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Nights of Villjamur (Legends of the Red Sun 1) Hardcover – 5 Jun 2009

88 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Tor (5 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230712584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230712584
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 496,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Charan Newton was born in 1981, and holds a degree in Environmental Science. After working in bookselling, he moved into editorial positions at imprints covering science fiction and fantasy. He has written for a variety of non-fiction publications including The Ecologist and The Huffington Post, as well as science fiction for BBC Radio 4.

He currently lives and works in Nottingham. You can find him online at

Product Description

Book Description

The first volume of this fast paced fantasy series. A journey into a world of dark ritual, corruption and adventure. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

"a dark epic which shows its debt to Gormenghast…This is fantasy with vast scope and ambition… a complex, eldritch vision." The Guardian

"At its best, I was reminded of Jack Vance or Gene Wolfe… this is a promising start to a series worth pursuing." The Times

"a great book, which takes old tropes and re-imagines them into something new and memorable. It is an assured tale written with style, intelligence and skill, written inside a fantastically set premise and brilliantly focused novel that shows all the strengths of the genre and relatively few of the weaknesses… Definitely my favourite fantasy of the year so far, in what is a very good year for the genre. This will be a ‘best of the year’ novel, unless I’m much mistaken." SFF World

"Liquid prose with noir stylings evoke a brooding city in all its glory and despair, filled with believable characters and dozens of small innovations that make the world that bit more intriguing. This is a grown-up fantasy that touches on real-life concerns, and this is where fantasy is at its most potent and relevant." Speculative Horizons

"It rattles along, helped by a jaunty prose, a grimy atmosphere, a colourful cast and earthy dialogue.” SFX Magazine

"a book that I couldn’t help but savour, lingering on several memorable passages, although there are various points when the action heats up so much, that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The novel re-reads extraordinarily well too since knowing what happens and having a better grip of the setting actually adds to the enjoyment… has established itself in my mind as a contender for Best Fantasy Novel of 2009." Fantasy Book Critic

"a work that immerses you in its world and demands you pay attention… this is a polished and accomplished debut novel and is well-recommended." The Wertzone

"this is a remarkable debut, a lush, fully-realised world defined by a writer with a mesmerising style that evokes some of the greats of fantasy fiction without in any way being derivative. I look forward to following what will undoubtedly be a great career." Mark Chadbourn

"Villjamur is haunting and brutal, beautiful and edgy, alive yet drowning in its own sin… a tightly plotted novel that worked just as well as a fantasy novel as it did a piece of introspective literature… Newton seems smartly poised to tackle a wide swathe of readers with Nights of Villjamur, and his future as a writer is bright, indeed." A Dribble Of Ink

"I finally got round to picking the book up last weekend and finished it last night in a fit of ‘I can’t stop reading, I really must find out how it all ends…’ It turns out that everyone was right and my anticipation of Nights of Villjamur was well founded… The bottom line is that Newton writes an engaging tale full of different subplots that all come together to form a picture you’d only half guessed at while you were reading. Nights of Villjamur has something for everyone and it’s all good." Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review

"Newton writes prose that’s both direct and detailed, moving the action but embedding it in a heavy, grungy atmosphere. He does a great job of integrating the supernatural, the science fictional and the surreal into his fantasy." The Agony Column

"the type of novel that will perhaps take the genre into a new direction in much the same way that Rothfuss and Lynch have done in more recent years. Cracking fantasy and an excellent start to Mark’s series that left me begging for more, I really can’t wait for his next offering." Falcata Times

"While the sun over Villjamur is dying, Mark Charan Newton’s star as a writer is burning with a fierce talent." Stephen Hunt

"Mark’s words are incredible and creating vistas and characters in your mind. You see the scenery, almost as an afterimage, while reading, see the colours, feel the sea spray dusting your face. It’s like as soon as you sit down and start reading a trapdoor opens beneath you and you tumble into the world." Dave Brendon’s Fantasy & Sci-Fi Weblog

"Nights of Villjamur is an excellent novel, and it’s nice to see something new written within the ‘Dying Earth’ subgenre… The writing is evocative and precise, the characterisation intriguing, the plot absorbing and the narrative speedily paced. Nights of Villjamur is a fab start to what looks to be a fascinating series, and if you’re looking for a hot summer read, you really should check out this piece of glacial storytelling." Geek Planet Online

"A smart and accomplished debut, stylishly wrought, melding a noir detective story with strange creatures like Garudas and Jurro the Dawnir and all-the-while dealing with adult themes and mirroring real-world issues in a way that the fantasy genre doesn’t do often and doesn’t often do well. All-in-all, refreshingly deft storytelling from an author who clearly knows how to write and I look forward to the next in the series." Rob Grant, Sci-Fi London

"This was by and large one of the best titles I’ve read this year… The subtle blending of fantasy, horror, noir, and fantasy results in an interesting and enthralled final product that has a lot to offer just about any reader…This is a book that fantasy fans are going to want read; highly recommended." King of the Nerds

"Hugely intelligent, hypnotic new fantasy… Nights of Villjamur is an extremely ambitious novel; asking for some serious cranial activity in order for a reader to get into its rhythm. The plotlines are extravagant and elaborately fashioned, with each individual strand eventually falling into its rightful place in the bigger picture and plenty of action, blood, gore and sex to satisfy the most ravenous of readers… an intelligent novel, with subtleties and nuances, darkness and starkness, depth and superficialities and mildly hypnotic." The Truth About Books

"A wonderfully thoughtful read from a strong writer who has the potential to become an even stronger voice in the future." Next Read

"If you like it down and dirty, realistic to the core, show every wart and the pus that seeps from it, then you’ll like this… it’s well written and will probably be very popular, for good reason." Fantasy Book Review

"Newton shows in his novel a great potential, for him as a writer and for his fantasy series, ‘Legends of the Red Sun’, and I believe that he can sit without question in the hall of the new names of epic fantasy writers and bring his contribution to a great new generation of such authors." Dark Wolf Fantasy Review

"Written in an offbeat, literary and often uncomfortable style, Newton’s technique serves to compliment the uneasy atmosphere that surrounds the story itself. The world he creates is almost palpable in its reality, demonstrating the author’s skill at generating atmosphere and bringing his setting to life." Total Sci-Fi Online

"The whole book accomplishes the task of setting up the series in a promising and rewarding way. The characters are genuine, the action is well paced and bloody and the bad guys are humanly evil. Do you like you fantasy twisted, epic and bloody? You’ll love this. If you’re not into the above then I think you’ll still love it." SF Crowsnest

"At its best, though, this novel is doing something really quite interesting, stylistically speaking. Where Fat-Fantasy convention requires clear, kinetic bright-colour satisfactions, he is aiming for something more alienated, snowed-in and bare… Newton looks like a writer on his way somewhere very interesting." Adam Roberts

"Newton has created an amazing story that dances among various genres and sub-genres. It is a dangerous thriller but it also contains traits of horror. It is fantasy but it also touches science-fiction. All this is mixed so well in this book that it was a true delight to read. If I had read Nights of Villjamur in 2009, the year of its publication, it would have been one of my top two books of 2009." Between Two Books

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jan Kostka on 14 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
In Nights of Villjamur, Mark Newton has managed to combine several threads in one compelling story. Part Day after Tomorrow, part Kim, it is a fantasy tale that melds ideas from the east and west. Boiled down to its basic components, a boy tries to find a necromancer to keep his mother from dying. In doing so, he must get help from one of the local cults to find a Necromancer. The backdrop of this is a planet whose sun is dying - causing a long winter to set in. There is a dynastic change, political intrigue and undead armies - but not your run of the mill undead because there are golems and zombies working against each other.
Even then all is not as it necessarily appears. A prime minister is seeking to kill-off the current dynasty and replace them. Refugees are being systematically killed, as well as the inhabitants of an island which the dynasty is at war with, yet...
There are signs that this seemly fantasy novel is not all fantasy. Action quickly escalates as horrible murders are discovered inside the city and on the frontiers. Something is brewing and the inspector, Rumex Jeryd will find out what not matter what it costs him.
Mr Newton has done a good job building a world and teasing information out of his characters to tell you about it. The characters are ones which you either like or hate, but all of them will be approached with caution. It has the feel of a medieval town in the Far East, but there is always something brewing just below the surface and he does his best to keep you guessing. No one escapes this story unscathed and you feel like the scars may last, but it seems like we have to wait to second book for more answers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Aplin on 15 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you didn't live through the Golden Age of Speculative Fiction (I didn't) and haven't gone back and read some of the fantastic 1930's-1950's novels (I have), you are certainly missing out. Today, Fantasy Novels and Science Fiction novels tend to be more character based than they were back then. Back in this `Golden Era' the novels tended to be focused on the setting. The locations within these novels really seemed to live and breathe - they left you with that `oh, I wish I could visit there!' type feeling. In modern fantasy / sci-fi though, we seem to focus more on characters. What seems to have happened is that we've kind of accepted that `medieval' type setting and authors have enjoyed being able to create their stories within that kind of world. Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Painted Man, think of those worlds. Although they all have different rules and such - they feel quite similar.

Well, there are critics who really, really hate this aspect of fantasy. They actually play on it a bit, saying that `fantasy is all the same' and try to overemphasise these kinds of similarities. What I'd like to do though is invite a critic to try and do that to the book well will be reviewing today, this is: Mark Charan Newton's book: `The Nights of Villjamur'. I challenge them to do this because there is next to nothing within this novel that isn't unique or at least rare within our genre.

An Ice Age is coming (OK, so that reminds us of another Fantasy Novel - but that's one of the last things that will be familiar) and the ancient city of Villjamur is getting ready to shut its gates and wait it out. The well populated Islands that surround Villjamur are in a state of panic and realise that there is no way that they can survive the cold when it hits.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. J. Howard on 18 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It really baffles me why people have given this book a bad review?

The fantasy genre has been becoming so stale and tired of late that almost every book has the same generic blue print. Young boy or girl who is poor, gets involved in a huge plot and becomes the unlikely hero, on the journey they meet a wizard, elf and dwarf who help them in some way to fulfil their quest. Its been done so many times before and quite frankly I am sick of it.

I stopped reading fantasy a while ago as I was so tired of the same old twists and plots, but recently decided to read 'Nights of Villjamur' after seeing reviews about Mark Charan Newton, a new fresh British author who's books were getting very mixed and interesting write ups. I have to say that 'Nights of Villjamur', along with 'City of Ruin' and 'Book of Transformations' are three of the best fantasy books I have ever read.

All three books in the series are in sequence but can be read as stand alone novels. The places, history and plots are so fresh and new, that they are simply fantastic, and it is nothing like I have read before (and I have read a lot of fantasy), there is so much going on that it keeps you hooked to the very end of the novel. Its just what the fantasy genre needed and please dont compare this book to 'Lord of the Rings' or 'Game of Thrones', like people always do, its like comparing yoghurt to meat and potato pie. Fantasy has to move on otherwise it would get boring, and Mark Charan Newton has certainly done this as far as I am concerned.

Nights of Villjamur and the other books in the Red Sun Series have revitalized my love of fantasy and its an amazing ripping yarn. Just give it a go and keep your mind open. If you really fancy reading new fantasy with fresh ideas and are bored of the same generic stories, I urge you to give this book a go - simply fantastic !
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