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Master of Whitestorm

Narrated by: Simon Prebble
Length: 16 hrs and 9 mins
4 out of 5 stars (49 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Korendir’s name was the stuff of legend...

Man of mystery...deadly mercenary...obsessed adventurer...

From a life of misery, chained as a galley slave under the whips of the marauding Mhurgai, Korendir contrived an escape against impossible odds, only to gamble his hard-won freedom against ever more deadly stakes - in a world endangered by elementals, shape-changers, demons and perilous wizardry. Even Haldeth, fellow captive at the oar and his only accepted friend, can not understand what drives Korendir to repeated risk. But the hazardous tasks serve a madman’s hope, to build an unbreachable citadel.

Yet, can any fortress wall be enough to disarm the inner nightmares that ride the Master of Whitestorm with the cruelty of a death-wish?

©1992 Janny Wurts (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Prebble's narration brings new clarity and emotion

I was introduced to Janny Wurts by first reading The Curse of the Mistwraith and totally loving it, so was hooked. Being my compulsive self, I couldn't stop reading until I finished that series before working my way backward through her earlier works.

This book tells the story of Korendir, first introduced as a galley slave. He's a 'typical' Wurts hero in that he's tough, defended, smart, prickly (extremely), and underneath it all, a total cream puff. Having been introduced to this sort in the Mistwraith series, I was therefore patient with him and enjoyed the ride through his adventures early in the book. As events unfold, we finally learn the reasons for his behavior, and he becomes more human. This slow uncovering is also a Wurts hallmark, and one that I totally enjoy. While I was sure that would happen, other plot twists are less predictable and we are served up the climax with psychological depth and deep understanding - another Wurts characteristic, which is only one of the things I enjoy so much about her writing.

This is a standalone novel and a good introduction to the writing of Janny Wurts. The writing style is less complex than the style of the Mistwraith series, and so it's an easier read, for those who would like to dip their toe into the work of this outstanding author.

REREAD: I listened to the new audio edition of this book and couldn't believe how rich the narration of it is. Simon Prebble's voice and interpretation is magnificent. He pours emotion into his reading that is rare in other books I've listened to him read. I was sobbing at the end. Beautiful.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Mercenary. Adventurer. Legend.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

In the words of Stephen R. Donaldson Janny Wurts is 'a gifted creator of wonder'. Not one to follow a well-trodden path of tropes, Wurts blazes new trails with her stories and always, always links them irrevocably with human resilience and spirit. The Master of Whitestorm is a standalone novel of towering brilliance, each chapter revealing layers and startling depth and a clear and natural unfurling of story that is as thrilling for its surprises as it is for how all the pieces fit together.

What did you like best about this story?

Janny Wurts is one of the most lyrical writers I know and her brilliance with word choice and naming is close to unmatched. Words are chosen and sentences constructed precisely and with the care of a painter (which she is also) choosing colours to create a visual masterpiece. While Wurts’ storytelling demands an investment of time and concentration, the payoff is always worth it.

Which scene was your favorite?

I couldn't possibly choose just one.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Mercenary. Adventurer. Legend.

Any additional comments?

Simon Prebble is a powerful narrator whose sense of timing, nuance and flair do perfect justice to Wurts' writing and offer a highly entertaining and engrossing audio book experience. I cannot recommend this - or any of Wurts’ work - enough.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Presentation of a Bold Imaginative Tale

Would you listen to Master of Whitestorm again? Why?

Yes, In fact, I listened to it from the beginning a second time right away as there were nuances in the story and the narration I overlooked the first time round.

What other book might you compare Master of Whitestorm to and why?

Robert E Howard's Conan stories. Because both main characters use skill and wit to over come seemingly impossible situations. Both characters have an inner core that is misunderstood by those more "civilized"
.

Which scene was your favorite?

Encounters with werelepards. Werewolves are a common construct. Shape shifting from a poisonous aggressive feline animal predator into a poisonous aggressive half human predator added tension to the track and hunt of these beasts.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

The nature of the book is episodic, so there are lulls between adventures. The author ended chapters at moments where one would want to continue on with the story. In audio format, the pause button allows us to pause as we choose to rest the story after an adventure, or continue on.

Any additional comments?

The narration was very well done . The story was read with authority, and just enough inflection to add interest and differentiate the characters without over acting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Katherine
  • St. Johns, FL, United States
  • 07-19-14

A satisfying self-contained story

Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

Janny Wurts’ The Master of Whitestorm is a stand-alone high fantasy that, like the author’s other work, differentiates itself from other fantasies published in the late 20th century that feature a medieval-style setting. The book has recently been produced in audio format by Audible and is read by British actor Simon Prebble, a highly decorated audiobook narrator and someone whose name I’m always happy to see in the credits. As expected, he does a wonderful job with The Master of Whitestorm and I recommend this audio version to anyone who wants to read or re-read this exciting and emotional story.

The story begins in the slave galley of a ship. Haldeth, whose wife and children were slaughtered by the Murghai, is now chained to the oar of one of their ships. As he slaves for his captors, he observes his benchmate, a man named Korendir who looks fierce but so far has never said a word — he just stoically rows. All the other slaves (and the Murghai) think Korendir is stupid or mute, but it turns out that he has spent his time studying and planning and suddenly, after years of slavery, Korendir announces to Haldeth that he plans to escape their captors. Haldeth reluctantly decides to throw in his lot with the enigmatic man and thus starts a lifelong friendship in which Haldeth will watch Korendir accomplish many other seemingly impossible feats and quests, mostly by outsmarting his opponents.

On the surface, The Master of Whitestorm is an episodic adventure story with a hero who will remind you of Hercules or Odysseus. He fights monsters, saves princesses, breaks curses, resists sirens, builds an invincible castle on a cliff, and outfoxes an elemental spirit. All of these exploits are exciting and there are many delightfully unique elements such as a city where everyone is cursed to be happy. There are some memorable characters such as a dwarf couple who contribute a bit of humor that helps to offset the grimness of the main characters. There is also a sweet romance.

But the story is more than just a series of exploits and quests. More than anything it’s a character study of both Korendir and Haldeth. We follow both characters for many years and it’s slowly revealed that Korendir is not as aloof and stoic as he seems. We learn that his courageous deeds are actually motivated by fear. In contrast, Haldeth, who observes Korendir’s reckless behavior, is also fearful. Both men struggle with the traumas of their past and their fears about an uncertain future. Korendir and Haldeth employ different coping strategies and their outcomes differ significantly.

The Master of Whitestorm is a satisfying self-contained story. Again, I highly recommend the audio version read by Simon Prebble.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

this has always been my favourite book.

she creates worlds, Janny does. two of my children are named for characters in this book. The reader gives it new life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story great characters unexpected ending

Enjoyed everything about it, from Korendir's unfolding story to the battles with were-leopards... it was a great audiobook (and Simon Prebble is a joy to listen to as well). Recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Joshua
  • mcleansville, NC, United States
  • 05-04-17

Hectic and Unfulfilling

A decent book that was ruined by the author's misguided sense of poetic justice.

This is a standalone fantasy novel that is very episodic in nature. Although the stories tie together and are told in chronological order, each is like an episode in the series. It revolves around one man's obsession for more and more challenging quests and adventures. His goal is to build his own impregnable fortress somewhere that no one can ever threaten or assault him.

Many of the stories in the sequence are actually pretty good. However, the tales keep getting, or at least keep feeling, less plausible and it seems that every time you think the book is ending there is yet another quest. Even after the hero achieves everything he wanted, the author sees fit to put him on one last tragic quest that you can see coming a mile away, ending of the book on a very disappointing note for the sake of apparently trying to achieve some sense of poetry. That brings the book down at least 1.5 stars in my opinion.

If you really want to give this a try, just head into this one understanding that it is a tragedy, and you might enjoy it more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

simple, good, and clean = one of my favorites

The characters, world, and story feel new but familiar. I loved the protagonist and the simplicity of himself, but also his mannerisms and character. The narrator had me deep in the story from the beginning, just a great voice. I can honestly say I loved this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good story, but not compelling

3.5 stars for this stand-alone epic fantasy complete with wizards, bloody butchery, and a touch of bittersweet romance. I had never read Janny Wurts before, but based on positive reviews, decided to give it a go. She's a whiz with words, that's perfectly clear. A masterful writer. She also crafts some very clever plots — particularly the tricks the hero Korendir uses to defeat various über-powerful banes.

Most of the book portrays Korendir fighting various evils that imperil the eleven kingdoms. Especially memorable are the tricks he used on the weather elemental (Cyondide?) at White Storm Cliff, and the subterfuge employed against the Demons of Mathcek.

In some sense, this fantasy — while grim and dark — has a happy ending, but by no means should a reader expect a feel-good story of conviviality among comrades. And even though there is a heartfelt love affair, this doesn't read like a love story.

Quibbles: For me, there's not enough character development or relationship development. Various heroic, highly-intelligent endeavors (against wereleopards, witches, demons, dragons, etc.) carry the book, not the characters. It took too long to get to know and love the heartbroken, compassionate hero — Master of Whitestorm. Overnight he went from galley-slave to brilliant strategist, knife thrower, and sword fighter. But I did eventually care about him, and I liked the heroine, Lady Ithariel the Enchantress. I gradually lost interest in the blacksmith, Heldrith. His role in the story diminishes midway through the book.

I felt the relationship development between Korendir and Ithariel was rushed. So, bottom line, I wasn't especially moved by this book. When bad things happened to various good people, I cared a little, but I didn't shed a tear.

Nonetheless, a good story, well told. Good narration by Simon Prebble, but he employed a gruff tone that was a little difficult to understand, at times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Hard Character

This is a good story that was narrated well, but for some reason, just did not spark my imagination. the main character is a difficult one to like and his motivations are unclear throughout most of the story. Truly, it is a character study told from a point of view that leaves the reader to determine the characters true nature of the character. I did enjoy it, but I don't feel myself compelled to return to this world.