The Magicians' Guild (Black Magician Trilogy #1)

The Magicians' Guild (Black Magician Trilogy #1)

4.4 159
by Trudi Canavan

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"We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician."

This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who


"We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician."

This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders . . . and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.

What the Magicians' Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.

Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Sara Douglass. Ian Irvine. Cecilia Dart-Thornton. Add Trudi Canavan to the growing list of Australian fantasy authors who have found success in the States. The Magicians' Guild, the first book in Canavan's Black Magician trilogy, chronicles the plight of an impoverished girl with magical abilities who gets caught up in the machinations of a powerful magicians' guild. An enthralling blend of Raymond E. Feist's epic Midkemia saga (Canavan's lawless city of Imardin is strikingly similar to Feist's Krondor) and Stephen Crane's brutally realistic classic Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, Canavan's story focuses on two teenagers who have slipped between the cracks of society. Sonea is an orphaned girl living with her aunt and uncle in the tenements that encircle the great city of Imardin. Ceryni is a street urchin barely surviving by robbing merchants. When the magicians from the city's guild begin their annual purge (a systematic cleansing of the poor and homeless from the city), some slum dwellers voice their displeasure by throwing rocks. Protected by an impregnable aura, the magicians scoff at their defiance -- until a rock somehow breaches the shield and knocks out a magician! Only a powerful mage could do such a thing, and when Sonea is spotted, her perilous adventure begins!

Readers who enjoy The Magicians' Guild will be eager to read the second and third installments in the trilogy: The Novice and The High Lord, both scheduled for released in 2004. Paul Goat Allen

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Black Magician Trilogy , #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.72(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.89(d)

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The Magicians' Guild
The Black Magician Trilogy

Chapter One

The Purge

It is said, in Imardin, that the wind has a soul, and that it wails through the narrow city streets because it is grieved by what it finds there. On the day of the Purge it whistled amongst the swaying masts in the Marina, rushed through the Western Gates and screamed between the buildings. Then, as if appalled by the ragged souls it met there, it quietened to a whimper.

Or so it seemed to Sonea. As another gust of cold wind battered her, she wrapped her arms around her chest and hugged her worn coat closer to her body. Looking down, she scowled at the dirty sludge that splashed over her shoes with each step she took. The cloth she had stuffed into her oversized boots was already saturated and her toes stung with the chill.

A sudden movement to her right caught her attention, and she side-stepped as a man with straggly gray hair staggered toward her from an alley entrance and fell to his knees. Stopping, Sonea offered him her hand, but the old man did not seem to notice. He clambered to his feet and joined the hunched figures making their way down the street.

Sighing, Sonea peered around the edge of her hood. A guard slouched in the entrance of the alley. His mouth was curled into a sneer of disdain; his gaze flitted from figure to figure. She narrowed her eyes at him, but when his head turned in her direction, she quickly looked away.

Curse the guards, she thought. May they all find poisonous faren crawling in their boots. The names of a few good-natured guards pricked her conscience, but she was in no mood to make exceptions.

Falling into step with the shuffling figures around her, Sonea followed them out of the street into a wider thoroughfare. Two- and three-story houses rose on either side of them. The windows of the higher floors were crowded with faces. In one, a well-dressed man was holding up a small boy so he could watch the people below. The man's nose wrinkled with disdain and, as he pointed his finger down, the boy grimaced as if he had tasted something foul.

Sonea glared at them. Wouldn't be so smug if I threw a rock through their window. She looked about half-heartedly, but if any rocks were lying about, they were well hidden beneath the sludge.

A few steps farther on, she caught sight of a pair of guards ahead of her, standing in the entrance to an alley. Dressed in stiff boiled-leather coats and iron helmets, they looked to be twice the weight of the beggars they watched. They carried wooden shields, and at their waists hung kebin—iron bars which were used as cudgels, but with a hook attached just above the handle, designed to catch an attacker's knife. Dropping her eyes to the ground, Sonea walked by the two men.

"—cut 'em off before they reach the square," one of the guards was saying. "About twenty of 'em. Gang leader's big. Got a scar on his neck and—"

Sonea's heart skipped a beat. Could it be . . . ?

A few steps past the guards was a recessed doorway. Slipping into the shallow alcove, she turned her head to sneak a look at the two men, then jumped as she saw two dark eyes staring back at her from the doorway.

A woman gazed at her, eyes wide with surprise. Sonea took a step back. The stranger retreated too, then smiled as Sonea let out a quick laugh.

Just a reflection! Sonea reached out and her fingers met a square of polished metal attached to the wall. Words had been etched into its surface, but she knew too little about letters to make out what they said.

She examined her image. A thin, hollow-cheeked face. Short, dark hair. No one had ever called her pretty. She could still manage to pass herself off as a boy when she wanted to. Her aunt said that she looked more like her long-dead mother than her father, but Sonea suspected Jonna simply did not want to see any resemblance to her absent marriage-brother.

Sonea leaned closer to the reflection. Her mother had been beautiful. Perhaps, if I grew my hair long, she mused, and I wore something feminine . . .

. . . oh, don't bother. With a self-mocking snort, she turned away, annoyed at herself for being distracted by such fantasies.

"—'bout twenty minutes ago," said a nearby voice. She stiffened as she remembered why she had stepped into the alcove.

"And where are they expectin' to trap 'em?"

"D'know, Mol."

"Ah, I'd like to be there. Saw what they did to Porlen last year, little bastards. Took several weeks for the rash to go away, and he couldn't see properly for days. Wonder if I can get out of -- Hai! Wrong way, boy!"

Sonea ignored the soldier's shout, knowing that he and his companion would not leave their position at the entrance of the alley, in case the people in the street took advantage of their distraction to slip away. She broke into a jog, weaving through the steadily thickening crowd. From time to time, she paused to search for familiar faces.

She had no doubt which gang the guards had been talking about. Stories of what Harrin's youths had done during the last Purge had been retold over and over through the harsh winter of the previous year. It had amused her to hear that her old friends were still making mischief, though she had to agree with her aunt that she was better off keeping away from their troublemaking. Now it seemed the guards were planning to have their revenge.

Which only proves Jonna right. Sonea smiled grimly. She'd flay me if she knew what I was doing, but I have to warn Harrin . . .

The Magicians' Guild
The Black Magician Trilogy
. Copyright © by Trudi Canavan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Trudi Canavan is the author of the bestselling Black Magician trilogy—The Magician's Guild, The Novice, and The High Lord—as well as Priestess of the White and Last of the Wilds, Books One and Two of her Age of the Five trilogy. She lives in a little house on a hillside, near a forest, in the Melbourne suburb of Ferntree Gully in Australia. She has been making up stories about things that don't exist for as long as she can remember, and was amazed when her first published story received an Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story in 1999. A freelance illustrator and designer, she also works as the designer and Art Director of Aurealis, a magazine of Australian Fantasy & Science Fiction.

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Magicians' Guild 4.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 159 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was going to be really good at the start, and book 1 is OK, but although written well enough, the plotting is very simple and predictable and as the series progresses, it just gets silly. The world isn't very well defined and feels rather amateurish. There's a subplot about a gay magician that seems like it was added as a filler and ultimately has no bearing on the outcome of the main story. I wouldn't have minded so much, but the writer seems to afraid to follow through her own ideas and the gay character never so much as lays a hand on his one true love, or does more than hint at his feelings all through the books. I mean, if you're going to go there, at least have the courage of your convictions and follow it through. This isn't great fantasy, but it's okay for a rainy day when there's nothing on TV and you don't mind the odd no-brainer.
kw50197 More than 1 year ago
The Magician's Guild takes place several centuries after the events in The Magician's Apprentice. Having read both, it is interesting to note the differences that have evolved after the formation of the guild. What history records and what actually happened are sometimes different things. Certain titles remain, but their meaning has changed. Knowledge which was sorely lacking in the past has now evolved beyond what was dreamed of then. What was revered is now taboo. And most interesting of all is the impact of the formation of the guild on their society. Whilst it may have proofed a boon to the magicians, the divide between the have and have-nots seems to have increased due to certain old practices like recruiting magicians from the rich turning into a kind of prerogative. Aside from this while Sonea is no wilting heroine, there is not much else to recommend her. At least, not in this book She is the product of her upbringing and soon realizes that prejudice works both ways. It takes her the entire book before she realizes this. This is a plus on Sonea's side. However, I disliked that Sonea did not put up more of an argument when Rothen explains that the reason the magicians do not help the slum dwellers is because the slum dwellers themselves would not accept it. Trust is earned. If they were willing to try with Sonea, why give up so easily on those who so obviously needs assistance. In fact, the magicians didn't even bother to make the attempt. The only reason to read on at this point is the mystery surrounding the High Lord. Is he truly the villain he appears or will there be more to the story ? For fans of Trudi Canavan only.
capriccio More than 1 year ago
Very much enjoyed this book, I wouldn't put it in my top 10 (hence the 4 star review) but it was refreshingly unique with its character driven plotline. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the trilogy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'll be honest, I picked up this book mainly because I'm waiting for the next book in all of the other series I've been reading. I love Terry Goodkind, Raymond Feist, Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, and a few others but since Goodkind's last release I have to wait for the others. I love fantasy books, especially when they deal with magic and wizards. This book was a complete surprise for me. I read the dust jacket and it showed promise so I brought it home and I haven't been able to put it down. I finished it in 3 days and I'm running out to get the 2nd book right after I finish this review..! The main character, which everyone seems to make a big deal out of her being a girl, is down to earth and I think that both male and female will be able to relate to her. This is the 1st book I've read by Trudi Canavan but if this is what her writing is like, I'm sure I'll be adding her name to my list of authors.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book opens with a bunch of street trash gathered into a mob, stoning people for no good reason - and of course w're supposed to feel sorry for them. Typical fantasy crap, where the poor are always intrinsically virtuluous, government is always evil, and the street trash is suddenly imbued with more power than trained magicians, and - gasp! never knew it til right this minute. How many times are you idiots going to write this same tedious story?
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WolfFaerie17 More than 1 year ago
Sonea is dwell or slum girl that grew up knowing the magician's and the magician's guild never did anything for the dwells. Sonea meets up with some old friends Harrin and Ceryni(Cery)on the day of The Purge. Sonea gets caught up in feelings of resentment and anger towards the magicians throwing a rock which hits it's mark much to Sonea and the magicians' surprise. Lord Rothen witnesses an act he never thought possible outside of the Guild~a rogue magician. Lord Rothen is the only person who can identify rogue magician who happens to be a young girl and a dwell. Cery helps Sonea hide from the magicians' and in turn creates a debt with The Thieves. Sonea is stunned that she can use magic and wants nothing to do with magic or The Guild. Can Sonea remain hidden? Will The Guild find Sonea? Will Sonea overcome her attitude about magicians' and The Guild? Your answers await you in Magicians' Guild. I read this book several years ago. I enjoyed it as much then as I do now. Sonea is anti-heroine forced into a position thru no fault of her own. Sonea has no respect or regard for magicians or The Guild. Her one comment "What has magician ever done for a dwell" is very poignant and insightful. Lords Rothen, Dannyl, and Loren were among my favorites. I truly despise Lord Fergun and his sneaky ways. I'm not sure what to make of High Lord at this point. I look forward to reading next books in the series.
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Nice tight story line, well developed characters and a very quick read. Supportin characters are a story in their own right and I can see that spinoffs in those directions are quite possible. With the final book of the trilogy it would be difficult to develop a subsequent book that would mesh with this one.
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Ginger tabby shecat
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A deep and thrilling ride. I recommend this trilogy to everyone who likes fantasy novels.
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