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The Heir of Night: A Wall of Night, Book One (The Wall of Night) Mass Market Paperback – 28 Sep 2010

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Eos; Original edition (28 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061734047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061734045
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.4 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,886,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1st edition paperback vg++ condition. In stock shipped from our UK warehouse

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Dec. 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Helen Lowe's Heir of Night treads confidently, if not with a great deal of originality, through the conventions of Sword & Sorcery Fantasy. If it's a little over-earnest in its endeavours, the creation of the world of Haarth is skilfully and quickly established, as is the epic battle between good and evil that is inevitably about to ensue. To its credit, Heir of Night drops the reader straight into the action without much dreary scene-setting, trusting that the reader will be familiar enough with the traditional Fantasy framework to adapt to the situation, and sure enough, the details quickly accumulate in a way that establishes the background in a natural enough manner through stories, dreams, legends, and, yes, the fulfilment of ancient prophesies.

A civil war 500 years ago has divided and placed a great deal of mistrust between the Nine houses of the Derai, but legend has it that a Chosen One will unit them again. It's not too much of a stretch to figure out fairly quickly that the One in question is going to be Malian, the Heir of the House of Night, the warrior faction charged with keeping the ancient enemy of the Darkswarm at bay at the Keep of Winds. Malian becomes aware of her destiny at a crucial moment, just as the Darkswarm forces launch an attack through the Old Keep, with dark, ferocious creatures that will require the combined forces of the Derai to defeat. The Darkswarm are clearly also looking for the One, but are their intentions just to destroy the threat she poses to them, or is there something else in a long forgotten history that has prompted their attack?
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
wow wow this is a very good start to what I am reading wow. I know I do not write good reviews, but I do know a great book and this is going to be a cracker of a read.*****
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 36 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
"If Night Falls, All Fall..." 28 Sept. 2010
By R. M. Fisher - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Helen Lowe's début novel Thornspell was a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story from the Prince's point of view. The Heir of Night trilogy is a more traditional epic fantasy, though it contains a dash of science-fiction and a unique setting that sets it apart from the usual swords-and-sorcery fare.

Set in the world of Haarth, the titular Wall of Night refers to a mountain range that is garrisoned by the warlike Derai clans. Made up of Nine Houses in all, the Derai defend the Wall against that which lies beyond: the demonic Swarm. Destructive and cunning, the Swarm is only held at bay by the constant vigilance of the Houses, particularly the House of Night. But there is internal strife within the Houses that threatens to weaken the Wall: schisms between its people, feuds within its ruling families, and the remaining echoes of a civil war that hinges on a tentative peace treaty.

In this perilous world lives Malian, the daughter of the Earl of Night. Growing up motherless as her father's only rightful Heir, she takes every possible opportunity to slip away from her guardians and explore the Old Keep of the Night stronghold. At the same time, she is acutely aware of her own importance, having the traditional adage "if Night falls, all falls" hammered into her head since childbirth. An interesting mix of high-spirits and heavy responsibility makes up our main character, and the action starts when she acts on her curiosity over outsiders to the Keep (two mysterious heralds bearing a message for her father) by sneaking under the cover of darkness to the library to learn more.

It is there that she realizes in horror that the Keep has been infiltrated by demons of the Swarm, stalking the corridors on some covert mission that soon breaks out into chaos. In the aftermath of battle, Malian's potential role in an ancient prophecy is revealed, as are her inherent powers.

It sounds like the standard fantasy set-up, but there are several aspects at work that turn "Heir of Night" into something special. First is the host of intriguing characters that weave in and out of the story - though the protagonists are the tried-and-true archetypes of the rebellious princess and the social outcast (in this case a novice-priest), the supporting cast is made up of mysterious heralds, enigmatic minstrels, unwelcome consorts, and battle-weary warriors. Whatever other faults the Derai might have, sexism is not one of them, as several women hold high-ranking positions as warriors and priests. (Thankfully, there are no grumpy dwarfs or stoic elves to be found anywhere - it's not *that* kind of book).

Secondly, there is a touch of sci-fi at work when we realize that the Derai themselves are alien to the world of Haarth, having arrived from "beyond the stars" at some distant point in the past in order to erect the Wall of Night - and their presence is not wholly appreciated by the original inhabitants of the world. There is the sense of a grand scale at work here; not of one family, one race, or one country at risk, but of immeasurable worlds that hang in the balance. As the tagline says: "if Night falls, all fall."

Lastly, the book is divided into three parts, each one distinct from the other in terms of plotting. The first part involves a secret invasion and the protagonists' desperate attempts to flee, hide, or fend off the attack. The action takes place entirely with the Keep itself, and the chapters in which the heroes must delve into the dark catacombs of the Old Keep read almost like a horror movie in regards to the suspense and the effective sense of claustrophobia that they convey. In the second part, the heroes rally to their defenses and plot their strategies, muse over the rumors of treachery and come to terms with the newly discovered revelations about their lives. Finally, the third part has the two sides pitted against one another as plans are put into action, and Malian and her allies undertake a dangerous mission to outrun her enemies as she emerges into the big wide world.

It's a carefully plotted story in a complex world, and though there's some exposition involved (there's a glossary at the back to help you keep track of it all), the rules of magic and the goals of our protagonists are clearly established. For the most part, Haarth is a dangerous, grim world, but there are flashes of beauty and kindness that make it a place that's worth fighting for - a battle that will continue in the next part "The Gathering of the Lost."
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
a wonderful first novel, expertly composed - can't wait for the next one 18 Oct. 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I LOVED this book. I cannot WAIT for the next one. It's just the kind of book I love to read and I'm so excited I stumbled on it. The other reviews I read when picking it out didn't clue me in to how much I would love it. In other words, this may be a subjective review.

So, Heir of Night may remind you of some other epic fantasies, but it is its own world. Like Tad Williams Shadowmarch or George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire", this world is split between North and South, with evils beyond imagining dwelling in the cold north, and with all but those on the frontlines mainly unconcerned and unaware of the threats the world faces. The Derai guard against the Darkswarm in forts that line the aptly named Wall of Night. Our heroine, Malian, is the heir of the House of Night, traditionally at the forefront of the battle. However, it seems it has been years since the Darkswarm have attacked and house politics and intrigue have taken it place, putting the Derai at odds with eachother. They also isolate their priest class based on historical events long past, not unlike Stephenson's "Anathem".

Malian is an adventurous young woman, exploring the forbidden and decrepit Old Keep, reading the stories of heroes past, tomboyish until her father arrives and his homecoming ceremony forces her to don courtly apparel. We learn much about the culture and history of the Derai, but without feeling lost in exposition, as it's wrapped well into the story. For example, explanations are given when events demand them, when Malian demands an explanation from her father for his actions, for example.

The battle scenes are well-written and exciting, not overlong, and much of the book takes place in an alternate reality, a type of dream world, which is also very well-described and easy to conceive of. I have to reflect on other fantasy novels, where the alternate realities or battle scenes are hard to follow. Doing well at this is a sign of a good fantasy novelist.

This book follows a good formula - keep the first book in a trilogy small. We spend most of the book within the fortress where Malian lives, the Old and New Keep. She is eventually forced to leave her home, and go into the wider world, but we do not go too far. Much of those events are left for the next book. This book develops the characters and gives the reasons for what they do, and builds interest in the reader in upcoming events. I was certainly hanging on the last page and chagrined that I will have an even longer wait for the next book, given that I was able to read this as a pre-release through the Vine program.

This is quite a great first fantasy novel. It's rare for a first-time novelist to have such an expert hand.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Hodgell Reinvented! 21 Feb. 2011
By S. Rychnovsky - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the story as a standard coming-of-age hero quest (part 1). Others have described the plot so I will not duplicate their very effective efforts. I just want to point out the real inspiration for the book: P. C. Hodgell and her Godstalk series. The set-up has far to many points of similarity to be a coincidence. Here are a few: heir-of-night/child-of-darkness, darkswarm/perimal darkling, the betrayal/the fall, two-faced god/three-faced god, the grey lands/the grey lands, the river lands/the river lands. The whole arrangement, with the Derai (Kencyr) fighting the darkswarm (perimal darkling) across of series of worlds and having to retreat to a new world in the distance past, is almost identical. The main character has a remote father and a mysterious and absent mother. The priests are a separate and distrusted group due to the betrayal (the fall) who are kept separate from the warriors. The author started with essentially the same back-story that P. C. Hodgell created.

Even with all the similarities, this is a very different story. Malian is a much more traditional hero-in-training the Jamethiel. Some of the strange complexities of Hodgell's tale are missing here, although there are enough complicating elements to keep things interesting. Godstalk starts with the protagonist long separated from her family, whereas Malian is living in her home fort as the story begins. I find Hodgell's work richer and better executed, but this is an enjoyable story. I will read the sequel to see where it goes.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Thoughtful fantasy 30 April 2011
By Nick Brett - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Seen much of this before but it is delivered very competently by the author in her first book aimed at an adult audience. And she does treat her audience like adults too, this is complex, deep and thoughtful with both world construction and back-story.

On the World of Haarth the Darkswarm are kept at bay behind a vast wall of protection which has a number of forts managed by different Houses of the Derai. Time and a war between the Houses 500 years ago has left them isolated, not trusting each-other and losing much of their faith and tradition.

Our focus is on the House of Night which is attacked early on in the novel and this has consequences for all, including Malian the Heir and her Father the Earl.

It is good stuff and I did have to concentrate (with occasional checks to the glossary at the back) as more myth, legend and history came to light. The story also involves different planes of existence which again while not original, work well in the story. Minor gripes might be how maturely young Malian and her equally young priestly companion act and some of the dialogue is slightly stilted at times, but the bottom line is that I enjoyed this and am keen to find where Ms Lowe is taking this story next.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Interesting but not original 30 Dec. 2010
By Talvi - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Your enjoyment of a novel is often based on your taste, so whether or not you'll enjoy this book might be influenced by a similar taste. I love:

-Both Fantasy and Science Fiction genres
-Strong female protagonist
-Lots of action
-Some romance is good (though I'm fine if it's not there - Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials series fits all of four of the above)
-Originality (like George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, where there isn't a "Good vs Evil")
-Interesting politics (like Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls or George RR Martin)
-Wry, intelligent dialogue and interesting, real characters
-Although I love Tolkien, I now really don't like novels with orcs, dwarves, elves, etc.

Helen Lowe's The Heir of Night, The Wall of Night Book One hits a lot of my sweet spots and misses on some. Overall, I enjoyed reading it and found it engrossing, with a lot of great action.

Malian is the protagonist, a girl of 13 who has grown up knowing she is the Heir of Night, one of the nine Derai houses that came from the stars to the world in which the novel is set. The Derai have tasked themselves with defending all worlds from the evil Swarm, and came to this world and built a wall with different keeps which protects the rest of the world from the Swarm. Other reviewers have mentioned that this novel has a "Sci Fi edge" because of their "origin from the stars", but in the end of the novel it explains that they came through magical gates. This to me keeps it strictly in the Fantasy realm.

500 years before, Derai leaders had committed terrible acts, and subsequent generations have kept to a strict code to prevent this from ever happening again. One result is a strict division between magic and non-magic users, with enmity between the two. The disfavor with which magic users are viewed (due to the historic events) has led to the loss of old magic and left the Derai divided and very much weakened. As this novel opens, the Swarm are about to exploit that weakness.

The author paints a dreary and dour existence for Malian, with a father (The Earl of Night) who "never smiles" and a setting reminiscent of George RR Martin's Game of Thrones (the wall protecting everyone from the "unknown" hordes, the political/social misalignment with the other peoples in the world, the sense of dread).

That wasn't the only time I was reminded of other novels, including the Lord of the Rings series. As originality is important to me, that was one sweet spot missed. However, the action and characters kept me continually interested.

The history is interesting and at times enthralling, with legendary heroes and events with far-ranging impact. Where the story fails me is with the magic use. I credit the author with trying to explain things after the fact, but it only exposes me to more questions. For example, when they are running for their lives from the Swarm and a Night Mare, they are attacked and able to kill or drive off all of their attackers. The Night Mare is a very powerful beast and it can cloak itself and why did it and the band of attackers appear to Malian and Kalan and allow them time to defend? In the novel that question is asked by Malian, and her young male friend Kalan replies that demons become visible when crossing water, and they had just crossed a river. So the author tries to explain away why this supposedly incredibly strong creature wouldn't have just killed them all before they knew it was there, but you have to ask yourself...why didn't the Night Mare just wait until they were further ahead? Doesn't it know the shortcomings of its own magic?

The same questions arise when you find out at the end that someone can relatively easily create gates to other parts of the world (something previously referred to as very difficult to do). Why isn't this kind of strong magic used more often, and at more convenient times? There were just a few too many cases where the reader finds out about potent magic and it raises questions about the storyline.

I loved it that Malian learns more and more about her world and its history and then further insight and information challenges her beliefs. She definitely evolves as a character in the wisdom of her thinking and in her non-Derai ability to think outside of long kept beliefs.

I enjoyed the book and will read the sequel when it comes out.
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