Don't know what fantasy book to read next???

Every week or so, I receive emails from random readers asking for SFF recommendations. And to my dismay, the majority of them have never heard of, let alone read, R. Scott Bakker. Like Stephen R. Donaldson, Bakker is not for everyone. Still, I feel that any fantasy fan should at least give The Darkness That Comes Before (Canada, USA, Europe) a try.

Here's the blurb:

Two thousand years have passed since Mog-Pharau, the No-God, last walked among Men. Two thousand years have passed since the Apocalypse.

In a world wrenched by holy war and devastation, a sorcerer, a concubine, and a warrior find themselves captivated by a mysterious traveller from lands long thought dead, a man who makes weapons of insight and revelation. Unable to distinguish the passion that elevates from the passion that enslaves, they fall ever deeper under his thrall, while what begins as a war of Men against Men threatens to become the first battle of the Second Apocalypse.

With this stunning debut, R. Scott Bakker is destined to become the next great fantasy writer of his generation. Set in a world of unparalleled detail and authenticity, populated by truly unforgettable characters, and framed by a profound understanding of the human condition, The Darkness That Comes Before proves that epic fantasy can be at once majestic, intelligent, and terrifying

It's out in paperback on both sides of the Atlantic, so you can get it on the cheap. Moreover, it's the opening chapter of one of the very best speculative fiction series of the new millennium. So what are you waiting for!?! Give it a shot!

And if you enjoy the novel, you can then immediately jump to the next two volumes in the Prince of Nothing trilogy, The Warrior-Prophet (Canada, USA, Europe) and The Thousandfold Thought (Canada, USA, Europe).

Tired of the same old, same old? R. Scott Bakker's The Darkness That Comes Before just might be what you need to scratch that itch!

*** Please remember that anything purchased via the Amazon links (used or new) throughout December will help raise funds for Breast Cancer Research.

15 commentaires:

Skip said...

And I go check, and the kindle edition is priced at $13, or more than the paperback edition. At which point I assume that the reason I've never heard of this is the publisher isn't actually, you know, interested in selling books. If it had been priced reasonably I'd have bought it and thrown it into the pile. Oh well, maybe later.

Will said...

I'm actually planning to read this right after Christmas.

GunMetalBlue said...

Yeah. I have serious problems with this series due to the author's misogynistic tendencies....his series treats women as if they are just whores and concubines. I thought it was just the first book, but it got worse in the second book and third.

Sigh. Can't recommend it at all. But then this series really DOES split fans down the middle.

Anonymous said...

Easily the best fantasy book. And don't belive the garbage about how he treats women in the books. His stories are cruel and dark much like the old world would be. It would be a joke if he had women running around in plate mail in his world. Give it a shot, it is actually a welcome change from all the paint by numbers fantasy books out there.

jowlests said...

I don't think Bakker should have written his female characters running around in plate mail, but his decision to make them nothing but abused sexual objects isn't much (at all?) better either. Ever heard of finding a happy (believable) medium?

Still, the treatment of women isn't the whole story. If you think you can handle graphic rape scenes and hopelessness, there's a lot of interesting thoughts and epicness.

Adam Whitehead said...

It is a good series, but the attitude towards women in the books is definitely misogynistic, albeit deliberately. Not that the author is sexist, but the circumstances of the world's backstory means that the personal freedoms of female characters are hugely curtailed even compared to the real historical periods he is invoking. It's an interesting idea, but makes for uncomfortable reading.

If you can get past that, it is definitely one of the most thoughtful and interesting fantasy series around.

Tom Lloyd said...

Can't say the books are for me, but I do think they're worth suggesting to others still - there's a level of quality that means I will recommend people try them in a way I won't for most books I didn't enjoy.

Unknown said...

Yeah Penguin apparently didn't get the memo that a paperback is out. I don't really mind if the kindle edition is the same price as whatever is cheapest, but I refuse to spend more on it because that's ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

haven't gotten to the depictions of women being grossly out of line yet (thought the idea that it's ok because that's the way the world used to be is lame; women were far more than prostitutes and concubines long before the 20th century, a little research would show that) but what bugs me so far is how monumentally bored i am and trying to grasp the point of depicting the crusades in fantasy form. all these goofy names and allusions to the crusades just makes me wonder why not do a fictional account of the crusades without the magic stuff, you know?

Kenny Cross said...

Sweet! Thanks Pat! I've been looking for something new to read and a new writer to invest in. I consider your taste in speculative fiction very close to my own so I got nothing better to do tomorrow than to go out and buy these books.

A Swede said...

Anyone trying this - DO NOT give up on it until you've finished the entire first book, or, if it is really painful, until you've read at least 200 pages.

The first 150-200 pages can feel slow, information-heavy and full of really weird names. After that things start to improve.

Personally, after having read everything Bakker has released so far except Neuropath, I think he is very underrated - in my mind he is at least as good as Martin, but more thought-provoking.

jowlests said...

all these goofy names and allusions to the crusades just makes me wonder why not do a fictional account of the crusades without the magic stuff, you know?

The magic stuff gives more grandeur to the world and to the characters. Besides, as you pointed out, Bakker's sociopolitical stance isn't exactly realistical. If he had tried to write historical fiction, he would've failed. The fantasy form is much more forgiving.

Kenny Cross said...

I now have all 3 in my greedy grasp. Well sitting next to me at my computer as I type. Thanks to pedal power, two different book stores, and cash in the wallet.

Now I just have to find a sweet spot in my book reading order to put them.

Anonymous said...

I have read all of these so far, and will continue to do so. The story has been, so far, pretty damn good.

BUT, I don't actually think R Scott Bakker is a particularly good writer. I read a review that said "reading these books is like watching a great movie for the first time with the director's commentary turned on", and I have to say that accurately describes these books. Bakker's authorial voice is way overbearing, and gives you the impression that he'd a bit of a dickhead.

Also, the misogyny is definitely there. GRRM writes a dark and gritty world were women are considered second class citizens, but his female characters are just as real and flawed/noble as the males. Bakker's women are all just sex receptacles.

Anonymous said...

I began reading this series this year and was really amazed with the complexity of Bakker's story. I thought it was brilliant. However, I do find the role of women in the story disturbing although the men aren't portrayed in a flattering either. But compared to a lot of fantasy out there, I think it's on a par with the Malazan books.