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on 20 July 2001
Peril's Gate is the finest book written by Janny Wurts. Peril's Gate continues the Wars of Light and Shadow series and is the third of four books making up the Alliance of Light sub-series - the fourth being Stormed Fortress.
Peril's Gate takes up where Grand Conspiracy left off with Arithon and Fionn Areth having just escaped Jaelot, Morriel is still camped in the Skyshiels having upset Athera's lane flux which threatens the fabric of Athera as the overstretched Fellowship battle to keep the grimwards and other protections intact. Arithon and Jieret dominate the subsequent action, carrying the reader with them on a journey that will thrill, exhilarate, appal and make them cry. This is not a book for light reading - this book will leave you shaken and disturbed because of where Arithon and Jieret take you. The grand wheel of the Wars and Light and Shadow rolls on as the wider elements of the story are evolved at a cracking pace, but the immediacy, emotion and sacrifice of the lead characters will stay with you after you put the book down.
And all this without having mentioned that in this book we meet Davien, Elaira starts to take control of her destiny, a Paravian or two appears, the Fellowship battles to keep the Mistwraith contained and Kevor continues to win the hearts of his people.
Peril's Gate is not simply a good book, it marks a new level in the intricate writing of Janny Wurts. A must have.
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on 13 December 2001
Picking up precisely where "Grand Conspiracy" left off, Peril's Gate continues the new strand begun with the birth of Fionn Areth with a skill and intracacy that left me almost breathless.
With this new book Janny Wurts brings the series number to six and she still shows no signs of slowing, or of losing her grip on the intensity of her tale. As always she writes with skill and in full command of both her story and the characters that populate her wonderful world.
The passions brought alive in the previous books - which have been steadily expanded and compounded - are given new life and brought to a new level by the events of this new section of the series. As well as somehow managing to keep the intensity of the previous books alive, Ms Wurts has managed - God knows how - to find time to incorporate new themes and new strands into her massive story.
Janny Wurts is possibly the only writer of fantasy that I am aware of who has both the skill and the necessary drive to tackle a story where only a very few of the central characters have the potential for survival. The introduction of the 'Five centuries fountain' in the very first part of the first book left the reader well aware that most of the characters would die of old age if nothing else, and yet the series continues to hold the attention through every adversity because of the depth of feeling and the roundness of the authors writing. She is a consumate seamstress of fantasy, weaving strand upon strand of individual story into a grand tapestry that is truly beautiful to behold, though it defies the mind to comprehend quite how she has managed to hold the tale together.
To say that this series is magnificent falls short, and this new book has taken it to even greater heights, with the introduction of some more optimistic themes and the maintaining of the strength of the writing, this book is without doubt the best in a beautiful sequence of books.
Absolutely fantastic.
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on 18 March 2002
Peril's Gate is the finest book written by Janny Wurts. Peril's Gate continues the Wars of Light and Shadow series and is the third of four books making up the Alliance of Light sub-series - the fourth being Stormed Fortress.
Peril's Gate takes up where Grand Conspiracy left off with Arithon and Fionn Areth having just escaped Jaelot, Morriel is still camped in the Skyshiels having upset Athera's lane flux which threatens the fabric of Athera as the overstretched Fellowship battle to keep the grimwards and other protections intact. Arithon and Jieret dominate the subsequent action, carrying the reader with them on a journey that will thrill, exhilirate, appal and make them cry. This is not a book for light reading - this book will leave you shaken and disturbed because of where Arithon and Jieret take you. The grand wheel of the Wars and Light and Shadow rolls on as the wider elements of the story are evolved at a cracking pace, but the immediacy, emotion and sacrifice of the lead characters will stay with you after you put the book down.
And all this without having mentioned that in this book we meet Davien, Elaira starts to take control of her destiny, a Paravian or two appears, the Fellowship battles to keep the Mistwraith contained and Kevor continues to win the hearts of his people.
Peril's Gate is not simply a good book, it marks a new level in the intricate writing of Janny Wurts. A must have.
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on 28 February 2002
Peril's Gate, the third volume of The Alliance of Light, continues to realize the promise set forth in the previous volumes. Delving into the mystical aspect of the world of Athera, this volume takes you deep into the psyche of Arithon, Master of Shadows and lays bare the reasons he has lost his mage sight. Additionally, another layer in the intricate machinations of Desh-thiere, the Mistwraith, is revealed as Arithon struggles against an array of foes fielded by his half-brother Lysaer as well as against his own self.
Peril's Gate deepens the plot and broadens the scope of the story and the characters. No fantasy novel that I have read prior to this one shows in such vivid detail that there is a price to be paid for killing, even for the hero. Other books allow the hero the dispensation of shrugging off the deaths because they are just evil creatures or evil humans. But this book puts the question squarely to the protagonist and through him, to the readers. And the question is... you'll have to read the book to find out.
A tour de force, Peril's Gate will take you on a journey that will have you asking questions about your own existence and your place in the universe.
This book and the previous volumes are a must own for anyone who has undertaken to walk the path to personal enlightenment.
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on 6 February 2002
This installment of the Wars of Light and Shadow deepens the plot and broadens the scope of the story and the characters. No fantasy novel that I have read prior to this one shows in such vivid detail that there is a price to be paid for killing, even for the hero. Other books allow the hero the dispensation of shrugging off the deaths because they are just evil creatures or evil humans. But this book puts the question squarely to the protagonist and through him, to the readers. And the question is... you'll have to read the book to find out.
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on 10 February 2012
The saga continues!! Misunderstood prince, Arithon, continues his battle against the his half-brother of the 'light'. Tremendous storytelling, and creativity by Janny Wurts, who for me is up there with the best 'fantasy' writers. There are many twists and turns as Arithon seeks to evade conflict and capture. Great book! Escapism at it's best!!!
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on 24 January 2002
I'm actually a fan of Wurts, ever since I read her Empire series collaboration with Feist (whom I don't much like). However, I disliked this book, primarily for the following 3 reasons:
The pace of the book is awful. From the first page we are told that Arithon is in the worst danger possible; the kind of danger that would threaten Athera itself....and the Fellowship is threatened...and Arithon really, really, this time must break down and destroy the world... well, no this time he will break down and destroy the world... ok, this time he is really, really stretched and a catastrophe must happen... no? Get the picture? Dangers pile on dangers, and throughout the book, Wurts wants us to believe that we're balancing on the very edge of disaster. The only thing is, this is pretty hard to believe in as a reader - especially when you know you've got 600 pages to go...
Another example of the bad pace are the multiple times in the story where we are told some character must make a split-second decision; upon which we are then treated with 2-3 pages of the character contemplating what s/he should do in the next second. Doh!
Secondly, I (and it seems I am a minority here) am finding it increasingly difficult to emphatize with the characters in these books. The reason is that every one of them is painted as either black or white; every character in the book can be considered either divinely good (Arithon and his bunch), diabolically evil with no redeeming attributes (Lysaer, the Witches and a few of his henchmen), or good but fighting in an evil cause (most of Lysaer's henchmen). Also, every character in the books is described as being brave, unbowed, giving their all for their cause though harried to the end of their endurance, etc. No ordinary humans on Athera, that's for sure (the only one, Dakar, has now converted to join the divinely good fraternity).
Finally, the flowery prose. This is the reason I love Wurt's writing, but unfortunately also the reason why I am beginning to dislike it. After 100 pages describing how beat up, worn out, on the edge of endurance, unwashed, etc. Arithon is, I'm sure we know how he looks. This book could be half its current size and it would be much better.
IMO, this book should never have been written (it was, incidentally not in the original publishing plans either). All it does is blow up the size of a series which is looking increasingly unmanageable, and though a few important plot developments occur, I fail to see why they should require 700 pages!! As a long time fan of the series, I plan on buying the next (and hopefully the final in the Alliance of Light cycle) book, but if there are no significant improvements, I doubt that I will continue reading it.
So why 2 stars? Well, there are a few wonderfully evocative passages in the book. There is no doubt that Wurts knows her stuff, and can write like few others. Just a pity she overdoes it.
If you're a new reader, try some of her other work. If you're an old fan and getting a little tired of her work, this one is not for you. A masterpiece, it very certainly isn't!
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