Friday Firsts: Malice by John Gwynne


Welcome to Friday Firsts – a new weekly meme created by Tenacious Reader. New Book: First paragraphs. First impressions. New favourite?


| Friday Firsts: August 04 |

Malice

Book One of The Faithful and the Fallen

by John Gwynne

Fantasy | 672 Pages | Published by Tor in 2012


| First Paragraphs |

Forest litter crunched under Evnis’ feet, his breath misting as he whispered a curse. He swallowed, his mouth dry.

He was scared, he had to admit, but who would not be? What he was doing this night would make him traitor to his king. And worse.

He paused and looked back. Beyond the forest’s edge he could still see the stone circle, behind it the walls of Badun, his home, its outline silvered in the moonlight. It would be so easy to turn back, to go home and choose another path for his life. He felt a moment of vertigo, as if standing on the edge of a great chasm, and the world seemed to slow, waiting on the outcome of his decision. I have come this far, I will see it through. He looked up at the forest, a wall of impenetrable shadow; he pulled his cloak tighter and walked into the darkness.

He followed the giantsway for a while, the stone-flagged road that connected the kingdoms of Ardan and Narvon. It was long neglected, the giant clan that built it vanquished over a thousand years ago, great clumps of moss and mushroom growing between crumbling flagstone.

Even in the darkness he felt too vulnerable on this wide road, and soon slithered down its steep bank and slipped amongst the trees. Branches scratched overhead, wind hissing in the canopy above as he sweated his way up and down slope and dell. He knew where he was going, had walked the path many times before, though never at night. Nineteen summers old, yet he knew this part of the Darkwood as well as any woodsman twice his age.

Soon he saw a flicker amongst the trees: firelight. He crept closer, stopping before the light touched him, scared to leave the anonymity of the shadows. Turn around, go home, a voice whispered in his head. You are nothing, will never equal your brother. His mother’s words, cold and sharp as the day she had died. He ground his teeth and stepped into the firelight.

An iron cauldron hung on a spit over a fire, water bubbling. Beside it a figure, cloaked and hooded.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| First Impressions |

First impressions? Well first I have to admit that I started this book a long time ago and for reasons I fail to remember, put it down and haven’t picked it up again until now.

Re-reading the opening however, which is brimming with dark tension and mystery, has drawn me back into The Banished Lands and I’m already hooked. While the slow build-up of the opening chapters is almost certainly what made me put Malice down to begin with, it’s detail and character development on second take is a joy to read. I certainly won’t be putting it down again until it’s finished!                   

What are you currently reading? What were your first impressions?

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2 thoughts on “Friday Firsts: Malice by John Gwynne

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