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The Runelords: The Sum of All Men Mass Market Paperback – Apr 15 1999


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy (April 15 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812541626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812541625
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 10.7 x 17.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #250,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Effigies of the Earth King festooned the city around Castle Sylvarresta. Read the first page
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
English is a mix of many languages but our simple forceful words about eating, fighting, and loving are firmly rooted in ancient Anglo Saxon history that few of us can relate but all of us have far back in our minds. David Farland evokes these memories with the lore of knights and magic and proceeds with action at a breathtaking pace. You look up bleary eyed and realize you have read 100 pages that cover intense action taking place over the span of four or five days. Within all this action there is wisdom, reverence for the earth, and lessons in honor above self. I almost suspect that Farland is living in this world and writing novels to advise more ordinary people here and now. At any age you should read this series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scott Andrews on June 17 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Runelords" features a clever concept in a stock fantasy tale, but Farland's slapdash writing ruins both.
The system of transferable physical endowments seems a brilliant idea, a gimmick rife with ethical dilemmas, but it also leaves gaping plot holes. The major flaw is why good characters accept endowments at all, since the donors are left crippled, but Farland waves this away by having them only use willing donors. The peasants' fawning eagerness to become zombies to empower their lords strains belief. The ethical ramifications of this system could have fueled a deeper work, but Farland rushes ahead with his fantasy plot, only briefly examining ethics in Borenson's guilt.
This potentially interesting concept and the trite plot of a prince discovering his divine legacy end up buried, as "The Runelords" is jumbled in every possible aspect. Characters flit from one idea or place to another with no justification except rambling inner monologues. Gaborn escapes from the castle, only to sneak back in. The plot jumps between unrealistic military campaigning and ponderous earth prophecy. Farland's writing stumbles with trite phrases and halting exposition dumps. Gaborn is fleeing the Dedicates' Keep, but then Farland describes the kitchen in numbing detail. The prose constantly blurts things rather than show the characters figuring them out -- Raj Ahten somehow immediately knows that Orden is using a serpent ring. The only memorable skill in the narrative is the vibrant array of spices and scents that permeate the early sections of the book.
Unlike most fantasy authors, Farland does try to inject some moral conflict into his characters, but his weak writing can't support the attempt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JCW on Jan. 25 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Runelords is the first in a series of four books that really are all one volume split into 4. The following books pick up exactly where the earlier books end. No passing of time happens between volumes. In fact, i believe the entire 4 books take up approximately 2 weeks of time. (Which perhaps stretches even fantasy imagination somewhat). To get to an 'endpoint' you need to read all 4. While books 1 thru 3 end in the sense that there are no more pages, the stories do not end in any sense of the word.
As many here have noted, the magic system used in these books is a fascinating departure from the norm. Also somewhat unusual to fantasy writing is how the whole concept of good and evil is handeled. It is by no means unique, but is a different approach than you'll find in the typical run of the mill fantasy you get from Jordan et al. I still have some question about how the magic works in certain situations, but Farland does cover most of the bases at some point in the 4 books. If you are puzzeled about it early on, keep reading and chances are it is explained at a later point.
The books move along at an incredible rate. The main characters rush from one major scene or event to another with barely a moment to breathe or to really get to know the characters.
Overall, expect a very good story line, unique magic system, some very good storytelling, but do not expect major character development or fantastic writing. These are some good books that you'll read quickly, will enjoy a good deal, but it is unlikely that much will stick with you for long after you've read the stories besides the magic system, there just isnt enough development of the characters for you to identify with them for to long.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brent Hartinger on April 15 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
These days, I judge all my fantasy reads by comparing them to George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series (which is pretty much perfect, IMHO). Farland's not as good as Martin, but he blows Jordan, Brooks, and Eddings away, that's for damn sure (I'm not a fan of any of those authors). The Runelords series is straightforward, old-fashioned fantasy (maybe a little too old-fashioned), but the system of magical "endowments" is fresh and original. And while I've read other reviewers say they didn't like the characters, I found them interesting and believable. A good solid read, which I think is pretty rare in fantasy these days!
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By A Customer on Feb. 14 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anyone who likes traditonal Fantasy, be it Lord of the Rings, Shannara, or Recluse, will find this book dull. The story is fast paced...but I couldn't get really involved in what the characters were doing. So much is put on describing magic and it's abilities...the characters are not developed as much as they should be.
I bought the first two books thinking the series will be good due to other reviews. I will not be reading book two or the others to follow. I WARN you to be careful with this book. You will either enjoy it or hate it.
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