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The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle Series #2)

The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle Series #2)

4.5 417
by Peter V. Brett

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The sun is setting on humanity. The night now belongs to voracious demons that prey upon a dwindling population forced to cower behind half-forgotten symbols of power. Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not. Out of the desert


The sun is setting on humanity. The night now belongs to voracious demons that prey upon a dwindling population forced to cower behind half-forgotten symbols of power. Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not. Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the desert tribes into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons—a spear and a crown—that give credence to his claim. But the Northerners claim their own Deliverer: the Warded Man, a dark, forbidding figure. Once, the Shar’Dama Ka and the Warded Man were friends. Now they are fierce adversaries. Yet as old allegiances are tested and fresh alliances forged, all are unaware of the appearance of a new breed of demon, more intelligent—and deadly—than any that have come before.

Now with twenty pages of bonus material, including an exclusive interview with Peter V. Brett

Look for Peter V. Brett’s complete Demon Cycle:

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The most significant and cinematic fantasy epic since The Lord of the Rings. Inspired, compelling, and totally addictive!” —Paul W. S. Anderson, director of Resident Evil: Afterlife

“Peter V. Brett is one of my favorite new authors.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind
Publishers Weekly
In keeping with the recent trend of starting in the thick of the action, this sequel to 2009’s The Warded Man picks up in the heat of Jardir’s conquest of the greenlands. This choice may pull in new readers but risks alienating returning ones, since series hero Arlen Bales doesn’t even appear until midbook. Jardir, who seemed to mostly be a villain in the first book, is made more sympathetic through a flashback to his childhood warrior training and the machinations of his psychically gifted chief wife, Inevera, who seems part Bene Gesserit and part Lady Macbeth as she plots his rise to power. Romantic entanglements occupy much of the book and lead to an abrupt conclusion that would benefit from a gentler epilogue, but is sure to leave fans on tenterhooks waiting for the last installment. (Apr.)
Library Journal
From the people of the desert, a warrior has arisen to deliver them from the demons that rule the night and bring terror and destruction to the land. Ahmann Jardir bears the ancient spear and crown that seem to mark him as the Deliverer, but a rival—once a friend—known as the Warded Man challenges his claim. Now a new kind of demon has arisen, and the world's fate depends on a small group of brave souls who must rely on their combined strength to save their people. VERDICT The sequel to Brett's acclaimed debut, The Warded Man, extends the author's panoramic vision of a world steeped in the traditions of the desert and rich in magic both good and evil. Fans of epic fantasy in the tradition of Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin will enjoy the arrival of a strong voice in multivolume epic fantasy. [Also available as an ebook: ISBN 978-0-345-51963-4; The Warded Man has been optioned by director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil).—Ed.]

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Demon Cycle Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.16(w) x 6.87(h) x 1.14(d)

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Chapter One


:: 333 AR WINTER ::

Fort Rizon's wall was a joke.

Barely ten feet high and only one thick, the entire city's defenses were less than the meanest of a Damaji's dozen palaces. The Watchers didn't even need their steel-shod ladders; most simply leapt to catch the lip of the tiny wall and pulled themselves up and over.

"People so weak and negligent deserve to be conquered," Hasik said. Jardir grunted but said nothing.

The advance guard of Jardir's elite warriors had come under cover of darkness, thousands of sandaled feet crunching the fallow, snow- covered fields surrounding the city proper. As the greenlanders cowered behind their wards, the Krasians had braved the demon- infested night to advance. Even corelings gave berth to so many Holy Warriors on the move.

They gathered before the city, but the veiled warriors did not attack immediately. Men did not attack other men in the night. When dawn's light began to fill the sky, they lowered their veils, that their enemies might see their faces.

There were a few brief grunts as the Watchers subdued the guards in the gatehouse, and then a creak as the city gates opened wide to admit Jardir's host. With a roar, six thousand dal'Sharum warriors poured into the city.

Before the Rizonans even knew what was happening, the Krasians were upon them, kicking in doors and dragging the men out of their beds, hurling them naked into the snow.

With its seemingly endless arable land, Fort Rizon was more populous by far than Krasia, but Rizonan men were not warriors, and they fell before Jardir's trained ranks like grass before the scythe. Those who struggled suffered torn muscle and broken bone. Those who fought, died.

Jardir looked at all of these in sorrow. Every man crippled or killed was one who could not find glory in Sharak Ka, the Great War, but it was a necessary evil. He could not forge the men of the North into a weapon against demonkind without first tempering them as the smith's hammer did the speartip.

Women screamed as Jardir's men tempered them in another fashion. Another necessary evil. Sharak Ka was nigh, and the coming generation of warriors had to spring from the seeds of men, not cowards.

After some time, Jardir's son Jayan dropped to one knee in the snow before him, his speartip red with blood. "The inner city is ours, Father," Jayan said.

Jardir nodded. "If we control the inner city, we control the plain."

Jayan had done well on his first command. Had this been a battle against demons, Jardir would have led the charge himself, but he would not stain the Spear of Kaji with human blood. Jayan was young to wear the white veil of captain, but he was Jardir's firstborn, Blood of the Deliverer himself. He was strong, impervious to pain, and warrior and cleric alike stepped with reverence around him.

"Many have fled," Asome added, appearing at his brother's back. "They will warn the hamlets, who will flee also, escaping the cleansing of Evejan law."

Jardir looked at him. Asome was a year younger than his brother, smaller and more slender. He was clad in a dama's white robes without armor or weapon, but Jardir was not fooled. His second son was easily the more ambitious and dangerous of the two, and they more so than any of their dozens of younger brothers.

"They escape for now," Jardir said, "but they leave their food stores behind and flee into the soft ice that covers the green lands in winter. The weak will die, sparing us the trouble of killing them, and my yoke will find the strong in due time. You have done well, my sons. Jayan, assign men to find buildings suitable to hold the captives before they die from cold. Separate the boys for Hannu Pash. If we can beat the Northern weakness out of them, perhaps some can rise above their fathers. The strong men we will use as fodder in battle, and the weak will be slaves. Any women of fertile age may be bred."

Jayan struck a fist to his chest and nodded.

"Asome, signal the other dama to begin," Jardir said, and Asome bowed.

Jardir watched his white-clad son as he strode off to obey. The clerics would spread the word of Everam to the chin, and those who did not accept it into their hearts would have it thrust down their throats.

Necessary evil.

That afternoon, Jardir paced the thick-carpeted floors of the manse he had taken as his Rizonan palace. It was a pitiful place compared with his palaces in Krasia, but after months of sleeping in tents since leaving the Desert Spear, it was a welcome touch of civilization.

In his right hand, Jardir clutched the Spear of Kaji, using it as one might a walking stick. He needed no support, of course, but the ancient weapon had brought about his rise to power, and it was never far from his grasp. The butt thumped against the carpet with each step.

"Abban is late," Jardir said. "Even traveling with the women after dawn, he should have been here by now."

"I will never understand why you tolerate that khaffit in your presence, Father," Asome said. "The pig-eater should be put to death for even having raised his eyes to look upon you, and yet you take his counsel as if he were an equal in your court."

"Kaji himself bent khaffit to the tasks that suited them," Jardir said. "Abban knows more about the green lands than anyone, and that is knowledge a wise leader must use."

"What is there to know?" Jayan asked. "The greenlanders are all cowards and weaklings, no better than khaffit themselves. They are not even worthy to fight as slaves and fodder."

"Do not be so quick to claim you know all there is," Jardir said. "Only Everam knows all things. The Evejah tells us to know our enemies, and we know very little of the North. If I am to bring them into the Great War, I must do more than just kill them, more than just dominate. I must understand them. And if all the men of the green lands are no better than khaffit, who better than a khaffit to explain their hearts to me?"

Just then, there was a knock at the door, and Abban came limping into the room. As always, the fat merchant was dressed in rich, womanly silks and fur-a garish display that he seemed to wear intentionally for the offense it gave to the austere dama and dal'Sharum.

The guards mocked and shoved him as he passed, but they knew better than to deny Abban entry. Whatever their personal feelings, hindering Abban risked Jardir's wrath, something no man wanted.

The crippled khaffit leaned heavily on his cane as he approached Jardir's throne, sweat pearling on his reddened, doughy face despite the cold. Jardir looked at him in disgust. It was clear he brought important news, but Abban stood panting, attempting to catch his breath, instead of sharing it.

"What is it?" Jardir snapped when his patience grew thin.

"You must do something!" Abban gasped. "They are burning the granaries!"

"What?!" Jardir demanded, leaping to his feet and grabbing Abban's arm, squeezing so hard the khaffit cried out in pain. "Where?"

"The north ward of the city," Abban said. "You can see the smoke from your door."

Jardir rushed out onto the front steps, immediately spotting the rising column. He turned to Jayan. "Go," he said. "I want the fires out, and those responsible brought before me."

Jayan nodded and vanished into the streets, trained warriors flowing in behind him like birds in formation. Jardir turned back to Abban.

"You need that grain if you are to feed the people through the winter," Abban said. "Every seed. Every crumb. I warned you."

Asome shot forward, snatching Abban's wrist and twisting his arm hard behind him. Abban screamed. "You will not address the Shar'Dama Ka in such a tone!" Asome growled.

"Enough," Jardir said.

Abban fell to his knees the moment Asome released him, placing both hands on the steps and pressing his forehead between them. "Ten thousand pardons, Deliverer," he said.

"I heard your coward's counsel against advancing into the Northern cold," Jardir said as Abban whimpered on the ground. "But I will not delay Everam's work because of this?.?.?." he kicked at the snow on the steps, "sandstorm of ice. If we need food, we will take it from the chin in the surrounding land, who live in plenty."

"Of course, Shar'Dama Ka," Abban said into the floor.

"You took far too long to arrive, khaffit," Jardir said. "I need you to find your merchant contacts among the captives."

"If they are still alive," Abban said. "Hundreds lie dead in the streets."

Jardir shrugged. "Your fault for being so slow. Go, question your fellow traders and find me the leaders of these men."

"The dama will have me killed the moment I issue a command, even if it be in your name, great Shar'Dama Ka," Abban said.

It was true enough. Under Evejan law, any khaffit daring to command his betters was put to death on the spot, and there were many who envied Abban's place on Jardir's council and would be glad to see his end.

"I will send Asome with you," Jardir said. "Not even the most fanatical cleric will challenge you then."

Abban blanched as Asome came forward, but he nodded. "As the Shar'Dama Ka commands."

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Peter V. Brett is the internationally bestselling author of The Warded Man, The Desert Spear, The Daylight War, and The Skull Throne. Raised on a steady diet of fantasy novels, comic books, and Dungeons & Dragons, Brett has been writing fantasy stories for as long as he can remember. He received a bachelor of arts degree in English literature and art history from the University at Buffalo in 1995, then spent more than a decade in pharmaceutical publishing before returning to his bliss. He lives in New York City.

From the Hardcover edition.

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The Desert Spear 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 416 reviews.
Greg_S_K_Marr More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader of contemporary epic fantasy, I find this second volume in Peter V. Brett's yet-to-be-named series a good read and well worth the purchase. This book was much better than the first (The Warded Man) in execution, delivery and plot progression. However, this author has a huge fondness for what is called "back-story." Yes, by spending the first 150 pages learning about how the child became an adult, and how many of his decisions of his youth come back to haunt him as he gains power and influence can be interesting, the length is too great. (He had even more in The Warded Man, just warning you.) All of what took place during those years could have revealed in little paragraph vignettes, leaving either a shorter book, or more room for plot progression. The themes and content of the story are solidly adult oriented (I would not recommend this series for anyone under 15), yet he feels the need to lay out his groundwork like the authors who write for juveniles (Lewis, Coifer, Mull) or were writing in the early days of fantasy (Tolkein, Anthony, Eddings). He would do well, I believe to take a page from Martin, Haydon and Duncan: Your readers are smart. You give them enough hints and they'll figure out the local "mythology," social structure, geography, and "magic" without having to possibly bore them with the tale of how character A stubbed his toe in front of the girl he liked, and how this has absolutely no bearing on the final story. Don't let my jadedness keep you from picking up this book. I still enjoyed it and will read it again. Happy Reading!
Kave More than 1 year ago
Although it is well known that Brett does not return to the POV of the Warded Man's characters until well into the first third of the Desert Spear, the method to his madness quickly becomes apparent. In order to appropriately capture the struggle between the two cultures, that of the Northerners against the raiding Krasian army, Brett spends the initial pages of this sequel revealing the Krasian leader, Jardir, to the readers. Once the author is able to provide an enemy that is more ambiguous than the loathsome leader in the Warded Man, Brett returns to the events of Thesa at a stunning pace. The Desert Spear finds the established characters, Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer, tasked with the challenges of their prominent roles in addition to the themes of loss and personal responsibility. A few supporting characters also rise to interesting roles and add to the wealth of interaction and personality that Peter V. Brett's societies have come to embody. If this wasn't enough, the author expands upon the roster of demons to provide more threatening predators, in the form of mind demons and mimic demons. These components build throughout the Desert Spear to leave a climax with little closure near the end of the book, instilling a maddening need to read The Daylight War, which will be the follow-up to Desert Spear as well as the third book in the Demon Cycle series. While the main complaint regarding the Desert Spear was the narration dedicated to the Krasians at the beginning of the book, it is a feeble one at best because of the wealth of character and culture that Brett has meticulously installed within the desert population. With feudal Japan and Sparta as an influence, in addition to multiple cultures throughout history, the range and scope given to the Krasians is a necessary evil that only expands exponentially upon the Demon Cycle canon. While some readers may be disappointed by Brett's approach, I see it only as perfect. The Desert Spear is sets high expectations for the future releases within the Demon Cycle series.
ViolentRose More than 1 year ago
Even more enthralling than the first installment (The Warded Man), I completely disagree with a previous reviewers assessment that there is too much backstory. I felt that The Desert Spear really fleshed out not only the pivotal characters but also the plot as a whole. Yes, there is A LOT of backstory, but it was by no means boring or dragging. The backstory enriches the story very much and holds interest entirely. Where the Warded Man made me hungry for more Peter V. Brett novels, the Desert Spear made me ravenous. As the breakout series for this author, I am very excited. Brett displays a vision for plots and worlds that few authors today have the skill to penn in such an effortless and enrapturing way (He is right up there with Brandon Sanderson and YA Novelist Tamora Pierce). This novel was a real page turner for me, I devoured it in three days. The novel not only shows Arlen's journey from man to otherworldy, but also creates something real in the character of his adversary for the readers. It would be easy to make us hate Jardir, but instead he creates an entire race and religion and threads them through the novel in a way that makes the reader unsure. And let’s not forget about Leesha and Rojer. Sure, the reader could gleam the backstory from hints and slices. But why tease when the author clearly has the skill hook them with the whole pie? I will certainly be back for more. This is a fantasy epic. If you can’t handle the volume of narrative, don’t read it. (Though I do apologize for the food analogies. Lol)  
Galloway More than 1 year ago
I throughly enjoyed this book, and can't wait for the third volume to come out, I just wished that I didn't have to wait until 2012! I normally wait until an author has finished the set before buying any of the books. But I had ran out of books to read and had bought the "Warded Man" after reading the back cover for the warded man I had my trepadiation about the book, but pressed forward anyway. Once I got the book I could not put it down, immediately after reading it I bought Desert Spear, I throughly enjoyed this book also and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great read.
JRenshaw More than 1 year ago
The Desert Spear continues Brett's tale of the Warded Man. The various threads that were started in The Warded Man are here knitted closer together against the backdrop of a brewing war against the corelings. The first third of the book is dedicated to turning Jardir (slowly) from a caricature into a character. As Jardir matures alongside our understanding of him, Brett sets up the clash of cultures that defines much of the remainder of the book. By the end of the tale, the characters have mostly set aside their childish things and we are left with the hope that they can move forward into a third novel without any truly tragic misunderstandings. The book feels like a bit of a rush job, but if you enjoyed The Warded Man then you will be eager to see the next leg of the journey. There are numerous scenes that feel like they should either be improved or deleted and summarized second-hand. The plot advances slowly or not at all, but the cast evolves and develops new relationships well enough to keep the reader sated. Upon finishing the book, I was hungry for all hell (and the love polygon) to break loose in a book three.
Zarkster More than 1 year ago
Peter Brett returns with a superbly paced and plotted sequel that takes us back to the world of "The Warded Man," but boy-oh-boy, it's not going to be quite what you expected! "The Desert Spear" shows no sign of Arlen, The Warded Man, for over 100 pages! Instead,the first part of the book tells of the life of Jardir, the leader of the desert tribe that Arlen visited, and also the man who took the runed spear of power away from Arlen, and then left him to die in the desert. In many ways this whole section feels like it should have been included in 'The Warded Man,' but might have been excised by an overly cautious editing team. It's a terrific beginning, and you'll soon find yourself caught up in the ways of the desert people and all their conspiracies and politics. Then we get back to all the characters we met in the first book, and follow them as they attempt to warn their part of the world about the impending attack from Jardir, who believes himself to be The Deliverer! Most of the Northern people think Arlen is the Deliverer, however, and when Jardir catches wind that there is another person who might be the Deliverer, he is none too pleased. At the heart of the book is that both men want the world to be freed from the demons that rise at night. There are many exciting action sequences, and lots of new information regarding the history of the runes, and the battle between men and demons are revealed. I loved this book! I wish the third entry was out right now, because it's good enough to make me forsake my policy of not reading two books in a row by the same author. I just can't figure out why it took over 100 pages to get back to the main characters from the first novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Greatgreat greatgreat
SmalltownSR More than 1 year ago
A great story line and fantastic action.
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Loved it, can't wait for the next book
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Great read. Love the different views of events from the first book.
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