Book 1 of The Runelords
Gentle reader — or not so gentle, as the case may be — I urge you: read this book. In it you will find humanity at both its best and its worst, a fantasy adventure to take your breath away and a magic far deeper, far more powerful than you can imagine: the magic of the Earth itself.
The tale begins slowly as Farland weaves his own storytelling magic around you, draws you in to meet Gaborn, Runelord and Prince of Mystarria, a young man with a love of life and a profound sense of honour; Iome, Princess of Heredon, whose love Gaborn longs to win; Borenson, Knight of Mystarria, a powerful warrior, Gaborn's bodyguard; Binnesman, Earth Warden, a powerful mage; and Raj Ahten, evil Wolf Lord who seeks to rule the world, who destroys his most powerful enemies not by killing them but by subverting them and draining them of virtues, taking them into himself to feed his own power as he seeks to become "The Sum of All Men". Can Gaborn fight back and survive or will he, too, succumb to the Wolf Lord's power?
Here I can only skim the surface: to tell you more risks unravelling the plot. There are wizards and warfare, battles and bloodshed, heroes and villains, love, hate and betrayals: all the classic ingredients of fine fantasy in the never-ending fight between good and evil. But also far more: characters who come alive and stay with you as Farland's epic storytelling sweeps you away, writing that's easily up there with the best in the genre.
The best, however, is yet to come: this is Book 1 of 6, with the promise of more to follow. I've just started on Book 2, Brotherhood of the Wolf, and if the opening chapters are anything to go by, there's not much else I'm going to be reading through these dark winter nights...
Phil Groom, October 2007
Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.Orbit Books