Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Farlander (Heart of the World Book One)

Title: Farlander
Author: Col Buchanan
Series: Heart of the World (Book 1)

Succeeded By: ???


Score: 10/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite!


Given that this is a debut novel, it is perhaps forgivable that I hadn't heard of Col Buchanan before I read this book. But I'm glad that I have now. Farlander is a fantastic novel, with an incredible storyline, and a completely unexpected twist that, well, was quite a surprise...

The story starts quickly, in media res, and while the pace varies for the situation, the book never seems rushed, and never too slow. Somehow Buchanan always manages to get it right, and always keeps the plot flow interesting.

Uniquely, in my reading experience, there was one particular scene that stood out in memory, where Buchanan wrote an explanation for the immoral behaviour of "the bad guys", and constantly questions the morality of "the good guys", although he does explain their reasons too. Despite this, there is still the classic good and evil characterisations, but here it seems a deeper, more realistic blur of morality and conscience.

As with any good author, Buchanan writes several characters well, and even characters that appear for only a page or two can appear quite rounded. But the best characters were the Rōshun. Every one of them (Including the apprentices and a not-really Rōshun called Che) were well-written and extremely enjoyable to read.

In fact, there were only two problems with the book that I encountered, and they are minor. The first is that there was one storyline, that of Bahn, the General's advisor, didn't seem to make a lot of difference to the story, although it was interesting. Given that this is just the first book in the series however, it will be interesting to see where this leads. The other problem was the use of the ō character in the word Rōshun, but that's mainly because it meant I had to figure out how to write it in notepad for this review.

In summary, this book was incredible. Buchanan has the potential to become a popular author, and I hope that the publisher, Tor Books, helps him achieve this. Farlander is now one of my favourite books, and I look forwards to the next with anticipation.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): Several Male
Main Antagonist(s): Mixed Genres
Main Relationships: None (Hints of Heterosexual)
Genre: Fantasy
Description: (from amazon)

The Heart of the World is a land in strife. For fifty years the Holy Empire of Mann, an empire and religion born from a nihilistic urban cult, has been conquering nation after nation. Their leader, Holy Matriarch Sasheen, ruthlessly maintains control through her Diplomats, priests trained as subtle predators.
The Mercian Free Ports are the only confederacy yet to fall. Their only land link to the southern continent, a long and narrow isthmus, is protected by the city of Bar-Khos. For ten years now, the great southern walls of Bar-Khos have been besieged by the Imperial Fourth Army.
Ash is a member of an elite group of assassins, the Rōshun - who offer protection through the threat of vendetta. Forced by his ailing health to take on an apprentice, he chooses Nico, a young man living in the besieged city of Bar-Khos. At the time, Nico is hungry, desperate, and alone in a city that finds itself teetering on the brink.
When the Holy Matriarch’s son deliberately murders a woman under the protection of the Rōshun; he forces the sect to seek his life in retribution. As Ash and his young apprentice set out to fulfil the Rōshun orders – their journey takes them into the heart of the conflict between the Empire and the Free Ports . . . into bloodshed and death.

ISBN: 978-0230744813
Website: Author's Site
Amazon Link: Farlander
Pages: 384
First Published: 5 Mar 2010
Publisher: Tor Books

No comments:

Post a Comment