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The Darkness That Comes Before: Book 1 of the Prince of Nothing Paperback – 26 May 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New Ed edition (26 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841494089
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841494081
  • Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 4 x 15.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 190,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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.

Review

"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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Despite reading complaints regarding the highly detailed and complex world created by Bakker which stated his book was quite hard to get into i bought it because of the promise of a darker, more mature fantasy than normal. I was not disappointed. Bakkers writing and the world he creates have a depth and subtlety which are all to rare in the fantasy genre and the story/characters are as dark as anything those other masters , George R.R Martin and Steven Erikson, could hope to conjure. I hesitate to go into any great detail on the book itself for fear of introducing spoilers but suffice to say that the writer and book are of the very highest class and have even attracted deserved praise from the quality, literate papers such as the Guardian as well as his successful peers.
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I prefer my fantasy deep and dark and this certainly fits the bill. In my younger days I thought the works of JRR Tolkien would never be surpassed. In recent years George RR Martin became my favourite fantasy author with a body of work that was much more adult than LOTR's. However, over the last couple of years I have read all of R Scott Bakker's fantasy series (starting with 'The Darkness that Comes Before') and I now have a new favourite. It is similar in scope and in feel with 'Dune' .... it is as adult and mature as 'A Song of Ice and Fire' .... and as epic 'The Lord of the Rings'. 'The Darkness That Comes Before' is deep, dark with characters complex and interesting. The book takes inspiration from real life historical events such as The Crusades with conflicts between religions, but also adds magic, various political factions and an ancient evil into the mix. From beginning to end, I found this book (and the following books ..... 5 in total, soon to be 6 in 2015) to be fascinating, exciting and thought provoking.
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Format: Paperback
Tired of reading books that create a world in which nothing is explained? Tired of reading books that skimp out human culture and make each realm a carbon copy of the one before? You need a book that gives you interesting cultures, religions, and so forth without drowning in pedantic detail. You will like The Darkness that Comes Before.
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
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Format: Paperback
I'm sick of generic, formulaic fantasy. The storylines are the same. Only the names change. The virtual shelves of Amazon bend under the weight of them. I'm sick of adolescent characterisations and vacuous, sanitised storylines that wouldn't phase a vicar freshly back from a prude-awareness course. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I picked up this book. Fresh. Grown up. Sophisticated. Dark. Unflinching. Challenging. Enough already to lift this up above the rest and make me rave. But that's just the beginning. Don't bother with it if you need your plots spoonfeeding to you, because you'll be lost from the beginning. Don't bother if you don't want to stop occasionally and think about the meaning behind the words, because the deep subtlety of this book will be lost on you. This is a book that repays the reader's effort with an interest rate that would have bankers flinching and crossing themselves. The plot is brilliantly woven around an exquisite philosophy of determinism. It warns you of the manipulative nature of its characters, then goes ahead and manipulates you. It inspires and sickens by turns, but it consistently amazes. Characters can be made to seem clever by an author's shallow trickery, but the intellect of Scott Bakker's protagonist took genius. The author has created a mountain amongst fantasy molehills. He has provided giants' shoulder's and challenged others to ride upon them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After branching off into some other fiction, I felt the itch to come back to fantasy and, after a bit of looking around, stumbled upon this and thought I'd see if it was any good. I have not been disappointed, this is nothing short of amazing.

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.
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