A Magic of Twilight (Nessantico Cycle Series #1)

A Magic of Twilight (Nessantico Cycle Series #1)

3.9 12
by S. L. Farrell
     
 

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The breathtaking first novel in a brilliant new fantasy series

A masterwork of fantasy, The Nessantico Cycle is the epic tale of an empire at its height, yet poised on the brink of what could be a devastating descent into ruin. Told from the viewpoints of numerous characters, it is a sweeping saga of murder and magic (portrayed both as a powerful religion

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Overview

The breathtaking first novel in a brilliant new fantasy series

A masterwork of fantasy, The Nessantico Cycle is the epic tale of an empire at its height, yet poised on the brink of what could be a devastating descent into ruin. Told from the viewpoints of numerous characters, it is a sweeping saga of murder and magic (portrayed both as a powerful religion and a forbidden art), of deception and betrayal, of Machiavellian politics, star-crossed lovers, and a realm facing war on every front.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Farrell (the Cloudmages trilogy) entices fantasy readers into the lush-and dangerous-land of Nessantico, where aging ruler Marguerite ca'Ludovici prepares to celebrate her Jubilee. Marguerite's son, Justi, schemes to take her place, while Jan ca'Vörl, a powerful noble at the edge of the empire, plots armed rebellion. Archigos Dhosti ca'Millac, leader of the Concénzia Faith and Marguerite's staunch ally, struggles to control fundamentalists like Orlandi ca'Cellibrecca as they clamor for action against the Numetodo heretics, who claim the magic talent called Cenzi's Gift has nothing to do with religious faith. Trapped in the middle of all this is young priestess Ana cu'Seranta, whose impressive magical ability has made her a pawn in the multilayered power struggle. Farrell easily wields an immense cast of characters, many of whom take narrative turns. Readers who appreciate intricate world building, intrigue and action will immerse themselves effortlessly in this rich and complex story. (Feb.)

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Cleveland Plain Dealer
A thoroughly enjoyable ride.
Library Journal

The author of the "Cloudmages" trilogy launches a new fantasy series with a Renaissance-like setting and traces of czarist Russian court life. The 50th anniversary of the reign of Kraljica (empress) Marguerite ca'Ludovici serves as a focal point for the intrigues that make up the life of the city of Nessantico, capital of the empire. The city's fate hangs by a thread as problems mount from dissension within the Concenzia Faith. The head of the church, an aging dwarf with his own religious conflicts, must shield his protegee, young Ana cu'Seranta, from those who would question her use of the magic of the god Cenzi in unorthodox ways to assassinate the Kraljica and stage a military coup. Intriguing characters and a complex socio-political background make this a strong addition to most fantasy collections.


—Jackie Cassada
Kirkus Reviews
Farrell (Heir of Stone, 2005, etc.) starts a new series with this agreeable political fantasy, set in a city reminiscent of Renaissance-era Venice. Over the centuries, the city of Nessantico has conquered most of the surrounding territory. Now, religious fanaticism and social tensions threaten to fracture the patched-together empire as its ruler, the Kraljica Marguerite ca'Ludovici, approaches the 50th year of her glorious reign. Unfortunately, there are those who are too impatient to wait for Marguerite's natural death, including her son and heir, A'Kralj Justi ca'Mazzak, and the vassal king who commands the bulk of Nessantico's army, Hirzg Jan ca'Vorl. Caught between these two combatants are a heretic, a rising cleric with incredible magical power, a general whose duty smothers his conscience, a religious leader who's playing both sides and a scarred beggar with a hidden and very threatening agenda. Telling the story from multiple perspectives, Farrell (aka Stephen Leigh) attempts to make a fairly direct plot seem more complex than it truly is. Similarly, his invented language sounds artificial. However, the book retains considerable charm and appeal. It's always refreshing to read a fantasy where neither side in a conflict has much of a moral edge on the other, and the cast of characters is an enjoyable mix of the sympathetic, the villainous and the ambiguous. There's definite potential here for a satisfying series. A solid read with ambitions it doesn't quite reach.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780756405366
Publisher:
DAW
Publication date:
02/03/2009
Series:
Nessantico Cycle Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
624
Sales rank:
643,240
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Pat the Blogger
"Farrell weaves his storylines into a compelling tale. . . . A Magic of Twilight is a solid effort which should appeal to most fans of epic fantasy."
George R.R. Martin
"S.L. Farrell is a relative newcomer on the fantasy scene, but he writes like a seasoned pro. A Magic of Twilight is his best yet, a delicious melange of politics, war, sorcery, and religion in a richly imagined world peopled with a varied cast of haughty lords, scheming courtiers, beggars, priests, heretics, zealots, spies, assassins, torturers, tarts, and seductresses. They're vivid and memorable characters, and most are painted in shades of grey, my favorite color. Farrell's Nessantico evokes the Italian city-states of the Rennaissance, especially Venice, but this is a Venice where magic works. It's a fascinating place, and one that I look forward to visiting again."--(New York Times bestselling author George R.R. Martin)
John R. Alden
"Farrell's melodrama ultimately swept me away on a thoroughly enjoyable ride."--(John R. Alden, The Plain Dealer)
George R. R. Martin
[Farrell's] best yet, a delicious melange of politics, war, sorcery, and religion in a richly imagined world. (George R. R. Martin, New York Times bestselling author)

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