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The Runelords is that rare book that will remind you why you started reading fantasy in the first place. Much of the setting--and even some of the story--is conventional fantasy fare, but David Farland, aside from being a masterful storyteller, has built his world around a complex and thought-provoking social system involving the exchange of "endowments." Attributes such as stamina, grace, and wit are a currency: a vassal may help his lord by endowing him with all of his strength, for instance, and in turn the vassal comes under the lord's care as his "dedicate," too weak to even walk. A Runelord might have hundreds of such endowments, giving him superhuman senses and abilities, but he then must care for the hundreds that he has deprived of strength, or beauty, or sight.
Runelords excels because this novel idea is not mere window dressing--Farland uses it to explore fundamental questions of life and morality. The story's hero, the young Runelord Gaborn, struggles to define his role in this "shameful economy" while keeping his commitments to himself, to his people, to the woman he loves, and to the earth itself. We end up asking ourselves the same questions: Should you choose your friends based on insight or virtue? Is it better to be just or good? Competent fantasy lets you escape to adventure in faraway lands, but exceptional fantasy makes sure you have something to think about when you get back. Runelords accomplishes the latter. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
A developer of properties for the gaming industry and a science fiction author (Star Wars: The Courtship of Princess Leia) under his real name, Dave Wolverton, Farland once again proves himself a wizard at storytelling in this third installment of his epic fantasy series, The Runelords. Against a medieval-like diorama, Farland has established a social system around the magical exchange of "endowments" from vassals to lords. A Runelord might have thousands of endowments, acquiring attributes (vision, strength, stamina, beauty, grace, wit) from willing donors, who become weakened Dedicates, crippled by the loss yet a Runelord must care for those who make his superhuman abilities possible. The Runelords: The Sum of All Men (1998) introduced Mystarrian prince Gaborn Val Orden, a Runelord who battled the powerfully endowed, near-invincible Wolf Lord Raj Ahten. With Gaborn newly crowned Earth King, defeated archvillain Ahten renewed his attacks in Brotherhood of the Wolf (2000). Now Ahten, Gaborn and Gaborn's wife, Iome, return to face the Reavers, huge monsters with "crystalline teeth like scythes" that pose a grim threat to Ahten's empire. In his role as "mankind's protector," Gaborn, despite dwindling powers, senses the impending doom of an all-out Reaver war, and Averan, a wizardborn girl with magical insights into Reaver consciousness, aids his hunt for the creature hordes. This latest is certain to summon past readers of the series back to bookstores.
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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... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Shamus
Anyone who likes traditonal Fantasy, be it Lord of the Rings, Shannara, or Recluse, will find this book dull. The story is fast paced... Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004
Typical fantasy fare, though better suited to DAW publishers rather than Tor. I find this world's magic very interesting though.
Watch out for this guy. Read more
Review of The Runelords, by David Farland.
Having read the Runelords, I will review it and detail its components and rate them individually, and then seek to... Read more
The author has come up with an extremely unique, and quite fascinating way to handle magic ("endowments") in this novel. That premise alone kept me reading and reading. Read morePublished on Aug. 13 2003 by H. Alan Rosenberg
Yeah, like most epic/high fantasy this novel sports the 'ol Evilrulertakingovertheworldandcanonlybestoppedbylonefarmboy storyline, but Farland (which is NOT his real name) does... Read morePublished on June 16 2003 by B. Bly
Stop me if you've heard this one already. Okay, so there's this evil overlord, see. And he wants to take over the world, all right. Read morePublished on April 30 2003 by not4prophet
I found the concept of rulers of a land could take an aspect of one of their subjects and add it onto themselves to be absolutely fascinating both intriguing and terrifying at the... Read morePublished on April 11 2003 by General Pete