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The Fifth Sorceress: Volume I of the Chronicles of Blood and Stone Hardcover – 1 Jul 2002

2.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books (July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345448928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345448927
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 4.6 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,909,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The Fifth Sorceress is an undoubtedly impressive debut in epic fantasy for Robert Newcomb. It has a dark magnificence in many of its set pieces of slaughter and magic, even though it is seriously flawed by a prurient paranoia about powerful women and unfettered female sexuality. Young Tristan is about to inherit the throne of Eustracia and resents the fact that his entire life has been mapped out for him--30 years of kingship followed by immortality as a wizard. Nothing, though, is going to be as he expects; centuries earlier the wizards of Eustracia exiled four powerful sorceresses, who had almost won a particularly vicious civil war. Now that Tristan and his sister have been born--filled, unknown to themselves, with magic potential--the sorceresses' plans have matured and they are about to return in blood and terror. Newcomb has a real gift for describing violent action and intense emotional states; he puts his hero through a series of ordeals as upsetting as they are thrilling. Tristan wins, as we always expect him to, and then Newcomb gives us a slingshot ending that implies fascinating sequels of ever escalating wonder and terror. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"'Beautifully and vividly drawn ...impressive'"

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I picked this book up after seeing the massive advertising campaign that Newcomb's American publisher, Del Rey was throwing around for such a new author. I had hopes that it would even be half as good as the publisher claimed. I was well rewarded. Del Rey makes the claim up front of similarities between Robert Newcomb and Terry Goodkind, and for once those kind of claims bear out.
Newcomb has created his own unique world, with characters that I found to be highly believable, characters that are "flawed" as the now popular saying goes, but are still heroic. Through all of this Newcomb creates a feel, an atmosphere to his work which is very "Goodkindian", while still being unique unto himself.
Some of the negative reviews around the Net are preposterous, of course the book has a few rough edges, after all it is the first novel that Robert Newcomb has ever written, but his writing improves with every chapter, which is also very similar to Goodkind. As far as some of the other comments go about being sexist and what not, all Robert Newcomb has done is reverse the tables, instead of the "Dark Lord" we have the "Dark Sorceresses", instead of evil men pillaging and raping, we have evil women doing it.
According to some of the reviewers here it seems ok when men are evil and participate in despicable acts, but when women do it, and the author is a man, then the author and his world are sexist. To me, this adds uniqueness to Newcomb's world, and there are many times where he stresses that women are not evil, and that not even all Sorceresses are evil, just some of the most powerful ones in the world at this time.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let me be blunt. This book is badly written, has a plot full of holes and is not worth any of your valuable time. Even the basic concept of the story is flawed. I should have been warned by the fact that the lead character is called Tristan, but I always was a sucker for a pretty front cover...
The premise goes that 300 years ago the wizards (who are good) narrowly defeated the sorceresses (who are bad) in a war. But instead of executing them, the wizards took them out into the ocean, from where nobody has ever returned if they sailed out for more than 15 days, and left them to die. Naturally the sorceresses survived and spent the 300 year gap plotting revenge and breeding themselves a race of winged demons.
Then enter Prince Tristan, who behaves like a stroppy teenager despite being just days from his 30th birthday. On his birthday the King will abdicate and he will become King. But guess what - he doesn't want to be King. He'd rather spend his time throwing knives into trees. And then we have Wigg, the great Wizard who should have executed the sorceresses 300 years ago but didn't because the wizarding order doesn't condone murder. He has his suspicions that the sorceresses might be about to make a come back, but instead of sending the royal family into the hills to hide, he allows the "abdication ceremony" to go ahead, and, surprise surprise, the sorceresses and their winged minions turn up and wreak death and destruction on all but poor Tristan and the inept Wigg, who manage to escape, and Tristan's sister, who is captured. At this point, instead of packing up and heading for the hills, Wigg decides to give Tristan a history lesson and explains in a very long-winded and boring way how magic works and how the sorceresses were defeated in the war.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
and that's just what they are, they never form a whole. The central characters flit from one emotional state to another with no discernable reason for anything. They go from knowing nothing about a situation and being powerless to do anything, to having supreme insight and the capability to sort out the situation in a sentence. Also there are glaring inconsistancies that had me re-reading several sections.
I really wanted to like this book, and I really wanted to like the characters, but it's difficult to build up any enthusiasm when you get the over-riding feeling that the main plot was sketched out and then the detail was never filled in. The magic system was never explained adequately - for certain powerful spells rituals have to be performed and beams of light come from the sky, and yet for a sorceress to float about the room and make magical cages appear takes no effort whatsoever. Why? How are they doing it?
The book reminded me of children playing "I'm an evil sorceress and I'm attacking you with a lightning bolt"..."well I'm using my anti-lightning bolt cloak that I've just found behind this tree to protect myself" - okay it's not literally like that but pretty close upon occasion.
To add to it all there then seemed to be some printing areas, with paragraphs from later chapters appearing in the middle of earlier chapters.
Get this book from the library and if you like it then by it. I persevered to the end and then threw it in the bin straight away.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am terrible for a sort of authors style , that ive followed for decades , Eddings etc but i vary a lot and a tale has to grip me pretty quickly . this was a bit slow to get my interest. but well written and a theme which was a little different. i am also not fond of female leads and hereoins. But i will read more.
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