The Darkness That Comes Before: Book 1 of the Prince of Nothing Paperback – 26 May 2005
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The Darkness that Comes Before is a strong, impressive, deeply imagined debut novel. However, this first book of an epic fantasy series is not accessible; it reads like a later volume of a complicated ongoing series. Author R. Scott Bakker has created a world that is very different from JRR Tolkien's Middle-earth, yet in depth of development comes closer than most high-fantasy worlds. In addition to providing five appendices, Bakker attempts to make his complex world clear to readers by filling the prologue and opening chapters with the names of characters, gods, cities, tribes, nations, religions, factions, and sorcery schools. For many readers, this approach will have the opposite effect of clarity. It's like demonstrating snowflake structure with a blizzard. --Cynthia Ward, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Intelligent" is a term trotted out so often by publishers that it has become almost worthless - which is hard for the likes of Bakker, whose [The Darkness That Comes Before] truly is intelligent, and original, and all those other overused words. (The Guardian)
The Darkness That Comes Before is a strikingly original work, the start of a series to watch. SF Site ('The publisher's hype compares [The Darkness That Comes Before] to The Lord of the Rings or Frank Herbert's Dune, and gratifyingly the hype is not misplaced. The characters are among the most memorable and well-portrayed I can think of in recent fantasy f)
George Walkley, Ottakar's (Outland) ('Bakker has created a gourmet feast for hungry fantasy readers, exquisitely prepared, carefully seasoned, and served with pomp and ceremony... The Darkness That Comes Before is truly a satisfying experience.')
Kevin J. Anderson, Bestselling author of Horizon Storms ('Exquisitely intelligent and beautifully written, R. Scott Bakker's first novel in The Prince of Nothing series inspires both confidence and anticipation--this is fantasy with muscle and brains, rife with intrigue and admirable depth of character, set in)
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Top Customer Reviews
It is not an easy ride. Those looking for skimpy light fare will hurry past this one. The first 100 or so pages are thick in details and names that the mind shudders to remember them all. Some names seem unpronounceable, others full of dots accents and circumflexes to the point of drowning.
But soon the mind remembers each one. Some things are only mentioned- hinted at, but the interest on each one does not die away.
And the villains! Trust me, you will never look at a Trolloc in the same way. The same childish, cardboard cut-outs of the real thing. These villains exude such an aura of palpable menace that you would scream if you could but your larynx has already distatched itself from your throat and hidden itself under the sofa.
The prose is brilliant as well. IT is written with such a great use of vocabulary and metaphors that your mind reels, like when you took your first sip of wine, and entrance into another world full of vivid descriptions.
The plot flows well, with interesting events popping up. It flows well, political intrigue is better than most, you can gradually fell the escalating fundamentalist religous antagonism building up in Sumna and the tension in the Emperor's court.
So overall the Darkness that Comes Before is a great worthy of your time if you want to be immersed in a rich evocative fantasy that will be lauded for decades after its release
The plot follows a handful of characters as their threads become entwined in an overall arc. If you were to break this down to its very core you'd find standard fantasy elements - a sorceror, a barbarian, a forgotten prince etc, all joining a war with the ever present (but not really believed by most) threat of an ancient demon-god coming back to threaten the world with darkness. However, as average as that sounds, the writing is of such an incredibly high standard that Bakker could throw in any type of character and you'd still read it. Each character is overwhelmingly deep in substance, and this is an almost constant exploration of the various aspects of humanity; there are phrases and passages in here that you read several times, then shut the book and contemplate for a time.
I won't attempt to summarise the characters or the story, as even a summary would take too long and not do this justice. Sufficed to say that if you love high/epic fantasy, this is for you. It is a little tricky to start with, but nothing too difficult, and my main (and only) slight niggle is that some of the character and place names are very complicated. I often find myself simply recognising the shapes of the words rather than attempting to pronounce them. But that really is the only criticism I can offer, and it's a very subjective one. This is the start of what will surely be one of the best fantasy novels I've read in a long time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At the beginning, this book really confused me. The author launches into his characters and settings straight away, and the reader has to follow along and somehow work it all out... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Susie Suey
I was looking for something a bit different. And with this I found it, dark and complex keeps coming up for a reason. Loved the whole trilogy.Published 4 months ago by David M.
Simply put, the first volume of one of the best fantasy series in years.
Wonderfully written with some of the best action sequences the genre has to offer, an... Read more
Absolutely wonderful stuff, whilst the subject matter is much darker than the typical fantasy, the author handles it professionally rather than gratuitously. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Tried to read more than the first 100 pages but found it so difficult, with so many factions, characters, all characters inferring things rather than saying them plainly, made me... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lambo
This book starts slowly but is the beginning of an epic adventure that is majestic in its unraveling.. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Sdub
This has to be one of the best epic fantasies that I have read since Game of Thrones.
Compelling. I felt I had to go back and re-read it straight away. Read more
This is hands down one of the best book series ever written. Itś magical! The language, dept of character, story line etc it fantasticPublished 12 months ago by Andreas Ondris
A riveting and brutally honest account of Justin Hawkins' lifelong battle with premature ejaculation. Definitely recommend.Published on 2 Aug. 2014 by Mr SW Alsafi