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The Whitefire Crossing (The Shattered Sigil) [Kindle Edition]

Courtney Schafer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dev is a smuggler with the perfect cover. He's in high demand as a guide for the caravans that carry legitimate goods from the city of Ninavel into the country of Alathia. The route through the Whitefire Mountains is treacherous, and Dev is one of the few climbers who knows how to cross them safely. With his skill and connections, it's easy enough to slip contraband charms from Ninavel - where any magic is fair game, no matter how dark - into Alathia, where most magic is outlawed.

But smuggling a few charms is one thing; smuggling a person through the warded Alathian border is near suicidal. Having made a promise to a dying friend, Dev is forced to take on a singularly dangerous cargo: Kiran. A young apprentice on the run from one of the most powerful mages in Ninavel, Kiran is desperate enough to pay a fortune to sneak into a country where discovery means certain execution - and he'll do whatever it takes to prevent Dev from finding out the terrible truth behind his getaway.

Yet the young mage is not the only one harboring a deadly secret. Caught up in a web of subterfuge and dark magic, Dev and Kiran must find a way to trust each other - or face not only their own destruction, but that of the entire city of Ninavel.

Editorial Reviews


"Schafer has built a world of magic and politics that readers will want to revisit over and over...a damn fine read--don't miss it." --Teresa Frohock, author of Miserere: An Autumn Tale

"A tense adventure fantasy, with magic, intrigue, and engaging characters in a desperate race to cross a deadly mountain exciting original read." --Martha Wells, author of The Cloud Roads

"Fully developed characters. Across the board worldbuilding... Accomplished writing. Engaging storytelling... Add it all up and there's no doubt in my mind that The Whitefire Crossing is not only one of the best fantasy debuts of 2011, but it's also one of the year's best fantasy novels period..." --Robert Thompson of Fantasy Book Critic

Product Details

  • File Size: 641 KB
  • Print Length: 395 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1597802832
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (August 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,289 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best fantasy debut of 2011 so far. August 1, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I always hear the phrase, "write what you know." My reaction has typically been who the hell would want to read a fantasy novel about bodybuilding, basketball, or energy policy? Of course the answer is - my mom. Thankfully for me, and everyone else who will have the pleasure of reading The Whitefire Crossing, Courtney Schafer's knowledge of mountaineering has a much broader appeal.

When I received my advanced copy of Whitefire, I took a minute to read about the author's background. As it turns out she's an avid rock climber with years of experience. She even has a picture of herself inverted on her "About" page on her website. I always find it difficult to walk the line between writing what I know and committing mental masturbation. Look how much I know about this! In a surprising development (notice the sarcasm here) Schafer is a better writer than I am. While she may have shared my same concerns, she shouldn't have.

Every second spent on rock climbing or related activities in Whitefire is a breath of fresh air. Her enthusiasm bleeds through the page infusing her main character Dev with vigor and life that couldn't have been accomplished any other way. It's clear that when Schafer put fingers to keys she was excited to write this story. This passion sustains the novel in its early stages and provides the momentum that carries it to a great conclusion.

Schafer's main character Dev is an outrider for a merchant caravan with a penchant for scaling difficult mountain sides. He's also a part time smuggler who gets talked into bringing the mage Kiran across the border that divides two nations with diametrically opposed viewpoints on the legality of magic.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very polished for a debut, shows real promise August 19, 2011
Dev works as an outrider for caravans crossing the Whitefire mountains, going from the city of Ninavel to the kingdom of Alathia. To pad his income, Dev also does some smuggling on the side. After all, there's a prohibition on magic in Alathia, so Dev can make a handsome amount of money transporting various magical items from magic-friendly Ninavel across the border. As The Whitefire Crossing starts, Dev is asked by his contact to take along an unusual package: a young man called Kiran. The surprisingly high reward is what finally convinces Dev to take on this risk, because he is hoping to raise enough money to free a young girl before she is sold into slavery...

Dev is an interesting main character, especially because of his history as a "Tainted" youngster. Some prepubescent children have minor magical skills, making them ideal assistants in various criminal enterprises. Unfortunately, the magical "Taint" usually wears off with the onset of puberty, at which point the children become useless for crime and are often sold into a much less savory business... Dev's history makes him especially sensitive to this -- hence his desire to save children from this fate.

The first half of The Whitefire Crossing is excellent, entertaining adventure fantasy. The descriptions of the journey through the Whitefire mountains are fascinating. Author Courtney Schafer is a mountain climber, and it shows in the many knowledgeable and exciting descriptions of climbing expeditions. To explain Kiran's presence, Dev pretends that the young man is learning to be an outrider, but when it becomes clear what he really is -- the apprentice of a feared bloodmage -- the adventure takes on a completely different tone. What's more, there's a spy in the convoy who may put the entire venture in jeopardy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong and entertaining debut December 22, 2011
You read fantasy and you wish you could become a wizard detective, a clever thief, Superman...but, a rock-climber? That's precisely what I wished to become after I was done with Courtney Schafer's debut novel, The Whitefire Crossing. Not that the book itself was about rock-climbing, but the passages in which it was featured, were quite compelling. I'm scared of heights, so one can dream. It's the first book in The Shattered Sigil series, followed by The Tainted City projected for a 2012 release.

Dev is an outrider for caravans as they travel from one city to another, particularly through the mountains in which he uses his mountaineering expertise to scout for any danger. He also takes smuggling jobs on the side. He's been lauded to be very good at his job, though a risk taker for his love and thrill of rock climbing, he's been risk averse on the smuggling jobs he takes; until now. Losing all his savings due to some circumstances, savings he needed to save the life of someone he cares and is responsible for, he's forced into smuggling a young man, Kiran, into a city with a heavily guarded border against his better judgement. Unbeknownst to him, Kiran is a mage on the run from a very powerful and dangerous mage who'd stop at nothing to get him back.

The book is narrated in both first and third person limited perspectives. First person belongs to Dev, while the third person limited belongs to Kiran. I personally love this exercise, while I know some will find the style not to their liking, but I thought it was handled quite well. The switches in POV are marked preceding the passages, so there will be no confusion. I don't think readers will have problem getting into rhythm if that is of concern.

The Whitefire Crossing was a real treat of a novel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Just an okay fantasy novel. This review includes Spoilers.
I read The Whitefire Crossing because the author is an avid mountain climber and hiker, and her debut novel is clearly about mountain climbing and outdoors adventure. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Arthur Enyedy
3.0 out of 5 stars It finished a lot stronger than it started.
Not one of those books you couldn't put down. It finished a lot stronger than it started. I guess I'm not into mages.
Published 1 month ago by Robert Tenerowicz
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fantasy with a cliffhanger ending
I think that the author here had a terrific premise. However, I thought that the execution failed somewhere after 60-70% into the book. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nayan P
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, not great.
Found myself skipping pages throughout the book. If I'm out of options and need a book I might get the second just to see what happens.
Published 5 months ago by Richard Pratt
4.0 out of 5 stars good debut novel
The Whitefire Crossing is Courtney Schafer's debut novel. Overall, I have a positive impression of the book. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sneaky Burrito
4.0 out of 5 stars E-Books
I downloaded this book from a free website. I liked the story line and would read more books by this author.
Published 9 months ago by Sandra Buffalow
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best I've read in a long time
After 20 years of reading fantasy books more often than not I find myself reading a story I've really read several times before, meeting characters I've known for a long time under... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Gentlemen Monkey
5.0 out of 5 stars The Whitefire Crossing
I just discovered Whitefire Crossing and can't put it down. It's gripping and I was looking for just these characters of Dev and Kiran and heroes to love. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Cheryl Detmer
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-written story, with interesting characters.
Its hard not to be jaded when reading fantasy, after doing so for 20 years, but this story is interesting. Its not perfect, but its interesting. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jackfoo
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book ending is disapointing
I really enjoyed the Whitefire Crossing. It is creative fantasy, away from the typical cliches, with imaginative ideas and interesting new concepts. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Alain C.
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More About the Author

A voracious reader, Courtney Schafer took up writing when she found that fantasy books weren't published fast enough to satisfy her craving for new worlds full of magic and wonder. When not writing, Courtney figure skates, climbs 14,000 foot peaks, squeezes through Utah slot canyons, and skis way too fast through trees. To support her adrenaline-fueled hobbies and writing habit, she received a degree in electrical engineering from Caltech and now works in the aerospace industry. She lives with her husband and son in the climber's paradise of Colorado.

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