'Compelling... Keeps the pages turning. The final cinematic scene, of a vast landscape filled with enormous armies, nicely sets the stage for book three of this daringly unconventional series in the Tolkien mold.' - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
'A journey unlike any other you have experienced. Part Dante's "Inferno" and part Conrad's "Heart Of Darkness", this is fantasy literature like you've never read before.' - Blogcritics
A score of centuries has passed since the First Apocalypse and the thoughts of men have turned, inevitably, to more worldly concerns...
A veteran sorcerer and spy seeks news of an ancient enemy. A military genius plots to conquer the known world for his Emperor but dreams of the throne for himself. The spiritual leader of the Thousand Temples seeks a Holy War to cleanse the land of the infidel. An exiled barbarian chieftain seeks vengeance against the man who disgraced him. And into this world steps a man like no other, seeking to bind all - man and woman, emperor and slave - to his own mysterious ends.
But the fate of men - even great men - means little when the world itself may soon be torn asunder. Behind the politics, beneath the religious fervour, a dark and ancient evil is reawakening. After two thousand years, the No-God is returning. The Second Apocalypse is nigh. And one cannot raise walls against what has been forgotten...
A startlingly original and assured epic fantasy debut. A tale of conspiracy, holy war, empire-building and intrigue set in the most vividly imagined fantasy world since Tolkien's Middle Earth.
Books by R Scott Baker:
Prince of Nothing Trilogy
The Darkness That Comes Before
The Thousandfold Thought
The Judging Eye
The White Luck Warrior
The Great Ordeal
The Unholy Consult
Disciple of the Dog
Light, Time, and Gravity
Canadian author Bakker's impressive, challenging debut, the first of a trilogy, should please those weary of formulaic epic fantasy. Bakker's utterly foreign world, E rwa, is as complex as that of Tolkien, to whom he is, arguably, a worthier successor than such established names as David Eddings and Stephen Donaldson. Bakker creates an extraordinary cast of nationalities and races involved in an enormous holy war set off by an unseen prophet, Maithanet. (Appendices help keep the history and personalities straight.) He casually drops for half the story an increasingly important character, Anas rimbor Kellhus (aka "the Prince of Nothing"), who finally returns without a breath of exposition. The amiable and wise sorcerer spy Drusas Achamian binds the myriad narrative threads together. Drusas's love for Esmenet, a too-experienced prostitute, provides some tenderness amid the abundant slaughter. In the book's most harrowing scene, which fans of gentler fantasy will find too graphic, Esmenet is raped by a creature who, despite its human appearance, is likely demonic. If this ambitious novel lacks the beauty of Tolkien as well as the sense of pure evil that suffused Middle-earth with genuine terror, its willingness to take chances and avoid the usual genre clich s should win many discriminating readers.