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Banewreaker: Volume I of The Sundering

Banewreaker: Volume I of The Sundering

3.6 35
by Jacqueline Carey

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Following the triumphant success of her Kushiel series (Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar), Jacqueline Carey now turns her hand to another startling fable, an epic tale of gods waging war in their bid to control an entire universe and the mortals they use as chess pieces in a most deadly game.

Once, the Seven Shapers


Following the triumphant success of her Kushiel series (Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar), Jacqueline Carey now turns her hand to another startling fable, an epic tale of gods waging war in their bid to control an entire universe and the mortals they use as chess pieces in a most deadly game.

Once, the Seven Shapers dwelled in accord. First-born among them was Haomane, Lord-of-Thought and with his brother and sister gods, the Seven drew upon of the power of the Souma, claimed a race of beings for their own and began Shaping the world to their will.

But Haomane saw the ways of this new world and was displeased. For in his younger brother Satoris, once called the Sower, Haomane thought too prideful and in his gift, the quickening of the flesh too freely to the races...and to that of Man in particular. Haomane asked Satoris to withdraw his Gift from Men but he refused. And so began the Shapers' War.

Eons have passed. The war that ensued Sundered the very world. Haomane and his siblings lay to one end of a vast ocean unable to touch their creations, Satoris and the races of the world on the other. Satoris has been broken and left adrift among the peoples of the world and is reviled, with most of the races believing that it was he alone who caused the rift and depriving them of the balm of the Seven. He sits in Darkhaven, controlling his own dominion--seeking not victory but neither vengeance.

But still Haomane is not content. Through Haomane's whispers in the minds and hearts of the races of the world come a prophecy that if Satoris were defeated, the world could be made whole and all would bask in the light of the Souma again. And the few who stay by Satoris are viewed as the ultimate evil. And so the races come together to defeat Satoris, a being who helped engender them all but who is caught in his elder brother's warp.

Strong storytelling with evocative, compelling, and unforgettable characters, Banewrecker ultimately asks the question:

If all that is considered good considers you evil, are you?

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Jacqueline Carey, author of the exquisitely erogenous Kushiel's Legacy trilogy (Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, and Kushiel's Avatar) begins a distinct series with Banewreaker, an epic saga about sibling gods waging war against each other across a sundered world and the mortal races they use as pawns in a deadly game of supremacy.

The world of Urulat was created by deities known as the Seven Shapers, who formed numerous magical races of sentient beings to inhabit the realm. But after the god Satoris disobeyed an order from Haomane -- Lord-of-Thought and First Born -- concerning his irresponsible quickening of the race called Man, a great battle ensued pitting Satoris against his six brothers and sisters. The resulting Shapers' War split the world in two and, although none of the gods were destroyed, Satoris was exiled and consequently reviled by mortals as a villainous deity nicknamed Banewreaker, the Sunderer and Bringer-of-Doom.

Eons have passed but signs pointing toward an enigmatic prophecy are becoming undeniably clear. If it is fulfilled and Satoris is destroyed, the sundered world could be made whole once gain and the remaining Shapers could rule over their creations in peace. But Satoris can only be killed by Godslayer, a mystical shard that he possesses and hides away in his Darkhaven fortress.

Like Carey's Kushiel novels, Banewreaker is intense, exotic, poignant, and masterful at delving into the hidden depths of the human condition. Betrayal, treachery, vengeance, impossible quests, and epic battles -- this compelling saga will thrill fans of dark fantasy. Paul Goat Allen

The storytelling gifts Jacqueline Carey displayed in her Kushiel trilogy are abundantly evident here, but the story of The Sundering is quite different. In Banewreaker, the gods themselves wage war. In the struggle among the Seven Shapers, neither the gods nor the races of the world can flourish. Prophecy, honor, and betrayal figure prominently in this deadly, chess-like game. A cosmic battle on a human scale.
Publishers Weekly
Following her well-received Kushiel's Legacy trilogy (Kushiel's Dart, etc.), bestseller Carey takes a daringly different tack in the first of a new epic fantasy series that focuses on seven gods rather than an ingratiating human heroine like the trilogy's Phedre no Delaunay. Readers may be overwhelmed at first by the vast cast of larger-than-life characters, including many exotic creatures, fanged, toothed and winged, but as the gods and their assorted hangers-on behave more like real people than mythic heroes, they gain in sympathy. Haomone, the eldest of the seven gods, and one of his younger brothers, Satoris, who sundered the earth with his sword, are in rebellion. Satoris's primary lieutenant, Tanaros Blacksword, who has lived 1,000 bitter years after killing his unfaithful wife and her lover, his king, endures the irony that he must kidnap but safeguard her beautiful descendant, Cerelinde, who is about to be married. The poignancy of Tanaros's situation is palpable but never overplayed. Also moving is the plight of Lillias, a beautiful sorceress also a millennium old, enamored of Callendor, a colossal dragon. Perhaps nowhere in fiction is a dragon described as remarkably or as lovingly, a creature of unbelievable power yet also of gentle tenderness. This is a memorable beginning to what should be another strong series. Agent, Jane Dystel at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Nov. 1) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
After hundreds of years of an uneasy truce, the words of an ancient prophecy begin to glimmer with possibility. This potential forces Satoris, the Sunderer, cast out from the other world Shapers, to defend himself from Haomane's children who seek to destroy Satoris and reunite the world. One by one, the places, races, characters, and creatures that play a role in this vast drama are introduced. As the motives of both parties are challenged and exposed by siege, dragon fire, kidnapping, treachery, and sacrifice, the questions of good and evil, hero and villain grow ever more complicated. Many of Carey's characters are tantalizingly compelling: Cerelinde, the immortal maiden kidnapped from her own wedding; Tanaros, the Sunderer's general still grieving hundreds of years later for the wife and friend who betrayed him; Ushahin, who belongs to no one and walks through dreams with the ease another might walk across a field. The scope of this tale necessitates a slow start. Yet Carey's novel is woven of so many separate strands of plot and character that for a very long while it is difficult to hold the whole billowing tapestry in the mind's eye. Most unfortunate is that the book is only the first half of a projected two-part series, ending abruptly with nearly every character's fate still balanced on a precipice. Fans of densely wrought fantasy might enjoy Carey's creation and wait with excitement for its conclusion in Godslayer (Tor, 2005), volume two of The Sunderling. Readers who prefer more focused tales and tidier endings will be less appreciative. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2004, Tor, 432p., Ages 15 to Adult.
—Megan Lynn Isaac
Satoris was one of the seven Shapers who formed the Earth and those in it: humans, elves, trolls, werewolves and dragons. The Shaper's War sundered the Earth, leaving Satoris nursing a wound in his thigh that will not heal in Darkhaven, separated from the rest of the world by a vast sea. He is joined by those who do not "fit" in the regular world: the mad, lame, disenfranchised, betrayed. Together they are facing the prophecy of Satoris's downfall, based upon an elven woman marrying a human man. The beautiful Cereline, Lady of the Ellylon, is kidnapped on her wedding day and taken to Darkhaven. Various other players in the prophecy are attacked and all-out war commences. This is told from various perspectives, mostly those of Satoris's minions. We see that neither side has a true grasp of why they are fighting, only that their Lords will it. Basically, nothing is resolved, but a preview of the sequel, Godslayer, is appended. A heady story with myriad players, lots of action, intrigue, romance, and unusual characters and locations. (The Sundering, Vol. 1). KLIATT Codes: SA--Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Tor, 502p., Ages 15 to adult.
—Sherry Hoy
Library Journal
After the Seven Shapers created the world and populated it with their chosen children, dissension drove one of the Shapers to rebel against his brothers and sisters, which caused a war that sundered the world. Satoris, the rebel, dwells in his fortress, unwilling to go to war or to surrender to his brother Haomane, the Lord of Thought. When the servants of Haomane discover a way to destroy Satoris and restore wholeness to the world, Satoris and his chief lieutenant, Tanaros, move to thwart the plot by kidnapping the Lady Cerelinde, whose marriage is crucial to Haomane's victory. Her capture, however, has unexpected repercussions. With "Kushiel's Legacy," Carey established herself as a premier storyteller in the tradition of Tanith Lee, Terry Goodkind, and Storm Constantine. Her latest novel, the first in a new series, features the classic struggle between the forces of light and darkness told from the "other" side. Convincing characters and a feel for myth-making and world building make this a strong addition to most libraries. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The author of an outstanding fantasy debut trilogy (Kushiel's Avatar, 2003, etc.) kicks off a new adventure set in a Tolkienesque world of contending gods, magic jewels, warring races, dragons, elves, trolls, and what-all. Strife among two of the godlike Seven Shapers-proud Haomane, the eldest, and his younger brother Satoris-broke the world, so now Haomane and his five siblings reside at one end of the Sundering Ocean, Satoris and the various peoples of the world at the other. Haomane's unremitting hostility and power have driven Satoris to Darkhaven, where he lurks underground, cursed as the Father of Lies for causing the sundering. During the struggle, the jewel Souma was shattered and Satoris stabbed in the thigh by a dagger-shaped fragment known as the Godslayer. To keep Godslayer safe, Satoris placed it in the marrow-fire deep beneath Darkhaven. Haomane longs to destroy Satoris but, likewise vulnerable to Godslayer, dares not come himself but works through intermediaries instead. To thwart a prophesy predicting his defeat and the reuniting of the world, Satoris sends his immortal general, Tanaros Blacksword, to kidnap Cerelinde of the immortal Ellylon and thus prevent her marriage to the mortal human king, Aracus Altorus. Simultaneously, Haomane's forces, led by counselor Malthus bearing a powerful fragment of Souma, march towards Darkhaven; among them is a young innocent, the desert-dweller Dani, Bearer of the Water of Life, which, impossibly heavy for anyone but the true bearer to carry, can quench marrow-fire. Often derivative but pleasingly nuanced, peopled with beings neither wholly good nor irredeemably evil: an impressive curtain-raiser for this projected trilogy, even if itweighs a ton and a half.

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TANAROS WALKED DOWN THE HALLWAY, black marble echoing under his bootheels.It was like an unlit mirror, that floor, polished to a high gleam. The archways were vast, not built to a human scale. All along the walls the marrow-fire burned, delicate veins of blue-white against all that shining blackness. In both, his reflection was blurred and distorted. There was Tanaros; there, and there and there.A pale brow, furrowed. A lock of dark hair falling, so.Capable hands.And a stem mouth, its soft words of love long since betrayed.It had been a long time, a very long time, since Tanaros had thought of such matters, of the sum total the pieced-together fragments of his being made; nor did he think of them now, for his Lord’s summons burned like a beacon in his mind. And beneath his attire, beneath the enameled armor that sheltered him, his branding burned like marrow-fire on his flesh, white-hot and cold as ice, throbbing as his heart beat, and piercing.So it was, for the Three.“Guardsman,” he said in greeting.“General Tanaros, sir.” The Havenguard Fjeltroll on duty grinned, showing his eyetusks. His weapons hung about him like boulders on the verge of avalanche; he hoisted one, a sharp-pointed mace, in salute as he stood aside. Beyond him, the entrance to the tower stair yawned like an open mouth. “His Lordship awaits you in the observatory.”“Krognar,” Tanaros said, remembering his name. “Thank you.”“My pleasure, Lord General.” The Fjeltroll saluted again.It was a long way to the observatory, to the very top of the utmost tower of Darkhaven. Tanaros climbed it step by step, feeling his heartbeat increasing as he labored. A mortal heart, circumscribed by the silvered scar of his branding. When all was said and done, he was a Man, nothing more. It was his Lordship who had made him one of the Three, and deathless. He heard his breath labor, in and out. Mortal lungs, circulating blood. How long had they been at that task? It had been a thousand years and more since Tanaros had answered his Lord’s first summons, his hands red with the lifeblood of one he had once loved, his heart filled with rage and anguish.It felt longer.He wondered, briefly, how Vorax made the long climb.Darkness spiraling on darkness. Broad steps, wrought by Fjeltroll, made to endure their broad, horny feet. Tanaros reached out, touching the spiraling wall of the tower, fingers trailing. It should have burned, the marrow-fire; it did burn, but faintly. Here the veins branched and branched again, growing ever thinner and fainter as the tower thrust upward into the darkness.It was always dark here.Tanaros paused in the entrance to the observatory, letting his eyes adjust. Dark. It was always dark. Even the windows opened onto darkness, and the night sky. There, the stars, that never shone in cloud-blotted daylight.“My Lord.” He bowed, crisp and correct, as he had bowed for centuries on end.“Tanaros.” The voice rumbled, deep as mountains; it soothed, easing his joints, loosening the stiffness of centuries, of honor betrayed and never forgotten. It always had. In the darkness, the Shaper was silhouetted in the windows of night, vast shoulders occluding the stars. A pair of eyes glinted like crimson embers. “You have come.”Tanaros took a breath, feeling his lungs loosen. “Always, my Lord Satoris.”“It is well.”In a carven chair in the corner sat Vorax, his thick legs akimbo, fanning himself and breathing hard. Long ago he had been a lord of the race of Men, dwelling in the cool clime of Staccia, far to the north. Gluttony, greed and a ruthless pragmatism had moved him to answer the Shaper’s summons, becoming one of the immortal Three. He grinned at Tanaros from where he sprawled, his beard fanning over his massive chest. “Grave doings, cousin! Is it not so?”“If you say so, cousin.” Tanaros did not sit in his Lord’s presence. Long ago, he had stood vigilant in the presence of his King as he stood now, in the presence of one far greater. Loyalties changed; protocol did not. He inclined his head in deference. “We await the Dreamspinner, my Lord?”“Yes.” His Lord turned to the westernmost window, gazing out at the night. “Tell me, Tanaros. What do you see, thence?”He made his way to his Lord’s side. It was like standing beside a stoked forge, the might of the Shaper beating against his skin in waves. In the air a scent, coppery and sweet, like fresh-spilled blood, only stronger. “Where, my Lord?”“There.” Satoris pointed to the west, the line of his arm unerring.It could not be otherwise, of course, for westward lay Torath and the Souma, the Eye in the Brow of Uru-Alat—and Lord Satoris was a Shaper. Though his brethren had cast him out, though their allies reviled him and called him Sunderer, Banewreaker and Prince of Lies, he was a Shaper. Day or night, above the earth or below it, he knew where the Souma lay.Beyond the Sundering Sea.Tanaros gripped the edge of the casement and looked west into the night. The low mountains surrounding Darkhaven rose in ridges, silvered by a waning moon. Far, far beyond, he could see the faintest shimmer of surging darkness on the distant horizon where the sea began. Below, it was quiet, only an occasional clatter to be heard in the barracks of the Fjeltroll, a voice raised to break the silence.Above there was the night sky, thin clouds scudding, scattered with pinpricks of stars and the waning moon. As it was since time had begun, since Arahila the Fair had Shaped them into being that the children of Men might not fear the darkness.No.There … there. Low on the horizon, a star.A red star.It was faint, but it was there. Its light throbbed, faint and fickle, red.Leather and steel creaked as Vorax levered his bulk to his feet, his breathing audible in the tower chamber; louder, as he saw the star and sucked his breath between his teeth with a hiss. “Red star,” he said. “That wasn’t there before.”Tanaros, who had not known fear for many years, knew it now. He let go the edge of the casement and flexed his hands, tasting fear and wishing for his black sword. “What is it, my Lord?”The Shaper watched the red star flicker low in the distance. “A warning.”“Of what, my Lord?” The taste of fear in his mouth. “From whom?”“My elder sister.” The voice was as soft as a Shaper’s could be, touched with ages of sorrow. “Oh, Arahila!”Tanaros closed his eyes. “How can that be, my Lord? With the Souma shattered and Urulat sundered … how can it be that Arahila would Shape such a thing?”“Dergail,” said Vorax. “Dergail’s Soumanië.”A chip of the Souma, long since shattered; a chip, Shaped by Haomane First-Born, Chief of Shapers, into a gem, one of three. It had been lost even before Tanaros was born, when Haomane sent his three Wise Counselors to make war upon his Lordship. The Counselor Dergail, who had borne the Arrow of Fire, had known defeat and flung himself into the sea rather than allow the gem or the weapon to fall into enemy hands. For over a thousand years, both had been lost.“Yes,” said Satoris, watching. “Dergail’s Soumanië.”Tanaros’ mouth had gone dry. “What does it mean, my Lord?”Satoris Third-Born watched the red star, and the faint light of the waning moon silvered his dark visage. Calm, so calm! Unmoving, he stood and watched, while ichor seeped like blood from the unhealing wound he bore, laying a glistening trail down the inside of his thigh, never ceasing.“War,” he said. “It means war.”Footsteps sounded on the tower stair, quick and light, announcing Ushahin’s arrival. The half-breed entered the chamber, bowing. “My Lord Satoris.”“Dreamspinner,” the Shaper acknowledged him. “You have news?”In the dim light, there was beauty in the ruined face, the mismatched features. The half-breed’s smile was like the edge of a knife, deadly and bitter. “I have passed across the plains of Curonan like the wind, my Lord, and walked in the dreams of Men while they slept. I have news. Cerelinde of the Ellylon, granddaughter of Elterrion, has agreed to wed Aracus Altorus of the children of Men.”When a daughter of Elterrion weds a son of Altorus …It was one of the conditions of Haomane’s Prophecy, those deeds by which the Lord-of-Thought vowed Satoris would be overthrown and defeated, and Urulat reclaimed by the Six Shapers who remained.Vorax cursed with a Staccian’s fluency.Tanaros was silent, remembering.Aracus Altorus.There had been another of that House, once; there had been many others, and Altorus Farseer first among them, in the First Age of the Sundered World. For Tanaros, born in the years of dwindling glory, there was only one: Roscus Altorus, whom he had called “King,” and “my lord.” Roscus, dearer to him than any brother. Red-gold hair, a ready smile, a strong hand extended to clasp in friendship.Or in love, as his hand had clasped that of Tanaros’ wife. Claiming her, possessing her. Leading her to his bed, where he got her with child.Tanaros trembled with hatred.“Steady, cousin.” Vorax’s hand was heavy on his shoulder, and there was sympathy in the Staccian’s voice. They knew each other well, the Three, after so long. “This concerns us all.”Ushahin Dreamspinner said nothing, but his eyes gleamed in the dark chamber. Near black, the one, its pupil fixed wide; the other waxed and waned like the moon, set in a pale, crazed iris. So it had been, since the day he was beaten and left for dead, and Men said it was madness to meet his eyes. What the Ellylon thought, no one knew.“My Lord Satoris.” Tanaros found his voice. “What would you have of us?”“Readiness.” Calm, still calm, though it seemed the ichor bled faster from his wound, the broad trail glistening wider. “Tanaros, command of the armies is yours. Those who are on leave must be recalled, and each squadron rendered a full complement. There must be new recruits. Vorax, see to our lines of supply, and those allies who might be bribed or bought. Ushahin …” The Shaper smiled. “Do as you do.”They bowed, each of the Three, pressing clenched fists to their hearts.“We will not fail you, my Lord,” Tanaros said for them all.“My brave lieutenants.” Satoris’ words hung in the air, gentle. “My brother Haomane seeks my life, to end the long quarrel between us. This you know. But all the weapons and all the prophecies in the Sundered World avail him not, so long as the dagger Godslayer remains safe in our charge, and where it lies, no hands but mine may touch it. This I promise you: for so long as the marrow-fire bums, I shall reign in Darkhaven, and you Three with me. It is the pact of your branding, and I shall not fail it. Now go, and see that we are in readiness.”They went.On the horizon, the red star of war flickered.

“SO IT’S WAR, THEN.”For all his mass, the Fjeltroll’s hands were quick and deft, working independent of their owner’s thoughts.“So it seems.” Tanaros watched Hyrgolf’s vast hands shape the rhios, using talons and brute force to carve the lump of granite. It was in its final stages, needing only the smoothing of the rounded surfaces and the delineation of the expressive face. “You’ll order the recall? And a thousand new recruits drafted?”“Aye, General.” His field marshal blew on the stone, clearing granite dust from the miniature crevices. He held the rhios in the palm of his horny hand and regarded it at eye level. A river sprite, rounded like an egg, an incongruous delicacy against the yellowed, leathery palm. “What think you?”“It is lovely.”Hyrgolf squinted. His eyes were like a boar’s, small and fierce, and he was of the Tungskulder Fjel, broad and strong and steady. “There’s some will be glad of the news.”“There always are,” Tanaros said. “Those are the ones bear watching.”The Fjeltroll nodded, making minute adjustments to the figurine’s delicate features, shearing away infinitesimal flakes of granite. “They always are.”Brutes, Men called them; delvers, sheep-slaughterers, little better than animals. Tanaros had believed it himself, once. Once, when the sons of Altorus ruled a powerful kingdom in the southwest, and he had been Commander of the Guard, and held the borders of Altoria against the forces of Satoris; the deadly Were, the horrid Fjeltroll. Once, when he had been a married man deep in love, a husband and faithful servant, who had called a bold, laughing man with red-gold hair his lord and king.Roscus. Roscus Altorus.Aracus Altorus.Oh, love, love! Tanaros remembered, wondering. How could you do that to us?Somewhere, an infant drew breath into its lungs and bawled.So much time elapsed, and the wound still unhealed. His heart ached with it still, beat and ached beneath the silvery scar that seared it, that made the pain bearable. It had cracked at her betrayal; cracked, like the Souma itself. And in that darkness, Satoris had called to him, and he had answered, for it was the only voice to pierce his void.Now … now.Now it was different, and he was one of the Three. Tanaros, General Tanaros, Tanaros Blacksword, and this creature, Hyrgolf of the Fjeltroll, was his second-in-command, and a trusted companion. For all that he massed more than any two Men combined, for all that his eyetusks showed when he smiled, he was loyal, and true.“You think of her,” Hyrgolf said.“Is it so obvious, my friend?”“No.” Hyrgolf blew dust from the rhios and studied it again, turning it this way and that. “But I know you, General. And I know the stories. It is best not to think of it. The dead are the dead, and gone.”Her neck beneath his hands, white and slender; her eyes, bulging, believing at the last. A crushing force. And somewhere, an infant crying, wisps of red-gold hair plastered on its soft skull. An infant he had allowed to live.Tanaros remembered and flexed his hands, his capable hands, hunching his shoulders under the weight of memory. “I have lived too long to forget, my friend.”“Here.” Broad hands covered his, pressing something into them. Dirt-blackened talons brushed his wrists. An object, egg-sized and warm. Tanaros cradled the rhios in his palms. A sprite, a river sprite. Her delicate face laughed at him from between his thumbs. A rounded shape, comforting, bearing streaks of salmon-pink. It made him think of backwater currents, gentle eddies, of spawning-pools rife with eggs.“Hyrgolf …”“Keep it, General.” The Fjeltroll gave him a gentle smile, a hideous sight. “We carry them to remember, we who were once Neheris’ Children. One day, if the Sundered World is made whole, perhaps we will be again.”Neheris Fourth-Born, Neheris-of-the-Leaping-Waters, who had Shaped the high mountains of the north and the bright waters that tumbled down them, and Shaped the Fjeltroll also. Tanaros rubbed the rhios, the curving stone polished smooth as satin and warm from Hyrgolf’s touch. It felt good in his hand.“That’s it.” His field marshal nodded. “Keep it in your pocket, General, and it will always be with you.”He stowed the figurine. “Thank you, Hyrgolf.”“Welcome you are, General.” Picking up a battle-axe, the Fjel rummaged for a whetstone and began honing the edge of his weapon with the same attentive patience. The whetstone made a rhythmic rasping sound in the snug cavern, familiar and soothing. “Regular weapons inspections from here out, you reckon?”“Yes.” Tanaros rubbed his temples. “We’ll double up on drills as soon as the recalled units arrive. And I want scouting patrols in the tunnels, reporting daily. Establish a post at every egress between here and the Unknown, with runners between them. I want daily reports.”“Aye, sir.” Hyrgolf tested the edge of the blade with a thick-calloused thumb and resumed his efforts. “Pity for the lads due leave.”“I know.” Restless, Tanaros stood to stretch his legs, pacing around the confines of the field marshal’s chamber. Like all the barracks, this one was built into a stony ridge. The Fjeltroll had constructed Darkhaven to their own scale, but Lord Satoris was its genius and its architect, and the convoluted magnificence of it echoed its creator. For themselves, the Fjeltroll had eschewed walls and towers, delving into the bones of the earth and carving out the simple caverns they preferred, laid out to flank and protect the mighty edifice. Most dwelled in common chambers; Hyrgolf, due to his rank, had his own. It held a sleeping pallet covered in sheepskin, his weapons and gear, a few simple things from home. Tanaros stopped before a niche hollowed into the wall, containing the stump of a tallow candle and a crudely carved rhios.“My boy’s first effort,” Hyrgolf said behind him. There was pride in his voice. “Not bad for a mere pup, eh General?”Tanaros touched the cavern wall, bowing his head. “You were due leave.”“In two months’ time.” The sound of the whetstone never slowed. “That’s the luck, isn’t it? We always knew this day might come.”“Yes.” He looked back at the Fjeltroll. “How do your people tell it?”“The Prophecy?” Hyrgolf shook his massive head. “We don’t, General.”No, of course not. In the First Age of the Sundered World, when Satoris was sore wounded and at his weakest, when Haomane First-Born, the Lord-of-Thought, had called upon the Souma and brought the sun so near to earth it scorched the land and brought into being the Unknown Desert, the Fjeltroll had sheltered Satoris and pledged their loyalty to him. After his Counselors had been defeated, Haomane First-Born uttered his Prophecy into the ears of his allies. The Prophecy was not shared with the Fjel.Instead, it doomed them.“And yet you still honor Neheris,” Tanaros said, fingering the rhios in his pocket. “Who sided with Haomane, with the Six, against his Lordship. Why, Hyrgolf?”“It’s Shapers’ business,” Hyrgolf said simply, setting down his axe. “I don’t pretend to understand it. We made a pact with his Lordship and he has honored it, generation after generation. He never asked us to stop loving Neheris who Shaped us.”“No,” Tanaros said, remembering his Lord’s cry. Oh, Arahila! “He wouldn’t.”And he fingered the rhios in his pocket again, and longed for the simplicity of a Fjeltroll’s faith. It was not granted to Men, who had been given too many gifts to bear with ease. Oh, Arahila! Second-Born among Shapers, Arahila the Fair, Born-of-the-Heart. Would that you had made us less.“How do your people tell it?” Hyrgolf asked. “The Prophecy, that is.”Tanaros relinquished the rhios, his hands fisted in his pockets as he turned to face his field marshal. “In Altoria,” he said, and his voice was harsh, “when I was a boy, it was told thus. ‘When the unknown is made known, when the lost weapon is found, when the marrow-fire is quenched and Godslayer is freed, when a daughter of Elterrion weds a son of Altorus, when the Spear of Light is brought forth and the Helm of Shadows is broken, the Fjeltroll shall fall, the Were shall be defeated ere they rise, and the Sunderer shall be no more, the Souma shall be restored and the Sundered World made whole and Haomane’s Children shall endure.’”It grieved him to say it, as if the Fjeltroll might hold him in some way responsible. After all, if he had killed the babe … if he had killed the babe. The House of Altorus would have ended, then, and there would have been no Prophecy.Blue eyes, milky and wondering. Red-gold hair plastered to a damp skull.He hadn’t been able to do it. The babe, the child of his cuckolded marriage bed, had succeeded Roscus in the House of Altorus.“Aye,” Hyrgolf said, nodding. “That’s as I heard it. The Sundered World made whole, but the cost of it our lives. Well, then, that’s only a piece of it, this wedding. There’s a good deal more needs happen before the Prophecy is fulfilled, and who knows what the half of it means?”“His Lordship knows,” Tanaros said. “And Malthus.”Their eyes met, then; Man and Fjel, hearing a common enemy named.“Malthus,” Hyrgolf rumbled, deep in his chest. The Wise Counselor, Wielder of the Soumanië, last of three, last and greatest of Haomane’s Shapings. “Well, there is Malthus, General, I don’t deny you that. But he is only one, now, and we have among us the Three.”Tanaros, Vorax, Ushahin.“Pray that we are enough,” Tanaros said.“That I do, General,” said the Fjeltroll. “That I do.”Tanaros Blacksword, Commander General of the Army of Darkhaven, walked alone to his quarters, a stone the size of an egg in his pocket.From time to time, he touched it for reassurance.

ELSEWHERE IN THE LAND OF Urulat, flames burnt low and dwindled in their lamps in the archives of Meronil, housed in the Hall of Ingolin, where an elderly figure in scholar’s robes bent over a hide-bound tome, muttering. The lamplight caught in his grey, tangled beard, cast shadows in the deep lines of his face, marking them in contrast to the splendid treasures that gleamed about him, housed in the archives for safekeeping.Footsteps, slow and measured, quiet on the elegant carpets.“Old friend,” said Ingolin, the last Lord of the Ellylon. “You should rest.”The head lifted, sharp nose pointing, eyes fierce under heavy brows. “You know why I do not.”“It is a day for rejoicing, old friend,” the Ellyl reminded him.Malthus the Counselor laughed without mirth. “Can you tell me how to quench the marrow-fire, Ingolin the Wise? Can you render the unknown known?”“You know I cannot.” There was calm acceptance in the Ellyl’s reply. In the manner of his people he had lived a long time, and knew the limits of his own knowledge. “Still, Cerelinde has unbent at long last, and Aracus Altorus has bowed his House’s ancient pride. Love, it seems, has found them. A piece of the Prophecy shall be fulfilled, and the Rivenlost endure. May we not rejoice in it?”“It is not enough.”“No.” Ingolin glanced unthinking to the west, where Dergail’s Soumanië had arisen. “Old friend,” he asked, and his voice trembled for the first time in centuries. “Do you hold the answers to these questions you ask?”“I might,” Malthus the Counselor said slowly, and pinched the bridge of his nose, fixing the Lord of the Ellylon with a hawk’s stare. “I might. But the way will be long and difficult, and there are many things of which I am unsure.”Ingolin spread his hands. “The aid of the Rivenlost is yours, Malthus. Only tell us how we might serve.”“You can’t, old friend,” said Malthus the Counselor. “That’s the problem.”

IN ANOTHER WING OF THE Hall of Ingolin, a fire burned low in the great hearth. Cerelinde, the granddaughter of Elterrion, gazed at it with unseeing eyes and thought about the deed to which she had committed herself this day.She was the Lady of the Ellylon, the last scion of the House of Elterrion. By the reckoning of her people, she was young, born after the Sundering of the world, after the grieving Ellylon had taken the name Rivenlost unto themselves. Her mother had been Erilonde, daughter of Elterrion the Bold, Lord of the Ellylon, and she had died in childbirth. Her father had been Celendril of the House of Numireth the Fleet, and he had fallen in battle against Satoris Banewreaker in the Fourth Age of the Sundered World.If the courage of Men had not faltered that day, her father might have lived. Haomane’s Allies might have triumphed that day, and the world been made whole.She had never known the glory of the Souma and Haomane’s presence, only the deep, enduring ache of their absence.That bitter knowledge had dwelled in her while generations were born and died, for, by the reckoning of Men, she was timeless. She had watched, century upon century, the proud Kings of Altoria; Altorus’ sons, as they grew to manhood and took their thrones, made love and war and boasts, withered and died. She had watched as they disdained their ancient friendship with the Ellylon, watched as Satoris Banewreaker calculated his vengeance and shattered their kingdom. She had stopped watching, then, as the remnants of a once-mighty dynasty dwindled into the Borderguard of Curonan.Then Aracus had come; Aracus Altorus, who had been tutored by Malthus the Counselor since he was a lad. Like her, he was the last of his line.And he was different from those who had come before him.She had known it the moment she laid eyes upon him. Unlike the others, the Kings of Altoria in all their glory, Aracus was aware of the brevity of his allotted time; had measured it against the scope of the Sunderer’s plan and determined to spend it to the greatest effect. She had seen it in his face, in the wide-set, demanding gaze.He understood the price both of them would have to pay.And something in her had … quickened.In the hall outside the hearth chamber she heard the sound of his bootheels striking the white marble floors, echoing louder than any Ellyl’s tread. She heard the quiet murmur of words exchanged with Lord Ingolin’s guards. And then he was there, standing before the hearth, the scent of horses and leather and night air clinging to his dun-grey cloak. He had ridden hard to return to her side. His voice, when he spoke, was hoarse with weariness.“Cerelinde.”“Aracus.”She stood to greet him. He was tall for a Man and their eyes were on a level. She searched his face. In the dim firelight, it was strange to see the glint of red-gold stubble on his chin. He was Arahila’s Child, and not of her kind.“Is it done?” she asked.“Aye,” he said. “The Borderguard carry word of our betrothal.”Cerelinde looked away. “How long before it reaches the Sunderer’s ears?”“It has done so.” He took her hand. “Cerelinde,” he said. “The Sunderer flaunts his defiance. The red star of war has risen. I saw it as I rode.”Her fingers trembled in his grasp. “So quickly!”His voice grew softer. “You know what is said, my lady. One of the Three stalks the dreams of mortal Men.”“The Misbegotten.” Cerelinde shuddered.Aracus nodded. “Aye.”Cerelinde gazed at their joined hands. His fingers were warm and calloused, rough against her soft skin. It seemed she could feel his lifeblood pulse through them, urgent and mortal, calling to her. She tried not to think of Ushahin the Misbegotten, and failed.“Our children …” she murmured.“No!” Aracus breathed the word, quick and fierce. His grip tightened, almost painful. Lifting her head, she met his eyes. “They will not be like that one,” he said. “Wrenched forth from violence and hatred, cast out and warped. We honor the Prophecy. Our children will be conceived in love, in accordance with Haomane’s will, and Arahila’s.”She laid her free hand upon his chest. “Love.”“Aye, lady.” He covered her hand with his own, gazing at her. “Never less. I swear it to you. Though my heart beats to a swift and mortal tune, it beats true. And until I die, it lies in your keeping.”“Ah, Aracus!” His name caught in her throat. “We have so little time!”“I know,” he murmured. “All too well, I know.”

ELSEWHERE ON URULAT, NIGHT CREPT westward.Slowly, it progressed, a gilt edge fading to the blue of twilight, drawing a cloak of darkness behind it. Where it passed—over the fields and orchards of Vedasia, over the dank marshes of the Delta, over Harrington Inlet, across the Unknown Desert and Staccia and Seahold and Curonan—the stars emerged in its wake.It came to the high mountains of Pelmar, where a woman stood on the steep edge of a cavern, and a gem bound in a circlet at her brow shone like the red star that flickered low, low on the far western horizon.Her name was Lilias, though Men and Ellylon called her the Sorceress of the East. She had been a mortal woman, once; the daughter of a wealthy Pelmaran earl. The east was the land of Oronin Last-Born, in whose train death rode, and his lingering touch lay on those Men, Arahila’s Children, who settled in Pelmar as their ever-increasing numbers covered the earth. It was said those of noble birth could hear Oronin’s Horn summon them to their deaths.Lilias feared death. She had seen it, once, in the eyes of a young man to whom her father would have betrothed her. He was a duke’s son, well made and gently spoken, but she had seen in his eyes the inevitability of her fate, old age and generations of children yet unborn, and she had heard the echo of Oronin’s Horn. Such was the lot of Arahila’s Children, and the mighty Chain of Being held her fast in its inescapable grip.And so she had fled into the mountains. Up, she went, higher than any of her brothers had ever dared climb, scaling the height of Beshtanag Mountain and hiding herself in its caverns. It was there that she had encountered the dragon.His name was Calandor, and he was immortal after his kind. If he had hungered, he might have swallowed her whole, but since he did not, he asked her instead why she wept.Weeping, she told him.Twin jets of smoke had risen from his nostrils, for such was the laughter of dragons. And it was there that he gave a great treasure into her keeping: One of the lost Soumanië, Ardrath’s gem that had been missing for many centuries. It had been plucked from the battlefield by a simple soldier who thought it a mere ruby. From thence its trail was lost until it ended in the hoard of a dragon, who made it a gift to a mortal woman who did not wish to die.Such was the caprice of dragons, whose knowledge was vast and unfathomable. Calandor taught her many things, the first of which was how to use the Soumanië to stretch the Chain of Being, keeping mortality at bay.She was no longer afraid.It had been a long time ago. Lilias’ family was long dead, her lineage forgotten. She was the Sorceress of the East and possessed great power, which she used with neither great wisdom nor folly. She allowed Oronin’s Children, the Were, to hunt freely in the forests of Beshtanag, though elsewhere they were reviled for aiding Satoris the Sunderer in the last great war. The regents of Pelmar feared her and left her in peace, which was her sole desire.And, until now, the Six Shapers had done the same.Lilias regarded the red star on the horizon and felt uneasiness stir in her soul for the first time in many centuries. Dergail’s Soumanië had risen, and change was afoot. Behind her in the mammoth darkness a vast shadow loomed.“What does it mean, Calandor?” she asked in a low voice.“Trouble.” The word emerged in a sulfurous breath, half lost in the heights of the vaulted cavern. Unafraid, she laid one hand on the taloned foot nearest her. The rough scales were warm to the touch; massive claws gleaming like hematite, gouging the stone floor. On either side, forelegs as vast and sturdy as columns. Somewhere above and behind her head, she could hear the dragon’s heart beating, slow and steady like the pulse of the earth.“For whom?”“Usssss.” High above, Calandor bent his sinuous neck to answer, the heat of his exhalation brushing her check. “Uss, Liliasss.” And there was sorrow, and regret, in the dragon’s voice.I will not be afraid, Lilias told herself. I will not be afraid!She touched the Soumanië, the red gem bound at her brow, and gazed westward, where its twin flickered on the horizon. “What shall we do, Calandor?”“Wait,” the dragon said, laying his thoughts open to her. “We wait, Liliasss.”And in that moment, she knew, knowledge a daughter of Men was never meant to bear. The sorceress Lilias shook with knowledge. “Oh, Calandor!” she cried, turning and hiding her face against the plate-armor of the dragon’s breast, warm as burnished bronze. “Calandor!”“All things must be as they are, little sister,” said the dragon. “All thingsss.”And the red star flickered in the west.Copyright © 2004 by Jacqueline Carey

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Carey is the author of the bestselling Kushiel trilogy (Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, and Kushiel's Avatar) and her epic fantasy duology, The Sundering (Banewreaker and Godslayer). She has won the Locus Award for Best First Novel and the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Her books have been listed on many booksellers' top ten fantasy books lists. Always an avid reader, Carey began writing fiction as a hobby in high school. After graduating from Lake Forest College, she worked for six months at a bookstore in London, and returned to the United States with a driving passion to write professionally. She resides in western Michigan.

Jacqueline Carey is the author of the bestselling Kushiel trilogy (Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s Chosen, and Kushiel’s Avatar) and her epic fantasy duology, The Sundering (Banewreaker and Godslayer). She has won the Locus Award for Best First Novel and the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Her books have been listed on many booksellers’ top ten fantasy books lists. Always an avid reader, Carey began writing fiction as a hobby in high school. After graduating from Lake Forest College, she worked for six months at a bookstore in London, and returned to the United States with a driving passion to write professionally. She resides in western Michigan.

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Banewreaker (Sundering Series #1) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have yet to read a novel by Jacqueline Carey that leaves me feeling anything less than impressed. She is definitely one of the premier fantasists of our time. Despite the inane criticism below, Banewreaker is not a cliched Tolkien rip-off (I've read books like that before, and this is certainly not one of them, not by a long shot). Carey's use of language is impeccable, and the worlds she creates in her writing are as deep and rich as the characters she populates them with. If you enjoy fantasy, then you won't want to miss this book.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The Seven Shapers worked in harmonious unity using the power of the Souma to shape the world and its races to their images. After a time the eldest Haomane did not like what he observed; he felt his brother Satoris gave too much to the subservient. He demanded that his sibling extract his Gift to mankind, but an outraged prideful Satoris refuses as he insists he is no underling. The Shapers' War explodes with the world as its victim............................. The battling brothers reside on opposite sides of the Sundering Ocean with the other siblings living with Haomane while Satoris resides in underground Darkhaven. Haomane would confront and kill Satoris, but knows that his foe possesses the deadly Godslayer. Instead he uses innuendos and rumors amongst the people that Satoris, the Father of Lies, caused the sundering destruction and spreads a prophecy of good times once Satoris dies........................... Satoris must prevent the prophecy from happening because the end state is his death. He sends loyal immortal General Tanaros Blacksword to kidnap the also immortal Cerelinde to stop her from marrying a royal mortal, part of the prophecy. At the same time Malthus leads Haomane's forces on an assault of Darkhaven.......................... This opening act of the Sundering tales is an exhilarating epic war of the gods¿ fantasy. The fast-paced story line grips readers because the non-stop action makes believers of readers that the Seven Shapers especially the two antagonists are genuine with powers beyond mortals. Similar to the Tolkien mythos, genre fans will appreciate Jacqueline Carey proof that she has plenty to offer readers beyond Kushiel with this fantastic tale in which good and evil is blurred except for a tremendous public relations campaign....................... Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every tale has 2 sides to the story... Carey does a great job reminding us that nothing in life is every black and white, all the while giving a story that is gripping and thought provoking. Such a wonderful read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was almost put off trying this by the reviews talking about how detailed and confusing the opening chapters are. Fortunately, I decided to trust an accomplished author instead. There certainly is a lot to learn about this world and the charaters in it, as well as their motivations, but move into this world with faith in the story teller and you will enjoy every chapter!
RonCN More than 1 year ago
Some books hook you from the very first sentence. Other books fail to capture you at all. And then, there are books like Banewreaker: tales what will coax you subtly, irrevocably, word by word, without you realizing it, until you cannot stop poring over its pages. I started reading this series because I found an interesting comment by George R.R. Martin in his own website: he said that it was a good read, that it told the story of the Lord of the Rings from the point of view of Sauron's minions. Both the source and the recommendation were enough to make me grab my own copy, but it turned out that things were, as they are wont to be, much more complex. A retelling of the Lord or the Rings? No: so much more. Banewreaker's first lines are not very easy to read. The first chapter might be slow, as Carey explains with her flowery, descriptive prose the intricacies of the world's origin, of its deities, its inhabitants, its myth and lore. Perhaps the reader will find trouble remembering the names, or recognizing what the names refer to. But, as pages start to flow with increasing speed, it is obvious that these seeming faults are, in truth, great strengths: The prose has a cadence, a rhythm to it, that will immediately evoke a powerful epic in the reader's mind. Descriptions abound, but are never overused: I could feel every nuance of atmosphere in this book and did not feel the need to skip a paragraph once. Races, places, items are mentioned, and the reader is supplied with enough information to know "what" the author refers to without having their imagination limited in any way when it is unimportant to the plot. This helps to create a feeling of realism and continuity as well. Every character, from the Shapers and the ancient dragons to the lords to the soldiers, is a piece that fits perfectly in the tapestry that is Banewreaker. They all have motivations to be where they are, to do what they do. They know hate and duty and passion. They might seem bitter at times, or haunted by their past, but that is because such is the nature of man: yes, Lord Ushahin has never forgiven those who tried to kill him with stones and sticks when he was but a child because of his mixed heritage. But, can we honestly ask him to forgive and forget? Satoris feels the hatred of his older brother, and becomes more and more bitter, but, can we ask anything else, when he has been turned into the paradigm of evil because he did what he had to to protect life as it was? The villains of this tale are, indeed, the heroes from the other side, and it doesn't take long before we can empathize with their trials and their plight. And these all these heroes and villains clash in a riveting storyline wherein Satoris' attempts to prevent the prophecy of his destruction to come to fruition: the words have always been there, but now that his enemies are on the move, he decides to strike first and capture one of the integral parties: the Lady Celerinde, whose wedding to the descendant of a particular House of men would signal the beginning of the end. But was this move to stop the prophecy, or to follow it through? Satoris is not the evil he's been made to look like, but will Celerinde understand this in time to make a difference? Because all things are as they must be, and the darkness of Darkhaven shines bright even as the alliance of his rival brings the shadows to its doorstep. Banewreaker is a renovation of the fantasy genre, and no one sh
cassandrak19 More than 1 year ago
I found this book rather hard to get into and hard to follow at first. After reading for a while it became much more interesting and easier to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with Carey's Kushiel series, and have carefully collected each book she has written. Having said that, do NOT buy this book based on the premise that it will be something like the Kushiel novels. My opinion is, if you loved the Kushiel Series, stick with those.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read this book and then I highly recommend you also read the next book in this series called 'Godslayer'.
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