Well of Darkness [NOOK Book]

Overview

Second in line for succession to the throne, Prince Dagnarus will have his crown...and his queen -- though his heart's prize is a married elfin beauty. Let his hated half-brother Prince Helmos and the Dominion Lords dare to oppose him. For Dagnarus's most loyal servant has ventured into the terrible darkness, where lies the most potent talisman in the realm. And once it is in the dark prince's hand, no power will deter his Destiny.

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Well of Darkness

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Overview

Second in line for succession to the throne, Prince Dagnarus will have his crown...and his queen -- though his heart's prize is a married elfin beauty. Let his hated half-brother Prince Helmos and the Dominion Lords dare to oppose him. For Dagnarus's most loyal servant has ventured into the terrible darkness, where lies the most potent talisman in the realm. And once it is in the dark prince's hand, no power will deter his Destiny.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Bookseller ReviewsThe masterminds behind the artful and popular role-playing game The Sovereign Stone have launched a trilogy utilizing the same cosmogony. In the first volume, young Gareth becomes involved in his master's plot to usurp the throne from Crown Prince Helmos. Only his apprenticeship in magic and his fitful maturation enable him to wrest his fate-and that of the kingdom from this evil cabal.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The founding parents of the game-tie-in fantasy novel here launch a role-playing-game-related high fantasy trilogy in which game knowledge is irrelevant to reader enjoyment. This is a classic tale of the rivalry of two half-brothers, the sons of King Tamaros of Vinnengael: the virtuous elder Helmos and the frustrated and ambitious young Dagnarus. Along the way, Dagnarus wins the friendship and loyalty of his whipping boy, Gareth, who in due course trains as a mage and adept in forbidden Void magic, dangerous to the user but deadly to the user's enemies. Shortly after King Tamaros believes that he has made peace among the four races (human, dwarves, elves and orken), Dagnarus and Gareth together begin to undo all the king's work, unleashing a war of all against all made even worse by the lethal Void magic and the rivalries of potentates, particularly human and elven. This is a story assembled from archetypical elements, all at least slightly touched with originality. Dagnarus is a thug but also a heroic soldier, and his elven lover prefers to become one of the Void-spawned undead Vrykyl rather than be parted from him. Elven political institutions irresistibly recall the Tokugawa era of Japan.The dwarves are not metal-working troglodytes but horse archers, living light and traveling fast. Weis and Hickman (Dragons of a Fallen Son, etc.) are still not much more than good plain cooks as stylists, but here they are writing at an entirely respectable level. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
VOYA
In the land of Loerem live four races—elves, dwarves, humans, and orcs—whose realms are joined by portals that transport travelers magically from one place to another. In the human city of Vinnengael, nine-year-old Gareth and Dagnarus grow up under the watchful eye of an elven chamberlain. Born on the same night, Gareth becomes Prince Dagnarus's whipping boy. Gareth prefers books to the prince's toy catapults, but a strong bond grows between the two. Gareth responds enthusiastically to the royal tutor's lessons, which Dagnarus shirks in favor of the lessons of the army captain. Initially, Gareth is a likeable, sympathetic character who is placed in the difficult position of being a friend to the cruel, capricious prince. In the second two-thirds of the novel a decade later, Gareth has become a miserable coward, a scholarly practitioner of evil magic, but still dedicated to the prince, who has turned from being merely cruel to actively evil. The battle between Dagnarus and his good brother Helmos is now the focus, and the sympathetic characters give way to uninteresting cardboard figures. Readers never see the struggle Gareth goes through when he turns to evil magic for the sake of his prince, making the change unconvincing. After a promising beginning, the novel—based on a role-playing game and the first volume in the Sovereign Stone Trilogy—loses all its subtlety and complexity of characterization. Readers will find it hard to care about any of the characters or situations. Purchase this novel for libraries with a large population of teens interested in the role-playing game. Smaller libraries and schools will want to skip this one. VOYA CODES: 2Q 2P S A/YA(Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2000, EOS/HarperCollins, 450p, Ages 16 to Adult. Reviewer: Rebecca Barnhouse SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)
Library Journal
Chosen to serve as the whipping boy of the young Prince Dagnarus, Gareth becomes his master's friend and confidant as they grow to manhood and become embroiled in the affairs of the land. Tempted by dark powers, Gareth seeks to assist the prince in his search for love and glory, unaware of the greater paths each must follow to fulfill his destiny. The best-selling combination of Hickman and Weis have once again joined forces to create a rich and vibrant fantasy world populated with varied races and complex, believable characters. Based on the "Sovereign Stone" role-playing game, this epic series opener belongs in most fantasy collections. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
First of a new fantasy trilogy from the authors of dozens of best-selling yarns (Dragons of a Fallen Sun, p. 218, etc.), this one, like the Dragonlance series, based on an eponymous role-playing game. Magic portals connect the human empire of Vinnengael with the lands of the horse-riding dwarves, warrior elves, and seafaring orken. To protect the portals and promote peace, King Tamaros has called upon the gods to create Dominion Lords; their shining armor is proof against all but the most potent magical weapons. But the nonhuman races grumble that none of them are Dominion Lords, so Tamaros promises to create ten of each. The ambitious elves, meanwhile, send Silwyth into Tamaros's court as a spy. Tamaros's unruly, defiant, ignorant youngest son, Dagnarus, acquires a whipping boy, Gareth, whom Dagnarus orders to study forbidden Void magic. Tamaros calls upon the gods to create the Sovereign Stone, a huge diamond that divides into four parts, one for each race; only Dagnarus, thrilled, notes the Void at the jewel's center. At Dagnarus's behest, Gareth creates a vampire Vrykyl, as powerful as a Dominion Lord but dedicated to the Void. Dagnarus insists on becoming a Dominion Lord: during the ceremony, he's consumed by flames, then saved by the Void and clad in black armor. Tamaros dies; his heir, the scholarly Helmos, casts Dagnarus out, and civil war looms.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061755620
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 230,121
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Margaret Weis is a New York Times bestselling author. Her Dragonlance® series has sold over twenty million copies worldwide, and the first book in thatseries, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, is being made into an animated film by Paramount Pictures. Warrior Angel is her first venture into romance, and it has been an exciting one. She has particularly enjoyed writing with her daughter, Lizz Weis, a former novel editor.


Tracy Hickman is a bestselling fantasy author best known for his work on Dragonlance, as a game designer and coauthor with Margaret Weis, while he worked for TSR. In all, Hickman wrote more than thirty novels in collaboration with Weis. He lives with his wife, Laura, and their four children.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
The Whipping Boy

The boy gazed up at the castle. Its shining white marble walls were wet with the spray from the seven waterfalls that flowed on either side of it, four to the north and three to south, and glistened in the early-morning sun. Rainbows shimmered and danced around the castle walls. The peasants believed the rainbows were fine cloth spun by fairies, and more than one silly lad had gone to his death in the tumbling water trying to snag them.

The boy knew better. He knew that rainbows were not substantial, being made of nothing more than sunlight and water. Only that which exists in both the darkness and in the light is real. The boy had been taught to believe only in what was real and substantial.

The boy looked at the castle without much feeling, good or bad, nothing but a sort of uncaring fatalism that is often seen in ill-used dogs. Not that the boy had been particularly ill-used in his life, if to be ignored is not to be ill-used. He was about to leave his parents and his home and enter into a new life and by rights he should have felt sad, homesick, frightened, and trepidatious. He felt none of those: only tired, from the long walk, and uncomfortably warm and itchy in his new woolen stockings.

He and his father stood before the gate set in a high outer wall. Beyond the gate was a courtyard and beyond the courtyard myriad steps leading up into the castle, which had been built against a cliff. The castle looked out to the west, gazing out over Lake Ildurel, its back planted solidly against the rocks to the east. Its very topmost turrets were level with the River Hammerclaw, which flowed from east to west andwhose rushing water, tumbling over the cliff face, created the rainbows.

The castle walls were white marble—the boy had once seen a representation of the castle at a feast, made of sugar lumps—and it was several stories tall. How many stories the boy could not count because the castle roamed all over the cliff face. So many turrets jutted off every which way, so many battlements slanted off in such different directions, and so many small lead-paned glass windows winked in the sunlight that the sight confused him. He had wanted to play with the sugar castle, and his mother had told him he might, but the next morning he found it had been eaten by mice.

The boy gazed, awed, at this castle, which was not made of sugar and not likely to be eaten by mice or even dragons. One wing of the castle caught his eye. This was a wing to the east, overlooking the four waterfalls. Atop it was a turret larger than all the rest, with a balcony that stretched around it. That was the King's Walk, said his father. King Tamaros, blessed of the gods, was the only person permitted to walk that balcony.

The King must be able to see the whole world from there, the boy thought. Or if not the whole world, then at least the entire great city of Vinnengael. The boy could practically see the whole city himself, just standing on the palace steps.

Vinnengael was built on three levels, the lowest level being even with the lake, which stretched to the horizon, its distant shore just barely visible from the King's Walk. The second level of the city was built atop a cliff that rose up from the first level. The third level was built atop another cliff, which rose from the second. The palace stood on the third level. Across from the palace, behind the boy and across a vast marble courtyard, was the Temple of the Magi.

Temple and palace, the heart of the kingdom and its head, were the only two major structures standing on the third level. Soldiers' barracks occupied the north; the barracks were attached to the palace. To the south, built on a jutting rock groin, were the elegant houses of the foreign ambassadors.

The men-at-arms guarding the outer gate gave the boy's father a bored glance as the two of them passed through. The boy craned his neck to gaze up at the huge portcullis, with its rows of grim teeth. He would have liked to stop, hoping to see some blood, for he was well acquainted with the tale of Nathan of Neyshabur, one of the heroes of Vinnengael, who had ordered the portcullis to be lowered though he himself was standing beneath it, fending off the kingdom's enemies, refusing to give ground though the wicked teeth thundered down upon him. Nathan of Neyshabur had lived and died several hundred years ago, when the city and the castle, but not the rainbows,were young. It was therefore unlikely that his blood would still be dripping from the portcullis, but the boy felt disappointed, nonetheless.

His father yanked at the boy's mantle and demanded to know what he thought he was doing, gawking like an ork during festival time, and hustled the boy along.

They walked across a vast courtyard and entered the castle proper, where the boy was immediately lost. His father knew the way well, however, being one of the King's courtiers, and he led the boy up marble stairs and down marble halls and around marble statues and past marble columns until they reached an antechamber, where the father shoved the boy down onto a carved wood chair and summoned a servant.

The boy gazed at the high ceilings, stained with soot from the winter fires, and at the wall opposite, where hung a tapestry that depicted long-bodied, long-snouted, long-eared dogs that resembled no known dog then living and people all turned sideways hunting a stag which, by its expression, appeared to be enjoying it all immensely though it had six arrows in it.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    An inspiring read even for veteran fantasy readers.

    Sovereign Stone is one of my favorite campaign settings, and this trilogy encompasses and represents what I enjoy so much about the world.
    Admittedly, Well of Darkness cleaves a little closer to the traditional RPG novel, but is the perfect backdrop for the events of the latter two books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2005

    And I'm a huge Margaret Weis Fan!

    I have read tons of material by this author, and always felt I got much more than my money's worth. The characters whether small or large will stick with you for years. Unfortunately, this book seems like it was thought up in about ten minutes. Forget this book, and read any of the numerous Drangonlance titles she had wriiten (start with Dragons of Autumn Twilight, it is the first in the series).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2005

    Good start

    While not as memorable as some of their other creations, the characters in Well of Darkness both have some depth and are rendered in a believable fashion. The main character would probably be best classified as a villian, but Weis and Hickman manage to help us understand, if not fully sympathize with him. I would say that the writing style of the duo has even matured somewhat compared to some of their other work. The weaknesses I saw in the book are relatively minor, and don't take much away from the enjoyment of the overall story. While not perfect, I can definitively recommend it to any fanatsy fans out there. While probably not strong enough to transcend the genre (few books really are), it is a well rendered effort by a proven team

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2003

    Engrossing Story Telling

    I am not familiar with the game the spawned this book and hadn't read much fantasy when I picked up this title, but I couldn't put this book down. It has the feel of a Greek tragedy with well-developed characters and a plot that keeps you riveted.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2002

    a worth while read

    I just finished Well of Darkness. It kept me turning pages, and I definitely want to pick up the next two books. The plot is good, though some things seem a little predictable. The last few chapters also seemed to lack the strength of the rest of the book. Overall, the book was good and I would recommend it to a friend, but I wouldn't put it in my top-ten list of must reads. The story has great potential. I hope the next two books excede my expectations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2002

    A TRUE PAGE TURNER!!!!!

    This book is one of the best I have read. It kept me captivated page after page. When it ended I felt like I knew the characters personaly. I had to rush out and buy the second in the trilogy. I just wish they would hurry and release the third.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2002

    Darkness turned to light

    This novel had so many details that it got a little tedious to read at times. The best aspect of the novel was the way the authors described the scenes to the reader. The story is about a kingdom that has two princes, one crowed prince Helmos and his half brother Dagnarus. Dagnarus is a child that is spoiled beyond comprehension. He ends up being so bad that he gets his own whipping boy, Gareth. They become good friends. They become so inseparable that Gareth starts black magic because Dagnarus wants him to. When Dagnarus doesn¿t get to be a Domion Lord like his brother he gets upset and declares war on the kingdom. This the chance that the other creatures of this world have been waiting for so they choose sides and pretend to help out one side but in reality they are just waiting to take the kingdom and its¿ land back. This is a novel that tells the story of two jealous brothers fighting over a kingdom and how it ends in tragedy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2001

    Black Knights and love stories, what more could one ask for!

    Being a huge fan of high fantasy and such, I saw the beautiful cover to this book and immediately picked it up. A devilishly handsome black knight peered back at me and it was all i could to squeel and practically dance around my local barnes and noble store ^_^ Of course, i had no money with me at the time so had to wait to get it shipped because the store then soon sold out of it >.<;; Yes well, then i spent a day and a half reading 'Well of Darkness' locked in my bedroom constantly telling my older sister to shut up so i could finish! Oh how I loved the book! You really must read this and any fan of the anime series 'Record of Lodoss War' who loves Ashuram should grab this little dark flower up as quickly as they can! Teehee!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2001

    I Loved This Book!!

    This truly is one of the best books i have read and i read alot of fantasy books.I just can't wait until the second volume comes so i can find out what happens Next!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2001

    A new world

    My fascination for fantasy was brought to life by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston. When I became a teenager I bought by chance from a bargin bin the first Chronicles volume and was hooked ever since. The Drangonlance series was the only works I have read from its authors, and then ten years later I saw this book. I was intrigued by the new world created for Larry Elmore and not having read anything new for a while I decided to read on. In ending I found this web site searching for when volume two of this trilogy is to be released. I can't wait to see what has happened to the daemon prince!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2001

    One of the greatest books I have ever read

    The way that these authors assemble this book is well thought out, and very captivating. It starts off with a good, but seemingly normal start. Then it takes you by suppries into a whole diffrent aspect of the main religon. With a varity of characters and races it appeals to people who don't even like the genre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2001

    By far, the best book I've read in my life (And I do read alot!)

    Personally, I, being a classic 14- year old, just randomly picked a book in my local Waldenbooks store to read for a soon-to-be due book report. But as I read it, I grew to learn it was the best book of my life, and trust me, I put away about a 300-400 page book a week (OK, so I'm NOT an average teenager). Definitely recommended, high in action.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2000

    Disappointing

    I usually think that Weiss and Hickman's books are great reading. However this book was a disappointment. The book is written more like a sloppy romance novel than the wonderful fantasy novels these two authors usually create. I have come to expect great and exciting worlds from these two brilliant authors. This story left me waiting for more and not getting it. I hope that their next two books concerning this series is more enjoyable.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    God start to this new fantasy series

    King Tamaros of Vinnengael wants peace to rule everywhere, even through the portals that link the human plane to the realms of Elven, Orken, and Dwarves. To that end, Tamaros request the Gods create the Sovereign Stone. <P>However, Tamaros is blind to ambition within his own household. His second son, Dagnarus, immediately wants to become the next monarch. Not only is his father in the way, Dagnarus' older brother the compassionate scholarly Helmos is next in line. To that end, Dagnarus forces his loyal servant Gareth to become a practitioner of the forbidden void magic. When his father dies, Dagnarus with Gareth at his side is set to plunge four realms into chaotic war so he can grab the human throne and rule over the three non-human domains if necessary through forbidden magic and the Sovereign Stone. <P>The first book in the Sovereign Stone trilogy, WELL OF DARKNESS, is a well-written fantasy novel that fans of the role playing game will fully enjoy. The story line offers nothing new, but is entertaining due to the detailed descriptions of the three non-human realms especially the elves. The main characters never feel real as their traits retain a game-like extreme. D&D fans and other fantasy game players will take pleasure from reading this tale as authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman continue to successfully transform games into likable novels. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2000

    WOW!!!!

    I loved this novel! It was a departure from the normal ho-hum fantasy novel that is so common today. Instead of getting merely swords and sorcery, I was reading about court politics, backstabbing nobles, war a hair's breadth away, and a jealous brother looking to usurp his siblings rightful claim to the throne. In the midst of all this is a man, conflicted with his knowledge of right, and loyalty to his prince. This book was awesome! A must read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2000

    I liked it!

    I liked this book. It is more mature than the DragonLance novels. I was in high school when I read the DragonLance Chronicles and I feel that they were written with a person of that age in mind. Now, as an adult, I find that Weis and Hickman have evolved their writing style so that it is more mature, still entertaining the readers that they won over fifteen years ago (who are no longer children). Well of Darkness is filled with intrigue, betrayal, treachery, love, sex, and ambition. It is a strong mix, but Weis and Hickman pull it off.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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