From Library Journal
For over a thousand years, the colonists of the planet Erna have struggled to gain control over a land prone to seismic instability and infused with a wild, near-sentient natural force known as "the fae." While sorcerers and adepts manipulate the dark and light sides of this power, the Church maintains its stance in opposition to its use. As the dark side of the fae grows in strength, feeding off the nightmares and greed of the minds that are drawn to it, four individuals form an unwilling alliance to battle the source of evil. Friedman ( In Conquest Born , DAW, dist. by NAL, 1978; The Madness Season , DAW, dist. by NAL, 1990) has produced a splendid hybrid of sf and fantasy in this first volume of a trilogy. Hauntingly memorable protagonists, high drama, and vivid world-building mark the beginning of what promises to be a magnum opus of the imagination. A priority purchase for fantasy or sf collections.Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A magnum opus of the imagination. -- Library JournalHard to put down. -- Midwest Book ReviewLyric and fanciful...classic high fantasy. -- Locus
Read this book only if you like your plots well developed
The Coldfire trilogy (Black Sun Rising, When True Night Falls, Crown of Shadows) is possibly the most well-developed book series of all time. Friedman delves deep into the psyche of all of the major players - good and evil - to explore the depths of human morality. This book is not a fantasy or sci-fi book as much as it is a look at what makes man tick. The entire story is an analogy, and each of the characters within it represent different aspects of humanity; primal cunning or fragile innocence, lust for power or for immortality, unwavering morality or a kind of good which sees only the end result, not the process taken to get there. Every desire a human may have will come to life in this place, and Friedman allows them all to run rampant and see where they will lead.This is not a fast-paced, action-packed epic. If you are looking for something to turn into a $1 billion movie, this book is not for you. If, however, you can appreciate a plot that moves along based on the mental and emotional progress of its characters, a story that is driven entirely by the intricate decisions of its characters rather than by some deus ex machina, then this book is definately for you.
AMAZING - and this is only the beginning!!!
Oh God, I love these books! I've read the whole trilogy and I've reread it and then reread it again, and it still haunts me! I never tire of it. Some people complained that there wasn't enough depth in the characters and that made me laugh a lot because sure at first you don't know them that well (how can you? this is book one) but as you progress through the trilogy the character development is amazing! Believe me, when you are done with all three, you will know these characters inside out and they will fascinate you, and you'll feel for them. The author does an EXCELLENT job of slowly building up empathy among the readers for main characters Damien Vryce and Gerald Tarrant. At first I thought I could never like Damien because I hate the burly warrior types but he's more complex and solid than I ever guessed and to my surprise I began to treasure his wry humor and to admire his strength. The priestly side of him is a good balance for his warrior skills and rough experience. As for Gerald Tarrant...oh God! You'll fall under his spell instantly even though he's pretty evil, and I mean: EVIL. He fascinates and repells at the same time and he's just too cool for words. He's got so many vices: vanity, arrogance, ruthlessness, but somehow the author already begins in this book to hint at something underneath very complex and far from all bad. Which is why I love the sequel (When True Night Falls) so much. That is the book where the characters have their surfaces rubbed off and you see what they really are like! Gerald Tarrant is amazing and C.S. Friedman is even more amazing for creating him! I wish there were more Tarrants out there (in books I mean) but he's a very original character. Anyway, my message to you is KEEP READING THESE BOOKS and I promise you won't regret it. There are a lot of dark currents and a lot of action but the best is the interaction between hero and anti-hero. With Tarrant around, you don't even need the villain, but then again, if the villain didn't exist, Tarrant wouldn't become the amazing hero he is!
One of a Kind, it deserves more than five...
The Coldfire Trilogy is my top favorite. It is in a class beyond my other favorites, which are the Shannara books, Tad Williams', Goodkind, and Melanie Rawn's Dragon Series. I'm mentioning these because I think they're great, and a lot of other people do too, and the fact that this is better, should mean something. The sequel to this book, entitled When True Night Falls, is even better because you get to know the mysterious Gerald Tarrant more intimately, and understand the nature of Erna. I don't usually read SciFi, because it's too technical, but Black Sun Rising is just such a wonderful blend with fantasy and horror and tons of adventure, that it's very readable. Still, I understand that it might be a little complex for people who are TOTALLY SciFi or fantasy illiterate. Try it anyway, and I think you'll be in heaven when you realize there are two fat books after it.
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