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The Sum of All Men: The Runelords, Book One | [David Farland]

The Sum of All Men: The Runelords, Book One

Young Prince Gaborn of Mystarria is traveling in disguise on a journey to ask for the hand of the lovely Princess Iome of Sylvarresta. Armed with his gifts of strength and perception, the prince and his bodyguard stop at a local tavern, where they spot a pair of assassins who have their sights set on Princess Iome's father. As they race to warn the king, they realize that more than the royal family is at risk - the very fate of the Earth is in jeopardy.
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Publisher's Summary

David Farland's acclaimed Runelords series introduces a world where the social structure is based upon the magical exchange of "endowments" such as stamina, grace, and wit. The Runelords are those who receive these endowments from their vassals, becoming superhuman in exchange for the responsibility of caring for those they have deprived of strength, or beauty, or sight.

Young Prince Gaborn of Mystarria is traveling in disguise on a journey to ask for the hand of the lovely Princess Iome of Sylvarresta. Armed with his gifts of strength and perception, the prince and his bodyguard stop at a local tavern, where they spot a pair of assassins who have their sights set on Princess Iome's father. As they race to warn the king, they realize that more than the royal family is at risk - the very fate of the Earth is in jeopardy.

©1998 David Farland; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (563 )
5 star
 (189)
4 star
 (201)
3 star
 (124)
2 star
 (27)
1 star
 (22)
Overall
3.9 (350 )
5 star
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3 star
 (87)
2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (341 )
5 star
 (138)
4 star
 (128)
3 star
 (53)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (7)
Performance
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  •  
    Ali Cross 02-14-15
    Ali Cross 02-14-15 Member Since 2014

    inetsupergrrl

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the best audiobooks I've heard"

    I'd read this book when it first came out, but never followed through with the rest of the story. When I saw it would out on audiobook, I thought I'd take a listen, as a refresher before starting the next book.

    I was blown away.

    I couldn't listen often enough I wanted to devour it all in one sitting (not possible - it's a giant book!). The voice talent was amazing. He did all the different characters, emotion, inflection so beautifully it had me marveling. His talent along with the author's made this a thousand gold stars. Love, love, loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    vbearski 01-18-15
    vbearski 01-18-15 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "BORING!!! AND PREDICTABLE"
    Would you try another book from David Farland and/or Ray Porter?

    Yes


    What could David Farland have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Not been so predictable


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Ray Porter?

    Narrator was ok


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Sum of All Men?

    All the taking of people's attributes. It got really old after a while.


    Any additional comments?

    I've been an Audible member for many years. This, I think, is the worst book I have tried to date. I would like to be able to go into profound detail as to why I dislike this book so much. However, not possible as the only words of description that come to mind are boring and predictable. I read a review prior to purchase and was excited that I had found a new series. Maybe the review was mistakenly placed next to this title?? I gave it five hours and could not take the predictableness any longer. Probably a really good story line and although there are several more in the series, I just have to stop the listen. Hopefully, I can return it and not have to waste a good credit on such a horrible book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. J. Thorne 11-07-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
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    25
    19
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    "Very interesting magic system!"

    One of my criteria for epic fantasy is the magic system has to be unique. I also enjoy learning about it as the characters in the book discover more about it (see Way of Kings for a perfect example). In this book, there is an established magic system that is very well known to the characters. Despite that not being something I like all the time, it was extremely interesting! It's also a bit dark.

    Gaboran (sp?), the protagonist, is a naive princeling and sometimes a little whiney. I think that's the point, however, and he does make big strides in character at the end of the book. His journey is interesting and compelling. His personal body guard guy, however, is probably the most interesting character to me. The author developed him well and I'm interested in his story as the I listen to more of the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Long Beach, NY, United States 02-04-14
    James Long Beach, NY, United States 02-04-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    4
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    Story
    "Nice Book"
    Where does The Sum of All Men rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Not the very best but it was good and enjoyable


    Any additional comments?

    The beginning was a little slow, but it picked up nicely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Winter Houston 12-10-13
    Winter Houston 12-10-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    56
    4
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    27
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cool magic system, Heavy Socialist overtone"
    Would you try another book from David Farland and/or Ray Porter?

    I will pass on any further Farland books. I consider myself an individualist and much of the first 3 Runelords books centered around sacrificing the self for the greater good of the collective. The whole magic system is built around this premise. That being said, the book was still well written and entertaining in many parts.
    Ray Porter is a great narrator. No complaints.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allen 08-20-13
    Allen 08-20-13 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Sum of all Men"
    If you could sum up The Sum of All Men in three words, what would they be?

    Power Ambition Right


    Would you recommend The Sum of All Men to your friends? Why or why not?

    This is a book that I think some people would enjoy but maybe not a lot of my friends would. If they were looking for a book to read and had read most of my top ten books then I would recommend this series.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-13-13 Member Since 2011

    cyd16

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    61
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Sum of All Men: The Runelords, Book One"

    This book has possibilities. It attempts to be an epic fantasy series and succeeds up to a point. The story line is great with great powerful lords and the poor wretches on which the lords step on. I liked the length and the narrator was good. Although there were some mispronunciations, they weren't terribly annoying. Other than a few gramatical mistakes the writing was interesting and the dialogue of "Gaborn" (I have NO idea how his name is spelled having only heard it.) was deep and thoughtful. I really liked his character because how many men are really going to behave that way?! Loving a woman no matter what is an attractive quality in a man! The thing that disappointed me, or made me not rate it 5, was the constant explanations of how the gifts affected the lords in general. It was good in that you really could begin to imagine it, but once you understand it, you don't need it explained again and again ;) I'm listening to it again before I get the 2nd book in the series. I'm hoping for lots of growth. This was a really good start.Let's hear it for honor, goodness and true love!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MIchael Des Moines, IA, United States 01-06-13
    MIchael Des Moines, IA, United States 01-06-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A wonderful premise ruined by a terrible book!"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Only the hardcore D&D folks could find this truly entertaining because the core of this story has been done the exact same way hundreds of thousands of times. In fact, if you liked the Dungeons & Dragons movie that came out a few years ago you're probably the target audience for this book.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I'll try and find a better fantasy series to start but if that doesn't work out I'll probably go for something safe and easy (James Rollins/Urband Fantasy/Etc)


    What three words best describe Ray Porter’s voice?

    Mediocre, mediocre, and fine


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes, the magical system was incredibly interesting and should have laid the groundwork for a wonderful series full of interesting characters difficult moral and ethical choices but instead it was full of cliches, WAY too many ridiculous battle descriptions, and main characters who I personally wanted to muder.


    Any additional comments?

    The female characters in this book seem to be lacking in wit, the wizards are need some more brawn, and the main character needs his b***s to drop.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Sumter, SC, United States 12-22-12
    John Sumter, SC, United States 12-22-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    50
    4
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    0
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    "Blah! Not my thing."
    What disappointed you about The Sum of All Men?

    Heros taking the gifts of others.


    Any additional comments?

    The performance was good. I did not care for the story. I am usually pretty forgiving. I am sure some will like this but it was just not for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack D. Albrecht Jr. Loveland, CO, United States 09-29-12
    Jack D. Albrecht Jr. Loveland, CO, United States 09-29-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    12
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Story
    "Great start!"
    Would you listen to The Sum of All Men again? Why?

    Idealy, I feel that a first novel in a series should never be able to get more than 4 stars. When you begin a journey with a new story, you need time to get to know the characters. You need to see if the story has the potential to capture your imagination and have you wanting more. You have to know that the majority of the story has not been told before you get to the end, and that is what this book does for me. I don't feel I can rate it 5 stars because I do not yet know if all of the mysteries that have been spelled out, will be resolved in a satisfactory way so it gets 4 stars. All in all, I think this was a good start to a fantasy series and I am eager to make it through the next audio book!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Sylvia
    West Byfleet, Surrey, United Kingdom
    3/10/11
    Overall
    "FABULOUS!!!"

    A brilliant concept, and really well narrated! I enjoyed every second of this fascinating book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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