Just adding my voice and humble opinion...
The first part of the book (about 150 pages or so) i found completely BORING! Little in character development and little background and things moved ever so slowly...but what a fool i was to doubt the essence of your work, because from that point on i was completely hooked. As usual, you write with such detail in every point and every scene that you feel that you are standing right there with the characters.
I liken this book (and your others) to a symphony. It starts slowly, with winding sounds and builds up quietly to a mighty crescendo which never fails to amaze. The reader is taken on the journey upward slowly (and it feels like you are hardly moving but that feeling of not moving is misleading), because when you look back you realise how far you've actually come. (I hope that I am making sense).
The moral of the story for me:
Let the book unfold before you and feel rest assured that you are in the hands of a great story teller. Kudos to you Janny! A great piece of work and I must confess that I feel like the dolt for not being patient at the start and doubting your work. Boy was i wrong!
I loved the book except the ending which I felt was too abrupt and tidied up everything too neatly. It came across to me like it ran up against a page limit and needed to end asap. It's probably the pacing difference between middle and end that caused it to feel so abrupt. It was still an excellent read
Auna - there was no page limit. I wrote the book I intended - each character brought to recognition and closure. The steps to getting there were done and there seemed little merit in drawing them out further.
Anja's final (ruler's) choice - to have Mykkael BE what he was, and not bend that for her personal need, which would have lessened what he WAS - that was the triumph. What he WAS had saved her kingdom. To hang on, past that moment, would have debased and destroyed the one thing that had held the line.
The courageous choice - to let go - not to hang on to a moment, past its genuine purpose.
If I'd written on, I'd have not let go, either...nor would the reader have felt that. Anja's choice - did not happen without sacrifice, regret, and yes, loss. If you felt that, at the end, then I succeeded.
This (to my aim) was a story of the character of a warrior, set against the moral pressures imposed by the ruler....it was not a story ABOUT the magic, or the demons, or the threat - those were the stage and the backdrop against which the greater theme played. It was also about the collision of differing venues of cultural thought.
George - thank you for your take. Really nice you stayed for the payoff.
Wars of Light and Shadow will do the SAME THING - in entirety when all 5 arcs are complete. But the structure at the end could not stand, but for the intricacy of development.
I always have a purpose. Some may not agree with what I deliver, but I do know the steps I am taking. There's not "window dressing" - just purpose yet to be unveiled. I applaud those with the vision and the patience (most of this board) for their willingness to look at what is really there.
Actually Janny, I liked that part of the ending and felt it was very courageous of her to let go. It was the other wrapup stuff that seemed too short. Guess I like reading your stuff too much and want it to never end ;)
Hi Janny and everyone,
TRHC was great! Mykkael's place as Captain spoke volumes along with the fact that his cultural background differs greatly from the people at Sessaile. Initially, it made me flinch to wonder where his fate will lead because his future at first looked bleak with everyone wanting him removed and stuff. For me, reading through this book had been a reminder of what cultural differences can do to a person, a race, a country, and so on. It's an eye opener, really...but which of Janny's books wasn't? *laughs*
I admit, I wanted a sequel *sheepish smile*, because I wondered if Sessaile will ever look past their differences and actually begin to join forces to battle the demons, or would they fail..and so on...(but that's thinking too big when the story was about Mykkael! Sorry janny! I was curious.)
ps : Still can't get the ending for Peril's gate!! I think I'll call home and ask somebody to read it to me *laughs*
Perhaps not a sequel to TRHC, but maybe another book written about the TRHC world? Maybe the background story of Mykkael's adventures in Efandi and the race to save the princess?
What do you say Janny?
George - you asked. Would you learn a darned THING more about Mykkael, if I wrote this???
No new ground, no point writing. It would be the sort of 'coasting' I just can't sit still for...others might enjoy it, yes, but I'd die of boredom, retreading ground (for a year of regurgitating, with different "scenery") -- the same inner territory already defined by the man's actions in Hell's Chasm.
If, genuinely, I had a genuine new idea - I'd consider doing it. If I could fit it in.
Well, I for one wouldn't mind a prequel. ;) I admit that the story of Myykael's family is intriguing. We got a little taste of that in the conversations some of the demons had, and I was dissapointed we never learned more. ;)
Or maybe something about Jussod's people, their culture was also pretty interesting, and I had half-hoped we'd see more of them. I'm always up for a good love story, so the story of Mykkael and the nomad Princess (whose name escapes me at the moment *hangs her head in shame*) could be fun.. although I suppose not a terribly idea. I will admit to being girly enough that the love stories in your books are some of my favorite bits!
Janny, I see your point about Mykkael as far as character goes. Yes, we have learnt quite a bit about Mykkael...about how he is NOW. However, the man he is NOW is NOT the man he was before. He obviously has grown and changed in accordance with his previous experiences, especially in Efandi. I just thought it might be interesting to see his transition from hardened mercenary to scarred man.
In any event, i was just making a hopeful suggestion. Point taken about time being a concern. Lets not push it!
George - I wasn't offended. Shoulda put a smiley.
Just - the very idea - leaves a "blank" when I look at it - sure sign there's no new ground.
Fun assumption you made there - was he ever 'hardened?'
There could be angles that have new story - just not the one already taken.
I'll be immersed in Stormed Fortress for the forseeable future, at any rate.
From my perspective, prequels can be 'dangerous' ground unless handled well. For example, Episodes 1 to 3 of the Star Wars movies. I've found them flat boring because I know what has to happen and so there's little surprise. (I won't comment on the dialog beyond one coworker referring to a certain scene between Anikan and the Princess feeling like a 'feminine hygiene' commercial (she used the word douche. )
OTOH (On the other hand) if Janny were to write a prequel to any of her storylines you can bet it wouldn't cover ground already trod.
I was also thinking about Star Wars as a bad example...although financially a success ;-) I felt that there should have been potential in EP: 1-3 to do a darker deeper "thing" but I guess fast lasers and strange creatures are more important...
I guess there has to be something new and interesting otherwise you can just cut and paste the first story and change the dates and "voilà" a whole new story ;-)
Even Tolkein's "prequel" silmarillion (well..he wrote it first I guess...) seems unpopular with all but "die hard" fans - I personally find it easier to reread than LotR since it is lot's of short stories really tied together in a main theme...
The only good prequel I can recall tight away is Hero and the Crown (Robin Mckinley) But the characters are all different. It's examines a legend from the first Daria book and the reader get's to see the 'reality' behind the legend present in the first. A nice idea I felt.
I guess it's always tempting to want more of something we like...
I feel Mykkael, like Korendir, has had his story. As Trys suggests, we know where Mykkael ends up so a pre-quel would seem like a by the numbers exercise. A later story wouldn't be compelling I don't think - Mykkael's story was that he couldn't save one princess, then saved the second, redeemed himself (in his eyes) and exorcised his demons. the only thing missing from the end of To Ride Hell's chasm was a quote an English Oxford Scholar put in one of his tomes "and he lived happily ever after, to the end of his days".
A prequel in the world of Korendir of what transpired when Korendir's brother (?) let loose the demons of Macak (sp?) would be an interesting read.
The original Star Wars stories had 70s panache about them, which allowed bad acting and wafer thin story - the new films has no story and even worse acting and a plot that simply serves to move from one enormous, sterile battle scene to the next.
Someone who found the Silmarillion easier to read? That's an interesting comment. In many ways, it's a reference and history text stating what is and how it came to pass. I always thought it somewhat more dense than the actual novels..
I thought TRHC was an outstanding read and I enjoyed it immensely. The ending was right on. Thank you for finding the time to put it together for us. You are without a doubt a super, with a capital S, lady that you get done all that you do. We get impatient waiting for your next release but it has always been well worth the wait. And their are so many other good Fantasy novels available to fill the void. Finding TRHC surely helped.
I actually came acrros this book by PURE chance, in fact i did not pick it up the first time i saw it! I have just fininshed TRHC and had to say that i think it is PURE BRILLIANCE!! Simple.
I had never heard of Janny Wurts before this, now she is a name i will not forget.
Many thanks Jenny, you are blessed!
Welcome here - and
I think I had best have a word with the Toronto Public Library as for whatever reason neither Traitor's Knot nor TRHC is part of the catalogue or appears to be on order. Anyhow I finally got to reading TRHC. For the first half of the book I kept wondering how there could be so many pages left to solve the mystery and by the end I was wondering how there could be so few pages left to wrap up the story.
One thing I must say, Janny, you do like putting your main characters through some heavy torment. I know that contentment and happiness doesn't make for great stories but your characters always seemed condemned to particularily terrible time. ;)
** Spoilers Ahead **
Just wondering, Janny, did the King have to be alive in order for the healing of Sessalie to take place? Or could it have happened through Anja alone? Could the Efandi princess be used to heal her country the same way? What happens to the shapechangers at that point? Would they be destroyed or freed somehow? Also (last one) when turned into a minion, does the demon take over the body or is the actual person corrupted (ie was it a corrupt Kailen acting or a demon using Kailen's body)?
Phew, sorry for that barrage of questions!
Hi winter - You Asked.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS...
Yes, on the king being alive, and that healing. Something was needed to "bridge over distance" and Anja's connection to her father provided that (as the gift of the worked sash Jussoud gave Mykkael provided the bridge to Serphaedia.
If I EVER am tempted to write a sequel, you will see your answer in the Efandi princess - I am NOT planning this, it wasn't an option in the Hell's Chasm concept, BUT - it has occurred in hindsight there is another possibly (possibly!!) worthy story here. The corrupt ground in Efandi...what happens to it.
It's not something I want to work on just now. But the seed is there, twinkling.
When Sessalie was healed, the shapechangers presence would be dissolved back from whence it came. The demon is left whole, but cut off from that site. Minions are taken, claimed, corrupted to the point where a very difficult release is necessary to pull back the soul fragment of the dead person that is in thrall. Kailen received this release - the others could not at that moment, but, presumably may have, when the war was taken onto Devall's ground, and the family there, reclaimed where possible...this is all implied at the ending, but yes, it's a large chunk of action to "sum up"
The main thrust of this story was Mykkael's conquest of Hell's Chasm, and his bit part knowledge keeping everyone whole....he always WAS pitted against an enemy far larger than he was, this was quite plainly stated: that hope lay with the knowledge Ajna needed an alliance to gain, in protection. This was his quest: to keep her living until he could GET her there.
Yup, he had a mean time of it.
If you want a softer story, look at Sorcerer's Legacy if you can find it.
I have another few with less beaten protagonists planned out, but they are only in outline...two books, and a different sort of story line. Wish I could split every day into two...right now, the bigger series is getting the primary focus.
Thanks for your interest, in eventually tracking this title down! Your library could still acquire the hardbound, there are copies left.
Thanks! Maybe if I put in a request for it they'll order it. The Merril Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy simply cannot be considered comprehensive without the entire Wurts bibliography.
I have read Sorcerer's Legacy but I can't recall the story line to mind now. I think that means it's time for a re-read...
I just reread it last night since I was looking for a smaller book to be able to finish before going to bed.
Hey Janny, Hello everybody.
I'm a newbie.
I will now attempt to win friends and influence people by strongly disagreeing with somebody in my first post. I'm strongly disagreeing with George first.
The beginning and the first 150 pages of TRHC are in my opinion,er.. brilliant. The microcosm slowly becomes the macrocosm. In terms of things, the individual, other people, places/landscape and the emotions, particularly the emotions etc.
I liked that. Blooming astounded and somewhat enthralled, I was.
If it's not too pert of me,George, I reckon that if you ever re-read the story and if you take the ' going for a quite stroll and looking around you, a bit ' approach,.. the nature of the beginning of the story might grow on you .
Now I'm disagreeing with you Ms Wurtz. I've got the right. I'm a fan, you see ..( grin)
Janny, you said ;
"Anja's final (ruler's) choice - to have Mykkael BE what he was, and not bend that for her personal need, which would have lessened what he WAS - that was the triumph. What he WAS had saved her kingdom. To hang on, past that moment, would have debased and destroyed the one thing that had held the line. "
END QUOTE :
It seems to me that given Mykkaels fundamental heroic response regarding any phenomena in his life or reality - be it a glass of wine or a demon or an aching leg - nothing can lessen WHAT he is or CAN be.
Death may 'end' Mykkael or what he is....maybe, but it cannot lessen it .
Given WHAT and WHO Mykkael has chosen to be, he cannot be bent to anyones will or need. He can serve the need and will of others, but always for his own reasons and not always in ways that those others are "comfortable " with.
You created the character Janny ! ( Grin )
It would have been interesting to see Mykkaels heroic response to the many ' phenomena ' regarding him becoming a candidate for "Royal Consort." And the consequences of his actions...
Mykkael had already demonstrated that he could be true to himself... and victorious regarding all consequences. And victorious regarding all consequences of that refusal to compromise.
Did Ajna think that Mykkael could be broken by anything ? Did she think that anything could make him compromise regarding his honour....royal consort or not ?
It appears that she did.
Mykkael becomes who and what he is through honest and pure - in terms of clarity - response regarding his life, reality and sooner or later....all phenomena in his reality. Given the nature of his motivation and his response, he can never be lessened by his actions or their consequences. Whatever they may be.
More to the point, I think that such a person would always be changing and evolving without compromising... becoming more Real and Truer ' versions ' of himself/herself all the time.
We would never know the whole story about such a person. (Slyly)
Did Mykkael love Anja with anything like the passion he felt for the Effandi princess ?
If he loved Ajna with that kind of passion, he would have let nothing stand in his way and he would have made sure that this served the kingdom. In short he would have got the girl....in alignment with his interpretation of honour.
Why did nobody consult him about this loving ( Ruler's) choice ?
Anja's a bit of a hero in my book. Did her (ruler's) choice honour her ? ... or did it ' lessen ' her ? We have already seen a demonstration of Anja's character when she made her ( ruler's) choice.
But what about her honour ?
Did Ajna love Myykael ? Why would there have to be a contradiction or disharmony between Ajna honouring her love for Mykkael and her kingdom and honouring him ?
Why would there have to be an intrinsic contradiction or disharmony regarding Ajna honouring her love for herself and her love for Mykkael and the kingdom and honouring
him ? Everybody knows what happens when an individual surrenders to passion. But what happens when an individual " honours " it ?
Why would there have to be a contradiction or disharmony regarding Ajna being true to herself and being true to Mykkael and being true to her kingdom ?
What would have happened if Ajna had listened to the voice of her compassion for herself, her compassion for Myykael and her compassion for the kingdom ?.... and anything else
that she needed to be compassionate about ?
What would happen if Arithon s'Ffalen directed his COMPASSION towards and
All the time.
What would happen in his life ? ( slyly)
Back to Mykkael ;
Any populace in this demon-afflicted world, surely might be persuaded to accept a king with Demon-bashing credentials? And the fact that he was not of the caucasian persuasion
could be used as a feather in the kingdoms cap, as opposed to a black eye...
EG: Our king is Mykkael , bane of demons. Of course he looks different. Sheesh! What did you expect ? He is the bane of demons. He is the vessel of gods. Those whom the gods choose are always peculiar.
Our king is dark and terrible and magical .
Your king is a greasy slob with a stupid moustache...etc
The bottom line is that if Myykael had chosen to become royal consort, he would have done so on his terms. His terms alone.
In my opinion, you told more than the story of the character of a warrior, set against the moral pressures imposed by the ruler. From a humble readers (grin) perspective you also
told the story of a person who evolved his character and became what he needed to be, through being true to himself in spite of all moral and physical pressures from 'without' and 'within'. And he was victorious.
A lot of the other characters in the story seemed to be far more than literary devices or ' props' or " backdrop ". But I " knew " that if I stepped off the main " path " of the story
and followed any one of these characters about; that their " myth" would unfold.
In my opinion you told more than Mykkaels story....
No pressure. ( Big grin) .
or Drake or Mr Douay , if you prefer
Welcome to the board Martin.
Welcome to the board indeed - food for thought too.
I just wanted to say, about the personal choice losing out to 'ruler' choice.
I think of the relationship between Anja and Mykkael as reaching something beyond the definitions of 'friends' or 'consort'. The decision in the end, was one of altruism, of knowing and loving each other so well, that it freed them. Mykkael from being the vessel of fate, and Anja, to help her become fit to rule.
Sometimes we meet people for a short time, develop a deep instant connection, which leads to insight that helps us move on with our lives. It shows us how deeply we can connect to others already in our lives, brings up hidden talents, restores us to lost parts of ourselves.
Certainly, I've experienced a few earthly guides in this way. Some people experience it as intensely as if it were an affair.
I enjoyed reading about their their relationship and how it was fulfilled as far as it could be in that life, and could therefore restore themselves and their people from the lessons learned.
It is also a biologicial reaction when placed in danger to react in a way that would/could result in the perpetuation of the species. That is a strong physical attraction between these two could have been initiated/enhanced by the constant, imminent threat of death. I would think Anja, being fairly young, would succumb to the urges but would misinterpret that biological imperative as an emotional bond starting to form.
In the case of Mykkael, my thought is that his reaction to Anja would have both the biological imperative and the memories of what he went through with Orannia but his more mature viewpoint asserted itself at the end and he recognize the attraction for what it was... or more importantly, what it was not - true love.
Just my opinion.
I agree with Trys
I felt that, although Anja was infatuated with her "hero" Mykkael knew that it was not "true love". I am sure that his sense of honour and duty would have caused him to accept being Anja's consort if she had asked. BUT I don't think this is what he would have chosen. At the end we are also made aware of the love that binds him and Orannia and with her healing the guilt he felt at what happened to her can start to heal as well.
Just my opinion
Trys: forgive me, but... biological response to danger? I found that very funny!
A kind of "If you were the last man and I were the last woman in the world..." scenario....
But you do make a good point about youthful infatuation and his painful memories.
During Mykkael's healing - the decision to part ways was said to make the valley ring with the sound of altruistic choice. This was what led me to reconsider the relationship between them as a higher form of it.
It's not an abnormal response for people in 'fight or flight' situations to experience physical arousal. Just a reaction for the species to perpetuate itself. It is usually the case that there's no way to act on it nor would having to wait nine months for any result solve the immediate problem. But the body reacts as the body reacts. ;)
I think there are a few things that could be explored in the same setting though - Perhaps the political wranglings that allowed the sorcerer to take over the young crown prince and his whole kingdom, as long as it were a subtle thing it could be interesting. Or perhaps a war between the sorceror lead forces and the vizier's forces, perhaps with some intrigue or sub plots of the live of oringary people not yet consumed by demons?
I appologise for any typing errors I've made the mistake of typing while very tired.
Interesting fact about women under intense stress, (as Anja would have been) it often stops the ovulation process. This is nature's way to ensure that when children are born, they are safe, secure and able to be fed and nurtured.
One of the possible reasons for the drop in fertility rates, is high environmental stress.
Seems to the two biological reactions are somewhat opposite to each other.
That's why I think the first one is more emotional for survival (bonding helps people work better together?) than it is for procreation.
The baby booms come AFTER the war...?
Trys and Roisin; thanks for your welcome.(grin)
Howdy Bec. Good day to you Myranda Rose. (grin again)
Why are we wrangling about whether Mykkael and Anja were
in love or not ?
That question is is easily settled.
Er..Janny. Were Mykkael and Ajna in love or not ? Or was it infatuation or a " higher octave of platonic romance. " ?
Realise that MY take as author is not the only take - this story now belongs to its readers - so - whatever you feel is IT.
Were they are weren't they in my mind matters very little, with that regard - but if you want to know what "I" felt - the question isn't simple yes or no. There are many forms of love, and degrees.
Was Anja in love with Mykkael - yes, but would it last? She Was very young, and yet, grew enough in the story to realize that her need for a warrior king was OVER. She was able to make the wise choice for the long term and let go of that intensity when the need for it was done. It is LIKELY that her natural common ground is more suited to the young princeling.
Mykkael - yes he did love Anja, absolutely, but the question no reader has thought to ask themselves - in his love for Anja, did he love Orannia MORE?
I did not see his return to her as a guilt trip for her fate in his company - not a bit - I trusted his innate abillity to choose his mate from his strengths. Orannia I did see as a "match" for his warrior spirit - but it's not very likely that a reader could "second guess" this from the story as written since very little of Orannia got on the page, except for his take at her plight.....but between the lines, he had to be "kicked out" of the nomads tribe to get on with his life...this event long after he got her home and was not needed to secure her survival. That says a very great deal about the depth of his feelings.
The augury did read that IF Anja kept him for herself, he would not have held to life. His own awareness of being "misplaced" in her world was accurate and not enough to hold his stake in that future. He said, of himself, many times - that he did not have her gift of peace. And that is what Sessalie thrives on.
but between the lines, he had to be "kicked out" of the nomads tribe to get on with his life...this event long after he got her home and was not needed to secure her survival. That says a very great deal about the depth of his feelings.
The Autonomic Nervous System is made up of the Sympathetic System(Fight or Flight) and the Parasympathetic System(Feed and Breed).
Women would not physiologically desire sex during periods of high stress or perceived threat. Hard to run away or fight if you're pregnant or taking care of small children.
I imagine Anja's invitiation for intimacy did not come from sexual arrousal.
I must be mis-wired somewhere....
skeoke: there's stress of daily stuff... and then there's run and hide from certain death stress... I know that it FEELS like you're going to die when you arrive at work and they pile on the tasks... but I don't think it's the same thing... so the occasional office indiscretion is understandable...
WOW!!! One of your best. Thought it moved slowly at first and then WHAM I was hooked. You designed a wondeful fantasy.
Keep working on the sequel to Stormwarden...
Thanks again for a wonderful escape!!!
this is one of my fav books, would love more one of books like this from Janny in the future!
Cheryl Rockel, welcome here! and thanks for the lovely words.
Nurgle - welcome here, too, I would LOVE to do more books like this one and actually have one (different characters, different world) underway and fairly well along. When the series is done, I hope to finish it.
Meantime, if more people are made aware of Hell's Chasm, that significantly adds incentive.
Please, if you loved this book - rate and review it, it REALLY helps other readers find it.
To Ride Hell's Chasm, epic fantasy lushness.
My thoughts on https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/913852578
The standalone novel which started it all.
Nice review, Alissa. The books that started it all for me (though I didn't know it at the time, and only recently discovered the stories were hers) were Janny's contributions to the Elfquest series, then Sorcerer's Legacy and the Empire series with Ray Feist. To Ride Hell's Chasm is as good a place as any to start, though, and BOY do you have a LOT of reading to do! ;-)
(I envy you the task...enjoy!)
Thank you Mark!
Ahahaha, an ambitious agenda, oh yes, my current love for the big series has shifted my reading priorities quite a bit.
I still have to read Sorcerer's Legacy and the Empire series and I'm sure I'll like them, I'm very curious particularly about the latter since I'm going to read it coming from Janny Wurts solo works and not the other way about.
I read the Master of White Storm after Hell's Chasm and before Curse of the Mistwraith, another wonderful book.
Short stories for the Elfquest series? Ah
Kinda sorta 'round a later book in the Elfquest line, "The Blood of Ten Chiefs". Easier to grab in her short stories book, "That Way Lies Camelot", though!
:D That Way Lies Camelot is very active on my to be read list. The only problem is that it is not available in e-format ;_;
Alissa, there's this amazing technology called a book. Bunch of paper, bound together with glue and thread, available for free in these old buildings called 'libraries', and for low cost in second-hand book stores.
AND, it never needs batteries or to be plugged into anything. I took a book into the wilds of Algonquin Park last summer, and it worked just fine.
Just jerkin' your technological chain!
Yup, and it doesn't break when you make it fall on the floor too. Unfortunately, no library in my Country would have an English book BUT you are totally right. High time for something new in my reading habits, for Janny's short stories.
Well, I've googled Algonquin Park and I admit I would go there anytime.
I have a picture, taken on the beach, with me reading a 1500+ pages book, among the rocks. Santa Maria di Leuca in Puglia, Italy. No phone cameras back then, but boy if it wasn't fulfilling!
e book for That Way Lies Camelot is in the pipe - not sure when, though.
Thank you! :D I would love it. I see the only option now is a used paperback or hardcover, but I'd really love to buy it in e-format. I stay tuned!