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Sorcery Rising:: Book One of Fool's Gold Hardcover – July 1, 2002

3.4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Fool's Gold Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jude Fisher (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings Visual Companion) inaugurates his Fool's Gold series with Sorcery Rising, the story of a rebellious young knife maker's adventures at the great Allfair, held yearly in the shadow of a sacred rock that her people, the Eyrans, call Sur's Castle, and the Istrians (their former enemies) call Falla's Rock. Though Katla Aransen's boldness in climbing the mount puts her in grave danger, old feuds and strange sorcery seem equally threatening in a tale that asks as many questions as it answers.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

An accomplished knife maker and skilled rock climber, Katla Aransen travels to her first Allfair to ply her trade. When she unwittingly climbs a rock sacred to the people of the Moonfell Plain, she unleashes a storm of events that changes her life and that of her father forever. Even more world-shaking events take place in the land of Elda, and a fugitive albino mage, a woman with no memory, and a mysterious black cat hold secrets that have the power to alter the fate of the world. Fisher's (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings Visual Companion) series opener provides a fast-paced introduction to a world of magic-wielding nomads, ice-bound havens of magic, and royal courts filled with treachery and intrigue. Fans of epic fantasy should enjoy this tale; For most fantasy collections.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Fool's Gold (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: DAW Hardcover (July 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075640083X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756400835
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,258,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Literary fantasy" it isn't, but if you're looking for some good, fast, fun adventure, this is the book for you.
This book moves along at an incredibly rapid clip. There are quite a few characters, but the author doesn't sit with any one of them too long; she cycles through the characters quickly enough that you never get bored with any of them, and in such a way that the plot moves right along. The characters themselves aren't particularly deep or complex, but they are all well-defined and act consistently, and are mostly quite likeable. Also, there are thankfully no "Good" or "Evil" characters, just people who are living their lives. An interesting twist that's not found in too many fantasy novels is that the different characters in the book are from very different societies, meeting at the "Allfair," rather than a group of people all hailing from the same village/region, which adds some interest to their interactions. Additionally, the banter/dialogue between the characters tends to be quite entertaining.
This novel is clearly the opening to a bigger story, a prologue really, written mainly to establish the characters and world. The series title, "Fool's Gold," is apt, but it's not what this particular book is about. This book is about the re-emergence of magic. At the beginning of the novel, magic really is a non-issue in the world, but as the book progresses, simple charms and spells start working far too effectively, as the characters realize that the magic of the world is "re-awakening." Not an entirely novel idea, but it's presented in a fun way.
Overall, this is fun fantasy. If you want dark, realistic, complex nitty gritty, look elsewhere, but if you're looking for something along the lines of Farland's Runelords or Haydon's Rhapsody (minus the angst), then this is the book for you. A solid, if not perfect, debut novel. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
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Format: Hardcover
I must say I started reading SORCERY RISING with a few misgivings: I so rarely find fantasy that really excites me any more, it all seems to be a mishmash of the same old plots and characters, same old quest-structure, same old quasi-Tolkien set-up. And I can't say this one is all brand new, either - there's lots of familiar territory, including a Viking-style culture in the north and a Roman/Mediterranean culture in the south that reminded be a little of some of Guy Kay's work; but the characters just had me hooked!
I defy anyone to read this and not love Katla Aransen: she's the feistiest, funniest, most headstrong and contrary female fantasy character I've encountered in years. The Rosa Eldi, that strange, magical creature abducted first by a mage, then by his apprentice, to wreak havoc in the world, is deliciously intriguing, and Selen Issian takes on the role of oppressed women the world over (how interesting that the Istrian women's 'sabatkas' so resemble Afghan 'burqas'; yet this must have been written before the light shone on recent events in that part of the world). This is not to say Fisher goes light on the guys: she offers a wide variety of male characters all the way from utterly vile...(Tanto Vingo and Tycho Issian) to adorable (Saro Vingo and Erno Hamson).
Other people have talked about the plot, so I won't go on about that. All I can say is I couldn't stop reading, and that I'm desperate for the next volume. If you like Robin Hobb and George RR Martin, this is next best thing while you're waiting for their new books!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had high hopes for Sorcery Rising when I saw that it came with a recommendation from Robin Hobb. One of the things that I like so much about Hobb as a writer is that she works within epic fantasy tropes to create something really unique. Unfortunately, Fisher is pretty heavy on the stock fantasy elements and fairly light on the unique. This said, she is clearly a good craftsman and the writing flows smoothly all the same.

The main "real" story seems to be centered in the competing God myths that the different cultures have-- Falla and Sur. There is something in it about magic coming back to the world and the consequences of getting what you pray for that has the potential to be really interesting. I wish that the book had focused itself a little bit more here and a little bit less on the competing romantic and sexual issues of the various characters.

Katla is one of a long tradition of strong tomboy fantasy characters and she does not disappoint as being part of that tradition. Her relationship with her brothers adds a new and interesting complexity to the character type as does her weapon-making ability. I would have preferred it if Fisher had taken a page from Modesitt and focused on Katla's love of the craft. It would have made the subsequent actions of her father that much more compelling.

I was not bothered by Fisher mining the Viking tradition. She does it well, and it is nice to see nordic races treated as more than blond barbarian counterparts to complicated English/Irish/French-based nobility types. However, I was annoyed to have the typical gypsies and the now nearly-standard middle eastern characters in the book. They did feel like retreads in a way that the Eryans did not.
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