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Farlander [Hardcover]

Col Buchanan
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
RRP: £17.99
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Book Description

5 Mar 2010

The Heart of the World is a land in strife. For fifty years the Holy Empire of Mann, an empire and religion born from a nihilistic urban cult, has been conquering nation after nation. Their leader, Holy Matriarch Sasheen, ruthlessly maintains control through her Diplomats, priests trained as subtle predators.

The Mercian Free Ports are the only confederacy yet to fall. Their only land link to the southern continent, a long and narrow isthmus, is protected by the city of Bar-Khos. For ten years now, the great southern walls of Bar-Khos have been besieged by the Imperial Fourth Army.

Ash is a member of an elite group of assassins, the Roshun - who offer protection through the threat of vendetta. Forced by his ailing health to take on an apprentice, he chooses Nico, a young man living in the besieged city of Bar-Khos. At the time, Nico is hungry, desperate, and alone in a city that finds itself teetering on the brink.

When the Holy Matriarch’s son deliberately murders a woman under the protection of the Roshun; he forces the sect to seek his life in retribution. As Ash and his young apprentice set out to fulfil the Roshun orders – their journey takes them into the heart of the conflict between the Empire and the Free Ports . . . into bloodshed and death.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; 1st Edition edition (5 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230744818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230744813
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 26.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 646,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'The quality of Buchanan's writing is nearly peerless. He writes almost as well as long-established authors like Kevin J. Anderson and certainly matches up to the new breed of top fantasy authors such as Scott Lynch... If you are a fan of fantasy, then Farlander is a novel you should go out immediately and buy. Gripping, decent action, and an inspiring new talent, Farlander is the beginning of something special. Highly recommended.' --Civilian Reader

`Bold, fearless in execution, exhilaratingly new and with a steely intensity - there are no signs of nervousness from this debut author...Farlander, then, has staked its claim vociferously - this is series to be reckoned with. Everyone take note.' --Thetruthaboutbooks.com

`Farlander' kicks off Col Buchanan's debut series in some style and promises great things for the future. If you're a fan of blood drenched epic fantasy then this is a series that you should keep an eye on.' --Graemesfantasybookreview.com

'He has a powerful style that made me deeply connect with the story and the pages started to turn by themselves.' --Between Two Books

`Buchanan's voice is distinct, his central character memorably rendered, and the setting for his fiction starkly convincing.'
--The Speculative Scotsman

`Farlander turns out to be something special...Buchanan writes vividly and well, and the story grips form the astonishing opening sequence to the unexpected conclusion. Although his first novel is identified as "Book One of the Heart of the World", unusually Farlander does not end on a cliffhanger but is satisfyingly complete in itself.'
--Lisa Tuttle, The Times

About the Author

Colin Buchanan was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, in 1973. The one constant in his life has been his love of writing. It was writing that lead him to his adopted home of Lancaster, England, where he gained a First in Creative Writing & Religious Studies at the University of Cumbria. In recent years he has mostly settled down, and loves nothing more than a late-night gathering around a fire with good friends. Farlander is the first novel in the Heart of the World series...

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Very Promising, if Unfocused Fantasy Debut 25 Feb 2010
Farlander begins with a brief but exciting prologue which introduces us to Ash, a sickly old assassin who is the pivot around which Colin Buchanan's first novel turns. He is a character spun from fine cloth, a solitary warrior whose ill health forces him to take on an apprentice in the form of Nico, a homeless thief caught red-handed in the act of his dubious trade and otherwise down on his luck. Together, Ash and Nico travel to a monastery deep in the mountains of Cheem where the young ragamuffin is trained to follow in the footsteps of his master by becoming Rôshun.

Whatever the strength of its start, Farlander peters out rather quickly in the pages that follow, as Buchanan falls to worldbuilding and the abrupt introduction of a series of at-best tertiary characters. When the duo arrive at Sato, the distant dwelling of Ash and his fellow assassins, the narrative picks up again, but even then it only ticks over into high gear after a relaxing, if somewhat overlong series of hijinx in and around the hills. The beginnings of an intriguing world are present and correct, and the characters too begin to come alive, but however deft and considered Buchanan's prose is - and it is: the man can turn a phrase with the best of them, I'll say that - his spotty sense of pacing means that by the time the real action gets going, Farlander is sadly almost over.

But all is not lost, not by a long shot. Even at its lowest ebb, which is to say around the book's baggy midsection, Buchanan's debut remains a compelling read. The thoughtful offspring of some unholy union between The Lies of Locke Lamora and the better parts of The Left Hand of God, there's a good tale to be told here, a tale that touches on such notions as legacy, learning and loss.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By russell clarke TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For fantasy fiction to work the reader has to fully believe in the world that has been created . Truly great fantasy writers -George RR Martin , Robin Hobb , Kearney - to name three off the top of my hairless head all do this to wondrous effect .Col Buchanan is not in the same league as these authors yet but his debut novel Farlander is promising .
Ash is an experienced assassin working for the Roshun , an order so secretive that it's members have to take a special concoction of potentially lethal berry juice just to find their way back their monastery hideout. When he comes across a starving street urchin called Nico in the blockaded city of "Bar -Khos " he takes the boy on as his apprentice. The city is under siege by the Holy Empire of Mann , a decadent religious cult that has conquered most of the free world but is struggling to break down this ultra-fortified settlement .When the arrogant spoilt son of the Mann Matriarch murders a young women wearing a seal that puts her under the protection of the Roshun Ash and Nico must infiltrate the heart of the empire in order to carry out the Roshun pledge.
Being the first of a planned trilogy ( at least as far as i am aware ) a great deal of Farlander is spent on world building and scene setting and this sometimes bogs the narrative down. Buchanan is far more comfortable dealing with the central precept of the plot rather the more ephemeral side issues. He doesn't do the political intrigue at the core of the Mann empire as well as he does the burgeoning relationship between Ash and Nico and the world of the Roshun. This is where the emotional heart of the book lies and where the real compelling action occurs.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars City under siege 25 April 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A novel of fantasy fiction. Subtitled 'Heart of the World Book one' so obviously the beginning of a series. And it would appear at first glance to cover familiar territory because the main character is a teenage boy who ends up as an apprentice to an assassin.

Nico is the boy in questions, and he lives on the streets in a city under siege. The holy empire of mann, a rather nasty tyranny who have some very nasty practises have been spreading northwards for years, and Nico's home city hasn't quite fallen yet thanks to some strong defences that people work full time to keep going.

Ash, the other main character, is a Roshun, a group who offer protection through the threat of vendetta. A very skilled warrior and assassin, he's in his sixties and not quite the man he was. Fate forces him to take an apprentice. And Nico is his choice.

But when the empire strikes against the roshun, a response is required. And the assassin and his apprentice head right into enemy territory with murder in mind.

All of which, as mentioned, may seem familiar. So what the book needs to succeed is for the writing to grab you and the setting to intrigue and the characters to interest you.

And it pretty much does. Ash is an old man who has lost loved ones in the past so caring for someone new is hard for him. His age as well makes him an interesting character. Because he's not quite past his prime when it coems to his abilities yet. Nico is a likeable enugh individual although not especially memorable but he serves his purpose in the story fine.

The setting also grabs you because it's a harsh and brutal world - some very nasty things happen to people, not least at the hands of the empire - and it's not a totally typical fantasy setting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I found this a bit slow to begin with, but it's well worth sticking with. The world is very interesting and well developed, the plot is gripping and there's plenty of conflict. Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2012 by xenofan
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than i thought it would be.
I like fantasy, it does not need to be a new concept with different ideas as long as it works. I see so many reviews which give low ratings as none of the above are met. Read more
Published on 25 Jun 2012 by N. Offer
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb debut.
The quality of Buchanan's writing is nearly peerless. He writes almost as well as long-established authors like Kevin J. Read more
Published on 5 Aug 2011 by Stefan
5.0 out of 5 stars farlander
good book to escape into, relistic characters for a fantasy novel, its just right up my street & have just bought the second book,
being new on the scene i have enjoyed his... Read more
Published on 3 Aug 2011 by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Assassins Claim Vendetta
Farlander opens with a man taken prisoner in a far frozen land. He is taken before the Warlord/King who orders him beaten and thrown into a hut for the night. Read more
Published on 1 Feb 2011 by R. E. Quinn
3.0 out of 5 stars Average
Having received a copy of this book, I knew that this version was a proof copy, so spelling errors and mistakes were a problem. Read more
Published on 28 Oct 2010 by Octagon
2.0 out of 5 stars Chewing gum for the mind
I felt cheated by the hype building up to this book because when I got into it I found that there was just no substance to it. Read more
Published on 21 Oct 2010 by Beki
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Book!
Given that this is a debut novel, it is perhaps forgivable that I hadn't heard of Col Buchanan before I read this book. But I'm glad that I have now. Read more
Published on 5 Oct 2010 by Adam Bourke
4.0 out of 5 stars Far Out
By now everyone should be familiar with the idea of the parallel world. The story here involves the idea of assassins for hire before the event, it does move rapidly and, for once,... Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2010 by Donald Thompson
3.0 out of 5 stars Promising
I wanted to like this much better than I actually did, as a couple of interviews had shown Col Buchanan to be a lively and engaging chap. Read more
Published on 1 Aug 2010 by Paul Fillery
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