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From the Paperback edition.
“A gripping tale of magic with an unusual form of sex change for added interest. Left me eager for more.”
“A thoroughly engrossing new fantasy. It got its hooks into me on the first page and didn’t let go.”
— George R.R. Martin
“A relentless tale that examines whether the ends can ever completely justify the means.”
— Robin Hobb
“Fresh and original ... Books like this are too good not to share.”
— Katherine Kurtz
Locus magazine called Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series “a welcome sight” and “a pleasure to read.” Now discover the magic for yourself with this remarkable fantasy trilogy, packed with rogues and spies, assassins and politicians:
Luck in the Shadows
Nightrunner Volume One
Nightrunner Volume Two
Nightrunner Volume Three
Available wherever Bantam Books are sold
“Iya? Iya, are you well?” asked Arkoniel.
Iya shook off the reverie that had claimed her and gave him a reassuring smile. “Ah, we’re here at last, I see.”
Pinched in a deep cleft of rock, Afra was scarcely large enough to be called a village and existed solely to serve the Oracle and the pilgrims who journeyed here. A wayfarer’s inn and the chambers of the priests were carved like bank swallow nests into the cliff faces on either side of the small paved square. Their doorways and deep-set windows were framed with carved fretwork and pillars of ancient design. The square was deserted now, but a few people waved to them from the shadowy windows.
At the center of the square stood a red jasper stele as tall as Arkoniel. A spring bubbled up at its base and flowed away into a stone basin and on to a trough beyond.
“By the Light!” Dismounting, Arkoniel turned his horse loose at the trough and went to examine the stele. Running his palm over the inscription carved in four languages, he read the words that had changed the course of Skalan history three centuries earlier. “‘So long as a daughter of Thelatimos’ line defends and rules, Skala shall never be subjugated.’” He shook his head in wonder. “This is the original, isn’t it?”
Iya nodded sadly. “Queen Gherilain placed this here herself as a thank offering right after the war. The Oracle’s Queen, they called her then.”
In the darkest days of the war, when it seemed that Plenimar would devour the lands of Skala and Mycena, the Skalan king, Thelatimos, had left the battlefields and journeyed here to consult the Oracle. When he returned to battle, he brought with him his daughter, Gherilain, then a maiden of sixteen. Obeying the Oracle’s words, he anointed her before his exhausted army and passed his crown and sword to her.
According to Agazhar, the generals had not thought much of the king’s decision. Yet from the start the girl proved god-touched as a warrior and led the allies to victory in a year’s time, killing the Plenimaran Overlord single-handedly at the Battle of Isil. She’d been a fine queen in peace, as well, and ruled for over fifty years. Agazhar had been among her mourners.
“These markers used to stand all over Skala, didn’t they?” asked Arkoniel.
“Yes, at every major crossroads in the land. You were just a babe when King Erius tore them all down.” Iya dismounted and touched the stone reverently. It was hot under her palm, and still as smooth as he day it had left the stonecutter’s shop. “Even Erius didn’t dare touch this one.”
“When he sent word for it to be removed, the priests refused. To force the issue meant invading Afra itself, the most sacred ground in Skala. So Erius graciously relented and contented himself with having all the others dumped into the sea. There was also a golden tablet bearing the inscription in the throne room at the Old Palace. I wonder what happened to that?”
But the younger wizard had more immediate concerns. Shading his eyes, he studied the cliff face. “Where’s the Oracle’s shrine?”
“Further up the valley. Drink deeply here. We must walk the rest of the way.”
Leaving their mounts at the inn, they followed a well-worn path deeper into the cleft. The way became steeper and more difficult as they went. There were no trees to shade them, no moisture to lay the white dust that hung on the hot midday air. Soon the way dwindled to a faint track winding up between boulders and over rock faces worn smooth and treacherous by centuries of pilgrim’s feet.
They met two other groups of seekers coming in the opposite direction. Several young soldiers were laughing and talking bravely, all but one young man who hung back from his fellows with the fear of death clear in his eyes. The second group clustered around an elderly merchant woman who wept silently as the younger members of her party helped her along.
From the Paperback edition.
Posted January 31, 2012
I gave up reading fantasy awhile ago; it was becoming predictable and juvenile. Then I discovered this book and my faith in the genre was restored. I bought the next book in the series before finishing this one and that is not something I usually do.
I won't give the story away but I will say that if you like adventure, magic, sword fighting, and an author who doesn't write like her audience has the intelligence of a mothball-you know, all the things that make up the best sort of fantasy-then you will like this.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 17, 2013
This story isn't very traditional fantasy, but it combines some traditional elements to make something completely different and new. This book is a little creepier than the other two, but completely worth the read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 11, 2009
I Also Recommend:
The books I tend to keep are the ones that are different from the usual fantasy fare...this fits well. It is a great combination of horror and fantasy that grabs you from the start and keeps you. I enjoyed the characters and the world explored in this story. The entire series is very good, but I must admit the first in the series was not surpassed. Good read and a keeper.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 18, 2008
This story is richly woven, with complex magic, politics, and religions. The characters are realistic with a full spectrum of emotions - love, hatred, hope, fear, jealousy, and ambition, yet each character has a distinct personality. The story encompasses the royal succession, wars and allies, court intrigues, a deity's prophecy, two different factions with regards to that prophecy, and all the innocent people who get pulled into this conflict. While having such a complex and deep scenario, this novel also contains effortless humor. As the main characters grow up over the trilogy, this is also a coming-of-age story. The story is entertaining as well as reflective of social issues. Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 7, 2007
In one of the books of the Wizard of Oz Series, the story reaches a happy conclusion when it is discovered that the male protagonist is in fact the much sought Princess Ozma, and we never wonder what it might be like to spend one's whole youth forming a masculine identity only to discover that it has been a lie- let alone how one might react to the necessary physical changes of a reverse transformation..... This book is a masterpiece of well-developed characters, creepy magic, youthful adventure, and grown up battles.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 24, 2006
Posted August 9, 2006
I picked this book up per the recommendation of George R Martins and was disappointed. The whole book moves really slowly and basically just builds up the main character. Kinda reminds me of Robin Hobbs first books in her trilogy except even less happens. The ending was a real let down, not much happened other than what we already knew per the book. The next books could be better but just as a heads up this one moves very slowly.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 14, 2005
I loved this book! I would recommend to all my friends who are into fantansy. I just picked up because of it's color. . . and I got carried aways with story and the characters. I love it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 14, 2005
I am glad to add another favorite author to my list! This book is creative, well crafted, and the story takes my breath away! I don't know where this will go (although thankfully she does give clues to assure us that everything will work out somehow eventually) but oh, what a ride! I don't know if I can wait for the third book to come out, but I'm rushing to pick up the next one as soon as I finish this review!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 21, 2004
I loved this book so much. I read it a month or so ago, and now it's my favorite series. It's different, but maybe that's why I like it so much. I reccomended it to all my friends.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 28, 2004
the book had a much different 'feel to it' then most fantasy books, especially when Tobin was a child. it was so origional. deffinitly one of the best books i've read in awhile.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 18, 2004
This book seems to start out a little slow...but don't be fooled. It becomes amazingly engrossing in a very short time. The characters are interesting, complex and detailed. The scenery is so clearly described it's easy to find yourself transported to that place and that time. I'm very much looking forward to reading the next one!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 4, 2003
Wow!! Just got done reading this and immediately went on-line to order the next!! Woe and alas, I have to wait, but not for very long! I've been reading fantasy for a long, long, time (I'm well over 40!) and this is one of the best! Very compelling and vivid characters pull you into the story. Hope this continues for at least 2 more books, if not more!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2003
Posted December 20, 2002
I absolutely loved this book! Lynn Flewelling did a great job bringing the characters to life! I thought how she pulled off the gender-bender was absolutely seamless! I have read this book seven times and am now on my eigth!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 16, 2002
Posted June 28, 2002
Although some of the book seems to be a repetition of the same themes found in many a sci-fi series, this book actually managed to give them a new twist. Yes, we have the bad wizards vs the good ones, the god of light vs an as of yet unnamed and most likely evil god, a 'Bad' civilization across the water and a usurper king which can be found in many series and tend, frankly, to be the same ole, same ole. HOWEVER, hats off to Lynn Flewelling for giving a bright new spin on things. I love the gender bending in this book. It is done with great subtlety and finesse. The use of magic is handled quite well, too and each character comes to life. THough the background may be seen by some to slow the book down, I actually enjoyed the background information that will be needed for the next books in the series (I do hope there are at least two more in the wings). I thought the book was a stand alone at first and was both chagrinned (needing the next book NOW) and delighted at the same time. It's a wonder I don't badger the author to find out about the cliffhanger ending! Thank you for a good read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 13, 2002
I read almost all SF/F and this is one of the best. Eager for the next installment. Read the Nightrunner series and will read anything by this author happily. A new twist on old themes, the mark of a GREAT imagination. I love it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 30, 2002
I loved this book. I couldn't put it down!All I read is Science Fiction/Fantasy and this is by far one of the best books I have read this year.I can't want to find out what will happen next.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.