Synopses & Reviews
Strikingly original in its conception, ambitious in scope, with characters engrossingly and vividly drawn, the first book in R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing series creates a remarkable world from whole cloth its language and classes of people, its cities, religions, mysteries, taboos, and rituals the kind of all-embracing universe Tolkien and Herbert created unforgettably in The Lord of the Rings
It's a world scarred by an apocalyptic past, evoking a time both two thousand years past and two thousand years into the future, as untold thousands gather for a crusade. Among them, two men and two women are ensnared by a mysterious traveler, Anasurimbor Kellhus part warrior, part philosopher, part sorcerous, charismatic presence from lands long thought dead.
With this stunning debut, R. Scott Bakker is poised to become one of the next great fantasy writers of his generation. The Darkness That Comes Before proves again that epic fantasy can be intelligent, majestic, and terrifying.
"Canadian author Bakker's impressive, challenging debut, the first of a trilogy, should please those weary of formulaic epic fantasy. Bakker's utterly foreign world, Erwa, is as complex as that of Tolkien, to whom he is, arguably, a worthier successor than such established names as David Eddings and Stephen Donaldson. Bakker creates an extraordinary cast of nationalities and races involved in an enormous holy war set off by an unseen prophet, Maithanet. (Appendices help keep the history and personalities straight.) He casually drops for half the story an increasingly important character, Anasrimbor Kellhus (aka 'the Prince of Nothing'), who finally returns without a breath of exposition. The amiable and wise sorcerer spy Drusas Achamian binds the myriad narrative threads together. Drusas's love for Esmenet, a too-experienced prostitute, provides some tenderness amid the abundant slaughter. In the book's most harrowing scene, which fans of gentler fantasy will find too graphic, Esmenet is raped by a creature who, despite its human appearance, is likely demonic. If this ambitious novel lacks the beauty of Tolkien as well as the sense of pure evil that suffused Middle-earth with genuine terror, its willingness to take chances and avoid the usual genre clichs should win many discriminating readers. Agent, Ralph M. Vicinanza. (June 15) Forecast: Blurbs from Steven Erikson, John Marco and Kevin J. Anderson, plus good press for the 2003 Canadian edition, will help bring attention to a deserving book that's going to sell largely through word of mouth." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Exquisitely intelligent and beautifully written, R. Scott Bakker's first novel in The Prince Of Nothing series inspires both confidence and anticipation this is fantasy with muscle and brains, rife with intrigue and admirable depth of character, set in a world laden with history and detail." Steven Erikson, author of Gardens of the Moon
"The Darkness That Comes Before introduces a vast and richly detailed world for lovers of good fantasy. Bakker's imaginative creation is an impressive addition to the genre." John Marco, author of Eyes of God
About the Author
R. Scott Bakker holds a B.A. in English language and literature, an M.A. in theory and criticism, and is currently completing his Ph.D. in philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He lives in London, Ontario.