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Drew Karpyshyn has made his mark with imaginative, action-packed work on several acclaimed videogames, including Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, as well as in a succession of New York Times bestselling tie-in novels. Now Karpyshyn introduces a brilliantly innovative epic fantasy of perilous quests, tormented heroes, and darkest sorcery—a thrilling adventure that vaults him into the company of such authors as Terry Goodkind, Brandon Sanderson, and Peter V. Brett.
Long ago the gods chose a great hero to act as their agent in the mortal world and to stand against the demonic spawn of Chaos. The gods gifted their champion, Daemron, with three magical Talismans: a sword, a ring, and a crown. But the awesome power at his command corrupted Daemron, turning him from savior to destroyer. Filled with pride, he dared to challenge the gods themselves. Siding with the Chaos spawn, Daemron waged a titanic battle against the Immortals. In the end, Daemron was defeated, the Talismans were lost, and Chaos was sealed off behind the Legacy—a magical barrier the gods sacrificed themselves to create.
Now the Legacy is fading. On the other side, the banished Daemron stirs. And across the scattered corners of the land, four children are born of suffering and strife, each touched by one aspect of Daemron himself—wizard, warrior, prophet, king.
Bound by a connection deeper than blood, the Children of Fire will either restore the Legacy or bring it crashing down, freeing Daemron to wreak his vengeance upon the mortal world.
Praise for Children of Fire
“This intricately layered adventure breathes realism and overshadowing menace into ancient mythic archetypes, exposing the pain and wonder inherent in magic and the mingled hope and cynicism of modern fantasy.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A rousing quest fantasy . . . a fast-paced action-packed good and evil thriller.”—SF Revu
“From the first page of Children of Fire, Karpyshyn captures the reader’s attention with his excellent, intricate storyline.”—RT Book Reviews
“Children of Fire stands on its own as a thoroughly entertaining tale. The book strikes a perfect balance between character driven storytelling and rich world building.”—Roqoo Depot
“[Karpyshyn] is truly a master of world building. . . . I would recommend this title to any fan of the genre.”—Among the Wreckage
“Compulsively readable, wildly entertaining.”—A Girl, A Boy and A Blog
“Children of Fire is engrossing, and full of characters that are modern. . . . I thoroughly enjoyed Children of Fire and look forward for the next two books.”—FANgirl Blog
“Drew Karpyshyn weaves a rich, contrasting tapestry of epic story and doom. Gripping and compelling from first page to last, Children of Fire is a dark-chocolate fantasy; delightfully biting and delectable at once. Four ill-fated children born under a sign of chaos and flame carried me on a journey into an intriguing world of shadowy wonder. It is a spellbinding epic told with masterful craft. Well done, Drew!”—Tracy Hickman, New York Times bestselling co-author of the Dragonlance and Death Gate series
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Drew Karpyshyn is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: The Old Republic novels: Revan and Annihilation, as well as the Star Wars: Darth Bane trilogy: Path of Destruction, Rule of Two, and Dynasty of Evil. He also wrote the acclaimed Mass Effect series of novels and worked as a writer/designer on numerous award-winning videogames. After spending most of his life in Canada, he finally grew tired of the long, cold winters and headed south in search of a climate more conducive to year-round golf. Drew Karpyshyn now lives in Texas with his wife, Jennifer, and their cat.
Read an Excerpt
AN UNSEEN BRANCH snaked through the darkness of the night to snag Nyra’s ankle with dry wooden fingers. She toppled forward, her swollen belly making her awkward and clumsy. The heavy shawl wrapped about her shoulders tumbled to the ground as she thrust her hands out in front to break her fall.
She felt a sudden pain in her left wrist as her hands hit the unyielding frozen earth—sharp, but not severe. She struggled to her knees, her hands cradling her midsection, trying to comfort and console the unborn child in her womb. She whispered words of reassurance as she caressed her girth through the heavy wool of her winter dress, praying to the Old Gods and the New to feel the baby kick or squirm in protest at the unexpected fall.
Nothing. She stayed there on the cold earth, refusing to accept her child’s lack of response. The chill of the night seeped up from the ground through her knees and into her weary thighs. The bite of the winter wind blew harsh against her cheeks and shoulders. But she wouldn’t cry. Not yet. Not while she still had hope for her unborn child.
Slowly, she turned and reached back for the shawl she had brought to shield her from the night’s cold. The Southlands rarely saw snow, but her village was no more than a few days’ ride from the steppes of the Frozen East. Winter here had a sting the deep Southlands never felt.
She hefted the shawl and twirled it up and over her shoulders, noting a twinge in her left wrist as she did so. The unexpected pain made her grit her teeth. As best she could in the night’s blackness she examined her injury.
Sprained, she decided at last. Only sprained.
With great effort she clambered to her feet, her hand instinctively dropping to her belly yet again. The child within remained still. Ignoring the cramping protest of her calves and thighs, the constant ache running through her back, and the knots in her neck and shoulders, she continued on her way.
She moved with greater care now. The crescent moon was obscured by the tangle of stark, bare branches overhead, and the forest cast disorienting shadows along the overgrown path she followed. But she knew it was more than that.
During the day the path would be easy to follow, worn flat by constant traffic from the nearby villages; kept clear by the constant passing of men and women coming to present their pleas. In the light of the sun, the path was simple enough for a rider on a sure-footed mount to safely traverse.
But the hag did not like visitors at night; her enchantments made the way more difficult than it should be. Chaos changed the route beneath the mantle of darkness. The earth became rough and uneven, the roots and limbs of the trees themselves grasped out to impede her progress.
Nyra had left her pony tied to a tree more than a mile back, knowing she would have to make the passage on foot. She pressed on; time was running short. She had no choice but to come under the cover of night, while her husband slept. In the twenty years since the Purge had ended, most of the laws against practicing magic had been repealed. But Gerrit still frowned upon those who possessed the Gift.
She didn’t blame him. He was older than she was, old enough to remember the Purge. As a child he had watched the Order’s public executions; his earliest memories were of witches and heretics crying out as they burned at the stake. Times were different now. Chaos magic was tolerated, though the Order still officially spoke out against its dangers. And like most who lived in the Southlands, Gerrit had no wish to do anything that might displease the Order. He would have tried to talk her out of this.
“The baby has been healthy,” he would argue. “We felt it kicking and squirming inside you, eager to be born and full of life. The times before it wasn’t like this.”
True, for a while. But shortly after the eighth moon of her pregnancy, the baby had grown still. Like the others. Gerrit didn’t know. She hadn’t told him—and the Gods willing, she would never have to.
Nyra stumbled along, falling often. Her knees bruised and stiffened, her hands became red and raw from scraping over the frozen, jagged ground with every tumble. Once she struck her jaw on a jutting branch as she fell, splitting her lip and biting her tongue. The taste of blood scared her; it reminded her of the blood of birth. Too much blood, in her case. But she didn’t spit it out. And she didn’t cry. She wouldn’t let herself, not yet. Not while there was still hope. Unconsciously, she passed a gentle hand over the swell of her pregnancy.
After another mile she glimpsed the flicker of a small fire, just beyond the crest of a knoll jutting up in the path. The way suddenly seemed to clear: The tripping roots melted into the now smooth earth; the clutching branches retreated to a distance. The icy air around her thawed with the warmth of the tempting fire, carried forward on a whispering zephyr. Nyra crawled to the top of the small but steep knoll, using her hands as much as her feet to get her heavy, swollen form up and over the crest.
The other side was a gentle slope into a small clearing. In the corner was a cramped cottage, little more than a wood-and-grass hut. A campfire burned in the center of the clearing, well away from the surrounding trees and the dry thatch of the tiny home. The flames flickered blue and purple, then red and orange. Green and yellow sparks popped and crackled within the unnatural blaze.
An old woman knelt by the fire, stirring the coals with a thin, crooked stick. She wore simple dark garments, heavy layers warding off whatever winter chill the fire could not keep at bay. Her hair was gray, her skin sallow. Beside her was a pile of small animal bones. Nyra hesitated, uncertain, until the witch looked up.
“Have you come all this way only to turn back now?” Gretchen the Hag asked. Her voice was a dry, raspy whisper.
Nyra slowly approached the strange flames until she stood across the fire, facing her withered host.
“Sit,” the old woman instructed.
With great effort, Nyra lowered her bulk to the ground. She shifted her legs to try to get comfortable on the hard earth, but the effort was wasted.
“Speak,” Gretchen ordered, oblivious to the pregnant woman’s obvious physical discomfort. She poked the fire once more with the gnarled stick.
“I … I have come for my child,” Nyra began.
“Another, or this one?” the old woman asked, jabbing her stick in the direction of Nyra’s swollen belly.
“This one. There is no other. Twice my husband and I have tried, but both times the baby has been stillborn.”
Gretchen snorted. “Stillborn. You mean dead. I cannot raise the dead.”
It had been over a year since her last pregnancy, but still the hag’s words stung. But she refused to let herself cry. Not for this child. Not yet.
“This baby is not dead. I felt it kicking on the night of the last full moon. The other pregnancies were different. I felt nothing but the weight of the child, like a cold stone in my belly.”
Gretchen set her stick down and picked up a small bone from the pile at her side. Cracking it open with thin, twisted fingers she sucked the marrow out. She chewed and gnawed the two splintered ends with decayed stumps of teeth, making a squishing sound that twisted Nyra’s face up in revulsion.
The witch picked up her stick and jabbed the fire with the tip, then spit into the flames. There was a tiny shower of sparks in response, and a foul, rotting odor wafted up in a thin cloud of yellow smoke.
“That was a fortnight ago,” the hag declared, seeing the truth in the flames. “The child is already dead within you. There is nothing I can do. It will be born like the others: lifeless and cold.”
Nyra wanted to scream her protest to this foul, bitter woman. But hysterics would accomplish nothing. She took a deep breath before speaking. “The child still lives within me. I know it.”
“How?” Gretchen demanded. “Have you felt it move?”
A lie would be pointless here in the light of the enchanted fire.
“The child lives. I just know.”
The hag nodded and laid her stick to the side to pick up another tiny bone. As she cracked and chewed it, Nyra noticed that the stick used to stir the embers was itself a long, thin animal bone, blackened by years of smoke from the hag’s fire.
Once more Gretchen spit into the fire. Again a shower of sparks, but this time the rising smoke was blue. It smelled faintly of the rich, pungent manure her husband used to spread on the fields.
“What have you brought me?”
Nyra reached down to the deep pocket at the front of her dress and felt for the small leather pouch she had stuffed inside before beginning her journey. It was awkward, fumbling around her stomach’s girth to explore the pocket while sitting on the ground. For a brief second she could not locate the pouch, and she feared it had been lost during her stumbling journey up the path. Then her fingers closed around the loop of drawstring. She pulled it out and held it up for the hag to see.
Gretchen reached across the fire with eager hands to seize the offering, undaunted by the heat rising up from the flames. She snatched it from Nyra’s grasp and poured the contents into her wrinkled palm.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A long time ago, when the gods toyed with mankind as if they were simple chess pieces, one special warrior, Daemron, was selected by those gods to lead the charge against the Chaos spawn. But Daemron turns his power against the gods, which is never a good thing to do, and the gods banish him to a different realm and place a magical shield and protectors to make sure Daemron remains out of their way. But that was a long time ago, and now that protection is weakening and Daemron is able to cast bits of his essence into the world. where it inhabits four children who will need to come together to either restore Daemron to power, or rebuild the protection against him. This is pretty classic epic fantasy and there isn't much here that would inspire a reader to say "Wow, that's new and different!" In fact I often felt as though I had read this book before (though I haven't). The birth and early lives of the children was really interesting and well done. I was definitely caught up in their lives and upbringing (each very different from one another), and I really looked forward to following them as they got older, but the book wasn't about these people (too bad) but about gods, magic, and destiny. I would have preferred to stay with the four characters and had this be much more a story about them, but it was almost as if they became secondary to the over-arcing story, which made me enjoy this much less. And of the four characters, one of them I was never sure was actually one of the inhabitors of Daemron's magic. There certainly was some excitement in the action sequences, and author Karpyshyn clearly had a good overview of where the story was going and managed to get there, even if it meant skipping years of the children's lives. The story-telling held my interest well-enough that I enjoyed this book as a means to pass my time reading. It did not, however, hold my interest enough that I want to hurry out and catch the next book in the series. This is a one-and-done-time-to-move-on book. Looking for a good book? Children of Fire by Drew Karpyshyn is an epic fantasy that satisfies the hunger for an epic fantasy, but it's not terribly original and won't have you begging for the next book in the series. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Great book. Fun, well written, compelling characters .
The book has intense points, and opens flying through the developmental years of the characters. The first several hundred pages are entertaining, but I made it through due to curiosity. The final chapters are the culmination, but really left me wanting a better build up. I picking up part 2, but I'd buy the first one on a sale if you're hesitant.
BEST. BOOK. EVER!!!
So being a Mass Effect fan, I picked this up. Why not? Truth be told, it's functional. A few interesting characters and some fun scenes, but coming in to what can be described as the third act, he lost me. I took a long hard look at it and realized I knew almost nothing about the world these people were trying to save, and with that, I couldn't bring myself to care. It will do if you've got to read something on a plane, and it's far from poorly written, but it's not up to the level of the greats yet.
The book spends a lot of time setting the stage and then introducing numerous characters. I think it is fair to say it can be a bit slow but I still felt it told a good solid story that deserves recognition. Worth checking out and I am personally looking forward to the next book.
Strong Potential but Slow Starter <blockquote>Long ago the gods chose a great hero to act as their agent in the mortal world and to stand against the demonic spawn of Chaos. The gods gifted their champion, Daemron, with three magical Talismans: a sword, a ring, and a crown. But the awesome power at his command corrupted Daemron, turning him from savior to destroyer. Filled with pride, he dared to challenge the gods themselves. Siding with the Chaos spawn, Daemron waged a titanic battle against the Immortals. In the end, Daemron was defeated, the Talismans were lost, and Chaos was sealed off behind the Legacy—a magical barrier the gods sacrificed themselves to create. Now the Legacy is fading. On the other side, the banished Daemron stirs. And across the scattered corners of the land, four children are born of suffering and strife, each touched by one aspect of Daemron himself—wizard, warrior, prophet, king. Bound by a connection deeper than blood, the Children of Fire will either restore the Legacy or bring it crashing down, freeing Daemron to wreak his vengeance upon the mortal world.</blockquote> This book lays the ground works for what could be a truly spectacular fantasy series. However, to set the stage the entire world must be built, and then populated with the characters to people it. And world building can be a tedious process, just as introducing and then setting up all the characters also takes time. In this case there are so many characters that it takes some serious time to get them all introduced and maneuvered into their proper places. Yet while the setting of the stage for this series takes longer than I'd prefer, it shows a great deal of potential going forward. I'll admit I struggled with keeping the characters straight in the beginning, and frankly that struggle lasted far longer than I anticipated it would. Between the number of characters and being bounced around between them I was frustrated. Things began to get better in the second half, and continued to improve for me from there. I'm not sure if the story would have been easier to read had it stuck with each character for longer periods, but then to do that the timeline would probably have bounced forward and back on numerous occasions. So I can't offer a better solution, only my opinion. It seems to me that about the entire first half of the book was mostly used to set the scene, while the second half was more action-based. Don't get me wrong, for there is action in the first half as well, just didn't seem as prevalent. The first half was also more about setting up our potential heroes and/or heroines, and leading us to them, though there may have been a few false leads mixed in there. By the end of this book we are left with a strong idea about the wizard, and lesser ideas about the warrior, prophet, and king. Though each seems to have been identified, I wouldn't be too strongly surprised should one or more of the characters marked for those roles changes altogether. Though the action scenes are entertaining, I only found a few to be really entrancing, which I don't ascribe to any problems with the writing itself, but rather to my lack of attachment to the characters. Each time one of the main characters began to elicit an emotional response from me something happened to alter the character's personality, and with it my interest in the character's wellbeing. Those characters that did appeal to me either disappeared or underwent very distinct personality alterations. In fact, so far the ones I feel most strongly about are more than likely considered to be secondary characters, or the supporting cast. It is my hope that they'll stick around, developing further right along with the main characters. Hopefully we'll learn substantially more about these supporting characters that elicited my interest. Though this review may sound negative, it's not meant to be. Unfortunately for this book, I read it immediately upon finishing an absolutely spectacular book, so almost anything will suffer in comparison, even if the comparing is being done subconsciously. There is certainly enough meat to this book that I fully intend to read the next book in the series, with the strong hope that the sequel will build upon the solid foundation this book has created for it.
Drew has once again done it. He conquered sci-fi with Mass Effect and his work on Star wars. ( You should check those two if you haven'talready). Now he sets his eyes on Fantasy. All I have to say is this is a author who always gives out Grade a 5 star material. Also all he's works even the star wars one's are meant for adults and older teenagers.
What's up with people writing these random comments? 5 stars each. Did they even read the book. Go to a chat room, jerks! I've only read the sample so far in this book, but its seems good enoigh to buy. I'll write another review when I'm finished.
*buys an xbox 720 and a playstation 1*