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Songs of the Earth: The Wild Hunt Book One [Hardcover]

Elspeth Cooper
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 Jun 2011 WILD HUNT

SONGS OF THE EARTH is the most compelling debut fantasy novel since Patrick Rothfuss first hit the shelves four years ago, with the stunning THE NAME OF THE WIND. Combining superb characterisation with an epic story, it is beautifully told and engaging from the very first word.

Gair is under a death sentence.

He can hear music - music with power - and in the Holy City that means only one thing: he's a witch, and he's going to be burnt at the stake. Even if he could escape, the Church Knights and their witchfinder would be hot on his heels while his burgeoning power threatesn to tear him apart from within.

There is no hope . . . none, but a secretive order, themselves persecuted almost to destruction. If Gair can escape, if he can master his own growing, dangerous abilities, if he can find the Guardians of the Veil, then maybe he will be safe. Or maybe he'll discover that his fight has only just begun.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; First Edition edition (16 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575096144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575096141
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 744,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elspeth Cooper was born and raised in Newcastle upon Tyne in the north-east of England.

Her parents read her 'Ivanhoe' as a bedtime story, which was, she says, their first mistake. Then an inspired primary school teacher introduced her, at age 8, to 'Beowulf', and by age 11 she'd worked her way through every book in the house, including her Dad's Penguin Classics editions of 'The Odyssey' and 'The Iliad'. 'The Lord of the Rings' was pretty much a natural progression, and an epic fantasy adventure fan was born.

Elspeth describes herself as a voracious reader, and cites amongst her influences Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, Guy Gavriel Kay, Robert Holdstock and Tad Williams. She currently lives in Northumberland with her husband and cats, in a house full of books.

'Songs of the Earth' was her first novel, and the first in The Wild Hunt series. The adventure continues in 'Trinity Rising', out now.

Product Description


"Fans of Karen Miller, Emily Gee and Patrick Rothfuss will all welcome Ms. Cooper to their shelves." (PORNOKITSCH)

"Songs of the Earth is a fascinating and thoughtful fantasy debut quite unlike many others in the genre and the author has a unique voice that separates her from the competition." (WALKER OF WORLDS) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

This is the best debut fantasy novel since THE NAME OF THE WIND

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quick and hugely enjoyable read! 12 Jun 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've never hid the fact that I am a sci-fi reader before a fantasy reader, but every now and then a fantasy book comes along that I look at and just want to read. Songs of the Earth is just such a book, not as hefty as some other novels in the genre but the blurb makes it sound interesting, the fact that it's the first part of a planned trilogy even better. I won't lie, this one has a lot to live up to even before opening the page, the publisher declaring it as the fantasy debut of 2011. However, for me Songs of the Earth hit the spot and delivered the kind of story that makes me want to read more fantasy - a rare thing indeed!

Gair is a witch, awaiting execution at the hands of the Church. For many years he has hid the truth about his magical skills while learning about the religion and fighting methods from the scholars at the Church, and he knows full well what they do with magic users. However, at his trial the Preceptor, an old and frail man, grants him a lifeline in the form of exile rather than the death he - and everyone else - was expecting. But not everyone is willing to accept this and a witchfinder is quickly dispatched by opposing members within the Church to carry out the execution as intended. Fortunately for Gair he falls into the company of Alderan, a wise old man who hides more than he lets on, but the offer he makes Gair is irresistible: travel with him to a place where he can improve and master his talents among others like him. And his journey begins...

Songs of the Earth may be a fantasy tale with magic, strange creatures and a hidden world beyond ours, but it's the characters that drive it forward. Gair is, of course, the hero of the tale, and one that is exceptionally strong at what he can do.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this... 23 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
... but for me, the book just didn't offer enough that was fresh and new to keep me interested. I think it was always going to be difficult to do a 'old man mentors young man in arcane ways' sort of story if you don't have an exciting, fresh new twist to put on it, and this just didn't to me. The genre is big and getting bigger, with old fantasy tropes being given fresh life with fresh writing styles, and SotE just needed to be a bit different or exciting or new in order to keep up with the rest. Maybe if I hadn't been reading oodles of new fantasy lately this would have been more of a standout, but as it was there was nothing here I hadn't read before and nothing new to excite me.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read, but not spectacular 7 May 2012
By Alex
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First things fist, I would like to say that with books at least, I am a harsh reviewer. Three stars to me is still good, and I wish maybe I could give half stars.

Before I fly in the negatives, I want to say "Songs of the Earth" is a good read; not particularly amazing or original, but entertaining nonetheless. I do find myself involved in the tale, and turning pages to find out what happens. The writings style is an easy-to-read prose and Cooper doesn't get pulled down by over-describing or over-dramatising.

However, a few things mark its score lower than other fantasy novels I have read; the main thing being characterisation. I can't relate to any of the story's characters, they just don't seem feasible to me. Gair is remarkably uninteresting, the only thing that makes him stand out is the fact he is more powerful than other people, and just generally better. Then, he even has the shame to be modest and unassuming. The fact he has no apparent flaws to me, is just a massive flaw in itself. He should be psychologically scarred from being tortured. He should have some arrogance with his superior ability in almost everything he does. He shouldn't be able to socialise easily due to his reclusive upbringing. He shouldn't be able to become best-friends with a really popular guy, with a few uneffectual conversations.

These things say to me that Cooper hasn't really learnt how to build relationships between the characters themselves, and the reader and the characters. Gair is one primary narrative of three we follow. The other two I can barely even be bothered to read. The characters aren't interesting. Some novels handle relationships really well; with a mix of dialogue, association and intimacy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not great 5 Jun 2012
I think this is a 3 and a half star book. It seems well written but the plot seems very cliched indeed. There are no real surprises and a few groans from the reader (i.e. me) when the plot does indeed go down very predictable paths. Despite the obvious plot path (maybe I have read to many fantasy books) the writing is good and keeps you interested, but I was constantly hoping for the plot to be less obvious
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fantasy Debut Rich in Power, and Possibility 17 Jun 2011
"This is the fantasy debut of 2011," proclaims the cover of the ARC of Songs of the Earth.

Big words for such a little book!

Which isn't to intimate that Songs of the Earth is at all short. I mean, perhaps by fantasy standards, where the industry norm of a hundred thousand words might just get you through the first quarter of one the doorstoppers we champion as if size actually matters... but by any other measure, Elspeth Cooper's debut is in quantative terms more than adequate.

And as to its quality?

Well. There's a lot about Songs of the Earth you'll find familiar if you've kept up with the genre since The Name of the Wind redefined success and our expectations thereof in 2007. Fantasy tropes old and new proliferate, in fact, from the very first: "The magic was breaking free again," the telling of this tale begins. "Its music sang along Gair's nerves as if they were harp-strings, a promise of power thrumming through his fingers. All he had to do was embrace it, if he dared." (p.5)

Of course Gair has dared already, and where has it gotten him? For conjuring up a light to read by, his adoptive family disabused themselves of the boy entirely, delivering him misbegotten into the arms of the Church to be raised a Knight, pure and chaste and true; except that now, years later, the Church in turn has caught Gair displaying his sacrilegious talents. For his troubles, he's to be burned to death on a witch pyre.

Cooper picks up the tale just as Gair is granted a last-minute reprieve from his trial by fire, and approached, as if by magic, by the man Alderan: a mysterious old so-and-so with "more layers [than] on an onion" (p.68) and - hark! - some understanding of the Song, which is to say the omniscient source of Gair's abilities.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs of the Earth
Songs of the earth Excellent read left me wanting more can't wait to read the sequel to this book I was totally engrossed
Published 3 months ago by stan dosdale
1.0 out of 5 stars A turd
I really thought this was going to be a good one. The authors i enjoy are Erickson, Gemmell, Sanderson, Brooks (some), Donaldson( when i was at school incl Eddings, Margaret Weis)... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Zaheid
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
Have just finished this book and will definately be reading the rest of the series. I want to know more of Gair and what happens
Published 6 months ago by J. Tasker
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read from a new author
I enjoyed reading Songs of the Earth. I found that I kept wanting to find out what happens next and so, for me, it was quite a page turner and definitely a great effort from a new... Read more
Published 14 months ago by A. Milne
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs of the Earth
Had this book out of the library and loved it so much that I bought both it and the second book. For those who love Anne McCaffrey this is a must. Read more
Published 15 months ago by E. B. Gibbs
1.0 out of 5 stars Boooooring....
This book (like so many these days for me) started off exceedingly well with a great start about a guy who escapes execution by the skin of his teeth for witchcraft, and told with... Read more
Published 16 months ago by FAMOUS NAME
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately dragged despite interesting concept
I'm normally a generous reviewer and read fantasy, science fiction and young adult books but unfortunately Songs of the Earth just didn't do it for me and I skipped narrative just... Read more
Published 20 months ago by josh
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs of the Earth
Brilliant characters, good story line and its got that special 'magic' that some fantasy books just try too hard to do which Elspeth Cooper achieves seamlessly. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Anne Kristine
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning fantasy debut with an enthralling plot!
Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper was a book I was looking very forward to reading, especially after the brilliant review my brother had... Read more
Published on 27 Jun 2012 by Aleksander Cristea
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs of the Earth
Loved this book looking forward to the next installment. Good flowing story and life like hero the story keeps you interested till the last page.
Published on 11 Jun 2012 by Albert Mottershead
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