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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 (528 )
5 star
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3.8 (316 )
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Story
4.1 (308 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Donna Moriarty, NM, United States 04-16-12
    Donna Moriarty, NM, United States 04-16-12

    DonnaInNM

    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
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    "Not a buyer"

    I found the whole concept of the book to be ludicrous from the very beginning. In fact it was so bad I did not finish more than 1/2 of the book. I would not recommend anyone to try this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian 01-17-12
    Brian 01-17-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
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    "Very well written and preformed. I recommend it."

    I enjoyed the flow and development of this story that comes in this first book in the series. The story wraps up nicely enough that it isn't the end of the world that I have to wait for my next credit to come through while giving me just enough of a taste to want to listen to the next book in the installment.
    The funny bit is when I was a teen I remember going to a reading and this no name author read the pro-log of his book. Turns out this was the author and the book. LOL. I'm sad I waited til now to read it and I am also sad I didn't get a signed copy. Oh well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jake Ervin 01-09-12
    Jake Ervin 01-09-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    22
    3
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    Story
    "IMMERSIVE! Draws you in & keeps you there!"

    There is such depth to the idea of "forcibles", "endowments" and an ever-expanding history that I felt that I was being schooled in ancient manners and customs. Castle descriptions, war-machines, armor details, so much depth that I could not help but be caught up in the story. The magic here is NOT limited to the Runelords and endowments, as the bad guy (antagonist) Raj Ahten (who seeks to become "The Sum of All Men", and wow, is that so well thought out and complex that you simply MUST listen to fully appreciate the concept) unveils flame weavers and so much more as he lays seige to Castle Longmont.

    Don't forget that there are also love stories, battles, ancient warriors, wizards, a "netherworld", and a protagonist (good guy, Prince Gaborn Val Orden) who gives us insights into the way things were and perhaps how they should be, instead. Prince Gaborn is a character I actually admired, as he grew through the hard choices that he faced, I found myself appreciating him and his character.

    The narrator has a rich voice that is perfect for the telling of this genre, although when he tried to do a young girl's voice, I felt sorry for him, even while appreciating the effort that he put forward. Some high-pitched, momma's boy would have ruined the audio theatre that is, "The Sum of All Men".

    So engrossing did I find "The Sum of All Men" that before it was over (38 minutes to go), when I realized that it would soon end, I purchased Book 2 in the series, and I immediately began listening to Book 2 when SOAM finished!

    In fairness, perhaps I did perceive a flaw? It occurred to me a number of times that the author should have gone back and made a reference to certain characters and histories, rather than merely introducing them in the latter third of the story. He introduced things, it seemed, as a ploy, perhaps to set up the next book?

    Overall: Thoughful, engrossing, detailed, romantic, captivating. Well worth the single credit! Well worth the listen!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Waimanalo, HI, United States 09-15-11
    Amanda Waimanalo, HI, United States 09-15-11 Member Since 2010

    I have a 40 minute commute each way and with out Audible, I'd go crazy! My fav genre is fantasy and I love a great series!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
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    "An interesting concept - I liked it"

    I've never read or heard of these books before and am happy I took the plunge and got them. The narrator grows on you, as does the story. if you like a short series, this is worth the credits.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David M. Alden 02-11-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can't finish the book..."

    The narrator makes every sentence seem like it's the most important thing every spoken. All of the characters appear to be more powerful and stronger and smarter than the next one, this one has the wit of 10 men, that one has the charm of 20 women, he has the metabolism of 100 men, blah, blah, blah. I'm only on the first part of the first book, but I can NOT hear the name "Raj Atten" (spelling?) one more time or I will stab my ears.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. Details Portland, OR USA 02-08-10
    Mr. Details Portland, OR USA 02-08-10 Listener Since 2009
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    15
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    "Good Start"

    Ray Porter narrates an excellent tale that is compelling and different from your standard fantasy venue. The basis of the book lies around the basis of Lords taking endowments from commoners, thus a Lord could have three endowments of brawn (strength) and be three times stronger than a normal man ... the same can be done with metabolism, wit, and many other attributes. Combine those in Runelords and you have an finely crafted society where rules, and history dictates Runelord character. But what happens when one Runelord takes so many endowments, he seeks to become the "sum of all men" and rule the known world? Worth buying or using up a credit on. Well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve 01-12-10
    Steve 01-12-10 Member Since 2005
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    132
    1
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    "Loved this book!"

    Loved this book and loved the second one almost as well. Writer is very creative and keeps your attention through the entire book. Very creative approach to fantasy.
    My only complaint is that the other books in the series are not on audible. Hope that problem gets fixed in the near future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey C. Coyne Chapel Hill 12-19-08
    Jeffrey C. Coyne Chapel Hill 12-19-08

    Jeff Coyne

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Among the best"

    I had read this book some years back and enjoyed it enough to read other books in the series. This audio rendition presents the book well. The story is enjoyable with a number of well developed fantasy concepts. The book is self contained such that you can read only one installment and still understand and enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Fullerton, CA, USA 04-15-09
    Alan Fullerton, CA, USA 04-15-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "I'm so torn."

    I love this book series. This book and the next several are so, so good. I bought this without even thinking to preview it. But the reader... is so, so bad. So, so bad. He's easy to understand, but he's trying to read the book as though each part of a sentence is a royal proclamation... completely ignoring the tone of the book. I'm only seven minutes in, and I really hope things get better... but at least listen to the audio preview before you buy, and know what you're getting into. The book is worth it, but prepare to cringe at the reading of it.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carmela Walterboro, SC, USA 04-07-13
    Carmela Walterboro, SC, USA 04-07-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "performance? what performance?"
    What did you like best about The Sum of All Men? What did you like least?

    The story was interesting but there was no performance. The rate and tone of the reading in the middle of a battle is the same as during a courtship scene... all the same- very boring reading. I would like to get more of the books of the series but maybe I'll get them paperback not audio because of the narrator.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Sum of All Men?

    There is very touching moment that is indicated by the cover art of the paperback version but it would be a spoiler so I don't want to put it here.


    What didn’t you like about Ray Porter’s performance?

    Reading all the words in the right order is not a performance. It was very hard to listen and I didn't understand way because the story was interesting until I realized the reader reads all the scenes exactly the same, no excitement no tranquility just a steady sad reading.


    Any additional comments?

    Can we get the last book read by someone else?

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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