Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"The Wyrmling Horde"

David Farland has published over forty fantasy and science fiction novels for both adults and younger readers.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Wyrmling Horde, the seventh volume in the Runelords series, and reported the following:
Page 69 ends a chapter. The sentence which begins on page 68 reads:

Fleeds did not have great fortifications, but the women of Fleeds had great hearts. And they had loved and honored the Earth King and would respect his son.

Home [Rhinna] told herself, I'm going home.

With that, she flapped her wings, banked to her left, and soared up from under the bridge, into the open sky. Eagerly she flew to the west, into a setting sun that gleamed like a white pearl as it settled into an opalescent haze.

The Runelords series is a fantasy where lords can take attributes from their vassals. Have you ever wished that you could be as sexy as, say, Olga Kurylenko and strong as the Rock and as smart as Einstein? Well, in this series you can. Using magical branding irons called forcibles, the lords draw out such attributes. Of course once an attribute is given, the beautiful woman becomes a hag, the genius becomes a drooling idiot, and the strong man might fall down and die because his heart is too weak to keep beating.

And there are some catches to the magic. For example, the spell works only so long as both people are alive. Thus, if a lord dies, then the attribute will return to the person who gave it, but if the vassal dies, then the lord will lose the attribute altogether.

So the lord has a vested interest in keeping his vassals healthy, while the vassals may want their lord dead. Furthermore, enemies to a king might well find that the only way to weaken him is to kill those who have granted use of their attributes.

Into this vicious society is thrown a young conscientious objector named Gaborn Val Orden--a prince who hates the fact that the people who love and serve him the best must give so much of themselves. He is visiting a like-minded princess when her kingdom is overthrown by the evil Raj Ahten, a man who dreams of taking so many attributes from others that he will become godlike and invincible.

Confronted by this abomination, Gaborn struggles to overthrow Raj Ahten, but there is a catch: beneath the earth is an army of giant creatures called reavers, and they pose a very real threat to mankind.

So Gaborn finds himself in a deadly struggle to wrest power from Raj Ahten even as the world is confronted by a far greater threat.

For me, the story serves as something of a metaphor for our world. So many of us are caught up in making a daily living that we ignore the greater threats around us--things like global warming, impending financial meltdowns, and so on. Thus the George Bushes and Osama bin Laden's go at each other's throats while civilization swirls down the toilet.

Enough about the series. Let's get back to page 69.

On page 69 of The Wyrmling Horde, a young woman named Rhianna is wearing artificial wings. She has just tried to beg for help from Gaborn's old enemies. She's trying to get them to unite in order to face a larger threat, the wyrmling horde, but she fails, and so she flies off toward her ancestral home, hoping to find women who will be prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to become Runelords in an effort to stop the destruction.

SFRevu recently wrote, "David Farland has written a series that rivals the best of Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, and Orson Scott Card." Publishers Weekly said, "David Farland is a wizard at storytelling," while John Jarrold, the UK's foremost fantasy critic said of my work, "The world of fantasy has a new king."
Read an excerpt from The Wyrmling Horde, and learn more about the book and author at David Farland's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue