Farlander

Farlander

3.8 39
by Col Buchanan
     
 

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The Heart of the World is a land in strife. For fifty years the Holy Empire of Mann, an empire and religion born from a nihilistic urban cult, has been conquering nation after nation. Their leader, Holy Matriarch Sasheen, ruthlessly maintains control through her Diplomats, priests trained as subtle predators.

Ash is a member of an elite group of assassins, the

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Overview

The Heart of the World is a land in strife. For fifty years the Holy Empire of Mann, an empire and religion born from a nihilistic urban cult, has been conquering nation after nation. Their leader, Holy Matriarch Sasheen, ruthlessly maintains control through her Diplomats, priests trained as subtle predators.

Ash is a member of an elite group of assassins, the Roshun, who offer protection through the threat of vendetta. Forced by his ailing health to take on an apprentice, he chooses Nico, a young man living in the besieged city of Bar-Khos. At the time, Nico is hungry, desperate, and alone in a city that finds itself teetering on the brink.

When the Holy Matriarch's son deliberately murders a woman under the protection of the Roshun; he forces the sect to seek his life in retribution. As Ash and his young apprentice set out to fulfil the Roshun orders, their journey takes them into the heart of the conflict between the Empire and the Free Ports . . . into bloodshed and death.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in an impressively imagined war-ravaged world in which the island of Khos has suffered a decade-long siege, Buchanan's debut focuses on the stories of individuals representing the different sides of war. Ash is a member of the elite Roshun, whose role is to seek vengeance for those who have been murdered. His apprentice, Nico, was raised from living on the streets to the ranks of the Roshun. Kirkus, the indolent heir to the aggressive Mann Empire, is given a thoughtful, well-rounded portrayal even as he murders a priest's daughter who is protected by the Roshun, throwing the world into chaos. The inclusion of gunpowder and airships nod to recent steampunk trends, though many of the standard epic fantasy elements remain. (Jan.)
Library Journal
The Holy Empire of Mann, a bloody, hedonistic religion worshipping self-indulgence and excess, rules much of the world. Yet when the son of the Holy Matriarch callously murders a young woman, a member of the elite group of assassin-protectors known as the Ro¯shun vows to avenge her death by slaying the murderer. Sent to accomplish the task, an aging veteran and his young apprentice face the wrath of a vicious empire and must make decisions that lead to justice and bloodshed. Buchanan depicts a dark, brooding world in which men and women struggle to live lives of moral integrity in a society that encourages cruelty and nihilistic pleasures. VERDICT Strong storytelling underpins this grim fantasy debut, the beginning of a series that promises more powerful tales set in an unusual world.
Kirkus Reviews

Evil empire vs. saintly assassins, in British author Buchanan's fantasy debut.

Thanks to its superior weaponry, the Holy Empire of Mann has conquered most of the world in its blind desire to spread its appalling, sadomasochistic religion. Among the few holdouts are the Mercian Free Ports, the besieged city of Bar-Khos and the Roshun assassin cult which offers personal protection through the threat of vendetta. Dying assassin Ash takes an apprentice, Nico, a street urchin from the war-torn streets of Bar-Khos. But then Kirkus, the heir to the throne of the Empire, kills a girl under the protection of the Roshun as part of his religion's ghastly rituals. To fulfill this vendetta, Roshun must penetrate to the very heart of the Empire. Predictably, therefore, the first three to be chosen fail the task. So ailing old Ash, his rival assassin Baracha and their respective apprentices Nico and Aléas are selected. Meanwhile Sasheen, the Holy Matriarch, knows that Roshun will come to kill Kirkus, so she prepares a counterstrike against the Roshun monastery itself. This entirely conventional backdrop—evil empire, enigmatic sage, starveling apprentice and so forth—comes across as humdrum or, worse, derivative. Still, the writing is mature, the action sequences gripping and suitably bloodthirsty, and there's a plot twist or two. But the doubt remains: Does Buchanan have a real imagination, or is he merely a skilled embroiderer?

Vivid, impressively detailed work, but readers who find the lack of originality a huge turn-off may not hang around for the rest of the series.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765366603
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
08/30/2011
Series:
Heart of the World Series
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
1,317,075
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.40(d)

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