Blood of ElvesPaperback Gollancz
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- Publisher: Gollancz
- Format: Paperback | 320 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 26mm | 299g
- Publication date: 1 August 2009
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0575084847
- ISBN 13: 9780575084841
- Sales rank: 10,670
For more than a hundred years humans, dwarves, gnomes and elves lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over and now the races once again fight each other - and themselves: dwarves are killing their kinsmen, and elves are murdering humans and elves, at least those elves who are friendly to humans ...Into this tumultuous time is born a child for whom the witchers of the world have been waiting. Ciri, the granddaughter of Queen Calanthe, the Lioness of Cintra, has strange powers and a stranger destiny, for prophecy names her the Flame, one with the power to change the world - for good, or for evil ...Geralt, the witcher of Rivia, has taken Ciri to the relative safety of the Witchers' Settlement, but it soon becomes clear that Ciri isn't like the other witchers. As the political situation grows ever dimmer and the threat of war hangs almost palpably over the land, Geralt searches for someone to train Ciri's unique powers. But someone else has an eye on the young girl, someone who understand exactly what the prophecy means - and exactly what Ciri's power can do. This time Geralt may have met his match.
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Andrzej Sapkowski worked in finance until the success of his fantasy cycle about the witcher Geralt of Riv turned him into Poland's bestselling writer. He lives in Lodz, in Poland.
By Alice 04 Jan 2010
If, like me, you've never heard of Andrzej Sapkowski before, it's about time that was rectified. Combining traditional fantasy with Polish folklore, Sapkowski's Witcher series has been translated into seven languages, made into a TV series and most recently converted into a computer game. This is clearly not to be taken lightly. Blood of Elves is only the second book by the author to hit British shelves (The Last Wish was published in 2007) - it's a pity it didn't arrive sooner.
Sapkowski's publicity rather boldly compares him to Tolkien, but it turns out that this is not an entirely unjust comparison. Sapkowski's world, and the sense of depth, is reminiscent of Middle Earth. And while he includes all the traditional fantasy characters you would expect, Sapkowski also manages to revitalize the genre with energetic and compelling writing.
Moving effortlessly between moments of wrought emotion and staggeringly effective action, to lengthy periods of political discussion and war stratagems, Sapkowski addresses every aspect of a good fantasy novel eloquently and with ease. His style reads as easily as David Gemmel, but hits harder and deeper than his late fantasy comrade. Creating a world that is both familiar and comfortable, it is through his inventive use of character manipulation that he generates a new and realistic experience.
Geralt - the character who established Sapkowski in Poland - features strongly in the first half of the novel, making for a kind yet hard-headed and enigmatic protagonist. The story then shifts its focus onto the mysterious Yennifer, who up until then has been little more than a name. Initially coming across as your standard tough female archetype, Yennifer soon assumes a much more intriguing role. These involving characters, along with the promising young figure of Ciri, are what really keep the pages turning so fast.
As the first of a five-book series, Blood of Elves would benefit from a map and character index as Sapkowski's sudden (and often fleeting) reference to various countries, territories and characters can become confusing at times. The plot also takes an unexpected leap forward in time around the halfway point that won't pose a problem for fans of Steven Erikkson or Katherine Kerr, but may prove temporarily disconcerting for anyone else.
However, these minor oddities can be easily overlooked, as, on reaching the final enthralling chapter, you'll be wondering how you got there so fast. Alice Wybrew
Back cover copy
For more than a hundred years humans, dwarves, gnomes and elves lived together in relative peace. But times have changes, and now the races once again fight each other - and themselves. In this tumultuous time a child is born - Ciri has strange powers and a stranger destiny, for a prophecy names her as one with the power to change the world, for good or for evil. The witcher Geralt has taken Ciri to the relative safety of the Witchers' Settlement, but it soon becomes clear that Ciri is not like the other witchers. As the threat of war hangs almost palpably over the land, Geralt and Ciri are pursued by someone who understands exactly what the prophecy means - and exactly what Ciri's power is capable of. This time Geralt may have met his match. 'Like Miéville and Gaiman, Sapkowski takes the old and makes it new' Foundation www.sapkowski.pl 978 0 575 08484 1 £7.99