- Publisher: Overlook (2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1590201191
- ISBN-13: 978-1590201190
- Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 3.5 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #167,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Warrior Prophet Paperback – 2005
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R. Scott Bakker established himself as a fantasy writer to watch with The Darkness That Comes Before, the first volume of his Prince of Nothing trilogy. That book largely set the scene for the epic series, introducing the main characters and providing the mandatory fantasy backdrop of an earth-shattering war against an evil, godlike figure. With the explication out of the way, Bakker is free to get on with the action, and The Warrior-Prophet is all action. The novel begins with The Holy War, a Crusades-like army made up of vying factions, invading the desert lands of the jihadist Fanhim. The following 600-plus pages feature one large battle after another, broken up only by 600-plus various subplots involving sorcerous conspiracies and the occasional romantic interlude. Hundreds of thousands die, but Bakker never loses his focus on the human side of the struggles, following the individual quests of characters in the madness of all-out war: the warrior prophet Kellus seeks to unite the strife-riven Holy War before it destroys itself--and him--in the desert; the sorcerer Achamian attempts to understand both his nightmares of the dread No-God's re-awakening and his relationship with Esmenet, a prostitute; the barbarian Cnaiur becomes a fierce leader of the war but slowly goes mad in his thirst for vengeance against Kellhus's father; and secret skin-spies of the demonic Consult seek to control events to usher in their own desired apocalypse. Bakker even pays careful attention to the minor characters, describing the heroic actions and deaths of various warriors in battle, until The Warrior-Prophet often reads more like a history, or even a battle song, than a conventional fantasy novel.
Unfortunately, this is also the book's one weakness. There are so many characters and intrigues that readers will have to frequently consult the glossary to remind themselves of who's who and why they're fighting each other. But it's probably not fair to criticize a fantasy tale for presenting a world that's too real. And it's the world of Earwa that is the real star of the trilogy, as Bakker has invested it with a breathtaking social complexity, thanks in part to his allusions to European and Middle Eastern history. Earwa deserves a place beside Tolkien's Middle-earth, Robert E. Howard's Hyborian world, and Steve Erikson's Malazan Empire in the annals of great fantasy worlds. --Peter Darbyshire --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Scott Bakker is the recipient of a Canada Council for the Arts Fellowship, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Fellowship, and the winner of the Helen B. Allison Gold Medal. He is the author of five critically acclaimed novels, including the Prince of Nothing Trilogy, a series that Publisher’s Weekly calls “a work of unforgettable power.” His novels been translated into more than a dozen languages. He lives in London, Ontario with his wife and daughter.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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We sees several characters that rose to the fore in Book 1 continue to dominate the main story of Book 2: those persons being Kellhus, Achamian, Cnaiur, Esmi, and Serwe, but we also keep in close contact with a host of other major participants we meet in the initial book.
I found the story, after a somewhat slow start, a real page-turner. The descriptive prose was of the highest quality, especially Bakker's ability to describe the subtle textures and colors of surrounding environments. I really liked his use of the inserted italic word to show what people were really thinking even though their actual conversation may indicate something completely different.
My only minor complaint for this second book was what I felt was the overuse of profanity in what seemed to me, unwarranted places. Also, all the women in this book, and to some degree in the first book, seem to be sexually exploited on either a consensual or violate basis.
All in all, despite a few minor distractions mentioned above, a fabulous follow up to the first book. Although there is no specific mention of another book in the series, one would have to assume that there is more to come that will clear up some major loose ends that finish up this book.
In this volume, more than in almost any book I've read we get to see inside the heads of people who are greater and more intelligent than the author or the reader. This is a very neat trick.
As I alluded to earlier, the world is very well constructed. There is a real sense of history as well as merely place. There is religion, not just theistic special effects. We see transformation, and it is often awful and wonderful - in that it creates awe and wonder.
The Warrior Prophet is fantastic. The introduction to the book finally gives a succint explanation of the overall framework... reminiscent of the scrolling text in the beginning of Star Wars or the overview in the Lord of the Rings movies.
The characters evolve and develop and take on their traits through their dialog. The characters clearly change through the book. Khellus evolves into a messiah. Achamian is transformed into an all-powerful sorceror. The power center shifts from Proyas and Xinemus to Khellus and Achamian. You have a sense that the ultimate role of Esmenet and Cnaiur are still to be revealed.
The climax is potent and the imagery is much more visceral.
I anxiously await the next book.
There are no heroes in this book. All of the different factions are equally monstrous in their own ways. Even the main "hero figure" will do anything (and I mean anything here people) to meet his own ends. There is rape, torture, degradation (all described in detail). I don't what else to say, so I'll just leave it at that.
If you're quesy or more into the fantasy lite, perhaps skip this. If you're looking for real characters, real development, real horror, tragedy, love, and triumph, then dive into Bakker's world of Eärwa!
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