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Initiate's Trial: First book of Sword of the Canon (The Wars of Light and Shadow, Vol. 9) [Hardcover]

Janny Wurts
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Nov 2011

The long-awaited beginning of the fourth story arc - Sword of the Canon - in the epic fantasy series, the Wars of Light and Shadow.

Betrayed and double-crossed, Arithon s’Ffalenn is held captive by the Order of the Koriathain. The desperate Fellowship Sorcerers have gambled the weal of Athera and forced through the perilous bargain that spared him, as the last Prince of Rathain, and their sole hope of unity. To suspend the Prime Matriarch’s decree of execution, Arithon lives only to battle Marak’s horde of free wraiths, unleashed one by one from the shielding grip of the star wards.

But on the day the last wraith is redeemed, the inflexible terms sealed by Dakar’s oath of debt will be forfeit…

Against a backdrop in which the Religion of Light has undergone schism, the fanatical True Sect’s high priesthood stands consumed by its thwarted ambition: to conquer Havish, the backbone of order that secures the terms of Paravian survival. Now Lord Mayor of Etarra, Lysaer s’Ilessid must fight the pull of the Mistwraith’s curse, and battle for sanity to uphold his just ethic. Another young defender will stand at his side, newly sworn by the Sorcerer’s auspices.

As Arithon’s life once again becomes the fulcrum that shifts the game board, Elaira’s choice might save or break the unstable future; while at large and answerable to no mortal law, Davien and the dragon that holds his service throw in the wild card no one predicts…

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (27 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007362129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007362127
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 16.3 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 738,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


‘Astonishingly original and compelling… A gifted creator of wonder’

‘Janny Wurts builds beautiful castles in the air … where every detail is richly imagined and vividly rendered’

‘It ought to be illegal for one person to have so much talent’

About the Author

Janny Wurts is the author of the Cycle of Fire series, co-author of the worldwide bestselling Empire series with Raymond E. Feist, and is currently working on the Wars of Light and Shadow series. She often paints her own covers and is also an expert horsewoman, sailor, musician and archer.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing lack of action 7 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having waited so long for this book I was hoping for a bit more action. The story has moved on 250 years, but the book seems to consist of the same elements as previous books, as stated by another reviewer. Nothing much seemed to happen in the book. We are not told exactly how Arithon came to be captured by the sisters, or if we are, I missed it. It seems to be the fashion to drag out these series as long as possible, but in doing so, there is a risk that readers just give up. I enjoy Ms Wurts style of writing, but feel that a bit less description and a lot more story would have helped. I hope we don't have to wait so long for the final books - I could be dead by then.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars American English-why? 22 Dec 2011
Unreadably mangled 'Americanisated' English has turned this into a vast compendium of superfluous and over dramatic adjectives! Sentence structure is tedious and often illogical. I eventually gave up after the first sentence of Section XII. 'While Asandir's relentless passage traversed the proscribed ground at Athili the convergent events that steered Atheras's future also swung the Fellowship's fate in the balance." Sorry Janny this is awful you can do so much better, as in the Daughter of the Empire series!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over the top and hard to read 11 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a long-time fan of Janny Wurts, I was eagerly anticipating the release of this book. I have followed the series very closely and enjoyed the other books immensely, finding them to be far deeper and more believable than most of the fluff churned out by other authors. I'm disappointed to say that this book did not live up to my (admittedly high) expectations.

I'll start with the prose. Wurts has always had a tendency to use unnecessarily long words and overcomplicated descriptions. I have no problem with long words, and sometimes this can be poetic - in fact, I've always liked that her writing makes no pretense at being dumbed down. Unfortunately, in Initiate's Trial the phrasing feels awkward and exaggerated instead of graceful and intelligent. Every emotion is extreme, every trial is excruciating, every scene and conversation is littered with superfluous adjectives that do nothing but get in the way and interrupt the flow of reading. Wurts seems to have left the primary purpose of imparting understanding to the reader in the dust as she pursues her quest to work as many long words as she can into every single sentence.

Then there are the characters. There is no sense of balance, no variation or range - it's like the literal version of a soap opera; melodramatic, exaggerated and ultimately unbelievable. This is even more disappointing from Wurts, whose previous track record with writing believable characters with vast swathes of emotional range is excellent. Instead of her usual careful characterisation, each character seems to swing wildly from one emotional extreme to another in a constant barrage of cringeworthy overreaction and inexplicable stupidity.

Finally, there is the gap. The gap between the last book and the current.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as earlier books 12 Nov 2011
By Woozle
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Have been waiting for this for so long, and whilst intrigued that JW chose to move the story on 250 years, it does seem to be awfully repetitive - Arithon is permanently on the run! It just didn't engage me in the way that the earlier books (esp 1 - 4)did. They gripped from the start, with characters you really cared about. This book could have been cut back by at least a quarter and would have been none the worse for it.
Despite the above, I still want to know what happens and will be buying the next one as soon as it comes out!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 6 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After waiting so many years for this book, I was severely disappointed.

It is so tiresome to have to read about Arithon on the run...again...I have lost count of how many times this has happened. Except, this time he has lost his memory, it doesn't add to the story.

The plot to me just seemed to be full of holes, considering that apparently 250 years have passed so little seems to have happened and all of the dramatic action of the previous book are at a stroke rendered pointless. I really did not understand what Lysaer was doing, he moves from a strong base of supporters to go galloping off on his own to achieve...well it wasn't clear what he was trying to achieve except to lose himself to the curse...again.

Davien has had 250 years with a drake doing...well we have no idea what they did. The Ath brotherhood, not a mention. The ships belonging to the tribes, anyone's guess. The tribes themselves? Well despite having the impression from the last book that they were finally reaching a position of strength, apparently they are barely surviving. Except for the previously barely surviving Rathain tribes are suddenly in strength again.

Maybe you can feel my attitude from this review, I found this book very tiresome and disappointing after such a long wait. The idea of having to wait years for the next book, most likely I won't bother.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing in action 20 Nov 2011
As a long-term fan of the series, I was disappointed with the novel. It's set 250 years after the previous book and with huge parts of the story just missing. As the novel opens, Arithon has spent the last 250 years in Koriani captivity - but we never get to know how he was captured in the first place. The Fellowship Sorcerers swear an oath of non-interference in his fate but it's never really explained why they would do that. Lysaer has disowned his religion and gone to become secular mayor of Etarra - something that would have been interesting to read about as it happened, but we only get a world where this is an established fact.

Arithon escapes from Koriani captivity but the friend who helps him also takes away his memory. We get a partial explanation - having no memory means the Koriani can't scry for him - but it's deeply unconvincing, since he would surely be better off knowing who he is and being able to defend himself. Arithon spends most of the book on the run, slowly recovering fragments of his memory. This doesn't work nearly as well as other amnesiac books since readers already knows about Arithon's past so we get no sense of revelation. The constantly being on the run is also a bit repetitive.

Janny Wurts' prose, always a bit purple, really goes over the top in this book. The dialogue is unconvincing to the point of being embarrassing, and we seem to spend more time getting description than plot. We can only hope that Ms Wurts gets a stricter editor for the next book, assuming it comes out before we're all dead of old age.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sword of the Canon
I love the way Janny Wurts writes. More Please. Currently awaiting the next episode. This storey continues to unfold in fascinating detail
Published 22 days ago by Julie-Ann
5.0 out of 5 stars Wurts hits the mark every time. ALWAYS worth reading.
Exceptional as always. Been following he series from the beginning. Can't wait for the next book! So glad those of you across the pond hava a better appreciation for such talent. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Baz
3.0 out of 5 stars Preview
I have only just started reading this so I don't really know how to rate it. It has started very in line with previous books by this author, which I have enjoyed. Read more
Published 16 months ago by A. Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Initiate's Trial' Janny Wurts
Excellent read - enjoying every minute, although I think maybe I've missed a connecting book after 'Stormed Fortress' 5th Book of the Alliance, perhaps not.
Published 16 months ago by D V Bonello
3.0 out of 5 stars What Happened!!
I will not review the story itself as many other reviews do that. I would say that this book like most of JW's other works really need to be read in sequence. Read more
Published 20 months ago by TJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Initiate's Trial:
This is a most excellence book . It is sited about 200 years after book 8 in the large series The Wars of Light & Shadow. Read more
Published on 14 May 2012 by gina
5.0 out of 5 stars book
Ninth book in the series, bit confusing at the start, but can't put it down just like the other eight Janny Wurts is a brilliant writer.
Published on 6 Feb 2012 by A Harris
1.0 out of 5 stars Language for language sake.
I was eagerly awaiting this and was oh so disappointed. Having re-read the 'Stormed Fortress' in preparation for the arrival of 'Initiate's Trial' and thoroughly enjoyed it both... Read more
Published on 18 Dec 2011 by Spanish Eyes
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