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Publisher's Summary

The stunning debut fantasy novel from author Peter V. Brett. The Painted Man, book one of the Demon Cycle, is a captivating and thrilling fantasy adventure, pulling the reader into a world of demons, darkness and heroes.Voted one of the top ten fantasy novels of 2008 by amazon.co.uk.

Sometimes there is very good reason to be afraid of the dark…Eleven-year-old Arlen lives with his parents on their small farmstead, half a day's ride from the isolated hamlet of Tibbet's Brook.

As dusk falls upon Arlen's world, a strange mist rises from the ground; a mist that promises a violent death to any foolish enough to brave the coming darkness, for hungry corelings - demons that cannot be harmed by mortal weapons - materialize from the vapours to feed on the living. As the sun sets, people have no choice but to take shelter behind magical wards and pray that their protection holds until the creatures dissolve with the first signs of dawn.

When Arlen's life is shattered by the demon plague, he is forced to see that it is fear, rather than the demons, which truly cripples humanity. Believing that there is more to his world than to live in constant fear, he must risk leaving the safety of his wards to discover a different path.In the small town of Cutter's Hollow, Leesha's perfect future is destroyed by betrayal and a simple lie. Publicly shamed, she is reduced to gathering herbs and tending an old woman more fearsome than the corelings. Yet in her disgrace, she becomes the guardian of dangerous ancient knowledge.

Orphaned and crippled in a demon attack, young Rojer takes solace in mastering the musical arts of a Jongleur, only to learn that his unique talent gives him unexpected power over the night.Together, these three young people will offer humanity a last, fleeting chance of survival.

©2008 Peter V. Brett (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"I enjoyed The Painted Man immensely. Action and suspense all the way." (Terry Brooks)
"An absolute masterpiece… literally unputdownable, and deserves to be the next Big Thing in dark fantasy." (www.ozhorrorscope.com)
"A very accomplished debut fantasy. Recommended." (www.sfrevu.com. Readers Reviews)
"If the next two books in this series live up to this one it will be one day named as a classic fantasy series." (Joanne Horsley)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Fantastic you will want to continue to the next

Fantastic, you will want to continue to the next book. very well narrated. worth the money.

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A genuinely good and well thought out book

A smart, well written book, lots of thought has gone into making the role feel real.

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  • Hilde
  • Bergen, Norway
  • 10-18-17

It is a good book, but skips a lot.

I have tried this book before and didnt like the monsters so never finished.
I tried it again after a friend revomended it.

It is a good book.
It does go on and I feel it is a bit to plodding and has unessecary bits and characters, but it is still not bad.

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Strongly recommend to magic lovers!

Great story and magnificent performance. I bought next volume at very next minute I finished this one.

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Pure awesome

I was unsure about this series due to the review some idiot have it. But I was pleasantly surprised, the concept was original, the characters were intriguing and the fighting was exciting. Would definately recommend this to any fantasy lovers looking for a new series to jump into. It took me two days to finish this book and there was not a dull momment. Can't wait to jump into the next one!!

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  • Christopher
  • 03-05-15

So good, I listened to it twice


Story – 5/5

I have actually listened to this audiobook twice due to the change in narrator – and I can say that it was just as enjoyable the second time around, which just goes to show how absorbing this really is.

The characters and world building are where this series really stands out; they are amongst some of the best in fantasy. He starts by following 3 children from independent backgrounds, and tells the story from their point of view – which can seem a little “young adult” in places as a consequence. The years quickly progress though, and the story develops very well as their age, skills and experience do. There are some more harsh scenes near the end that are even more brutal when described due to this approach (you’ll know when you get there).

The story is a bit derivative of other concepts done before, but Peter V Brett just writes it so well, making it smooth and easy to follow. There wasn’t a single moment that I got bored or lost concentration. I haven’t enjoyed books 2 & 3 quite as much as this one, but I am definitely engrossed enough to finish the series off.


Performance – 4/5

Although Colin Mace is an excellent narrator, I think Peter Joyce was a bit better. He may have mispronounced names (which I barely recognised the differences in the new edition), but he performed it a lot better. That being said, don’t be put off by Colin Mace – he may be a bit plain and dull here and there, but he does describe the action well, and the characters do have distinct voices. If you are picking this version up for the first time, you will no doubt be very happy with Colin Mace.


Overall 4.5/5

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • 07-22-15

Best use of a credit..EVER!!!

If you could sum up The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle, Book 1) in three words, what would they be?

thoroughly enjoyable book that's draws you into the story and livers of the 3 main characters and a world where demons rise at night to claim your flesh for their meal,

What did you like best about this story?

the whole book is a great read but I am particularly drawn to the story of Arlen Bayles and his hate for the demon which drives his longing to set his fellow man free from fear of their power of the night.

What does Colin Mace bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He is a great narrator, who is excellent at bringing out each individual character, whilst keeping the pace of the story. He is an English narrator, which works well as I feel an American accent would overshadow the story.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Can man stand once again with man to claim back the night for their own?

Any additional comments?

A great book that's really satisfied a craving for a good epic story, which this is!. I am now on the 2nd book and have already bought the final two books in the series as I am now listening to the series from start to finish. I am officially hooked.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Dave
  • 06-01-15

Gripping and Original Fantasy

I usually listen to audible books while travelling to work and doing housework and gardening etc. this book was so good i read it over the course of a weekend - finding excuses to keep listening by getting extra jobs done I had been putting off for months :)

If you like fantasy from the likes of Brandon Sanderson and George R R Martin you owe it to yourself to try this book.

Now - on to book 2.





6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Steve
  • 12-20-14

The start of the Story

i found the story compelling. The narrator using an unexcited tone which works very well for me, because at times the scenes are fast and furious especially during battle scenes. The three main characters of this story each have their own tale and they are interwoven expertly. A great novel

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Pablo
  • 08-18-15

Very good performance and story. Highly recommende

It takes a while to get into the story as it describes the beginnings of 3 different main characters. But once you are in it, it's difficult to stop listening.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • joe
  • 07-09-15

Fantastic

Loved this from start to finish. Classic fantasy at its best. Demons come out at night and prey on humankind, only to be banished when dawn comes - OK not the most original idea ever but PVB has still created a wonderfully captivating world that will have you totally drawn in. The 3 main characters are very well fleshed out and all very unique and engaging. You follow them all from childhood into early adulthood and its interesting to watch them grow and change as characters. They also have the likeability factor that make you keep "turning the page".

Colin Mace's narration is good, not the best I've heard but he does a decent job of differentiating between the characters and i quite liked the smooth tone of his voice. After finishing i immediately downloaded book 2 and am currently half way through it. I'm glad to have a new fantasy series to loose myself in for 70+ hours :)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeremy
  • 07-01-15

One of the best audiobooks I've bought!

Any additional comments?

What a superb story. A simple premise but unique in the world of fantasy books that I have discovered so far. It captivates you from the start and I was eager to carry on listening as soon as I could. Colin Mace is perfect for this narration. He gives the characters their own voices and reels you into the story. Very well performed! I am so happy that there are 3 other books in this series - I can't wait to listen to them!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Natasha Ely
  • 03-12-15

loved it

Found the story, from start to finish riveting. couldn't wait to listen to the next bit of the story! on to the next !

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 11-04-15

Fantastic. Couldn't Stop Reading

Where does The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle, Book 1) rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best. Everything about this audiobook is top notch. So much so that I've felt the need to write a review for the first time.

What did you like best about this story?

The world is very well realised. I listen to a lot of fantasy and it is important to me that any magic/supernatural systems in the world are consistent and 'believable' and the world in which these systems exist reflects the supernatural. Brett's world ticks this box for me. The cultures have all adapted to world in which they exist. This is not a generic 'medieval Europe' like setting with wizards and monsters.

The characters are three-dimensional and grow as the story progresses. Character development manages to avoid, for the most part, jarring jumps in traits, abilities and relationships

Have you listened to any of Colin Mace’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I've not listened to any others before this and after reading the reviews I was a little hesitant.

But...

The performance is fantastic. Characters are well voiced and distinct (odd bit part characters sometimes sound similar, but the main ones are instantly recognisable) and he manages to convey tension, action and emotion very well.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

COME AND SEE THIS FILM ITS BLOODY GOOD!!!1!1!!!1!

Any additional comments?

I listened to this in record time, and then downloaded the rest of the series (so far). I can't recommend this book enough.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Euan
  • 04-07-15

Rompingly good book!

An enjoyable listen - lots of intrigue and interest - excellent character development as book progressed a little slow to get going - but when it did it hit he mark. Excellent

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark Graham
  • 12-28-16

Addictive and Unique

Any additional comments?

I'm always worried about getting a new audio, will the performer sell the story, will I become immersed in a new world, will I feel a connection with the characters?Collin Mace's voice takes a while to get used too, but soon he wraps you the brilliant tale by Peter V. Brett. The lore presented in the book while drawing on classical representation of demons and magic still feel unique and interesting and I soon found myself reading in anticipation for more and more information from the author about the books mythos. While I enjoy the two male characters are great, the female character Leisha is deeply interesting and each time a chapter from her POV rolls around I put my feet up and am unreachable for the next while, the events that happen to her in the book because of her gender alone are more then enough for a book by it's self!
Over all, as you can tell I really enjoy the book and I am excited to move onto the sequel !

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Alexandra Kennedy-Clark
  • 08-10-15

great series

I've read the first 4 books so far. Nothing negative to say. Not as good or as well performed as GoT or Joe Abercrombie's 'The Blade Itself' read by Steven Pacey but a good listen none the less .

Three and a half stars

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-10-18

Great fantasy.

A great story with good characters and realistic interactions. A enjoyed the story and look forward to the next boik.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-07-18

oh my goodness

so GOOD!!!! the book only lasted me 2 days and I never want to stop listening
buying the hard cover is nessicary

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-07-18

Long beginnings

Long beginning, bit slow in development but turns to quality!!
Would recommend, though the readers swallowing was a bit weird

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-04-17

great listen

read the book. audio is just as good. love this series. will be listening to the rest

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-28-17

Great story

Brilliant. About to dive straight into the 2nd book now. Took me a few chapters to get into it, but then I was hooked.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-27-17

Good story, but the narrator... :/

I think I enjoyed the story, but it's hard to be confident in saying that, as the narrator really let it down.
Not pausing between scenes, no range when changing characters etc. Hoping the sequel is done better!

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  • Chrissie
  • 11-13-17

Brilliant ! !

this fable is amazing and it draws you in. well worth listening to and I couldn't put it down

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-07-17

Great concept, imaginative and original, but...

the cultures in the book are weirdly sex-centric. This means that a lot of the societal conflict is sexual and although it is makes for a consistent culture/society, the various forms of assault/abuse feel unnecessary. For me this was a major detraction from an otherwise great story.