Synopses & Reviews
Sean Russells acclaimed duology, The Initiate Brother and Gatherer of Clouds, together in one omnibus edition for the first time!
Plague and warfare have swept across the ancient kingdom of Wa, devastating the royal line and leaving a new dynasty on the thronea new Emperor, Akantsu, filled with fear of all who might seek to wrest the Empire from his grasp. Among those out of favor with the new liege is the Order of the Botahist Monks, whose mystical powers have enabled them to hold positions as Spiritual Advisors to the Imperial court for nearly ten centuries. But Emperor Akantsu fears none so greatly as he does Lord Shonto, the brilliant leader of the most important of the old families, whose influence could rally the Great Houses against the throne, and whose adopted daughter, the beautiful and talented Lady Nishima, is the last surviving member of the old royal family.
Sent to be military governor of a northern border province long threatened by barbarian invaders, Lord Shonto knows he is being lured to his death. But Akantsu has underestimated his foe, for not only is Lord Shonto the greatest military genius of the age, but he has with him a Spiritual Advisor from the Botahist Ordera young man gifted with extraordinary martial arts skills and magical abilities, Initiate Brother Shuyun. And even Lord Shonto does not realize the true potential of this young monk. Only time will reveal that Shuyuns magical powers have not seen their equal in nearly a thousand yearsnot since the Perfect Master himself walked the paths of the Empire
"The two books, combined, are about 1200 pages of extraordinarily rich storytelling...best of all, while conjuring up a world as lush as Tolkien's Middle Earth, Russell manages to end his book, not with something as arbitrary as casting a magical ring into a sea of molten rock, but rather with something far more like the real world, as a great invasion dashes against the rock of human nature.... [This is] the best of contemporary fantasy." Orson Scott Card, bestselling author of Ender's Game
"Russell is one of the best new post-Tolkien, post-Le Guin generation of fantasists." The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Vol. XI
"[He] has proven himself a master of intelligent fantasy--subtle, exciting, well-crafted."
"[The Initiate Brother
is] fantasy at its best."
"A beautifully mounted and original story set in an imaginary ancient Orient, with intrigue, mystique, beauty and wit.... Russell has taken the time to flex his imagination and come up with a fresh setting for a fantasy that, instead of trading in genre clichés, sends you on a sumptuous, often exhilarating journey to a time and place that never was."
[The Initiate Brother duology] is one of those very rare stories in any genre, one that can be read again and again and always reveals something new. I'm beginning to think it truly does deserve to be called a masterpiece."
About the Author
Sean Russell was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1952, and had his first fantasy novel, the Asian influenced The Initiate Brother in 1991. His influence in the fantasy world comes from J. R. R. Tolkien, and knew he wanted to be a writer since the age of ten.