From the author of the internationally acclaimed Orcs series comes a powerful new epic fantasy filled with spectacular magic, action, adventure and political intrigue.
In the land of Bhealfa magic underpins the social order. Different classes enjoy different qualities of magic; from meagre charms for the destitute, to grand conjurations for the rich. But the most skilful and expensive spells of all are those used by the authorities to control the entire population.
Reeth Caldason is the last remaining member of a tribe of warriors who were brutally massacred decades ago. Cursed with episodes of blind rage that endanger anyone near him, he is forced to wander the world seeking revenge for his people and a cure for his magical affliction.
But the spell that binds Reeth is an esoteric one, and his search has so far been fruitless. Only when a young sorcerer's apprentice named Kutch tells him of the mysterious Covenant does he regain a glimmer of hope. Forming an uneasy alliance the two head for Bhealfa's capital city in search of this secretive magical society, unaware that they are about to be drawn into a dangerous world of conspiracy and sedition.
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Quicksilver Rising opens the new "Quicksilver" fantasy trilogy by Stan Nicholls, best known for the "Orcs" sequence that rehabilitated those traditional bad guys as quest heroes in their own right.
In this Fantasyland, there's a standoff between unpleasant empires run along police-state lines, with "paladins" as heavy enforcers, brutal suppression of awkward truths, and zero human rights for the people in the street. One lunatic prince forever flees Death in a magic floating palace that wanders through his realm, uncaringly crushing farmhouses and orchards that get in the way. All this spawns a highly organised Resistance crossing imperial borders, whose long-term plans--most unusually--do not involve armed uprising. Meanwhile, far away, a warlord called Zerreiss is gobbling up townships, promising freedom, and seems to have the advantage of some mysterious affinity with this world's (literal) underground channels of magic.
Nicholls assembles a motley crew of misfits: a woman enforcer disgraced for insisting on the truth, a warrior from a despised race who's afflicted with an odd blessing-cum-curse, a wizard's apprentice whose master was murdered by paladins and who proves to have a very special talent, an unwilling prostitute on the run, and a famous tenor singer. All end up together in the Resistance, where they're drawn into highly illegal schemes to raise money and to sabotage the imperial record system with its dossiers on known dissidents. On the other side, the state has adapted magical glamours into tools of surveillance, oppression and torment, while even the rebel outfit is plagued with embedded spies.
Against this interesting background, there are numerous set-pieces of fast-paced but routine fantasy action: many sword fights, daring assaults on fortified houses, raids and rescues, Indiana Jones-style booby traps, and--something that now seems to be contractually required in commercial fantasy--a desperate flight through stinking sewers. This is all good fun, though, and the pages turn fast. --David LangfordReview:
‘Quicksilver Rising is brilliantly conceived and beautifully constructed. From the first gripping action scene it had me hooked. It has all the ingredients to become a classic of the genre’ David Gemmell
‘Nicholls tells a story into which the reader is dragged as willing victim. He has an eye for action and character, keeps the pace high, plot finely tuned and pages turning; and in Quicksilver Rising has delivered a hugely entertaining read.’ James Barclay
‘Stan Nicholls puts modern dialogue into the mouths of high fantasy characters and echoes of our politics into the kingdoms he creates. Easily as much fun as you’d expect.’ Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Guardian
‘Nicholls knows his stuff … deft characterization … full of action, magic, romance and politics’ Starburst
Exhilirating, innovative fantasy writing … delivered with tremendous panache’ Publishing News
‘A cracking blend of high fantasy adventure and thought-provoking political thriller – a real feast for intelligent imaginations.’ Louise Cooper
’Fast-paced, high adventure … a bare-knuckle fight with a magic punch.’ Mark Chadbourn
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Book Description HarperVoyager, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007141505
Book Description HARPER COLLINS, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: NEW. 9780007141500 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. Bookseller Inventory # HTANDREE0981748
Book Description HarperVoyager, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0007141505
Book Description Harper Voyager, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 416 pages. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0007141505