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Well of Sorrows Mass Market Paperback – May 3, 2011


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075640665X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756406653
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1.5 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,471,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Benjamin Tate was born in North-Central Pennsylvania and is currently a college professor living near Endicott, New York. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
I look forward to the second book in the series.
blood_of_winter
I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys epic fantasy where the elves get muddy and the hero struggles against both internal and external problems.
Clare L. Deming
The cultural details are plentiful and make the different races and characters feel fully formed and realistic, as do their interactions with each other.
B. Capossere

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Fortier on June 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a great tale that picks up speed as you read on. The story is full of realistic characters with genuine inner struggles, who together face serious external conflicts. Colin is a great lead character and when he feels something, you feel it too.

The unique customs, settings, and histories really flesh this world out, and although it sort of feels like colonial America early on, things take a dramatic change for the better when the other races are discovered. I thoroughly liked the magic, including its limitations and costs, though it was pretty sparely used during the first half of the story. For those who like lots of magic up front, you'll have to wait.

The action starts off small, changing to larger scale skirmishes and battles later on. What I liked best about this book was how the protagonist resolves the final conflict using his abilities. I won't say how, but it was a breath of fresh air for the genre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Capossere TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 7, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One's enjoyment of The Well of Sorrows, by Benjamin Tate (pen name of Joshua Palmatier) will depend greatly on two issues: one's patience for slowly developing stories and the amount of "fantasy" one is looking for in a fantasy novel. But by all means, give this book a try, as it is turned out to be one of my top ten fantasy reads of the year, though having been released in 2010 it can't go on my official list for 2011. It can, however, go on my "Why do I start reading compelling series before they are completed; will I never learn?" list.

The story's opening setting is Portstown, a "New World" colony still riven by old "Family" feuds from the mother kingdom across the ocean. In short order, things fall apart and after a quickly quelled riot (starkly, realistically violent and well-handled), the out-of-favor Families end up on a forced emigration, forming a wagon train heading out into the unexplored/unsettled plains. With them are the main characters--a young boy named Colin; his fiancé, Karen; his parents; and Walter--the local Lord's son and representative and the person who has been brutally beating/tormenting Colin for some time back in Portstown. We follow their movement across new lands, past a geographic obstacle known as the Escarpment, and then we watch their first contact on the upper plains with several groups: first the Alvritshai, led by a young heir to one of their Houses, Aeren; then the Dwarren, and finally the horrifying Shadows. After a surprisingly dark turn, the book skips ahead several decades to a transformed Colin, one now able to wield a form of magic associated with the titular Well, magic which has basically allowed him not to age but which has also come at some cost and possible threat to his humanity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
In the landof Andover, the Twelve Families of the Court prepare for a Feud that will eventually be an all out war tearing apart the country. Citizens from each of the Families travel on ships across the Arduon Ocean to escape the fighting and to settle on land promised to them. Colin Harten and his parents travel to Portstown, which belongs to House Carente, who does not welcome the refugees from the Twelve Families war or their allies.

The Hartens, who belong to the Bontari Family, are forced to live in a city where they cannot find work. The situation gets so bad that the Proprietor ruler of the establishment plans to destroy the Lean-to city where the refugees live. He tells the residents that they can go on a wagon train to begin a new settlement trying to be created by the Family and the Church. Colin's dad leads the wagon train knowing no one who left for the Plains ever returned. They encounter the Alvritshi warriors who warn them to go back. However, the refugees decide to continue though afraid as they have nothing to return to. The Dwarren hate humans who betrayed treaties with them attack them while the dark forest contains Shadows who kill without leaving a trace. Colin barely survives but the Faelehgre spirits of light get him the drink of Life Blood from the Well of Sorrows. He stays there for several years and is no longer human. After six decades he returns to human lands and realizes there is no place for him but he is needed.

This is a huge fantasy in which the above paragraphs fails to even come close to what is going on as the details are extraordinary. Colin obviously plays a critical role in the Colonies now called Provinces.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barbara C. Lofink on May 25, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Well of Sorrows is at once a personal story of young Colin Harten and an epic tale of the clash of three races vying for dominion over the "New World." The magical thread that links both stories is the aptly named Well of Sorrows.

The first part of the book focuses on Colin and his family as they struggle to survive in the slums of Portstown. The story gathers momentum when they are forced to emigrate west. Portents of disaster create a sense of imminent doom that is fulfilled when the wagon train is attacked. Colin is rescued by mysterious beings, but his fate is almost as tragic as that of the other colonists.

We spend only a chapter at the Well, but in it, Tate brilliantly encapsulates the passage of time, sets up the forces seeking dominion over the Well - and Colin - and establishes Colin's resolution to leave before he succumbs to the Well's power completely.

The final half of the book focuses on the struggles of the three races for supremacy. This is where Tate shines. He boldly rethinks the conventional fantasy tropes to create a world that is fascinating, complex, and original. His dwarren and Alvritshai bear only a passing resemblance to traditional dwarves and elves, just as his "wild, wild West" is recognizable only by the covered wagons that traverse it and the "gaezels" that inhabit its grasslands. The political machinations feel as real as the characters who are caught up in them.

As you might expect from the first book of a trilogy, this one offers a provisional "happy" ending and the promise of future havoc. While I am interested in the fate of the three races, I will keep reading to learn whether Colin will resist the lure of the Well or fall prey to its power. Given Tate's penchant for dark, brooding narrative, there will be no easy resolution. In his world, victory requires sacrifice and magic exacts a brutal cost. I'm eager to see just how high the price will be.
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More About the Author

Benjamin Tate is an author with DAW Books and is currently working on a dark epic fantasy trilogy comprised of the books WELL OF SORROWS, LEAVES OF FLAME, and BREATHE OF HEAVEN. The first two books are now available and the third will be released sometime in 2013. He also has a short story called "An Alewife in Kish" in the anthology AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE UR-BAR, edited by Joshua Palmatier & Patricia Bray.

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