The rebellious son of a long line of pureblood cartographers and diviners, Valen has spent most of his life trying to escape what society - and his family - have ordained for him. His own mother has predicted that he will meet his doom in water, blood, and ice. Her divination seems fulfilled when a comrade abandons Valen in a rainy wilderness half-dead, addicted to an enchantment that converts pain to pleasure, and possessing only a stolen book of maps.
Offered sanctuary in a nearby monastery, Valen discovers that his book - rumored to lead men into the realm of angels - gains him entry into a world of secret societies, doomsayers, monks, princes, and madmen, all seeking to unlock the mystery of a coming dark age. To his dismay, Valen must face what he fled so long ago, for the key to Navronne's doom is buried in half-forgotten myth and the secrets of his own past....
©2007 Carol Berg (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
As for the story, Carol Berg has done a superb job. This dark fantasy will grip your imagination with its refreshingly multidimensional plot and compelling characters. A must-read for all fantasy fans. Word to the wise, you'll definitely want to check out this book's sequel, Breath and Bone.
The narration, however, is mediocre. The pacing is a bit awkward. There are many mispronunciations of words and hesitations that make it seem like the narrator doesn't understand the meaning of what he's reading. This isn't a glaring issue and many people may not even notice, but it did bother me. Having said that, I still wholeheartedly recommend this series on the strength of the story alone.
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