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To Ride Hell's Chasm [Hardcover]

Janny Wurts
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 23 2004
An epic fantasy stand-alone novel from the Author of the stunning Wars of Light and Shadow series: When Princess Anja fails to appear at her betrothal banquet, the tiny, peaceful kingdom of Sessalie is plunged into intrigue. Two warriors are charged with recovering the distraught king's beloved daughter. Taskin, Commander of the Royal Guard, whose icy competence and impressive life-term as the Crown's right-hand man command the kingdom's deep-seated respect; and Mykkael, the rough-hewn newcomer who has won the post of Captain of the Garrison-a scarred veteran with a deadly record of field warfare, whose 'interesting' background and foreign breeding are held in contempt by court society. As the princess's trail vanishes outside the citadel's gates, anxiety and tension escalate. Mykkael's investigations lead him to a radical explanation for the mystery, but he finds himself under suspicion from the court factions. Will Commander Taskin's famous fair-mindedness be enough to unravel the truth behind the garrison captain's dramatic theory: that the resourceful, high-spirited princess was not taken by force, but fled the palace to escape a demonic evil?

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From Booklist

In this splendid fantasy about two warriors, a princess, and a demonic plot, the last is against Princess Anja of Sessalie, whom Commander Taskin thinks has been kidnapped. Captain Mykkael thinks there is more to it than that, but because of his race and mercenary background, he isn't readily believed until civil war threatens to break out in Sessalie. Meanwhile, Princess Anja has fled far away, and Mykkael has to flee for his own life, overtake her, enlist help for her, and finally lead her to safety through the monster-haunted terrain of Hell's Chasm. Once a marriage is arranged into a family of potent sorcerers, Anja can see about saving her realm and family, while Mykkael takes vengeance on the demons who, many years ago, drove him from his homeland and love. Wurts is skillful as ever at world-building and pacing, and her background as an artist shows in the kind of intensely visual writing that makes one wish more fantasy were written by artists. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

'Astonishingly original and compelling! A gifted creator of wonder' RAYMOND E. FEIST 'It ought to be illegal for one person to have so much talent' STEPHEN DONALDSON

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First Sentence
IN THE LONG shadow of the mountain spring twilight, under the glow of a thousand lanterns, Anja, Crown Princess of Sessalie, failed to appear at the banquet to celebrate her official betrothal. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A RIDE!! April 8 2008
Format:Hardcover
To Ride Hell’s Chasm is a wonderful hybrid of mystery, intrigue, sword & sorcery, and flat out action/adventure. The story follows the disappearance of the Princess Anja of Sessalie from her betrothal feast through the investigation of the disappearance by Mykkael, Captain of the Lowergate Garrison, and Taskin, Commander of the Guard and Mykkael’s superior. Complicating things is court intrigue and prejudice against Mykkael, who is foreign to Sessalie and dark-skinned, and plots abound, along with the interference of sorcery bound demons. When the mystery is solved, the action begins, and the reader is left on the edge of their seat for about the last quarter of the book, which culminates in the flight down Hell’s Chasm. Even during my second read, I just had to finish the story, and could not put the book down until 4 a.m!

For those who are a little too intimidated to try Janny Wurts’ epic The Wars of Light and Shadow, this is an excellent introduction to her style without committing to an eleven volume epic (eight of which are completed). To Ride Hell’s Chasm does not explore the heavy, deep themes that are replete in the multi-volume epic saga of the world of Athera. Instead, this book is just a quick and fun romp. There is an obvious and abject lesson that demonstrates that prejudice harms the judge more than it does the adjudged, but this is included more as a mechanism to advance the mystery and the intrigue, not as any kind of preachiness. This book really shows that Wurts is not a one-world writer, but a true artisan of the written word, who can create different worlds, different characters, and has the flexibility to leave her tried and true characters from other works behind.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story April 26 2004
Format:Hardcover
The author is adept at creating incredible worlds of fantasy. She creates characters that are real and vivid. The plots are excellent, convoluted and compelling.
This book's hero is exactly like Prince Arithon in her other books, most recently Peril's Gate, and the Princess Anja of Sessalie is almost identical to Arithon's girlfriend,such that I found myself confusing the characters at times.
The following objective comments detail a few problems that I have with this book:
1. Unrealistic, overblown prose. All the characters dialog is in a backward type of stilted high style language. This is true of the hero, the princess, the pig farmer turned soldier, the king, courtiers, drunken trappers and shamans of desert tribes of other lands.
2. Metaphors such as this on p. 198 "smooth as butter left on a plate, the seneschal found himself cooling his heels on the carpet in the front hall". Say What?
3. The use of past tense verbs in front of adjectives or nouns that overstate and/or stall ongoing action, impact and meaning. Ex: p.510 "..He's still acting on Mykkael's left orders?" Is this vs right orders?
4. Through the entire book the term "desert-bred" is used on nearly every page to describe Mykkael.
5. The hero, like Prince Arithon is weepy, tormented, abused, hated and reviled.
6. The story's tone is negative in extremis. Speaking only for myself, it presents a bit of a trial to read. The ending was the only ray of light for the salvation of Mykkael.
What is excellent is the high magic of the shamans and the mystical elements that this author weaves throughout her stories. Overall the book is very engaging despite the excessively ornate, stilted prose. The beautifully spirited horses in the story were the champions. I felt them most
deeply of all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Why did she rush the ending? April 11 2004
Format:Hardcover
This is a quality book for the reasons given amply by other reviewers. However it lost a star from me for two reasons: the ending is rushed, and I got sick of how the main character, crippled almost to immobility early in the book, suffers a continual unrelenting onslaught for most of the rest of the book, without ceasing to be an amazing killing machine. It was just too much! As the cliche goes, sometimes less is more.
Having said that, it's still a better fantasy book than many so buy it, read it and enjoy it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Read March 28 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book is a great starting point for anyone not familiar with Janny's writing style. Her attention to detail and ploting of the story are in my opinion second to none.
Her characters are all three dimensional and well thought out and not the carbon copy heroes, princesses and villians we see in most fantasy books out there.
She writes the way she wants to write and her use of vocabulary will make you realize she has a story to tell and she is telling it to you in her way and not like she is writing to appease the masses. She really will make you think.
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By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
'To Ride Hell's Chasm' is a unique gem of a novel - Reading it is a vivid experience that challenges, entertains and enriches and I find it very hard to put the book down each time I read it.
Ms. Wurt's characterisation is phenomenal. She draws us into a deep relationship with each of her characters, and captures their spirit, will and intent in a beautiful, crisp, multi-layered prose comparable to Austen.
Her research and attention to detail gives her settings a believable, grounded reality. Her plots twist and turn without pause, driving her characters to make constant difficult, ethical choices that push the reader to constantly rethink assumptions.
Woven throughout the story is her unique vision of magic - no-one renders it into writing quite like Ms. Wurts does and with such depth, subtlety and spiritual richness- one could almost imagine it possible.
I heartily agree with the comment: "Wurts is a true Bard."
Get all her books! They are richly, vividly imaginative and captivating, and very intelligently written.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars To Ride Hell's Chasm Review
To Ride Hell's Chasm is a wonderful book a real page turner and an up all night read. I read the book so fast and I normally take awhile to read a book this thick. Read more
Published on March 28 2004 by cheryl detmer
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to keep and reread
When I opened To Ride Hell's Chasm, I was enthralled with characters that deepened with every page, unexpected emotion, and a wonderfully detailed plot. Read more
Published on March 27 2004 by Leonie Rogers
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid Fantasy! If only this has been a trilogy!
To ride Hell's Chasm is simply spellbinding. The plot is there and definitely the novelty, the magic and the excitement. Read more
Published on March 23 2004 by R.Parklane
5.0 out of 5 stars action/adventure/fantasy
This book is a great read from beginning to end. The characters are people you like and admire. The magic is fun but the action and adventure really take the lead. Read more
Published on March 21 2004 by max
5.0 out of 5 stars A rollicking yarn, Wurts at full steam - a must read
To refresh herself after the emotional toll of sending Arithon through Kewar Tunnel in Peril's Gate, Janny Wurts has written this stand alone story of honour, integrity and... Read more
Published on March 20 2004 by Geoff
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb fantasy with fully rounded characters
I would heartily recommend this book to both die hard fantasy fans and those who have never picked up Lord Of The Rings. Read more
Published on March 15 2004 by doctor h l c parsons
3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately a quest
I had high hopes for this novel. Hopes that it would leave off the epic fantasy/quest trail and break new ground in the genre. But, alas, it was not to be. Read more
Published on March 14 2004 by V.A. Raj
5.0 out of 5 stars Protecting the Princess
To Ride Hell's Chasm is a singleton fantasy novel. The Kingdom of Sessalie is a quiet highland realm that longs for an outlet to the sea. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2004 by Arthur W. Jordin
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