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The Darkness That Comes Before (Prince of Nothing) Hardcover – 1 Jun 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 589 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Press (Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585675598
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585675593
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.4 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,341,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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

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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best series since Patrick Rothfuss' first 2 books. It takes a little while to get to grips with the characters, factions and countries and it pays to access the wiki on occasion. However once you get into them you don't want to stop. P.S. I gave up on book 1 of The Malazan Book of the Fallen series as it was just too difficult to keep up!
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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
The opening volume of The Prince of Nothing Trilogy, itself merely the opening salvo in a much larger epic called The Second Apocalypse, is an insightful, gritty work of epic fantasy. Set in a world which seems to be a collision between Ancient Greece and the First Crusade, the story follows several characters as their destinies become inexorably entwined in the fate of the great Holy War called by the Inrithi Faith against the heathen Fanim. In this first novel the focus is on the sorcerer Achamian as he infiltrates the Holy War, a particularly well-drawn character, if one who is often tormented by birth and circumstance. Elsewhere we meet the enigmatic, insightful Kellhus who seeks his lost father in the lands of the south, and follow the warrior Cnaiur as he journeys from his tribe into the civilised lands of the east on a quest to find his mentor.

The story is intriguing, the writing is extremely powerful in places, and the world is incredibly well-realised. If Bakker has some faults they lie in making the world rather grim, with incidents of light and humour few and far between. But the fleshed-out characters hold the reader's interest, as does the interesting naming conventions (largely based on Ancient Greece, Macedonia and Persia) and the moments of philosophical insight. Unlike more recent books by Steven Erikson, these latter moments are not allowed to overwhelm the main storyline.

Bakker comfortably slips into place as one of the three or four most interesting and innovative fantasy writers working today (alongside Martin, Erikson and Guy Gavriel Kay) . Well recommended.
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