Heartwood

Heartwood

3.2 5
by Freya Robertson
     
 

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Winner of the 2014 Sir Julius Vogel SFFANZ Award for Best Novel.

A dying tree, a desperate quest, a love story, a last stand.

Chonrad, Lord of Barle, comes to the fortified temple of Heartwood for the Congressus peace talks, which Heartwood’s holy knights have called in an attempt to stave off war in Anguis. But the

Overview

Winner of the 2014 Sir Julius Vogel SFFANZ Award for Best Novel.

A dying tree, a desperate quest, a love story, a last stand.

Chonrad, Lord of Barle, comes to the fortified temple of Heartwood for the Congressus peace talks, which Heartwood’s holy knights have called in an attempt to stave off war in Anguis. But the Arbor, Heartwood’s holy tree, is failing, and because the land and its people are one, it is imperative the nations try to make peace.

After the Veriditas, or annual Greening Ceremony, the Congressus takes place. The talks do not go well and tempers are rising when an army of warriors emerges from the river. After a fierce battle, the Heartwood knights discover that the water warriors have stolen the Arbor’s heart. For the first time in history, its leaves begin to fall...

The knights divide into seven groups and begin an epic quest to retrieve the Arbor, and save the land.

File Under: Fantasy [ Heart of Wood | An Epic Quest | Fields of Blood  | Knights Abroad ]

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Nominated for the 2014 Sr. Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel.

"...New Zealand author Robertson ... crafts a world of elemental magic, complete with water-born warriors and enchanted trees. Fans of epic fantasy and quest tales should enjoy this series opener."
- Library Journal (November 15, 2013)

“A great start to a series and one that I’ll be sticking with.”
- Falcata Times

 “Excellent mise-en-scene and detail; egalitarian society at heart of novel most welcome…a promising start from new fantasy writer Freya Robertson” 4 stars
- Paul Weimer, SF Signal

“You like your fantasy, with adventure and death. This is for you. And with a twist to environment as well!” 
- My World in Words and Pages

“A story that entices and captivates from the very first chapter, and beyond… Robertson has created something really special with the world of Anguis and with all of its ecological and chronological functions etc. Nothing has been left out and the conveyance of this is remarkable.” 9/10
- Sleepless Musings

“And then there are the…oh I so wanna tell you. It was a great revelation. Very intriguing. Well done, and you will know when you have read it.” 
- Books for Life

“Robertson’s world building was spot on. Looking for an epic novel with a fresh and new take? This. is. it.” 4/5 
- Books with Tien

“The story was compelling… I enjoyed the intricacies of the story and how detailed the world was. …I would definitely recommend this book.” 
- HStoffel Book Reviews

“Plot is gripping and the characters are great”
- Upcoming4Me

“The world of Anguis is a beautiful one, and I love the way the religion is bound into it and the characters so deeply and how Robertson explores that.”
- Worlds Without End

“An ambitious novel that takes some time to build up, yet ultimately an impressive feat of storytelling featuring rich world-building and a story on an epically massive scale”
- Bibliosanctum

Library Journal
11/15/2013
When Chonrad, Lord of Barle, attends peace talks held in the fortified Heartwood temple, he discovers that the Arbor, the land's holy tree, is dying. Now peace is vital to finding a cure for the Arbor. When negotiations collapse and warriors emerge from the river and steal the heart of the tree, the quarreling knights put aside their differences to save the tree. VERDICT With a few echoes of the Terry Brook's "Shannara" series and a nod to the Grail quest stories, New Zealand author Robertson, who has written 20-plus romance novels as Serenity Woods, crafts a world of elemental magic, complete with water-born warriors and enchanted trees. Fans of epic fantasy and quest tales should enjoy this series opener.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780857663863
Publisher:
Watkins Media
Publication date:
10/29/2013
Pages:
528
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.44(h) x 1.42(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Freya is a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, as well as a dedicated gamer. She has a deep and abiding fascination for the history and archaeology of the middle ages and spent many hours as a teenager writing out notecards detailing the battles of the Wars of the Roses, or moping around museums looking at ancient skeletons, bits of rusted iron and broken pots. She  also has an impressive track record, having published over twenty romance novels under her pseudonym, Serenity Woods.

She lives in the glorious country of New Zealand Aotearoa, where the countryside was made to inspire fantasy writers and filmmakers, and where they brew the best coffee in the world.

Freya is a winner of the Sir Julius Vogel SFFANZ Award for Best Novel for her novel Heartwood.

You can find Freya online at her website, www.freyarobertson.com, as well as on Twitter@EpicFreya.

Customer Reviews

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Heartwood 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
debralmartin More than 1 year ago
HEARTWOOD is an ambitious epic fantasy, but maybe a bit too ambitious. The book follows the quest of multiple players as they travel Anguis trying activate the mysterious "Nodes" which they believe will help heal the ARBOR.  The author does a good job of chronicling the various groups as they try to fulfill their quest, but I found the middle dragged quite a bit. There was too much riding hard, finding an inn, eating heartily and going to sleep. If the land was failing because the ARBOR, the healing tree that kept the land vibrant, wouldn't there be more hardship on local inns who still seemed to have ample food to offer the knights? My other problem with the book is that by the time I got invested in one quest group, it took awhile to get back to them and it was hard to remember what had happened to them. However, once the various groups found the Nodes, the last third of the book moved along at a fast pace when Heartwood is besieged on two fronts by the Darkwater Lords and the Komis army. I really enjoyed the many female characters is this story and the author does a very good job of portraying them as strong and accomplished knights. My favorite characters were Chonrad and Procella and I felt that their story was well developed. While all the knights had high morals, it was Chonrad who seemed to be the book's moral center. He never fully accepted Heartwood's strict religious views, but he was nonetheless a good and noble knight. Would the holy knights of Heartwood be able to defeat the Darkwater Lords and save the ARBOR? Despite my criticisms, this is an impressive debut for Ms. Robertson. I was initially attracted to this book because of its great cover and I have no doubt that fans of epic fantasy will find this book a good solid read. I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ToManyBooksNotEnoughTime More than 1 year ago
Heartwood Lacks Cohesion. . . I would like to thank both NetGalley and Angry Robot for granting me the chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. Though I received the e-book for free that in no way influences this review. <blockquote>A dying tree, a desperate quest, a love story, a last stand. Chonrad, Lord of Barle, comes to the fortified temple of Heartwood for the Congressus peace talks, which Heartwood&rsquo;s holy knights have called in an attempt to stave off war in Anguis. But the Arbor, Heartwood&rsquo;s holy tree, is failing, and because the land and its people are one, it is imperative the nations try to make peace. After the Veriditas, or annual Greening Ceremony, the Congressus takes place. The talks do not go well and tempers are rising when an army of warriors emerges from the river. After a fierce battle, the Heartwood knights discover that the water warriors have stolen the Arbor&rsquo;s heart. For the first time in history, its leaves begin to fall... The knights divide into seven groups and begin an epic quest to retrieve the Arbor, and save the land.</blockquote> I was excited to read this book as the description and cover both appealed to me. Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed the characters, I felt overwhelmed by having to follow too many main characters and their stories. I could see what Ms. Robertson was aiming for with seven smaller quests making a whole quest, however I found them to be more of a distraction than a benefit. Their individual stories also created a series of rather abrupt scene transitions from my point of view. This book felt as if it could easily gave been split into a couple of shorter books that were still part of the overall arc for this story. It wasn't until the final hundred or so pages that I began to feel invested in this book, which in a five-hundred + page book is not a good thing. Having said I would read this as an eARC I felt obligated to complete it, and suspect that only added to my frustration and feelings of building resentment toward the multiple core characters, making me more critical than I might otherwise have been. With that said, I still think that there are some solid characters in here, and would have liked to see things develop more fully for them. Due to the arc of the main story as well as all the varied components I feel as if the characters got short-changed, being rushed through relationships and emotional discoveries that should have taken more than two or three days from start to finish. Unfortunately, while I do feel that this series could mature into something solidly worth reading, I just never became invested enough to be willing to take that next step and stick with the series as it, hopefully, grows up.
Melhay More than 1 year ago
The peace talks are called by the Heartwood Militis to help save the land. The land is slowly dying, foods not as plentiful as it once was. The weather is turning ill. Animal sicknesses. The worshiped powerful oak tree of the lands is shrinking. The Arbor is dying and they hope bringing the people together, instead of constant battle, they can help save it and all who live on the land. When they gather to talk, they start to bicker. While the bickering is happening, a surprise attack of Dark Water Lords hit. The heart of the tree is stolen and many are killed. The rains set in and a dangerous journey into unknown areas has to succeed to save them all from what's to come. In a world as this, much can happen to stop them from their tasks. Others won't even get to accomplish their tasks. The world is vast. We start with a believe that may not be as all have thought. That there are pieces of their believe that is wrong with the finding of a lost room. The system of the Arbor is vast, magical, and powerful. The history of the elements caught my attention right away. I am taken with the elemental influence in this world. The influence in the care of the world and even in the beings and characters. An ancient history is buried here. We have different regions in the world and slightly differing life styles that cause disagreements among the land. There is Laxonian, Wulfian, and Komis. Then you have the Heartwood Knights of the Militis that try to police the lands and keep things calm. Heartwood is neutral ground as all areas send people to join their ranks at young age of seven. Although, there are late bloomers that have made their way into the ranks. We meet many characters here. It's a large cast to play with. It's an epic fantasy. Large casts are a good thing in a world as vast as this. We learn more, see more, and know more, by having more venues to see the world through. It brings the diversity to our attention. But, the larger the cast in a deadly world...there are more to lose along the way. More potential of death. More happening. And this book keeps it all moving along in that way. We get a point of view from multiple characters. Each as they lead their own quest party across the land and encounter something different in the world. Each character has their own section so it's clearly marked out who you are reading and what is happening. Of all the characters it's hard to pick a favorite. I loved Chonrad, Lord of Barle, the moment I met him. And overall in the book, I think he's the main character. We aren't with him at all times but he fits the part of the key character to me. But I really enjoyed Teagon as well. Teagon holds a very special magic and that's what draws me to him. Everyone holds something close they don't or won't share with others. It eats at them and everyone needs someone to help them - as a friend or something more. The story walks these characters through their trials, baring the crosses they hide deep, and drawing friendships where ones would not have been before. A journey, as a group to save the world and individually to help themselves through, through a dangerous world - a world growing more dangerous daily - to save it from itself. Water and Air fight an internal battle over the land. This story comes to a close with the characters and the troubles of the land. But there are more books to come. And I'll be looking for them. I'm curious to see what comes in the next books in this intriguing