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The warded man
Peter V. Brett
Adult Fiction BRETT

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Brett's debut builds slowly and grimly on a classic high fantasy framework of black-and-white morality and bloodshed. Young Arlen battles demons to save his mother while his father watches in terror; when his mother dies, Arlen runs away. Leesha leaves her village to work in the city hospital of Angiers after her betrothed claims to have taken her virginity. Jongleur Arrick Sweetsong saved himself from demons at the expense of a female friend, but he honors her last request and raises her son, Rojer, as his apprentice. Only near the end do the three strands of the story begin to intertwine. With its nameless enemies that exist only to kill, Brett's gritty tale will appeal to those who tire of sympathetic villains and long for old-school orc massacres. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

As in any other preindustrial agrarian society, the people of Tibbet's Brook tend farms, pursue crafts and trade, and raise families in the usual human fashion-until sunset, when they must take shelter in buildings protected by magical "wards." For in the darkness of night, demons stalk the countryside, ripping any unprotected human being into bloody shreds. Brett ably blends fantasy and horror in this arresting first novel, the launch of a planned series. The nightly horrors of his imagined world are disquietingly convincing, as is the way that a disheartened and dwindling human race has come to accept them passively. Three young characters, a farmer's son, a herbalist, and an apprentice bard, come of age in this demon-haunted world; their actions may eventually change the world but only at a terrible physical and spiritual cost. An imaginative and exciting tale; recommended where there is interest in epic fantasy or horror.-Bradley A. Scott, Brighton Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Arlen
Battled demons to save his mother, while his father watched in terror; when his mother died he left his village, disgusted by peoples' cowardice; became trained as a messenger, a traveling warrior-nomad responsible for maintaining communication and trade between villages; determined to turn humanity against the demons.

Age: 13
Lived with her abusvie mother and downtrodden father; a scandalous rumor by her fiance has destroyed her chance at a respectable marriage; lLeft her village to work in the city hospital.

Survived a demon attack as a toddler, but which killed his family and left him with a crippled hand; adopted by an alcoholic jester who travels with messengers and perfoms in the villages; talented at playing the fiddle; discovers he can entrance the demons with his music.

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