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To Ride Hell's Chasm [Hardcover]

Janny Wurts
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Nov 2004
An epic fantasy stand-alone novel from the Author of the stunning Wars of Light and Shadow series: When Princess Anja fails to appear at her betrothal banquet, the tiny, peaceful kingdom of Sessalie is plunged into intrigue. Two warriors are charged with recovering the distraught king's beloved daughter. Taskin, Commander of the Royal Guard, whose icy competence and impressive life-term as the Crown's right-hand man command the kingdom's deep-seated respect; and Mykkael, the rough-hewn newcomer who has won the post of Captain of the Garrison-a scarred veteran with a deadly record of field warfare, whose 'interesting' background and foreign breeding are held in contempt by court society. As the princess's trail vanishes outside the citadel's gates, anxiety and tension escalate. Mykkael's investigations lead him to a radical explanation for the mystery, but he finds himself under suspicion from the court factions. Will Commander Taskin's famous fair-mindedness be enough to unravel the truth behind the garrison captain's dramatic theory: that the resourceful, high-spirited princess was not taken by force, but fled the palace to escape a demonic evil?

Product details

  • Hardcover: 678 pages
  • Publisher: Meisha Merlin Publishing, Inc. (23 Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592220231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592220236
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14.9 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,382,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


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

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

From the Publisher

On the eve of the wedding that will keep her country at peace, a beloved princess vanishes. Has she run away to escape the marriage; or has she been kidnapped for nefarious purposes?
This is the story of the quest to find her, and the story of each of the motley band of lords and adventurers who set out to scour the kingdom. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN THE LONG shadow of the mountain spring twilight, under the glow of a thousand lanterns, Anja, Crown Princess of Sessalie, failed to appear at the banquet to celebrate her official betrothal. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Geoff
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 redemption as Mykkael, the coloured mercenary charged with securing and protecting the safety of the Anja, crown princess of Sessalie, through the physical and metaphorical trial of Hell's Chasm.
The story is deceptively simple - on the day the High Prince of Devall arrives in Sessalie to formalize his betrothal to Anja, Anja disappears and sorcery is suspected. Her intended fiance and her brother both want her found, the King of Sessalie orders Mykkael to find her and protect her. Has she been abducted or has she run? Mykkael is an outsider in both colour and origin and suspicion quickly falls on him, the populace of Sessalie easily led to this conclusion.
With sorcery afoot in Sessalie, Mykkael is forced to re-live his previous failure to protect a princess from sorcerous pursuit. With Sessalie turned against him, Mykkael must master both the real demons in Sessalie and the demons from his past. This book is as much a study of a principled character of robust integrity set under immense pressure as any "simple" chase story.
The world of Sessalie pulsates with the hallmarks of Janny Wurts' writing - self-serving nobility, the seething masses of the general populace, the populace easily swayed by rumour and innuendo and a fear of foreigners.
As a standalone novel, this is a good read and well worth following the trials of Mykkael to the emotional ending. As a tempter for the writing style of Wurts for those who have yet to read the massive Wars of Light and Shadow series, this is an essential starting point for the magic that is the writing of Janny Wurts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Godawful cheese' is half right 29 April 2004
By KeithD
I'm a Wurts fan, but I nearly didn't finish this book. The first half is repetitive, OTT scene-setting full of stereotypical characters. The writing is dire - the working through the thesaurus, the compulsive need for multifarious adjectives attached to every single noun, the blatantly routine cycling between name, pronoun and descriptive phrase (eg Mykkael, the Captain, the desert-bred), the ridiculous 'lisping' spelling of Myshkael with the 'sh' italicised, the archaic phraseology (why? She *can* write), the stereotyped and overdone racist comments (and even these have no real depth: they are just cliched going-through-the-motions). I could pick any page at random and find one, sometimes two, phrases or sentences that I had to read more than once, and quite often I just had to leave them without understanding what she meant. I also had great difficulty imputing motives to a number of people's actions; there is so much that is just not believable. All in all, I found it impossible to lose myself in the first half; I was always being reminded by the writing that I was reading a book.

Then, half-way in, the book takes off. From that point it's either vintage Wurts, with 3-D characters, realistic dialogue and first-class action, or melodrama. But either way it's exciting, mostly believable, and probably moving. I thoroughly enjoyed the end.

Far from the best Wurts, but worth a read if you have patience - or if you're one of those readers that can skim over sentences for general sense without reading every word.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid and compelling - Fantasy at its best 31 Jan 2003
I would heartily recommend this book to both die hard fantasy fans and those who have never picked up Lord Of The Rings. The elements of fantasy writing are there, in the form of demonic magic, but it is the believability of the characters and the strength of the plot line that elevates this book to a five star ranking.
The backdrop is a mountain kingdom under a subtle attack from a demon, an attack that very few of those embroiled in the court politics realise. The integrity of the main characters forces them into conflict for the stakes are too high to allow for any mistakes and the plotting of the demon's minions makes following orders a path of destruction.
Ms Wurts has once again transcended the normal fantasy stereotypes. This is no wannabe Tolkien battle between a small band of men and elves against a massive evil army. Instead this is two people, six horses and a ride down the ravine Hell's Chasm.
If you enjoy this book do please look at Janny Wurts' Wars Of Light And Shadow series, starting with The Curse Of The Mistwraith.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale for Our Time 28 May 2004
In this time of global strife when it has become necessary to lean even more upon the strength of the warrior, it is important to remember that the warrior has a code of ethics that can be demanding in its exactitude. This tale of two warriors and a princess effectively illustrates the questions that are often posed to the warrior in the execution of his duty.
To Ride Hell's Chasm deals with these questions from two disparate points of view: that of Mykael who is the Captain of the Lowergate garrison and that of Taskin, Commander of the Royal Guard. Taskin is bound by the rules of the upper city and the royal court and as such many of his actions are dictated, but he brings a powerful sense of fair-mindedness to the execution of his duties. Mykkael is an outlander mercenary who won his position and whose experiences as a mercenary bring a different perspective to how he runs the garrison.
When Princess Anja goes missing before her betrothal it becomes the job of these two men to determine what has become of her. Has she been kidnapped or has she run off. Taskin and Mykkael must work together to find her but find themselves at odds as to just what has happened to the princess to the point that Mykkael himself becomes a suspect. The ethics of two men come into play as time becomes short in their efforts to find Anja.
This story takes place over just five days and is fast paced. There is enough action and magic to satisfy those readers who like a quick story. However, the story still contains the level of intricate detail of character and plot that are the hallmark of a Janny Wurts novel and, as is the case with any of her stories, you will be left thinking about the events and decisions until you have to come back and read it again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and a must read
I'm not going to repeat whats already been said but this is one quite excellent read.

After reading the latest Malazan I found myself stuck again as I've read pretty... Read more
Published on 25 Jan 2012 by Jk
4.0 out of 5 stars To Ride Hell's Chasm
Ms. Wurts English style in this one is more complex and possibly archaic than in previous offerings and therefore needed more careful reading. Read more
Published on 12 Nov 2011 by Helen D
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing book, beneath the authors usual high standard.
I struggled with this book, it takes a while to get interesting. It took over two years of starting/stopping reading until i finally got fed up enough with having an unfinished... Read more
Published on 20 Jun 2011 by R. Desai
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely wonderful!
This was a real joy to of those books where you're sad that the story has come to an end. Recommend this to all fantasy fiction readers!
Published on 17 Jan 2009 by NSC
3.0 out of 5 stars Ends too soon
This is my first Janny Wurts novel and it was certainly worth reading.
Plot and characters were both strong and believable with enough twists to stop predictability. Read more
Published on 26 July 2008 by DanT
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A RIDE!!
To Ride Hell's Chasm is a wonderful hybrid of mystery, intrigue, sword & sorcery, and flat out action/adventure. Read more
Published on 8 April 2008 by Angus F. Bickerton
4.0 out of 5 stars A tense and exciting journey in another world
This is the first fantasy book that I’ve read – I picked it out of the library having read the back and thought I’d give it a go. Read more
Published on 5 Mar 2006 by Helen Hancox
5.0 out of 5 stars Janny Wurts - The queen of Fantasy
The only problem with Janny Wurts books is the gaps between them. Still I don't suppose you can rush genius. Read more
Published on 10 Feb 2005 by Mr. Paul Charnock
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story, disappointing ending
The title sums it up really, its a good story which did take me a while to get into due to the style of writing, but the ending was a bit flat. Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books I have ever read.
Sorry but I have to disagree with most of the other reviewers of this book.
I found this novel to be stomach turningly attrocious, the characterisations to be simplistic to... Read more
Published on 8 Aug 2004 by Mr. A. J. D. White
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