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Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Book 1) Paperback – June 28, 2005

500 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Codex Alera Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Butcher's absorbing fantasy, the first in a new series, the barbarians are at the gates of the land of Alera, which has a distinct flavor of the Roman Empire (its ruler is named Quintus Sextus and its soldiers are organized in legions). Fortunately, Alera has magical defenses, involving the furies or elementals of water, earth, air, fire and metal, that protect against foes both internal and external. Amara, a young female spy, and her companion, Odiana, go into some of the land's remoter territories to discover if military commander Atticus Quentin is a traitor—another classic trope from ancient Rome. She encounters a troubled young man, Tavi, who has hitherto been concerned mostly with the vividly depicted predatory "herdbanes" that threaten his sheep as well as with his adolescent sexual urges (handled tastefully). Thinking that Amara is an escaping slave, Tavi decides to help her and is immediately sucked in over his head into a morass of intrigues, military, magical and otherwise. Butcher (Storm Front, etc.) does a thorough job of world building, to say nothing of developing his action scenes with an abundance of convincing detail. This page-turner bodes well for future volumes.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This first book of a series, the Codex Aliera, is a real page-turner, with the classic plot of a kingdom threatened by both an outside invader and internal treachery enlivened by an abundance of original details and sheer storytelling gusto. For centuries, the ability of the people of Aliera to bond with furies--elemental spirits of earth, air, fire, water, and metal--has allowed them to defend their land against invaders. But the current lord is old and lacks an heir. So Aliera's traditional enemies plot with treacherous lords within the country to seize power. Far off in the mountains, the young lad Tavi struggles with his inability to attract and bond with a fury--and with sensual adolescent urges. He saves the life of a young girl he believes to be a slave, but who is actually an agent of the king, looking for traitors. Tavi is himself drawn into battle and war before he can say "lost sheep." A promising series launcher. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (June 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044101268X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441012688
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (500 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jim Butcher read his first fantasy novel when he was seven years old--
the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. By the time he turned eight,
he'd added the rest of the Narnia books, the Prydain Chronicles, every
book about Star Wars he could find, a great many Star Trek novels and
the Lord of the Rings to his count.

So he was pretty much doomed from the start.

Love of fantasy, his personal gateway drug, drew him toward a fairly
eclectic spread of interests: horseback riding (including trick riding,
stunt riding, drill riding, and competitive stunt racing), archery,
martial arts, costuming, music and theater. He played a lot of role-
playing games, a lot of fantasy-based tactical computer games, and
eventually got into live-action roleplay where players beat each other
up with boffer weapons.

So, really, he can fly his nerd flag with pretty much anyone, and
frequently does.

He took up writing to be able to produce fantasy novels with swords and
horses in them, and determinedly wrote terrible fantasy books until,
just to prove a point to his writing teacher, he decided to take every
piece of her advice; fill out outlines and worksheets, and design
stories and characters just the way she'd been telling him to do for
about three years. He was certain that once she saw what hideous art it
produced, she would be proven wrong and repent the error of her ways.
The result was the Dresden Files, which sure showed *her*.

She has not yet admitted her mistake and recanted her philosophy on

Jim has performed in dramas, musicals, and vocal groups in front of
live audiences of thousands and on TV. He has performed exhibition
riding in multiple arenas, and fallen from running horses a truly
ridiculous number of times. He was once cursed by an Amazon witch
doctor in rural Brazil, has apparently begun writing about himself in
the third person, and is hardly ever sick at sea.

He also writes books occasionally.

Jim stands accused of writing the Dresden Files and the Codex Alera.
He's plead insanity, but the jury is still out on that one. He lives in
Missouri with his wife, romantic suspense and paranormal romance writer
Shannon K. Butcher (who is really pretty and way out of his league),
his son, and a ferocious guard dog.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on September 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
According to a video interview Jim Butcher gave, he started writing the Codex Alera series on something of a dare: someone challenged him to write an epic sword-and-horse fantasy based on the two things the challenger found most annoying, those being "Pokemon and lost Roman legions". One would think this would be an awkward combination, but in Jim's hands, it's something new and original to bring to the genre. I love the modified Roman Empire milieu, and the concept of "fury-crafting", of working with elemental beings which can shape the substance of things around the crafter, fascinates me.

That said, I also approached this series on something of a dare: a rather strident teenaged fan of Jim's urban fantasy series, "The Dresden Files", came onto the forums on Jim's website, blasting the Codex Alera series and practically ordering Jim to stop writing it and focus his time and talent on more Dresden Files books. His reason: "Codex Alera sucks because it isn't the Dresden Files". I'd only at the time scanned a few sample chapters of Furies of Calderon and had found it a little hard to tune into (I'm a little leery of epic fantasy since, to me anyway, the bar got set so high by greats like J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard), but I decided to give it another shot and see what the kerfuffle was all about.

I'm glad I rose to the challange set by this otherwise forum troll: In some ways, the book is a set-up for the series to come, but it is still a very worthwhile read. The characters are life-like, complex, and very sympathetic -- even the antagonists: the Marat might, at first glance, seem like mere barbarians who work closely with the totem animals of their tribes, but as the story unfolds, we find they are a complex community of individuals with their own psyches and ideas.
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102 of 110 people found the following review helpful By L. A. Kane TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A well crafted fantasy by Jim Butcher. The setting is a Romanesque empire called Alera where the people bond with furies (elementals) of air, earth, fire, water, or metal during their childhood or early adolescence to obtain magical powers and thus defend the land against their foes. Our main hero's name is Tavi. He is a 15-year-old shepherd boy, one of the only people in Alera who has not bonded with a fury. Obviously he turns out to be more than he first appears. Amara is a courageous and resourceful heroine; Fidelias a bold and daring villain. As I've come to expect of Mr. Butcher, the writing is excellent, witty, and very entertaining. His style in this one is quite different from the Dresden novels, however. For example, rather than remaining first-person throughout, the perspective bounces around between the three main players. The pacing is superb, a real page turner. While the Dresden Files are more my style, I very much enjoyed this book as well. Recommended read.
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89 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Esther Schindler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series succeeds largely because the wry humor underlying the story is irresistable. Furies of Calderon is good, too; but it has a totally different tone. You'll enjoy FofC, I think -- Butcher is an excellent writer, and he paints a compelling word-picture -- but don't come into expecting Harry Dresden in a Fantasy Universe.

I admit that I found the beginning of the book a little slow. The setup takes several chapters, because there are quite a few characters to introduce: Tavi, the 15-year-old boy with no furies (magic powers of air, water, earth, or fire) to call upon; Amara, the crown's spy; Tavi's uncle and aunt; and a few more. *Do* give the book 50 pages before you decide what you think of it, as that's when the action really starts.

And it's good stuff. If you've been looking for a solid sword-and-sorcery and a nice not-so-predictible quest, you'll enjoy the book a lot. I'm looking forward to the second book in the series, which (thankfully) has already come out.
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45 of 57 people found the following review helpful By K. Maxwell on November 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
All the people of Alera are bonded with elemental furies which come to them in their childhood or early adolescence - except Tavi, who at 15 does not have his fury yet and is considered somewhat of a freak.

However, it is Tavi and the escaped Cursor Amara who will set off a chain of events that will change their world and help foil an invasion attempt of their home instigated by traitors. This is an action-adventure fantasy novel that moves along at a brisk pace with a fairly wide cast of characters.

Jim Butcher has created an interesting world with this novel and it is obvious that most of the secrets of Tavi's family have yet to be explored, but thankfully there will be another book which may flesh out some of the lingering mysteries.

My only slight disappointment is that Butcher succumbed to the fantasy cliché of using an orphaned 15 year old boy as his central character - but that did not stop me actually liking Tavi. On the whole I'm glad I've read this book and will be looking forward to book 2 when it is published.
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89 of 116 people found the following review helpful By KTB on June 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Spoilers - just so ya know. Oh, and snark.

Furies of Calderon is your standard fantasy story. The novel takes place in a quasi-medieval past time on an alternate Earth or some kind of Earth-like space populated by humans. Everyone in this world has a Fury, which is some kind of sentient elemental power that attaches itself to a person when they're hitting puberty and allows them to do elemental magic. The stronger your Fury, the stronger magic stuff you can do. Some people even have more than one.

There is a boy protagonist (Tavi), teenaged, who is an outsider (sort of) because he doesn't have a Fury. He is special in some other way that is hinted at yet never revealed in the book because this is volume 1 of who knows how many and there has to be some way to make you read the next 6 books, right? Right. So, he's special and doesn't know it, is considered a freak by some and a pity case by others, wants to leave the "homestead" and go off to the "city" to study at the "university" so he can make something of himself. And, by gum, his dreams are gonna come true! (cue Disney music)

And, of course, we have the familiar set of Kings and Queens and Knights and nobles and Homesteaders and serfs and all that jazz. You'd think that people with such wildly different everyday circumstances from regular humans would find some wildly different way to organize themselves and structure their society. Nope. Damn humans, always the same.

To go along with this standard worldview is the standard political intrigue plot. Some noble somewhere doesn't like how the King runs things. He thinks he can do things better.
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