To Ride Hell's Chasm Hardcover – Nov 23 2004
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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
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`Astonishingly original and compellingâ ¦ A gifted creator of wonder'RAYMOND E. FEIST `It ought to be illegal for one person to have so much talent'STEPHEN DONALDSONSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
My only regret is that this splendid fantasy has not been crafted into a trilogy. The references to Mykkael's past life definitely justify this approach. The first of the trilogy could have been about Mykkael's birth, youth, ostracism from his tribe, the second concerning his life as a mercenary tormented by the horror of fighting sorcery culminating to his loss and finally the third, the story "To ride Hell's Chasm" itself. However with the ending Wurts has weaved I guess I have to say goodbye to Mykkael. I will definitely miss this amazingly intriguing and enigmatic character and the world he lives in. Still the conclusion is satisfying as Mykkael finally gets his just rewards. Truly an amazing read.
Most recent customer reviews
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... Read morePublished on April 11 2004 by A. Grant
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. Read morePublished on March 28 2004
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 morePublished on March 28 2004 by cheryl detmer
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 morePublished on March 27 2004 by Leonie Rogers
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 morePublished on March 21 2004 by max
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 morePublished on March 20 2004 by Geoff
I would heartily recommend this book to both die hard fantasy fans and those who have never picked up Lord Of The Rings. Read morePublished on March 15 2004 by doctor h l c parsons
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 morePublished on March 14 2004 by V. A. Raj