The Ancient

The Ancient

4.1 45
by R. A. Salvatore
     
 

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Searching for his long-lost father, Bransen Garibond is tricked into journeying across the Gulf of Corona to the wild lands of Vanguard, where he is pressed into service in a desperate war against the brutal Samhaist, Ancient Badden.

On an Alpinadoran lake, just below Ancient Badden's magical ice castle, several societies, caught in the web of their own

Overview

Searching for his long-lost father, Bransen Garibond is tricked into journeying across the Gulf of Corona to the wild lands of Vanguard, where he is pressed into service in a desperate war against the brutal Samhaist, Ancient Badden.

On an Alpinadoran lake, just below Ancient Badden's magical ice castle, several societies, caught in the web of their own conflicts, are oblivious to Ancient Badden's devastating plans to destroy them.

Bransen becomes the link between the wars, and if he fails, all who live on the lake will perish, and all of northern Honce will fall under the shadow of the merciless and vengeful Samhaists.

The Ancient is part of the Saga of the First King, a four-book series that chronicles the early days of Corona, the same world as Salvatore's bestselling DemonWars saga.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This ensemble-driven follow-up to 2004's The Highwaymanfinds bestseller Salvatore liberally borrowing themes and character types from his earlier novels. As in the Cleric Quintet, a disaffected monk (Cormack) contemplates higher wisdom and draws the love of a restless outsider (the shaman Milkeila), while rough-and-ready dwarf Mcwigik provides brute strength and comic relief in similar measure. As in the Drizzt novels, the nominal hero wanders, deals death and addresses his readers in impassioned italics. Bransen Garibond's dual identity as the swashbuckling Highwayman and stuttering Stork recalls the Crimson Shadow. As in the Icewind Dale books, the setting is a remote wintry landscape, with isolated islands standing in for barbarian villages. The scattered cast takes much too long to converge, and druidic arch-villain Ancient Badden never emerges as an effective antagonist. The result is a Frankenstein's monster-like construct of brisk prose and lively combat scenes: imposing at first glance, but awkwardly assembled and doomed to disappoint. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A monk, a dwarf and an outlaw walk into an ice castle to cross swords with a power-hungry religious zealot-and, no, that's not the setup for a joke. After spending the past few years shepherding his iconic creation Drizzt Do'Urden through the shared world of the Forgotten Realms, Salvatore (The Orc King, 2007) kicks off a new series in the land of Corona featuring Bransen Garibond (The Highwayman, 2004, etc.). Having gained control over his crippled body with the help of a magical gemstone, Bransen sets off with his wife and her mother to find the father he never knew. Previous escapades perpetrated against the ruling class while in the guise of the roguish Highwayman come back to haunt him, however, and he is captured and forced to fight on behalf of Dame Gwydre, a ruler desperate to protect her people from the machinations of Ancient Badden, vengeful leader of the druidic Samhaists. In an effort to cleanse the northern territories of nonbelievers, Badden awakens an ancient and powerful evil, one whose defeat requires Bransen to join forces with the aforementioned monk and dwarf. Nominally the outlaw, Bransen indulges in antihero posturing that seems a tad contrived in light of his previous exploits and the nature of the series, but the climactic battle scene offers a rousing conclusion. Fails to hit the highs of previous Corona books, but still a worthy addition to the lore of Salvatore's invented world. $250,000 ad/promo

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429925440
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
03/04/2008
Series:
Saga of the First King Series , #2
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
371,011
File size:
2 MB

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Read an Excerpt

Prelude

He walked across the windblown ice of the glacier known as Cold’rin, its frozen surface not causing him the slightest discomfort, not even in his feet, though he wore open-toed sandals.

He was Badden, Ancient Badden, leader of the Samhaists, who knew the magic of the world more intimately than any others in the world. Badden was the greatest of them; no creature alive was more connected to those magics than this man. So while he stood upon hundreds of feet of solid ice, he felt, too, the earth below that freeze, where the hot springs ran. Those very springs had led him to this place, and as he neared the edge of the glacier, the wide expanse of Alpinador opening before him, the old Samhaist trembled with excitement.

He knew.

He knew before he glanced down from the edge of the glacier that he had found it: Mithranidoon, the steamy lake of legend, the place where the god Samhain forsook his mortal coil and melted down into the earth, the source of all magic, the guardian of eternity. Samhain’s servant was Death, men like Badden believed, who would bring the souls to the harsh judgment of the god who suffered no fool.

It was a clear morning. When Badden looked down his breath fell away from him, and many heartbeats passed before he could catch it once more. Below him was a fog-shrouded, huge, warm lake, perhaps twenty miles long and half that wide.

Mithranidoon.

The old man smiled at the rarely seen sight. He had found the holiest of Samhaist places and the source of his greatest magic just as his war with the Abellicans in Vanguard to the south had begun to ignite.

“Dame Gwydre,” he mouthed, referring to the leader of the men of Vanguard. “You chose poorly in taking an Abellican as your lover.” He ended with a chuckle, and no aged wheeze could be detected in the voice of the strong man, however many decades had passed since his birth. Most who knew him—or knew of him, for few actually knew Badden in any real way—believed that eight full decades and part of the ninth were behind him.

Ancient Badden slowly turned about to survey the area. He could feel Mithranidoon’s strength keenly now that he had confirmed the location. Mithranidoon had beaten the glacier, and her power permeated the standing ice. He could feel it in his feet.

This place would serve, he thought, continuing his scan. Up here on the glacier he had easy access to the low mountain passes that would get him to the roads leading south into Vanguard. The vantage also afforded him solid defense against any advancing armies, though he recognized that no hostile army would ever get anywhere near to him. Not here, not with Mithranidoon feeding him her power.

“Mithranidoon,” the old man said with great reverence, as if merely glimpsing the place from afar was enough to validate his entire existence, his sixty years as a Samhaist priest. But it wasn’t enough, he realized suddenly, and he looked up to the heavens.

“You, there!” he said loudly, lifting his hand toward a distant, circling crow.

The bird heard him and could not ignore the call. Immediately it turned and swooped, speeding down, upturning its wings at the last moment to light gently on Ancient Badden’s outstretched hand.

“I would see below the mists,” the old Samhaist whispered to the bird. Badden stroked his hand over the crow’s face and closed his own eyes. “To the scar Samhain rent in the earth.”

Suddenly Badden launched the crow with the flick of his hand, his eyes tightly shut for he did not need them anymore. Ancient Badden saw through the eyes of the crow. The bird followed his instructions perfectly, sweeping down from the glacier, soaring vertically the hundreds of feet before it straightened out and rushed across the lake, barely a tall man’s height above the water.

Ancient Badden took it all in: the caves of the trolls, lining the bank; the multitude of islands, dozens and dozens, some no more than a few rocks jutting above the steamy waters, others large and forested. One of those, particularly large and tree-covered, was dotted with huts of the general design common to the barbarians of the region, though not nearly as fortified against the elements as those found on the Alpinadoran tundra. Sure enough he spotted the tribesmen, large and strong, decorated with necklaces of claws and teeth, though, as they resided on a warm lake, they wore far less clothing than the average Alpinadoran barbarian.

Badden fell within himself and experienced the warm air coming off the spring-fed lake, warming the wings of his host.

So the barbarians had dared to inhabit this holy place. He nodded, wondering if he could somehow enlist them in his battles against Gwydre. Some tribes had joined him, if only for brief excursions against the Southerners, but none of those occasions had gone as Badden would have hoped. These Northerners, the Alpinadorans, were a stubborn lot, predictable only in their ferocity and wedded to traditions too fully for Badden to hold much sway over them.

The old Ancient chuckled and reminded himself why it was important for him to keep his eyes turned southward, toward the northern Honce province of Vanguard and to Honce proper herself. These were his people, his flock, the civilized men and women who had followed the Samhaist ways for centuries. They had followed unquestioningly until the upstart Abelle had brought them false promises in the days when Badden was but a child.

The Samhaist let those unpleasant thoughts go and basked again in the beauty of Mithranidoon, but he winced soon after as the crow continued its glide over an almost barren lump of rock. Almost barren, but not uninhabited, he saw as the bird sped past. It pained the old man greatly to see powries, red-capped dwarves, settled upon the lake.

But even that could not prepare him for the next sight, and when the bird passed another of the islands, Badden noted a familiar-looking design well under construction. Even here, they had come! Even in this most holy of Samhaist locations, the Abellican heretics had ventured and now seemed as if they meant to stay.

So shocked was Badden that he lost connection to the bird, and he staggered so badly that he nearly toppled from the edge of the glacier.

“This cannot stand,” he muttered over and over again.

His mind was already whirling, calculating, searching for how he might cleanse Mithranidoon of this awful infection. All thoughts of enlisting the barbarians on the lake dissipated from him. They were all unclean. They all had to die.

“This will not stand,” Ancient Badden declared, and in all his many years as leader of the Samhaists he had never once made such a declaration without seeing it to fruition.


Copyright © 2008 by R. A. Salvatore. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

R. A. Salvatore is one of fantasy's most popular authors, with his books frequently appearing on the New York Times bestseller list and more than 10 million copies of his books sold. He is the author of The Bear, The Dame, and The Highwayman as well as Gauntlgrym, The Legend of Drizzt books, including the Dark Elf Trilogy—Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn— and the Demon Wars series, among many others. Salvatore was born in Massachusetts, and earned a B.S. in communications and a B.A. in English from Fitchburg State College. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Diane, and their three children.
R. A. Salvatore is one of fantasy’s most popular authors, with his books frequently appearing on the New York Times bestseller list and more than 10 million copies of his books sold. He is the author of The Bear, The Dame, The Ancient, and The Highwayman as well as Gauntlgrym, The Legend of Drizzt books, including the Dark Elf Trilogy—Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn— and the Demon Wars series, among many others. Salvatore was born in Massachusetts, and earned a B.S. in communications and a B.A. in English from Fitchburg State College. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Diane, and their three children.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Leominster, MA
Date of Birth:
January 20, 1959
Place of Birth:
Leominster, MA
Website:
http://www.rasalvatore.com/

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The Ancient (Saga of the First King Series #2) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just FYI, the first book is titled The Highwayman So far the first book and halfway through The Ancient have been true Salvatore style, definitly hooked. However, I am more than slightly annoyed at the spelling mistakes. It is most likely due to some formatting issue when made into eBook format but nonetheless unexecptable. If it were one or maybe two words with a transposed letter i might be fine with it. But the fact that multiple words across both books, so far, have been butchere to the extent i cant begin to guess what they are/were supposed to be. The words were giberish and contained special charcters. I have no clue as how to pronounce something with a dollar sign in the middle of a supposed word. I really Ffgured there were people paid to scrutinize your works before being published, paper or digital, maybe Im wrong. But for S's and giggles you might want take a look at the works before they go out to the public Mr Salvatore. I havent had any issue with other R.A.S's books before these two,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Re: Spelling mistakes. Your post is so full of spelling mistakes that it is unacceptable. If you are going to rant about something, then have the decency to not be an even worse offender. The fact that you have not noticed the errors in the other books is likely due to the fact that your own skills are not that high. Publishers seemingly quit hiring proof-readers years ago, yet they don't bother to use spellcheck any more than those who post on the internet. Why bother when the lack of education is so glaring? The Saga of the First King is another fun series by R.A, Salvatore. All the action and intrigue you'd expect, with the detailed fights, and the usual twists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So im confused on which book is first. I have this one,"The Ancient", but in what order do the four books go in? Im giving it three stars cause this book doed look interesting :).
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Kwondri More than 1 year ago
The follows the basic good versus evil story plot with a very well told story. The main characters are well developed and very engaging. If you are a fantasy fan or just like a good story, pick up the book.
Miki_Puglia More than 1 year ago
I was first introduced to this author by a chance meeting with a complete stranger in a Barnes & Noble store. They said that out of the books they have read that Salvatore is very good at creating and developing well thought out, plausible characters,and for anyone who has ever read, well thought out characters are not always easy to find. A few months later I came across "The Ancient" on sale and decided to get it. Overall, I would say that the story is very well done. The characters were well thought through and in all cases except maybe one or two their actions fit with their defined personas, which added a wonderfully plausible feel to them. Most of the time the writing was easy to follow and understand, but it was definitely not baby-ish or dumbed down, it was a mature writing. Nearly all of the spots where the writing wasn't so great were in the fighting scenes were it seemed to be a lot of confusing detail. I attribute these spots to the fact that it can be extremely hard to write action but otherwise, I would say that the writing was highly engaging and entertaining. There were several plots going on as well. There was one of the Highwayman searching for his father and a cure to his illness, one of a holy man struggling with the evilness of his brethren, and one of a noble lady fighting to save her land. While none of these truly concluded in the end, then again this is only the first book in a series, their plots were laid out quite well and smoothly mixed together so it didn't seem like Salvatore was trying to force some sort of epic "Pillars of the Earth" style plot on you. Despite some minor disagreements with the author, I very much enjoyed reading this book and look forward to more in the series!