in my opinion, by far the best work so far. This series has captivated me from the beginning: this book was one of the most compelling and intricately crafted works of literature I have ever read.

I think Janny Wurts has stopped pandering to the thrill-a-minute faction of her readership and started writing for herself. Her style has blossomed and intensified a thousandfold. This series began with a promising paradox and the cruellest of curses and has gone on to extend and explore the possiblities of those origins in devastating style.

The tormented exiled prince, Arithon S'Ffalenn, Master of Shadow, who is so utterly human and so desparately unlucky that you cannot fail to love him, is, as ever, in hiding, maintaining leagues of seawater between himself and the seeresses who hunt him by magical means and seek to bring him to his doom as a convicted sorceror. As soon as he sets foot on dry land they can track him, and should he disembark on the same continent as his brother Lysaer of the Light, curse-induced madness will fall upon him to the extent that he will let no-one and nothing stand in his way until his brother is dead. His entourage of swordsmen, seamen, and the Mad Prophet Dakar, are a motley crew. Dakar is drunk most of the time, but when needed to work a powerful enchantment he usually rises to the occasion. He must save the dark prince from himself as often as he has to guard him from his enemies, and this creates a perverse and abiding tension in the relationship between the unlikely duo.

Prince Lysaer of the Light, however, is loved by his people, would never stoop to sorcery and rules with wisdom, humanity and impeccable judgement. Only one problem: he is perpetually insane in his determination to crush Arithon S'Ffalenn at all costs. His abiding hatred of his brother poisons every decision he makes, and his apparent kindness, wisdom, humanity and judgement are all simply means of achieving this one obsessive aim. He needs allies, and he has the gift of winning men's hearts wherever he goes. He is probably the most evil character I have ever had the pleasure to come across in fantasy literature. More men, women and children die in his campaign to defeat his already defeated brother than have ever been threatened by Arithon's occasional fits of madness. And yet he plays those around him to perfection, seducing them with his charismatic glamour and blinding them to the terrifying truth.

Arithon just plays music, and this to ease his soul from the plaguings of a deeply troubled conscience and his intellect from the frustration of thwarted magical ability. One of the novel's chief ironies is that he cannot even practise magic: his powers have been blocked and no recent charge of sorcery against him can possibly be true.

I love the way Janny Wurts plays with your morals, preconceptions and affections in this novel. I love the grim and violent hopelessness of Arithon's existence and the allure this lends to his already captivating character. I love the evil shining compassion of Lysaer s'Ilessid and the spiralling allegories you can trace through history of men who stood for the Light and committed unthinkable acts of darkness in its name.

But most of all I love Janny Wurts's command of the magical. The Fellowship Sorcerers and the Koriani Sisterhood, practising two very distinct forms of magic, the Sisters influencing the course of human events to their own ends and the Fellowship magicians attempting to protect and maintain the balance of the ancient paths of power, do battle on a grand scale, in a power play that is much more than a sideshow to the main action of the novel.

I would wish to ask the author a direct question: why are all the bad witches female, and all the good magicians male? With her twisting of accepted norms and examination of every angle of preconception and prejudice I'm surprised at this. But it's just a thought. The novel's wonderful, and you absolutely positively have to read it. Be prepared to read it slowly, savour each phrase and shade of meaning, and use your brain. Nothing worthwhile ever came easy.... ... Read more

7. The Ships of Merior (The Wars of Light and Shadow series)
by Janny Wurts
Paperback: 738 Pages (2009-06-01)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$0.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0586210709
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

The half-brothers Arithon, Master of Shadow, and Lysaer, Lord of Light, have defeated the Mistwraith and dispersed the fogs that smothered Athera's skies. But their victory comes at a high price: the Mistwraith has set them at odds under a powerful curse of vengeance. The two princes are locked in deadly enmity, with the fates of nations and the balance of the world's mystical powers entangled in their feud. Arithon, forced out of hiding, finds himself hounded by Lysaer and his mighty army. He must take to his natural element—the seas—in order to evade pursuit and steal the initiative. However, his efforts are impeded by outside magical factions, not to mention a drunken prophet sent to safeguard his life, but who seems determined to wreck his cause by misadventure.
Amazon.com Review
"We look forward to the next threebooks of this epic." --Realms of Fantasy ... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars If possible, even better than Curse of the Mistwraith
** spoiler alert **If I could, I'd give these books 5.5 or 6 stars! I don't know when I've been so enthralled with a story. I feel quite inadequate to write a review. The last book ended with Lysaer's total defeat by Arithon, although Lysaer's troops decimated the clansmen who fought with Arithon. Arithon sings the souls of the departed on to the afterlife, and Halliron, the Masterbard of Athera asks him to be his apprentice.

When this book begins, Arithon disguises himself with his gift of shadow and names himself Medlir, and stays with the Masterbard for five years while he learns his craft and is able to do what his heart desires - make music - and avoid another battle with his half brother. To his sadness, his gift of Magic is gone, a consequence of his `unmaking' the crossbow of an archer who was decimating the men who fought with him in the battle with Lysaer. This deed is wrought with danger because it destroys the delicate balance and interconnection that exist ...more If I could, I'd give these books 5.5 or 6 stars! I don't know when I've been so enthralled with a story. I feel quite inadequate to write a review. The last book ended with Lysaer's total defeat by Arithon, although Lysaer's troops decimated the clansmen who fought with Arithon. Arithon sings the souls of the departed on to the afterlife, and Halliron, the Masterbard of Athera asks him to be his apprentice.

When this book begins, Arithon disguises himself with his gift of shadow and names himself Medlir, and stays with the Masterbard for five years while he learns his craft and is able to do what his heart desires - make music - and avoid another battle with his half brother. To his sadness, his gift of Magic is gone, a consequence of his `unmaking' the crossbow of an archer who was decimating the men who fought with him in the battle with Lysaer. This deed is wrought with danger because it destroys the delicate balance and interconnection that exists between all things. He carries a tremendous amount of guilt for his role in the deaths of the clansmen and their wives and children in the battle of the last book. His ability to have compassion and to see all sides of a story burdens him with grief and melancholy that he hides with sarcasm and antagonism. Only a few see beneath his cover.

Every thread of the story is intertwined and important to the forward momentum. Janny manages to weave her tale with a complexity and compelling momentum that hardly lets me lay the books down.

Dakar, the Mad Prophet, has been given the task of protecting Arithon as a penance by his master Asandir, one of the circle of seven sorcerers tasked with maintaining the delicate balance in the world and with restoring the ancient unicorns and centaurs who have left Athera eons ago.

Dakar is angry with the seven because they let Lysaer bear the brunt of the Mistwraith attack and Lysaer was his favorite of the two. Throughout the book, he plots to get Arithon killed and because he's a drunk and a ne'er-do-well, every plot goes hilariously afoul except that they earn Arithon the enmity of many of the citizens of Athera. Finally, an accident in one of the escapades gives Halliron a grave injury, and he and Arithon barely escape with the injured Halliron in their wagon. During this ordeal, Arithon plays his Lyranthe and his playing is able to arouse the old magical energies in the earth that creates an upheaval in the corrupt city and topples buildings and heaves up the ground, while never harming a soul.

Lysaer solidifies his power, rebuilds an old city to be his capital, marries his love, the beautiful Talith, and gathers his troops for another assault on his half-brother, carrying out the 'curse'. Lysaer is in every way, Arithon's opposite. Where Arithon is small and dark, Lysaer is tall and blonde and handsome. He wins people to his side with charm and smiles and his single minded pursuit of `justice' as he sees it. Reminds me of some people I can think of on the national stage.

Elaira, the girl that Arithon met in book one, is sent to the little town of Merior by the Koriani order of enchantresses to seduce Arithon because they see him as dangerous to them. Elaira loves him but cannot disobey because of her vows to the order. She does not try to seduce him, but they begin to spend time together, as Arithon wants to learn her healing skills and about herbs and poultices. Finally a fisherman is badly wounded and the two strive to heal him, Elaira with her craft, and Arithon with his Lyranthe and song. They are able to see inside each other during this process and it is one of the most intense, passionate, powerful scenes I have ever read. They declare their love to each other, but Arithon turns from her because of her vow of chastity to the Koriani order.

The climax comes when Lysaer finds Arithon and leads his troops to take the village of Merior and destroy Arithon's ships. Arithon is able to defeat him once again, building a shadow fleet out of fishing boats and disguising them as powerful sailing warships, and Lysaer has a huge attack of rage and sends out his gift of light and burns his own fleet that was supposed to take his armies to Merior.

The mere telling of the plot conveys none of the brilliance of the writing, the complexity of the characters, the intensity of the emotional impact.

4-0 out of 5 stars Part 2 of the Saga
I didn't like this quite as well as the first book in the series, The Curse of the Mistwraith. That said, it's still a great book. As I've come to expect with my forth Janny Wurts read, I was pleased once more to have the payoff with the final climax. Janny sure knows how to close up a story.

It leads right into Warhose of Vastmark, which I've started already. Not with a cliffhanger, but with a tease/sample of things to come. I should note that these two books were originally published and intended to be a single volume, though the close of Ships brings the story together quite well. Of course, it's simply too good to stop there.

There were a few scenes in this book that I loved, but I won't go into specifics here in order to avoid spoilers. I'll save those comments for the various places on GoodReads where the book will be discussed over the next couple of months.

For the most part, Ships felt like a bridge novel, taking the story introduced with Curse and fleshing the world and characters out a little before getting to the really juicy stuff. Time, patience, and a lot of reading will determine whether this hunch is correct. At any rate, I look forward to Warhost and beyond.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than "Curse of the Mistwraith"!
I liked this more than the previous novel in the series "Curse of the Mistwraith" & that's hard to imagine.Part of the reason is that the world & characters are already set, so Janny could spend more time exploring how the curse played out & the characters.The world expanded & the action increased, too.

There were some things I didn't like, but I can't mention them without making a spoiler review, something I hate.I can say, that what I didn't like were necessary to the story, pieces of a hard life that was masterfully told & just ripped at my emotions - so they weren't 'bad', just heart rending.They heightened the good points to bring more joy, but they weren't easy to take.

Again, the book ended logically & on crescendo of action.There's obviously plenty of room for the story to go on.My hardback edition has both this book & "Warhost of Vastmark" together as one book.Since it is a first edition, signed to me by the author, I didn't read it but the paperback which makes two books out of them.

If you liked the Lord of the Rings, I think you'll love this series.If you're used to skimming candy books, be warned that Janny's prose is dense.Each word is polished & set in place like a fine jeweler sets stones.If you skim, you'll miss points, but most of all, you'll miss an almost poetic tale.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent second novel in the series
The Ships of Merior is the first part of Arc 2 of THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW, the incomparable epic fantasy series by Janny Wurts. The novel was originally released in 1994, and has most recently been re-released by HarperCollins Voyager in a lovely mass market paperback edition, featuring brand new artwork by the author herself. This is the first US paperback edition of the novel in at least 7 years. Further novels in the series will be re-released in late 2009 and throughout 2010, in anticipation of the next novel in the series, Initiate's Trial, in late 2010.

If you enjoyed The Curse of the Mistwraith, there's simply no reason or excuse not to read The Ships of Merior. The novel features all of the many strengths of its predecessor: meticulous plotting, strong characters, attention to the smallest details of world-building, and most notably Janny Wurts' gorgeous prose. Simply put, I can't think of many fantasy authors who can rival the richness and subtlety of the language Janny Wurts deploys in her novels.

One difference with The Curse of the Mistwraith is the amount of humor in the book. While the earlier book had just a few glimpses of lightheartedness, The Ships of Merior displays this side of the author more often, especially when recounting the exploits of the mad prophet Dakar early in the novel. The grimmer tone of the second half of the book is probably at least in part due to the fact that Dakar spends much of it drunk to the point of unconsciousness.

The Ships of Merior and Warhost of Vastmark, the second book in this Arc of THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW, were originally envisioned (and published) as one - very large - novel, but have been split into two titles in many editions. Fortunately, one of Janny Wurts' hallmarks is a midpoint climax, halfway through each novel - which in this case has the happy result of creating an unforgettable ending in the last chapters of The Ships of Merior (which were originally the middle chapters of the complete Arc 2). The book ends on an unmitigated nail-biter that left me unable to stop reading until the very end, and eager to get into Warhost of Vastmark as soon as possible.

5-0 out of 5 stars Janny Wurts amazes me.
The Ships of Merior flawlessly continues The Wars of Light and Shadow saga. Arithon, the Master of Shadow, is on the run, which is fine by him because his perfect cover is also his heart's desire: working as apprentice to the master-bard Halliron. Lysaer has been far from idle during Arithon's absence. He carries on his plans to become appointed high king, courts Talera, begins the rebuilding of the ruins of Avenor, and wins over the townships to his cause of hunting down Arithon. Meanwhile, the Fellowship of Seven dangerously pursue the means to defeat the Mistwraith once and for all and to lift the curse that has Arithon and Lysaer at each others' throats, threatening to plunge Athera into bloody war.

If there is anyone who can write more beautifully than Janny Wurts, I haven't run across `em yet. Her characters are so genuine and her worlds are so life-like, it seems as if she isn't making up these stories, but translating them onto paper as the characters relate them.

What makes Ms. Wurts's stories so "real" is her extensive knowledge regarding everything she writes about. In The Ships of Merior, she describes music in such a way that the reader can't help but realize that there truly is something magical about it. Her descriptions of shipbuilding recognize that it's an art form as well as a practical skill. Wurts's biography states that she's a musician and an offshore sailor, among several other remarkable achievements. What it doesn't say is that she's apparently a military strategist as well! The clans' guerrilla tactics and the campaign of Lysaer's war-host reveal the wisdom of a seasoned general.

The more books by Janny Wurts I read, the more I'm impressed by her genius. ... Read more

8. Fugitive Prince: Alliance of Light: Volume One (The Wars of Light and Shadow series) (Bk. 1)
by Janny Wurts
Paperback: 576 Pages (2009-09-01)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$1.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0006482996
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

The schism began with two halfbrothers empowered to subdue a Mistwraith. In revenge it cursed them to a life of perpetual conflict: each believes absolutely in his cause, and loathes the other for opposing it. Lysaer, Prince of the Light—a charismatic leader sworn to set humanity free from sorcerous oppression—claims divine power to safeguard his people from an enemy he is convinced will destroy them. Arithon, Master of Shadow—a trained mage—wishes for nothing but to defuse war and search out the vanished old races who hold the key to restore the world's shattered peace. When Koriani enchantresses join forces with Lysaer, new intrigues upset Arithon's hard-won autonomy. Faction is set against faction, heart against heart, and the scene is set for an explosive recurrence of war. The curse of the Mistwraith echoes eternal!
Amazon.com Review
The third cycle in the Wars of Light and Shadow series begins withFugitive Prince, book 1 of the Alliance of the Light triptych.Lysaer and Arithon are brothers divided by a curse of enmity; one driven byrapacious pride, the other marking a lonely fugitive path. In a stylereminiscent of Tolkien or Herbert, Janny Wurts has concocted a world ofenchantresses and runes, ciphers and prophecies, conjurers and plotters, inwhich the forces of good and evil are distilled to their most human levels.Be warned: after a taste of her potion, you may be under her spell for avery long time. This series is Ulyssesean in scope, comprising eightvolumes at last count. --Jhana Bach ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars Foundation book for Arc 3
I'm not really happy with any of my reviews of this series, so I'm putting this in every one: Mistwraith is an incredibly compelling, action filled, gut wrenching, heart stopping adventure with one of the most incredible love stories I've read in a long time.

As in the previous books, the plot is intricate and compelling. The battle continues with Lysaer wanting to wage war and Arithon fleeing to try and avoid more killing, which tears him to pieces. Each book adds more layers to the overall picture of the world of Athera, the ancient Paravians who have disappeared, the mystery of where they went and why humans are on this world at all. It reminds me of one of those pictures with many layers of sheer paper with the objects colored in that keep building complexity upon complexity until the image is very rich and powerful.

An intense and emotional scene consists of the sorcerers confronting Lysaer and giving him alternate choices of action.

One of the important things that emerges more completely in this book is that since their empathic connection while healing the fisherman in Merior, Elaira and Arithon are able to maintain an empathic connection with one another and are able to be aware of how the other one is feeling by reaching out empathetically. The love that develops in this way is quite powerful, even though they are not able to be together because of Elaira's oath to the Koriani for celibacy and obedience.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another excellent installment in one of the best fantasy series out there
Fugitive Prince is the fourth novel in THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW by Janny Wurts, but because of the series' unique structure, it's actually the start of a brand new "arc" inside the overall story: book 1 comprises the first arc, books 2 and 3 together are the second arc, and the third arc consists of books 4 through 8 (the first of which is Fugitive Prince). Looking forward, the forthcoming 9th novel, Initiate's Trial, will be the first of 2 books in the 4th arc, and the 11th and final novel will also be the final arc.

If you're keeping track, all of this means that the series' 5 arcs have a nicely symmetrical 1-2-5-2-1 structure, and also that, just in case you're not familiar with this truly excellent series yet, you still have the amazing opportunity to read the first 3 arcs, which are recently all in print again, before Janny Wurts' next novel hits the shelves.

Just one of the wonderful aspects of THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW (which, in case you hadn't noticed yet, has garnered unanimous rave reviews here at Fantasy Literature) is that Janny Wurts always makes it easy to get back into the story, even if it's been a while since you've read the last novel. She does this by recapping the events from previous novels, not in a "The story so far" section at the front of the book, but much more elegantly, by including those events into the narrative, often from a different perspective, so your understanding of the series deepens at the same time. (However, if your memory is as bad as mine, and you prefer a more traditional chronological recap, this can be found in a later novel, and there's also a book by book time line available on the author's excellent website).

Fugitive Prince picks up close to the end of Warhost of Vastmark, and for fear of spoiling even the slightest bit of enjoyment for new readers, this review won't cover much in the way of plot summary. Suffice it to say that the conflict between the the half-brothers Arithon and Lysaer continues unabated. The "Alliance of Light" mentioned in the title of this third arc refers to Lysaer's coalition of mostly townborn loyalists, built around a religion and a true cult of personality centered on him, with the goal of ridding the world of Athera of both his half-brother and the last remnants of the clan-born.

Many familiar characters from earlier novels return, and several new and fascinating ones are introduced. This being the start of a new arc, the plot logically includes a bit more set-up than the previous 3 novels did, making the first half of this novel probably the weakest section of the series so far -- which isn't saying much, as it still sticks head and shoulders above almost everything else in the genre. However, in the style I've more or less come to expect by now, the midway point of the novel presents a tipping point, leading to a truly excellent, hard-to-put-down second half and an exciting finale that will leave you eager to get to the next book in the series.

Janny Wurts also continues to reveal secrets and layers in THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW's improbably complex fantasy universe, this time maybe not of the truly mind-bending kind (although, that grimward scene...) but still enough to keep you on your toes -- especially some casually mentioned tidbits about the Koriani enchantresses that'll add a whole new perspective to your understanding of this series. Every book in THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW will have you reconsider the previous ones in an entirely new light.

One aspect of Fugitive Prince -- and the entire series -- that bears emphasizing is its unique descriptions of magic. In fantasy, magic is sometimes portrayed as an almost scientifically rational process complete with systems and charts (a la Brandon Sanderson), or, at the other extreme of the scale, as unexplained and vaguely described hand-waving. To be fair, Arithon's powers sometimes lean towards the second of those options, but in Fugitive Prince you'll find a description of an elaborate spell construct by Morriel Prime that hits the perfect middle ground between the two: it's so carefully described and (for want of a better word) rational that you can practically see it in front of you, but at the same time it manages to keep the true mystery and wonder of its nature. It's simply one of the most memorable descriptions of magic I've ever encountered in fantasy. Then again, Janny Wurts' prose almost constantly hits that same level, with some of the most carefully worded and nuanced writing you'll find in the genre. While her style can be demanding on the reader, it's equally rewarding if you're willing to adjust to a level of detail and depth that's unparalleled in fantasy.

Fugitive Prince is another excellent installment in one of the best fantasy series out there. If you're not on board yet, seriously -- go find a copy of The Curse of the Mistwraith now!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Book, Great Service
Janny Wurtz continues to match her master bard character, The Master of Shadow, in spellbinding the reader in "The Fugitive Prince", book one of "The Alliance of Light" of her epic fantasy "The Wars of Light and Shadow".I started reading this series over a decade ago, but an inability to find the new volumes stalled my progress.Several months ago, I checked her web site and found that the series was being reprinted in Europe, and re-released in the US under new covers.I immediately started to order the available volumes I had not read, and found that timed had faded the memory of the storyline.Hence I began at the beginning and have made two thirds of the way through this the forth volume in the series.I read prior to sleep nightly, but with Janny's magic prose, and I am unable to put the book down and nightly must force myself to turn out the light.A must read for speculative fiction aficionados.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Wars of Light and Shadow is still going strong.
In Fugitive Prince, we learn just how overwhelming the Mistwraith's curse is for the half-brothers. Years have passed, and to Lysear's great disappointment, Arathon is still at large without a trace. With the absence of the Prince of Shadow, Lysear's desperation intensifies to the point of justifying deplorable acts. Arathon's strategies are ingenious, but may not prove to be quite clever enough to stay ahead of Lysear's new alliance with the Korianni. And as if Lysear's growing obsession to destroy Arathon was not bad enough, the meddling of the Korianni enchantresses makes the Fellowship of Sorcerers' struggle to return the Paravians to order seem hopeless.

Fugitive Prince is the fourth door-stopper in The Wars of Light and Shadow epic -- a huge, complex story with a fascinating magic system. I can think of only a handful of authors who have the skill to maintain this kind of story -- let alone keep it moving forward -- so for most epics, this is where I usually begin to lose interest. But Ms. Wurts is not only managing to keep me hooked -- she actually kicks things up a notch in Fugitive Prince.

Most importantly, though, the characters remain the driving force behind the tale without the reader getting overwhelmed with an endless number of forgettable names. There is a constant emotional connection with the characters and the story has a feeling of "realness" that is so difficult to attain in a traditional fantasy epic.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Noose Is Tightened...
If you've blindly stumbled onto this book, I would recommend reading the prior books (Curse Of The Mistwraith, Ships Of Merior, Warhost Of Vastmark) to understand and appreciate the depth and scope of the epic that Janny is detailing.

Fugitive Prince revolves around Arithon's quest to escape the blind, fanatical following of his equally cursed half-brother, Lysaer. At first Arithon seeks escape across the sea, and when he returns, seeks to bring captured clanborn out of slavery under Lysaer's rule.

Playing in the background, the leader of the Koriani (a group of herbalist witches, for want of a better description), seeks the demise of Arithon by setting a trap of frightening intricacy and proportion, and working in league with Lysaer.

For those with short attention spans, I would advise staying clear of this series of books. For those with more patience, I would thoroughly recommend it - Janny populates her world with vibrant, well-crafted characters, details complex battle scenes and the intricate nature of spellcraft, while masterfully interweaving separate plot lines into a complex tapestry, leaving the reader wanting more, and always wondering what will happen next. ... Read more

9. To Ride Hell's Chasm
by Janny Wurts
Paperback: 464 Pages (2009-08-01)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$3.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0007101112
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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When Princess Anja fails to appear at her betrothal banquet, the tiny, peaceful kingdom of Sessalie is plunged into intrigue. Two warriors are charged with recovering the distraught king's beloved daughter: Taskin, Commander of the Royal Guard, whose icy competence and impressive life-term as the Crown's right-hand man command the kingdom's deep-seated respect; and Mykkael, the rough-hewn newcomer who has won the post of Captain of the Garrison—a scarred veteran with a deadly record of field warfare, whose "interesting" background and foreign breeding are held in contempt by court society. As the princess's trail vanishes outside the citadel's gates, anxiety and tension escalate. Mykkael's investigations lead him to a radical explanation for the mystery, but he finds himself under suspicion from the court factions. Will Commander Taskin's famous fair-mindedness be enough to unravel the truth behind the garrison captain's dramatic theory—that the resourceful, high-spirited princess was not taken by force, but fled the palace to escape a demonic evil?
... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

3-0 out of 5 stars To Ride Hell's Chasm
Janny has a way of sucking you into her stories.I thought that the rescue of the Princess was too drawn out, and the ending was way too short.I loved diving in and immersing myself into a different world.I struggled giving this a 3 or a 4 rating, but gave it a 3 because of too many chapters to do the rescue and thought more could have been given to the ending and resolution with the different characters.

What I like most about Janny's books is her character development. OK she lets her heros take a lot of abuse, but you get to know her characters, all of them.I bought this on my Kindle and have bought a few of Janny's books in paperback here at Amazon.

5-0 out of 5 stars One Hell of a Ride
Though it starts off somewhat slowly, TRHC builds up to a peak and never lets go. This is certainly not a light read, but one that takes time and diligence to properly absorb. Richly told in a beautiful language, the imagery is fantastic. The characters will have readers aching for their plight.

The world is very well detailed, and I really like the connection from demon to sorcerer to minion. The shapeshifters are pretty ominous too.

Don't want to give away too much and spoil, but will say that this is one of those stories that sticks with you long after you're done reading it.


5-0 out of 5 stars Wow!Fantastic, non-stop action
Wow!Janny told me the story got really exciting during the last half.Wrong!It was really exciting all the way through.If there is any fault at all in the book, it is that the excitement NEVER slacks off & it's really hard to put down.That's not really fair when it is so long - yet seems not long enough.I'd love to read more about this world & its characters.

The plot is beautifully crafted, lovingly revealed & the resolution left me gasping (& a bit teary eyed).The characters are amazingly human, yet heroic, each in their own way.The prose is a bit dense at times.Each word was obviously chosen with professional care, so be warned if you like to quickly skim a novel - don't do it.You might get away with it with this one, but you don't want to.The description is too acute, the world perfectly formed & a quick read will simply dim it.

My highest praise is reserved for her handling of the horses.Obviously, she KNOWS horses.She knows their strengths, weaknesses & personalities.Yes, each horse has a personality.They're not simply hooved cars.They're not cutsey, caricatures, either.There is no anthropomorphism here.They're every bit as 'real' as the fictionalized humans.If you don't know horses, there may be a few terms that could use some definition, but not many.Most are well enough described.The 'near' side of a horse is the left side, for instance.It is a proper equestrian term.

Anyway, it's a fantastic read & I highly recommend it.I've yet to be disappointed by one of her books & this one just raised my esteem for her writing another notch.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent standalone fantasy
At the start of To Ride Hell's Chasm, an outstanding standalone fantasy by Janny Wurts, Princess Anja of the tiny isolated kingdom of Sessalie has gone missing on the eve of the ceremony for her betrothal to the Crown Prince of Devall.Since Anja is beloved by her people, and the alliance with Devall represents potentially big trade increases, it doesn't take long for many people to be involved in the search, from Mykkael, a foreign-born former mercenary now in charge of the city's garrison, to Taskin, the military commander for the kingdom.

Over 650 pages covering about 5 days, Janny Wurts delivers a story filled with almost non-stop action that's at times impossible to put down.One of the odd and wonderful things about this novel is the contrast between the tight pacing and the lush language.Again, that's 650 pages cover just a handful of days - the first day alone takes about 200 pages, because every emotion, every visual detail, every nuance of meaning is hammered down in the most meticulous, rich prose you could hope find in the genre.As a result, one moment of realization can be dissected over several paragraphs, but amazingly, there's rarely an unnecessary word in those descriptions.It all works together to drive the full experience of the characters home in unmistakable clarity.To Ride Hell's Chasm never feels like a slow book - just a very intense one.

The novel is filled with several fascinating characters, but the most memorable one has to Mykkael, the "desert-bred" foreigner, reviled by many, always placing honor first, and simply unstoppable.One of the highest compliments I can give a fantasy character: he wouldn't look amiss in one of Guy Gavriel Kay's books.From the moment he is first introduced, through the heart-pounding conclusion of the adventure, to the emotionally gripping wrap-up, this is an unforgettable character.

It's hard for me to express accurately how much I enjoyed and admire To Ride Hell's Chasm.Standalone fantasies are already a rare beast in this time of endlessly meandering series.To read a story so meticulously crafted, contained in one cover, is a real pleasure. This novel is easily going on my all-time favorite list of fantasy novels.

5-0 out of 5 stars Is one hell of a ride!!!
Due to its remoteness, the kingdom of Sessalie has enjoyed generations of peace while other parts of the world have been ravaged by war with sorcerers. That tranquility is shattered when their beloved Princess Anja goes missing on the night on her betrothal. Now her fate, and the kingdom's, rests on two men. Dealing with unfamiliar evils, Taskin, the iron-disciplined commander of the Royal Guard, must depend on the worldly experience and unfathomable character of a foreigner and sell-sword: garrison captain Mykkael, who could just as likely be involved in Anja's disappearance as her sole chance of rescue.

This was my first time reading Janny Wurts, and I now understand her very dictated and enthusiastic following. To Ride Hell's Chasm is the perfect fantasy story. It contains some traditional fantasy elements like an endangered princess in a far-away land where gryphons roam the skies and sorcery is a terrifying and mysterious force. But it also has the political intrigue and multi-person-point-of-view of believable and intensely interesting characters that's prevalent in modern fantasy. It's brimming with cliff-hanging suspense and pulse-pounding action. Mysteries unfold in tantalizing bread-crumb paths toward explosive resolution, and the characters become so endearing it's hard to accept them as being only fictional.

Those things alone make TRHC a grand adventure to read, but what takes it to an even higher level is that Janny Wurts is a natural-born story-teller. Her gift as a talented artist allows her to enhance her books with her own illustrations, whereas other authors must leave it up to another's interpretation. Her knowledge of what she is writing about is extensive to the point that it almost seems closer to reality than story.

Best of all, Ms. Wurts writes with a prose that is pure genius. It has a Shakespearean quality that only a handful of other authors are capable of. Done with just the slightest degree less of talent, her style would easily become too melodramatic. But with the perfection exemplified in THRC, Wurts creates a tale that is both so exciting and uniquely fantasy; it re-enforces this reader's enjoyment of the genre. ... Read more

10. Grand Conspiracy: Alliance of Light: Volume Two (The Wars of Light and Shadow series) (Bk. 2)
by Janny Wurts
Paperback: 656 Pages (2009-11-01)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$4.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0007102224
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A lifelong curse of enmity between two half-brothers that has so far woven three bitter conflicts and uncounted deadly intrigues. It is a time of political upheavel, fanaticism, and rampaging armies. Distrust of sorcery has set off a purge of the talented mageborn—none reviled more than Arithon, Master of Shadow. Through clever manipulation of events at the hands of his halfbrother Lysaer, Lord of Light, Arithon's very name has become anathema. Now the volatile hatreds that spearheaded the campaign against Shadow have overtaken all reason. Those that still stand in Arithon's desperate defense are downtrodden, in retreat and close to annihilation.
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic series continues
Mistwraith is an incredibly compelling, action filled, gut wrenching, heart stopping adventure with one of the most incredible love stories I've read in a long time.

In this one, the Koriani emerge as a truly evil force, as they manipulate spirit and matter to create a double for Arithon and continue to plot his capture or death. Arithon and Elaira build their relationship even stronger. Lirenda is shown the way to love and compassion but shuts herself off in hatred and envy.

Every character continues to develop and change, events come to cataclysmic climaxes, and Arithon continues to be one of the most riveting and fascinating heroes in literature. Music weaves its way into the elemental forces of nature. Crystals are used to force power in soul killing ways. The Paravians continue to exert their magical power that leaves men bereft in their absence.

I can't say enough about this series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great novel in a superb series
It gets harder and harder to review each subsequent novel in Janny Wurts' excellent epic fantasy series THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOWwithout either repeating yourself or including spoilers for earlier volumes. My previous reviews have highlighted the series' complexity, level of detail, deep characterization, gorgeous prose, and inventive descriptions of magic. All of those positives can again be found in Grand Conspiracy, the fifth book in the overall series and second in the Alliance of Light arc.

So, what's left to say? Grand Conspiracy will not disappoint anyone who has read the previous four novels in the series. As a matter of fact, if (like me) you felt that the previous installment, Fugitive Prince, moved more slowly than the first three books in the series, because as the first book of this five-book arc it contains more set-up than usual, you'll probably be happy to hear that, despite some ebbs in the plot, Grand Conspiracy moves things along at a more solid pace again.

As always, you'll also encounter a mid-novel peak in the action, followed by a relentless rush to an exciting resolution that, at the same time, sets things up effectively for Peril's Gate, the next novel in the series. Since that's also the middle book in the overall series (book 6 of a projected 11 novels), I'm 100% sure that it'll be yet another memorable novel.

So, to avoid spoilers and repetition, I'll keep this review short and simple, and leave it at that: this is another great book in what's quickly becoming one of my favorite fantasy series. Now all the WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW novels are available and in print again, and with the ninth book in its final stages of completion, you're seriously missing out if you're not reading what's sure to become a classic of epic fantasy. ... Read more

11. That Way Lies Camelot
by Janny Wurts
Mass Market Paperback: 352 Pages (1997-10)
list price: US$5.50 -- used & new: US$14.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061057789
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Our ancient tradition of tale-spinning is blessed with a treasure trove of truly sacred places.One such place is Camelot.

In this superb collection of unforgettable stories, the multitalented artist/writer Janny Wurts, one of today's bestselling fantasy authors, takes the reader to a very special Camelot that is both deeply familiar and delightfully strange.She tells of the Eld Tree that is the link to the fey world, and of the terrible price that must be paid for cutting it; of the elvenkind that emulate the wolf to protect themselves from man; of the horses that rose, and still rise, from the sea.

That Way Lies Camelot is a book that proves what Wurts' legions of readers already know: that the worlds of fantasy will live on as long as there are writers such as Janny Wurts, with the vision and the skill to bring them to life in the minds of each generation. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars Camelot? I think not.
Three stars for creativity. This is the first (and last) book I've read by this author. She's good at what she does, a bit overly prosy for me as I was not interested in the subject matter it took me days rather than hours to gnaw my way through the book. There are several sci-fi, feral elves, just plain fantasy as well as a modern day tear jerker (with the only passing reference to Camelot in the book). I was looking forward to a new take on the Arthurian legends and this collection couldn't be further from that; I'd call that false advertising but that's just me. There are strong female characters, men acting badly and some heroic if sorely put upon minors. One or two of the stories even had something as close as she apparently can bring herself to a happy ending. Obviously not my cup of tea especially considering my expectations but again well written and formulated.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fairly good short-story collection
This book is a compilation of fantasy and science fiction short stories, although all of the stories are not stand-alone stories.There are two of the stories which contain 3 short stories each.Overall, this collection of stories is good, but a couple of the stories are just a titch dark, so I only gave this book 3 stars, because I'm one of those readers who always likes to have a "happy" ending.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice story collection
These are nicely written stories.They're the first Wurts I've read and now I'm inclined to read more. I actually wish a couple of the stories would have continued and evolved into books because I was drawn to the characters.

The only complaint I really have is that the blurb for the hardback made it seem like the stories were all fantasy, when in fact half were SF.The SF was done well (it was space opera/adventure with an edge) but I wasn't in the mood for it, so it would have been nice to know that in advance.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Work of Creativity
I found that this book was absolutely enchanting. I had a hard time putting it down for more than a minute. The collaboration of these authors was a great idea, which created a book that takes you to many places andback again. You seem to be drawn into the book. The writing is so well donethat it allows you to create images in your mind as you read. This book hasa collection of the most beautifully told stories that I have read so far.I, therefore, highly recomend this book for those who like science fictionand fantasy novels. So don't delay buy it today!

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful collaboration of samples of great work...
In this book Janny Wurts proves to us that good things can come in small packages...I love Janny's novels and was a bit skeptical about reading mere short stories, but I was mistaken. In so short a story she wove wonderfulcharacters and set the stage for great stories...at the end of each story Iwas left wishing there was more, as each story proved to be exceptional.She easily wrote about mystical magic and futuristic possibilities...thereare no words to describe the talent of the author and artist; Janny Wurts. ... Read more

12. Daughter of the Empire
by Raymond E. Feist, Janny Wurts
Mass Market Paperback: 432 Pages (1988-06-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 055327211X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Mara, a young, untested Ruling Lady of Kelewan, is called upon to lead her people in a heroic struggle for survival. But first she must rally an army of rebel warriors, form a pact with the alien cho-ja and marry the son of a hated enemy. An epic tale of adventure and intrigue by two of the most talented writers in the field today. HC: Doubleday. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (77)

5-0 out of 5 stars Shogun II. This is an incredible series
In his Rift Wars novels, Feist included a world based on medival Japan, right out of Shogun.

In this series, we have a marvellous Shogun-like story of adventure and political intrigue, that's absolutely breath-taking.

If you liked the Original Shogun, then you'll find this series to be just as fascinating a read. That it's placed in a science-fantasy setting is but an insignificant detail. The authors could just as well have set this very same story in 17th century historical Japan!

5-0 out of 5 stars Better Than I Expected!!
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. In the Riftwar Saga, the Tsurani sections are not among my favorites, so the thought of a whole trilogy set on Kelewan, making only brief mentions of Midkemia, did not overly excite me. But, I ended up really enjoying this book! Though Feist has strong female characters in the Riftwar Sagam they are not main characters by any stretch of the imagination, so this book with Mara, the Ruling Lady of Acoma, as its focal point was a great addition to the series as a whole!
The digital version that I read, unfortunately, was laden with typos. Since _A Darkness at Sethanon_ was pretty heavily rife with typos as well, I am curious over if the print version suffers from these errors as well. If so, I am very curious about the hiring standards of Bantam editors in the 1980s!
But not even the errors detracted from the excitement of a new book in the land of high politics, honour and warfare that Feist created in Kelewan. An interesting complimentary storyline, I am curious to see what heights Mara will achieve in the remaining two books of the trilogy.

3-0 out of 5 stars Unbalanced
I have read and enjoyed Feist's novels ever since I was in high school.Though he borrows many elements from Tolkein's high fantasy approach, his Riftwar Saga remains one of my favorite fantasy series. That said, I am disappointed with this first installment of the so-called Kelewan trilogy.Though I do not claim to know for sure, I think that Feist had a minor role in the writing of this novel, for the style and subject is very different from any of the Feist books I have previously read. To be sure this story is exclusively set in Kelewan; the same Kelewan where Pug ends up in midway through Magician. Yet do not let the fact that the story is set in the world of the Tsuranuanni fool you, for there is very little fantasy and magic in this novel, indeed the fantasy elements are few and far between.When fantasy does appear it is presented in an awkward manner, such as the sudden introduction of the Cho-Ja or the deus ex machina role of the Great Ones in solving issues that the writers seem to be unable to resolve through the course of the plot.

Though I can enjoy a good novel regardless of the genre, the problem with Daughter of the Empire (DotE), is that once the original shock of false advertisement has subsided (about 250 pages in, I had figured out that this was not likely to be a fantasy novel) the rest of the story is not all that good. It is basically a survival/revenge story of a young girl in a male dominated society where she is seemingly hounded by enemies on all sides.Despite the fact that this seems like a good starting point, the truth is that Mara is not really all that harassed by her enemies, I mean over the course of 400 pages there may 3 or 4 real action sequences while the rest of the time is spend on describing her life and daily struggles in managing an estate or dealing with a boorish husband.All this told from a single perspective, since Mara is almost exclusively the only character viewpoint, makes for dull reading.

The premise behind the Tsuranuanni world is based on a medieval Japanese-like society, and I must admit that the attention to detail and thoroughness by which the customs and the Acoma estate are described closely matches the historical facts, but since I have already read Clavell's masterpiece Shogun, DotE does not impress as much as it should on this regard. To end on a good note, the story despite its tedious pace, has some very interesting characters, such as Arakasi, Tecuma of the Anasati and Teani, who add some much needed flavor to a mainly prototypical starring cast. All in all, I hope for a better continuation of this series, with hopefully more of an even collaboration between the two writers and theirs styles.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK
This is probably one of my favorite series of books by the author. I was so wrapped up in the reading, which did pull emotions when read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stick out the challenge and be rewarded
I'll just review one aspect of this trilogy.I read Feist's four prior books, including Magician, and found myself strongly preferring the Europe-like Midkemian world over the Japan-like Kelewan world in which the Empire Trilogy is based.I wanted to read Feist's books in order that he wrote them, so I decided to next attempt to bear through the Empire books.

Boy am I glad I did.I now count the final book of the trilogy, Mistress of the Empire, one of my two all-time favorite fantasy novels.The Magician series, as much as I loved them, now seems almost amateurish by comparison.The Empire story is carefully crafted, the characters vary from two-dimensional to fully three-dimensional, and the end of the trilogy is exhilarating.

However, reading the trilogy was not always easy.I developed a love/hate relationship with the main character, Mara.There were times when I thought her a cruel monster and other times when I thought her a saint.There were at least two occasions where I got so angry with her, thinking her ugly, that I considered not bothering to finish the series.

But now I know that this is all by design.Mara is struggling with the culture she lives in.The first book, Daughter of the Empire, shows Mara as a person of that culture with some inclination to question it.The second book, Servant of the Empire, shows Mara coming to understand her culture and finding herself at odds with it.The final book, Mistress of the Empire, shows Mara in a final struggle with her culture, a struggle that starts out intensely personal but which later engulfs the entire Empire.

So don't you put those books down!Keep reading!Love Mara at times, hate her at times.It is as it should be.You won't experience the euphoria of the ending with out it; and because of it, you might just count Mistress of the Empire one of your all-time favorite books. ... Read more

13. Warhost of Vastmark (The Wars of Light and Shadow series)
by Janny Wurts
Paperback: 576 Pages (2009-07-01)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0006482074
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Tricked once more by his wily half-brother, Lysaer, Lord of Light, arrives at the tiny harbor town of Merior to find that Arithon's ship yards have been abandoned and meticulously destroyed, and that the Master of Shadow has disappeared as if into thin air. Meanwhile Arithon and the Mad Prophet Dakar are traveling on foot through the treacherous Kelhorn Mountains towards the Vastmark clans, there to raise further support for his cause. But raising a warhost is a costly business. Is it mere coincidence that Princess Talith—Lysaer's beautiful, headstrong wife—is taken captive and held for a vast ransom by a master brigand? The forces of light and shadow circle and feint, drawing ever closer to a huge conflict. And in the background the Fellowship of Seven Sorcerers and the Koriani Enchantresses watch and plan, and wait.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best one so far!
** spoiler alert **Mistwraith is an incredibly compelling, action filled, gut wrenching, heart stopping adventure with one of the most incredible love stories I've read in a long time. This book picks up right where Ships of Merior left off; in fact they were originally written as one book. Once again, I would give the book six stars if it were possible. In fact, as I look through the books I have given five stars before, I am tempted to rate some of them down to four.

After the burning of Lysaer's ships, the tension builds as he regroups and continues his attempts to kill/wage war on his half brother, who is trying with all his might to avoid fighting and death. Dakar continues to haunt Arithon's every move, in between bouts of drinking. Arithon takes Lysaer's wife Talith hostage in a brilliant coup and attempt to get financing for his inevitable battle. The accomplishment of this and the subsequent theft of the ransom, the raising of another ransom, Talith's escape from Arithon's clutch ...more Mistwraith is an incredibly compelling, action filled, gut wrenching, heart stopping adventure with one of the most incredible love stories I've read in a long time. This book picks up right where Ships of Merior left off; in fact they were originally written as one book. Once again, I would give the book six stars if it were possible. In fact, as I look through the books I have given five stars before, I am tempted to rate some of them down to four.

After the burning of Lysaer's ships, the tension builds as he regroups and continues his attempts to kill/wage war on his half brother, who is trying with all his might to avoid fighting and death. Dakar continues to haunt Arithon's every move, in between bouts of drinking. Arithon takes Lysaer's wife Talith hostage in a brilliant coup and attempt to get financing for his inevitable battle. The accomplishment of this and the subsequent theft of the ransom, the raising of another ransom, Talith's escape from Arithon's clutches, his brilliant 'discovery' of her right where his men had left her, raises the tension and suspense.

Talith's time in the company of Arithon and the men who work for him begins to make her doubt the justice of her husband's fight against him. In the end, when she is returned, their marriage is never the same. She questions Lysaer, and he cannot live with the ambiguity of her thinking and never returns to her bed, poor dumb lout.

Meanwhile, Arithon and Dakar explore the mountains of Vastmark, a rugged and isolated community in the south of Athera and find two wounded children. Arithon tells Dakar they are going to have to weave a spell to heal the girl, and Dakar and Arithon have an experience similar to what Arithon and Elaira went through. While Dakar has a new view of events from Arithon's perspective, he doesn't trust his own senses. He has a vision that Arithon will be killed in the mountains.

Once again, the plotting is superb, the writing beautiful, the characters complex, intriguing, and multi-dimensional. Any attempts by me to summarize it are woefully simplified, and there are so many twists and turns and subtleties that I have left out.

The development of the relationship between Dakar and Arithon was the high point of this book for me. I was in tears at the end when Dakar sacrifices himself to save Arithon from the arrow meant for Arithon and sent by the Prime matriarch of the Koriani order. One of the dukes who sided with Lysaer begins to see through his charisma and announces that his campaign to kill Arithon is sacrificing thousands of men for what is, essentially, a personal vendetta. He decides to side with Arithon.

The ending is very satisfactory. Arithon is in a ship heading off to find some distant islands where he thinks the unicorns and centaurs may be living.

5-0 out of 5 stars Second Part of the Second Part
I thought my review of The Ships of Meriorwould be inadequate, but I feel even more that way now, after finishing the direct sequel. While the division between the two books was done in such a way that they individually satisfy, Warhost really brought the whole 1100 page sequence to a grand conclusion.

The two books together serve as Arc II of Janny's huge epic, The Wars of Light and Shadow. Originally intended as a single volume, the work was split into two. The division gives a reader a chance to pause between the books, though I for one found myself diving right into Warhost. What it did do was eliminate the trademark double climax of other Wurts novels, unless we put them back together and consider the two books with the climaxes at the end of each volume. As such, it works, delivering with a bang after lots of buildup.

I gave this one 5 stars while the first part I gave 4. I'm adding a star here because of the way it brings the whole of Arc II nicely together. Without spoiling anything, I will say that the end of Warhost of Vastmark satisfies. What's more, it sets the stage for Arc III and leaves at least this reader salivating for more of the world of Athera.

5-0 out of 5 stars The series keeps getting better and more complex
Warhost of Vastmark by Janny Wurts takes up directly where The Ships of Merior left off.The two books are definitely meant to be read back to back - together they comprise Arc 2 of the author's THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW series, and some editions actually combine both of them in one cover.

It's hard to give many details of the story without throwing in spoilers for The Ships of Merior, so I'll just say that the ongoing conflict between Arithon and Lysaer, which reached a seeming climax at the end of "Merior", actually balloons to even larger proportions and reaches a stunning high point at the end of the novel.The book contains a hilarious moment of hijinx (the "triple theft") that's so carefully set up and brilliantly executed you'll want to re-read the chapter.Some characters show some (to me at least) unexpected changes, and some previously minor characters develop into very fascinating pieces of the puzzle.

While the story progresses, we also learn more about the world of Athera, its past, and the various groups and factions that make this such a complex and intriguing fantasy universe.The odd side-effect of this slow revelation of world-building details is that you simply want to read and learn more, even as the picture gradually resolves and the story progresses.These novels all have a solid and very satisfying ending, but at the same time they definitely leave the reader hungry for more.

Janny Wurts' novels are generally complex and challenging, and as such they require the reader's full attention.I'm sure people looking for light reading might be turned off by their rich prose and long-term plotting.However, if you're willing to give them the time they deserve, I doubt you'll be disappointed.I've rated the previous two books in this series 5 stars, and astonishingly, Warhost of Vastmark is at least as good as The Curse of the Mistwraith and The Ships of Merior.This is quickly becoming one of my favorite epic fantasies.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cheers to Ms. Wurts!!
The Mistswraith's curse has taken hold of Prince Lysaer's inherited mistrusts and blinded him into the belief that his step-brother, Arithon the Master of Shadow, can be anything other than evil and must, at all costs, be exterminated. Lysaer's warhost relentlessly pursues Arithon and the clans to the craggy wastes of Vastmark. But Lysaer may soon learn the hard lesson that a wolf is most dangerous when cornered.

The Wars of Light and Shadow saga is one of the most original epic fantasies -- and uniquely written stories -- I've ever read. Janny Wurts is an amazing author who not only writes with an elegant prose that is easily identifiable as her very own, but her themes break new ground. At the heart of this story is a conflict of obsessions: Lysaer's unyielding dedication for justice and Arithon's unreserved compassion -- two ideals which should go hand-and-hand but, when put at fanatical odds, a world can be devastated.

If you've read the first two books, The Curse of the Mistwraith and Ships of Merior, I'm sure you're already hooked just like I am. Warhost of Vastmark will only further fuel your enthusiasm.

Since my own personal taste in fantasy usually leans toward darker and grittier stories (and probably because I've gotten a little cynical in my middle-age), I've become rather callous about the characters in most books I read. Cheers to Ms. Wurts! She has managed to stir up in me a compassion for fictional characters that I have not felt in quite some time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Prompt service
The book came quickly and was well packaged.I have no
idea what more one could want ... Read more

14. Stormwarden (The Cycle of Fire, Book 1)
by Janny Wurts
Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1995-03)
list price: US$4.99 -- used & new: US$40.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061054623
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In the land of Vaere, the Stormwarden Anskiere, wizard of wind and water, must draw on the assistance of three young people, all possessing extraordinary talents as well as flaws, in his struggle to defeat the demons that once again threaten total conquest. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterfully written!
I liked this A LOT, which is saying a lot for me reading any type of Sci-FI! A mesmerizing coming-of-age story with great atmoshpere and absorbing characters. I agree with the other reviewers that the plot moves along really well- not slow and staggering like so many other Sci-FI books I've tried but cannot finish. The I look forward to reading all of the Cycle Of Fire series now!

2-0 out of 5 stars Whoa, big difference between reading as a teen and as an adult
I read these books years ago (the three books in the Cycle of Fire) and when I saw them at my local Half-Price Books I picked them up again.I remember them as containing a good story in a believable world structure, if a bit too demon-ish at times (reminiscent of Tolkien).

Well, upon this most current reading, I am noticing that the books are mostly narrative, with very little dialogue.So much is explained in narrative that I found myself glossing over large swaths of explanations until I could either get to the parts about Emien (none of the other characters engaged me emotionally, except perhaps the Captain-Kirk-like Kielmark), or until I reached a patch of dialogue.This made it an almost tedious read.

I'm halfway through book 2, "Keeper of the Keys," and I'm finding the same problem there.Too much narrative, not enough dialogue, not enough character development to really make me care.I may not bother finishing the series.

3-0 out of 5 stars What kind of magic is that??!?!?
OK, I liked this book as well as the whole trilogy. The plot was solid (even if there was a little too much sailing), the characters were interesting, and the story moved along pretty good. That being said, this has to be THE WORST explanation of magic in any story I've ever read!

Magic coming from a crashed spaceship whose AI implants living crystals into your body is about the lamest idea I have ever read. AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!

3-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I expected
The problem, I think, lies in the fact that read the Wars of Light and Shadow before I read Stormwarden. Although there is no doubt that Ms Wurts is an excellent writer, I found this book somewhat unoriginal. Both Taenand Jaric are represented as handicapped children who overcome theirproblems and find strength when confronted with their fates, which soundslike a typical children's fairy tale. For some reason, I find myself unableto relate to these characters. The rapid development of Emien, Taen'sbrother, becoming an "evil" character is also unrealistic. Afurther, rather disappointing surprise, is the fact that the Vaere is acomputer, mixing fantasy with unimaginative science fiction (and I'm afraidI'm a fantasy fan). Compared to the Wars of Light and Shadow, Stormwardenremains in the shadow.

4-0 out of 5 stars I wonder why she's not more popular than she is!
An excellent novel about the coming of age of 3 children and their destinies.Although the plot is not entirely unique, Ms. Wurts has a knack of vividly portraying her characters that makes us love them.This is evenmore evident in her more recent series, the Wars of Light and Shadow.Inany case, the adventures of Jaric and Taen inspire hope and keep us insuspense, and this remarkably talented author manages to create a worldwithout too much of the dreary detail that encumbers many other epicfantasies.A fresh and vivid tale that inspires the imagination.(Ms.Wurts' apparent fondness of the ocean is rather a distinguishing trait ofher works, don't you think?). ... Read more

15. The Master of Whitestorm
by Janny Wurts
 Paperback: 416 Pages (1992-03-01)
list price: US$4.99 -- used & new: US$36.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451451678
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Five centuries after an oppressive force took over their world, two opposing magical princes, Lysaer, Lord of Light, and Arithon, Master of Shadows, hold the power to overthrow the Mistwraith if they can overcome their differences. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Enchanting Stand-alone Fantasy
An enjoyable stand-alone fantasy from Janny Wurts, who is becoming one of my favorite authors.

The Master of Whitestorm, Korinder is an interesting character. He seems to be emotionally dead at first glance, but as the story progresses we see more deeply into his personality.

The tragic scenes that he has to deal with are very effective. I don't want to go into that too deeply and spoil anything, but there are a few scenes in this book that will stay with me for a long time.

As far as the accomplishments of Korendir, he builds a reputation for taking on impossible quests. What impresses me most about these adventures is the way Janny handles them. His success at these is plausible and creative. He's not just another typical hero with an S on his chest that defeats every challenge simply because of prophecy or being a chosen one. No, this guy uses his brain and succeeds where others fail because he always takes a new approach to solving the problems. He thinks outside the box. It doesn't hurt that he has good allies to help pull him out of the fire once in awhile, like his best friend Haldeth, a codgy old blacksmith who just wishes Korendir would settle down.

All in all, a very good book to escape with. Like other Janny Wurts books that I've read, this isn't a quick and easy rush through the pages. It takes more focus than the average adventure yarn and the payoff for more diligent reading is always there. It's not what I'd call "work" to read her books, but it does take a slower savoring of the language and her flow of narrative. And once again, she builds her story up to a satisfying and unexpected ending that delivers.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent standalone novel by Janny Wurts
As The Master of Whitestorm starts off, Haldeth, a blacksmith turned galley slave, gets involved in an escape attempt by his bench mate, a mysterious and silent man who quickly proves to have surprising skills and hidden depths. After the two companions escape, they strike out together, and the mysterious man, whose name turns out to be Korendir, takes on a number of mercenary missions. It quickly becomes clear that Korendir is, to put it lightly, very focused on gathering enough money to build an impregnable fortress on the cliffs of Whitestorm...

This standalone novel is another excellent example of Janny Wurts' gorgeous prose style and entrancing story-telling. Initially an episodic story, consisting of a number of separate "missions" Korendir undertakes, the book gradually reveals an underlying thread that explains Korendir's distinctive personality (think Lethal Weapon in a complex fantasy setting) and builds up to an impressive climax and a moving conclusion.

Like many other Janny Wurts novels, The Master of Whitestorm is an intense and concisely told story that requires the reader's full attention. In this age of bloated fantasy tomes that could easily lose entire chapters without losing much plot, I've found that I always have to recalibrate when starting out on a Janny Wurts novel, because here every word counts. Re-reading will invariably reveal additional layers and details you may have missed on the first run-through -- especially in this novel, which starts out as a number of seemingly disconnected episodes.

If the novel has one small weakness, it's that episodic structure of its first half: upon a first reading, it came across as disjointed and lacking the narrative tension that I'd come to love and expect in the other Janny Wurts novels I've read. However, the second half of the novel ties everything together beautifully and will make you reconsider the earlier chapters -- and Korendir -- in an entirely different light. In either case, this may be just a personal preference: other readers reported loving Korendir's early missions because they had an old-fashioned "adventure fantasy" feeling to them -- and don't get me wrong, they're tremendously entertaining! Consider: Michael Moorcock's ELRIC OF MELNIBONÉ novels start out explaining why Elric is such a tortured soul, which puts the rest of his stories in perspective because we already understand Elric; by contrast, Korendir's background is only explained after reading a number of his adventures, so the reader is somewhat in the dark early on, but the later revelation is very powerful.

The novel has several other aspects to admire, including a large, varied, and original fantasy world (which could easily contain more novels), a unique magic concept, and a beautiful romance. Simply put, The Master of Whitestorm is another excellent standalone novel by Janny Wurts.

4-0 out of 5 stars If you like fast-paced stories, a perfect book
The main character accomplishes more in 100 pages than most books accomplish in three novels.By page 100, the characters had escaped slavery, defeated a sorceress, and freed a country from an elemental.The stories stack up as the characters move from adventure to adventure.It's the perfect novel for anyone with a short attention span.

It's a bit tough to find sympathy for the main character at first.The author keeps his feelings and emotions very shrouded.However, the book moves so quickly that it's easy to keep reading nonetheless.My only other complaint was that the novel seemed to attempt to get a bit heavy-handed at the very end of the story.

Cursing: None (that I recall)

Sex: Mostly innuendo.One character propositions another and asks "how long since you've been with a woman?".In another scene, two characters are described as lying down in bed together after their marriage.However, rape is insinuated at other points in the book.One character who has been captured by slavers is described as 'being at the mercy of any merchant who wants her'.Another is described as 'being forced into an act that she had only up to now shared with her husband'.

Violence: There is a fair amount of slaying and blood-spilling in this book.At one point, an entire group of people is burned alive.Even though they are the bad guys, the scene is quite disturbing.The author treats this scene appropriately; none of the good guys rejoice over the death and every character is quite disturbed by the event.There is also reference to acts of rape and dismemberment.None of this is described in vivid detail, but the book is definitely not appropriate for sensitive readers.

I do not recommend the book for readers under 14.Even for more mature readers, I'd recommend that parents preview it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent stand alone fantasy
This was a good, stand alone fantasy novel.The hero is complex & very tough.The descriptions of horses & especially sailing scenes are especially well done.The author's obvious familiarity with these two subjects shines through.

The story line is excellent.While not indicated by sections, there are distinct parts to the hero's life, each one building to a climax & logically leading to the next.The suspense never ends in a world that is complex & dangerous.

I highly recommend it.

2-0 out of 5 stars a noble but ultimately frustrating failure
I discovered Janny Wurts by reading "Keeper of the Keys," the middle volume of the Cycle of Fire, and have since read many of her books.I love her ability to create moving and absorbing characters, an interconnected plot, and wonderful descriptive passages (when she isn't tripping over her own wordiness, that is).So when I found "The Master of White Storm" in a library I thought, "Hey, it's Janny Wurts; even if it's an early work, it must be decent."

Sadly, I was wrong.Korendir's friend is an instantly forgettable whiner; the only reason I remember his existence (though not his name) is that, unfortunately, much of the story is seen through his eyes.To be fair, he also has one brief, moving scene at the end of the book.Korendir could have been interesting, but is never seen clearly enough until the end.And after his motivations are finally somewhat clarified, I found some of his earlier actions even less explicable.Furthermore, the magic is not well thought-out; it is neither mystical enough to be left largely unexplained nor coherent enough to be believable.

"The Master of White Storm" tells the story of Korendir, a man with a mysterious past, who escapes from slavers and becomes a hero-for-hire.He wants to build an impregnable fortress, called, unsuprisingly, White Storm.His badly connected adventures are uniformly depressing, though otherwise dissimilar, and the plot threads involving his heritage and his wife read like a late attempt to add meaning to an essentially lightweight story.The book struggles to meld episodic adventure with deep, philosophical questions about human nature and motivations; it is, perhaps, a noble attempt to humanize an adventurer, but in my opinion, it fails.It doesn't work well as an adventure (too moody and slow) or as a serious novel (too disjointed and vague).

Reading "The Master of White Storm" is a reasonable way to fill an otherwise empty afternoon (unless you have other books available), but nothing more.And don't be surprised if you find yourself wondering just what exactly Janny Wurts was thinking when she wrote it. ... Read more

16. Fugitive Prince: The Wars of Light and Shadow (Third Part) (Alliance of Light/Janny Wurts, 1st Bk)
by Janny Wurts
Hardcover: 565 Pages (1997-10)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$87.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061052914
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Two half brothers, cursed by a Mistwriath to a lifelong enmity, whose gifts of Light and Shadow are set into violent conflict.

Lysaer, Prince of the Light. A dedicated, charismatic leader, sworn to uphold justice and set humanity free from the sorcerer's rule, he will claim divine power to safeguard his people from an enemy he firmly believes will destroy them.

Arithon, Master of Shadow. Brought up a trained mage, given a musical talent that has won him the title of Masterbard, he wishes for nothing but to defuse war and strife, and search out the vanished old races, whose grace holds the key to the world's fragmented peace.

With the appalling destruction of the Vastmarkwarhost, recoil and grief reshape the balance of power in the Five Kingdoms. Koriani enchantresses join forces with Lysaer in a desperate bid for power, and their intrigues threaten Arithon's hard-won autonomy.

The aging Koriani Prime Matriarch wants the Shadow Master taken captive, no matter what the costor the means. For his life stands as her bargaining chip to break the deadlocked rivalry with the fellowship sorcerers.

Here begins the Alliance of Light. With faction set against faction, heart set against heart, and spells of high mastery engaged to cast down the ancient mysteries, the moves made by hunters and fugitive alike will remake the course of world destiny. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars A satisfying read...best in series since 'Curse.'
Wow - looking at previous reviews, the newest of which is in 1998 or 1999 I guess this isn't an overly popular series.I have no idea why.I find the characters and the premise to be positively engaging.Can't imagine why more people aren't reading - and reviewing.

Okay - so anyone who has read my previous reviews on all of the preceeding books knows that I have an issue with Lysear and how he is written.Well - he is given more attention in 'Fugitive' and let me just say...he is definatley becoming less and less likeable regardless of the curse or geas that he is under because of the mistwraith.On more than one occasion Lysear is given the opportunity to really *see* beyond the curse and how his actions are affecting the world of Athera.He has the potential to overcome the curse, as Arithon has, and does not take it on at least three different occasions.It would be difficult - but it could be done.Despite or because of this the reader still cannot help but feel for the fair haired prince.In his quest for 'justice' he loses many things - two of which in this book that can't help but pull at your heart.It's all the more sad as you, the reader, know that it didn't have to be so.

My irritation in the previous books that Arithon was always upstaging Lysear in an unfair turn of events and was always written as the martyr and hero was really turned on me in this book.I got what I thought I wanted in that it appeared that Lysear finally had the upper hand. Turns out that is not what I wanted at all.I was on the edge of my seat as the Alliance closed in on Arithon and found myself hoping against hope that he would be able to come up with another clever trick to get himself out of the situation.He could not.Due to assistance from the Korianni, Arithon was all but out of commission and unable to aid in his own escape.Luckily, those around him, the loyal band of followers that have sworn oath to him (including Dakar) were able to pick up the slack. Some secondary and highly likeable characters really come into play to help save their soveriegn. And in an act of desperation, Asandir, one of the fellowship sorcerers open a grimward to help aid in Arithon's flight.It is an amazing journey within a dragon's dream and across time that is definately one of the highlights of this book.

New allies, enemies, betrayals and plots all come in to play in this fourth installment and will have long reaching implications well into the next few books.One particularly startling plot is only hinted at towards the end.It involves the Korianni and will take years to come to fruition.The means and method used ishorrifying - as well as the person forced to participate.For this alone you will want to read and see how it all plays out.Exactly what is done is revealed at the beginning of the next book...Grand Conspiracy.

The Fugitive Prince is definately an engaging and enjoyable read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good read for a middle-of-the-series book
As always, the characterization is excellent. Janny's editors might want to watch word repetition. I had hoped for a more satisfying development of the story, but even so I recommend this series without reservation.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read!!If you haven't read it, get it!!
Just read it!!Wonderfully created, you can't help but feel sorry forboth princes, especially the clans that follow my fav - Arithon, Master ofshadow.Your doing great work Janny, keep it up(which is not hard for someone so talented) and you'll still have your many readers here in the 'landof the long white cloud', plus the tongans.

And that creep from new york,as if the person had written a master piece in their miserable little life! How dare they be so negative!About something so far out!Anyway, likegreat wine, great magic takes time... So anyone waiting long has definitelynot been to nz, where it so happens we get everything last!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book in a series of great books
First I want to make a point.There are plenty of useless fantasy writersout there, and Ms. Wurts is completely and utterely, and without a shadowof a doubt, NOT one of them.So naturally I am horrified when I see someof the commentaries on this book, where the occaisional Philistine urgedpeople not to read the book, or worse still, urge Ms. Wurts to stopwriting.I have read every last one of her books, and, countrary to thegeneral Law of Sequels, they get better as they go on.The Wars of Lightand Shadows series is my number #1 series in any type of book (and I read aLOT).I make weakly visits to the local book store to see whether the nextin the series has come out.Fourtunately, I found that those who liked thebook far outweighed the detractors of it.So I will now enjoycomplementing Ms. Wurts on another really first class book.I openelyinvit any who wish to comment on my comments to e-mail me.

4-0 out of 5 stars darker but still gripping
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series being a follower of Janny's worksince her Feist collaborations (thoroughly recommended). This book fullylives up to Janny's development as a writer of compelling, believablecharacters and far from being a slow read, it carried me on a veryconsuming journey. Why does this installment feel so unleavened with humourand joy? I found this novel too dark to merit a full five stars - notenough of Elaira's presence, Dakar's growing maturity and a catastrophicevent in the weave of characters might be a few of the reasons. I don'tknow if I can take too much more desperate straits, depletion of Arithon'sresources and faint hope in the face of adversity without some moments tolift my sinking heart. I care about these characters and reading thisactually put a strain on my emotions. Please, Janny, give some thought towhat you are doing to us! Marvellous work, though - I am waiting earnestlyfor the next installment. ... Read more

17. Shadowfane (Cycle of Fire/Janny Wurts, Bk 3)
by Janny Wurts
Mass Market Paperback: 304 Pages (1996-04)
list price: US$4.99 -- used & new: US$19.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061054704
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Ivainson Jaric, heir to the Firelord's legacy, is caught in a life and death struggle to win his inherited powers. Taen Dreamweaver battles her evil brother, corrupted by demons to slaughter his own kind. If either one of the falls, the Stormwarden will never win free of his icy imprisonment to help their cause.

As Scait, Demonlord of Shadowfane, uses his captured human talent for his conquest, his machinations raise an even greater threat, one that could hurl all the world to its destruction , and end mankind's chance of reclaiming freedom among the stars...

And so the Cycle of Fire races toward its powerful conclusion! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars It was an excellent book. . . and why
Shadowfane is a mixture of fantasty and sci-fi. . . of course,though, it is the sci-fi that always rules. The whole book is gripping and it makes you want to find out what exactly happens next. . . and many things that happen are unexpected - lots of things are unexpected. It still is an excellent book and has a very good ending - at least I think it does ... Read more

18. Keeper of the Keys (Cycle of Fire, No 2)
by Janny Wurts
Paperback: Pages (1995-10)
list price: US$4.99 -- used & new: US$3.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061054615
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Jaric, a scribe's apprentice, is ordered to keep the Keys that bind the Mharg demons, but he has to choose whether to risk the dangerous training necessary to fulfill his mystical talent. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great.
I've read this book as well as the one before and, though it's not exactlythe best series out there, it's nice enough.Jaric is a good character aswell as Taen, but the storyline, which at first seems novel and original,is simply more of the same.Its only real originality comes from theorigin of the demons and the truth about Kor's Fires.Other than that . .. Well, as I said, good, but not great.

5-0 out of 5 stars I stayed up all night just to see how it ended!
Usually when I read a book that's part of a series without having read the series, I get confused. I didn't have that problem with Keeper of the Keys. I found myself drawn into the storyline,cheering Jaric's successes and feeling his pain and confusion in his struggles. The author does not overload you with too much scenery or descriptions. This book is a keeper!

5-0 out of 5 stars The book that catches your attention!
The Keeper of the keys is a very nice story as ittells the whole story in detail, not vague like some of the other books I've read. I thouroughly enjoy reading this book and I couldn't put it down once I had started reading it. We follow Jaric's adventures on the second book of the Cycle of Fire and we feel excited when he meets danger. It is simply fantastic, I've never read anything like this! You should read it! ... Read more

19. Servant of the Empire
by Janny Wurts, Raymond E. Feist
 Hardcover: 580 Pages (1990-09-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$55.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385247184
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In this thrilling sequel to Daughter of the Empire, Lady Mara faces a vengeful blood enemy who doesn't know Mara has a strategic secret weapon--a rakish Midkemian slave whose real identity will change the rimworld forever. "A tale of love, hate, and sacrifice against the panorama of an alien yet familiar society."--Publishers Weekly. HC: Doubleday. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent
I recently fell in love with Feist's books and was somewhat skeptical of what this collaboration with Janny Wurts would bring.It is excellent.A totally different feel from the books on the other side of the riftwar, but filled with all of the details and intrigue that I've come to appreciate from Feist.I've already started reading the sequel Mistress of the Empire (Empire Trilogy, Bk. 3).

5-0 out of 5 stars An epic and entertaining sequel!
Though a rather lengthy novel, I greatly enjoyed it! An epic sequel, truly wonderful, with rich details and a terrifically exciting plot, I am thrilled to read the third part of this trilogy. This volume focused more on Mara's personal relationships, both between Hokanu, a key figure in _The Riftwar Saga_, a Midkemian slave, Kevin of Zun. I hope that they both will play key roles in _Mistress of the Empire_! Mostly, though, I am curious over who will play the villain in the third volume, because this book neatly tied up the majority of the loose ends.
The electronic version that I read had some errors, but overall, they were easy to overlook, and I doubt that the print version shared these typos.

5-0 out of 5 stars Shogun II. This is an incredible series
In his Rift Wars novels, Feist included a world based on medival Japan, right out of Shogun.

In this series, we have a marvellous Shogun-like story of adventure and political intrigue, that's absolutely breath-taking.

If you liked the Original Shogun, then you'll find this series to be just as fascinating a read. That it's placed in a science-fantasy setting is but an insignificant detail. The authors could just as well have set this very same story in 17th century historical Japan!

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb
This entire series is truly a 'ripping yarn', written in the style that Feist has mastered.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great work of fiction
Now that she has saved the Acoma family name from extinction, Mara might have hoped that it was time to relax. But, her very success has generated new enemies, enemies who are determined to end her life and the Acoma name, no matter what steps they have to take. And, to make matter worse, the Emperor has begun meddling in the Game of the Council. If she is to protect her life, and the lives of those she loves, then she must play the Game of the Council with more skill than any can home.

I have been a big fan of Raymond Feist for many years now, and still remember when this book first came out. Unlike many of Mr. Feist's and Ms. Wurts' other books, magic does not play a large part in this story, only appearing somewhat late in the book. What this book is, is a fascinating story, set in a wonderfully different milieu, having intrigue and suspense at the very heart of it. So, if you are expecting powerful wizards, and dwarven armies, you will be disappointed.

However, if you interesting in a great work of fiction, one that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then this is the book for you. I loved this book - I have read it a number of times, and it still gets better. I can't recommend this book enough. ... Read more

20. Mistress of the Empire
by Janny Wurts, Raymond E. Feist
Hardcover: 613 Pages (1992-03)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$28.11
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385247192
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The world on the other side of the rift:Kelewan, a land seething with political intrigue and deadly conspiracies.Following the opulent panoply of Daughter Of The Empire and the dazzling pageantry of Servant Of The Empire comes the resounding conclusion to the Empire trilogy.

Besieged by spies and rival houses, stalked by a secret and merciless brotherhood of assassins, the brilliant Lady Mara of the Acoma faces the most deadly challenge she has ever known.The fearsome Black Robes see Mara as the ultimate threat to their ancient power.In search of allies who will join her against them, Mara must travel beyond civilization's borders and even into the hives of the alien cho-ja.As those near and dear to her fall victim to many enemies, Mara cries out for vengeance.Drawing on all of her courage and guile she prepares to fight her greatest battle of all--for her life, her home, and the Empire itself. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars Oh, what a wonderful conclusion!
This third and final volume of the Empire trilogy unfolded into one of the most exciting stories. Despite my initial reservations after finishing _Servant of the Empire_ and reading of Mara's resounding victory over the Minwanabi family, right from the first chapter a new villain made its presence known. In fact, the plot fell into one tangle after another - there were no shortage of enemies like I had mistakenly predicted. Despite this also being a rather wordy book, it felt fast. In fact, even after the satisfying ending, I would love to read more of Mara's story.
Vastly exceeding my expectations, I am curious to see how this trilogy will interact with the series as a whole. The richly detailed world came brilliantly to life here, and the strong heroine was a welcome addition to Feist's predominantly male canon of characters.

5-0 out of 5 stars Shogun II. This is an incredible series
In his Rift Wars novels, Feist included a world based on medival Japan, right out of Shogun.

In this series, we have a marvellous Shogun-like story of adventure and political intrigue, that's absolutely breath-taking.

If you liked the Original Shogun, then you'll find this series to be just as fascinating a read. That it's placed in a science-fantasy setting is but an insignificant detail. The authors could just as well have set this very same story in 17th century historical Japan!

5-0 out of 5 stars A great work of fiction
Married to a man who is her soul mate, supported by the Emperor himself, Mara of the Acoma felt that it was finally time to relax. How wrong she was! The High Council was disbanded, but the Game of Council goes on. There are those scheming to return all power to where it was held before the rise of Mara, and some of those are awesome in their power. If she is to protect her life, and the lives of those she loves, she must scheme the greatest of schemes, and fight the greatest of enemies on all of Kelewan!

I have been a big fan of Raymond Feist for many years now, and still remember when this book first came out. Unlike the other books of the trilogy, magic finally becomes an integral part of the story. It's another great book with a fascinating story, set in a wonderfully different milieu, having intrigue and suspense at the very heart of it.

If you interesting in a great work of fiction, one that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then this is the book for you. I loved this book - I have read it a number of times, and it still gets better. I can't recommend this book enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK
As always a great book in this series and very very hard to put it down.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Once again a target.

Mara, now a woman of power and influence again finds herself under attack once more. Her family, in the form of her more vulnerable children are targets.

This involves a lot of work for her spymaster, and provokes a greater conflict within Tsurani society, with Mara on one side and the magic wielding Great Ones and the Emperor and more conservative elements on one side, in a battle for control.

2.5 out of 5 ... Read more

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