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Farlander (Heart of the World) Hardcover – January 18, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Heart of the World (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st Us Edition edition (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765331055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765331052
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #760,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in an impressively imagined war-ravaged world in which the island of Khos has suffered a decade-long siege, Buchanan's debut focuses on the stories of individuals representing the different sides of war. Ash is a member of the elite Roshun, whose role is to seek vengeance for those who have been murdered. His apprentice, Nico, was raised from living on the streets to the ranks of the Roshun. Kirkus, the indolent heir to the aggressive Mann Empire, is given a thoughtful, well-rounded portrayal even as he murders a priest's daughter who is protected by the Roshun, throwing the world into chaos. The inclusion of gunpowder and airships nod to recent steampunk trends, though many of the standard epic fantasy elements remain. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

With his debut novel, Buchanan fashions a fantasy-based realm called The Heart of the World, which relies less on the genre’s usual staple of sorcery and curious creatures than on the author’s impressive skill at fleshing out characters. Nico is a street urchin living hand to mouth in the tyrannical Empire of Mann’s capital city when he’s caught stealing red-handed and then given a hard-to-refuse opportunity to redress his crimes by becoming an apprentice. His alternately terrifying and exhilarating new trade, however, is that of a Roshun, or assassin, and his mentor is an aging warrior named Ash, who’s approaching the end of his life and career. When the Prince of Mann murders a woman who falls under the Roshun order’s protection, it falls to Nico and Ash to carry out a morally dubious and death-defying vendetta. While Buchanan’s inexperience is visible with a sagging midsection and inconsistent pacing, the tale ends with some rousing action and a startling plot twist that cleverly hooks the reader for the author’s planned sequel. --Carl Hays

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Customer Reviews

I look forward to the next book in the series.
Janice Sims
If you hate stories with the least bit of convoluted plot then steer clear of this book.
D. Wortham
The characters are well written and the world-building is very deep.
Wildwily

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Justin G. TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm more than a little picky when it comes to fantasy fiction. I used to read everything, but discovering George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series has pretty much ruined me for the average fantasy series. I still enjoy the genre enough to keep an eye out for promising new fantasy series, which is why I gave Farlander, the debut novel by Col Buchanan a try.

There are a few different storylines going on in Farlander. The main story focuses on Nico, a young man living on the streets until a chance encounter finds him apprenticed to Master Ash, one of the legendary assassins of the Roshun order. Nico's apprenticeship occurs against the backdrop of a world at war (Buchanan's world is one of guns and airships, and little in the way of magic), where the vast Empire of Mann is poised to seize control of the few territories that remain unbowed. This conflict only intensified as the Roshun are called to eliminate the son of the Mannian ruler.

Farlander reads like the best elements from Brent Weeks' Night Angel trilogy were added to a David Gemmell book. It's full of vibrant, all too human characters, an abundance of action, political intrigue and military strategy. Buchanan doesn't always avoid the fantasy clichés, but when he uses them he still manages to throw in some surprises (including a whopper at the end). There are enigmatic warriors, sinister plotters, and best of all ordinary people that find themselves in extraordinary situations.

It's not perfect, but Farlander has plenty of excitement and - most importantly - plenty of heart. I'd recommend it to fans of the late David Gemmell (RIP) in particular and cloak and dagger/military/political-themed fantasy fiction in general.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Gus Smedstad VINE VOICE on November 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's not good when you finish a book and say to yourself, "what was the point of that?"

Farlander is for the most part a fairly workmanlike book about a guild of warriors who, for a fee, agree to avenge their clients if someone should kill them. While billed as "assassins," they aren't really, since they only exact retribution for deaths that might happen, rather than accepting general contracts to kill.

The cover suggests something steampunkish, since we have a man with a drawn sword with a winged dirigible in the background. It isn't, really. It's fairly routine 17th-18th century stuff with swords and flintlocks, except that there are also dirigibles. Magic makes a very, very brief appearance, but for the most part doesn't enter into the story.

There are three main points of view in the book: Ash the Farlander Roshun assassin, the head of an evil theocracy that's in the process of conquering the known world, and some people in a besieged city. The "evil high priest" thread exists just so we know how really, really evil the religion is. The "besieged city" thread is completely pointless. It's very sporadic, so we never get more than a superficial look at the characters, and absolutely nothing happens.

So mainly we follow Ash as he first executes a vendetta in what seems like a somewhat inept fashion, recruits an apprentice, trains the apprentice, and finally comes into conflict with the evil theocracy. That's about it. Quite a lot is unresolved at the end of the book, and it's clearly intended to be just the first book of many, though how many are unclear. It's just the "first novel in the Heart of the World series." The problem is, when the book ended, I wasn't all that curious to see what happened next. It's not that it was bad, it was just not all that interesting, overall.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rodney Meek VINE VOICE on February 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There's much to like in this novel, the start of a new fantasy series. There have been several fictional treatments of assassins and their guilds in this genre, so this isn't groundbreaking in that regard. I did find the concept of the Roshun intriguing: clients buy a medallion from them that publicly proclaims that they're under the protection of the order, and the reputation of the Roshun (who follow a strange Zen melange of what we would refer to as African and Japanese elements) is usually a sufficient safeguard, with these impartial killers having an excellent track record of relentlessly hunting down and exterminating anyone bold enough to murder their customers. Similarly non-groundbreaking is a world that is threatened by an evil empire, although for once it is not arising from the villainous East or the mysterious South, as is the case with most fantasy threats, nor is it chock-full of monstrous races led by demented mages. The variation here is that the bad guys are essentially a cult of Aleister Crowley "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" types whose entire ideology is based on having a good time at the mortal expense of others.

Marrying these two elements together inevitably means that someone very high up in the leadership of the despicable Order of Mann will casually kill a person under the protection of the Roshun, leaving the asssassins with little choice other than to try to run down and execute the perpetrator against immense odds and the certainty that the very existence of their order will be jeopardized.
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