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Lightbreaker: Codex of Souls Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Codex of Souls Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Teppo's urban fantasy debut explores a dramatic premise bogged down by pretentious passages of overblown monologue. Landis Markham, magick user and manipulator of the world's energies, spots a human soul possessing a deer. He follows it, intrigued, and soon lands in the midst of a power struggle that could destroy the world. Using a chain of captured souls to enhance his abilities, Markham chases an evil magus around Seattle and its suburbs as he pieces together a complex plot and continues his relentless fight to save innocents and heal the darkness in his soul. Tighter writing could have made this a page-turner and created more desire for the inevitable sequels, but Teppo beats metaphors into the ground and segments of purple prose mire the plot and distract from the strong characters. (Sept.)
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“Grim and refined, Teppo’s aggressive near-noir is rich and strange—heavily and deftly textured. It’s got a punch that’ll leave you rattled, intrigued, and tasting blood.”
—Cherie Priest, author of Boneshaker and Maplecroft

“The best book about magic that I have read since Peter Straub’s Shadowland...Complex, dark, and one hell of a ride.”
Famous Monsters of Filmland

“With Lightbreaker, Mark Teppo has built something out of shadow and starlight that grabs the reader and simply won't let go. The story is dark and dense and beautifully written. It is also eerie and morally complex and yet ultimately hopeful. Perhaps more to the point, it's simply a damn good read and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what Teppo does next.”
—Kelly McCullough, author of WebMage and Broken Blade

“...awash in unpredictable emotions.”
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Product Details

  • Series: Codex of Souls
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books; 1St Edition edition (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597801380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597801386
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,500,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By The Mad Hatter VINE VOICE on August 28, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lightbreaker is Mark Teppo's first entry in the Codex of Souls series and his debut Urban Fantasy effort, which sets a dark tone for the series well. From page 1 you join an exciting chase with the main character Markham as he follows a body jumping soul and Teppo more than keeps up the pace. Things are a bit cloudy with Markham's past, but Teppo quickly covers the highlights yet still leaves you wanting more. I had an immediate liking to Markham even when he sometimes goes about things not in the nicest manner. He is painted as a grey man and an outsider, which has allowed him to learn all types of magical techniques. The story is set in and around Seattle, which was a nice change up from most UF.

Lightbreaker effortlessly melds many styles of magic such as Hermeticism, Shamanism, and Western magick with a healthy dose of Aleister Crowley and tarot symbolism. The story gets bigger and bigger quite unexpectedly, especially towards the end. What starts as a unusual chase develops into a soul stealing cataclysm. The first section mostly has to do with Markham wanting to get revenge for a great wrong done him, which is quickly turned around on him a bit too easily. However, Teppo quickly made up for this flaw with a broader story and the introduction of great characters and some cool magic. One of the things I've loved about the past few Dresden Files is the magical politics, which Lightbreaker has in spades with more to come.

Lightbreak is a fine entry into Urban Fantasy that is sure to standout from the pack. I give Lightbreaker 8 out of 10 Hats. Fans of strong male protagonist Urban Fantasy are sure to have an immediate connection to Markham and the world Teppo has concocted. There are many plot holes left open, which I hope are address in future volumes.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mark Teppo's novel, Lightbreaker: The First Book of the Codex of Souls (Night Shade Books 2009), is an occult thriller and a novel of ideas in the same vein as Colin Wilson's The Philosopher's Stone (Jeremy P. Tarcher 1989). And although its cover--sexy, athletic man, accompanied by equally sexy young woman--is similar to the covers of most modern urban fantasies dominating the shelves of the science fiction/fantasy section these days, the novel does not fit comfortably within that ilk. Rather, it could be re-shelved with the metaphysical fiction, if the bookstore actually had such a category.

Michael Markham, the protagonist, is not anything like Harry Dresden, Felix Castor, or Atticus O'Sullivan; instead, he is like the first figure of the Tarot--the Fool, who appears anywhere in the pack where a difficult transition is imminent. And like the Fool, Markham is on a journey, a journey up the Tree of Life. However, when the novel begins, woefully, I might add, en medias res, Markham journeys in the opposite direction, following not the progression set forth in the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah but in the opposite direction, along the path of the qlipothic tree, the steps that stand in opposition of the sephiroth.

His journey, fueled by anger, darkness and revenge, has led him to Seattle, the place where the odyssey began. So, when the novel opens, the reader suspects, but doesn't really know, that much has happened in Markham's past. However, this past fuels or excites the current action. Imagine, this back-story, this weighty narrative, contained in the Fool's sack, slung over the Fool's shoulder as an extremely heavy load; its sheer weigh a tangible presence that informs through its hidden-ness that there is much more here than meets the eye.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I got a free copy of Lightbreaker as a publishers promotion. I was curious: what was there about this author and the planned series--the Codex of Souls--that was worth the expense of a WFC giveaway at the book table? I did not keep all the books that were offered at the 2008 World Fantasy, but the title and the art intrigued me, so I lugged this one home.

Much as I love the folks at Night Shade Books, I am NOT the target audience for a novel that repeatedly uses (sometimes sick) sexual imagery in dreams and interpretations of Tarot card readings. I admit that this worked well as a means of foreshadowing and misdirection, but things like a fat cherub beating a fish to death with its oversized engorged tool are enough to throw me right out of a story, okay? The readings and, especially, the dreams just went on and on and on and ON until I found myself skimming, which was not all that useful when said dreams and Tarot readings were referenced again and again as Our Antihero tried to untangle the skein of the mystery.

There were good, nay great moments like when (spoiler alert) the person he most wanted to hurt showed up as a fellow captive, and they settled their differences and worked as allies. It was also wonderful to see the main character go through an internal transformation where he dealt with his fears. And there were unexpected zombies, which worked very well. But the continual, magikal ecumenical "kumbayah" moments where the author tried to show that all forms of magik were the same, really the same! got dizzying in their multiplicity of traditions. Teppo tried to tie together too many forms of magic in one book.

Wendy S. Delmater, Editor
Abyss & Apex Magazine
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