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Across the Face of the World (Fire of Heaven #1)

3.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,068 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
From the tiny snowbound village of Loulea, six men and women will begin a dangerous quest to challenge an ancient evil, fulfil a prophecy and change the course of their world's history.
Paperback, 576 pages
Published May 4th 2006 (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,108)
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Jun 22, 2009 Hannah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Slow plot and tedious descriptions make this a considerably more boring read than it should've been; at one point, Kirkpatrick spends a whole page just describing the greenness of the valley, the way the canopy blocked out the sun, the different plants in said valley, the ground, the soil, etc. If the unnecessary rambling about the setting was cut out, the book would probably have been reduced to half its size.

The characters, particularly the main character, came across as weak and immature, and
Cheryl Landmark
Oct 17, 2011 Cheryl Landmark rated it it was ok
Although this book promised to deliver the kind of fantasy I really enjoy--an epic quest and a journey fraught with danger and adventure--it failed to really draw me in and fascinate me as I had hoped.

For one thing, the book was way too long and contained far too many passages that were simply tedious and boring. It could easily have been half the length, but Mr. Kirkpatrick insisted on describing the physical world of Faltha in mind-numbing, excruciating detail--every tree, every blade of grass
Sep 19, 2010 Dan rated it did not like it
The basic plot of the story has promise, but unfortunately the majority of the book is devoted to tedious and unnecessary descriptions about the scenery. By the end of this novel, I was rooting for the group of characters to reach their destination almost entirely to stop the running narrative about the landscape. If these rambling points had been cut it, it would have been much shorter, and much more riveting.

For the main characters, Leith is weak and quite repetitive, with only one concern at
Daniel Taylor
Feb 19, 2011 Daniel Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
A remarkable debut. Scene-by-scene this book is perfect. Expect some lengthy descriptions of geology. Kirkpatrick is a mapmaker who created some imaginary maps and then decided to bring them to life with characters. His passions show.
Joni Van
May 10, 2012 Joni Van rated it really liked it
Very good narrative. Sometimes the development can be a bit slow because he really takes his time to go into graphic details of the scenery. To my opinion this contributes to the experience of being in another realm (it actually reminded me of how Tokien wrote). On the other hand this could be counted as "filler", as he describes areas you'll never see again after that chapter.

The book describes the trek of a company (the members vary throughout the trilogy) "Across the face of the world" (more
Nov 26, 2011 Mick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I, like most fans of fantasy that I know, did most of my fantasy reading as a teen and young adult. I stopped reading it for no other reason than no one was recommending anything new. If you are like me than here is your recommendation and re-entry into the genre. Russell Kirkpatrick has written a wonderful series of books that deserves mention among the great fantasy writers such as Roger Zelazny, Terry Brooks and yes even J.R.R. Tolkien.

This is book 1 of 3 of the Fire of Heaven series and beg
Melyssa Williams
ok this was a well written but incredibly complicated book! Halfway through I realized the author is also an accomplished mapmaker. this explains the 42-eleventy towns/villages/cities/mountains/rivers you have to wade through to get to the characters! I couldn't quite finish it as it's the first in a trilogy, and I just couldn't see myself liking it enough to read all three. But if you're a huge sci-fi fan and don't mind difficult to pronounce locations in every sentence, you may enjoy it more t ...more
I was looking forward to settling in for a nice winter's read with this series, but nope. I made it about twenty pages in, and had to set it aside...the first word that pops to mind is "trite," followed by "cheesey" and "overwrought."
Chris Cicmanec
Mar 24, 2009 Chris Cicmanec rated it did not like it
The Black Hat Writer
Feb 27, 2016 The Black Hat Writer rated it it was ok
Kirkpatrick spent a lot of time developing this world from coast to coast and kingdom to kingdom, and he can describe everything he imagines in such beautifully vivid detail that, at times, it was breathtaking and I could imagine myself surrounded by his gorgeous and grim landscapes. Unfortunately, that's about where the excitement ends.

The pacing of the story is sluggish and the characters are immature and unlikeable. The plot is derivative of Lord of the Rings, the method of storytelling is re
Dec 18, 2014 Aelvana rated it it was ok
Two thousand years past, the Destroyer stole the secret of eternal life from the Most High. In the intervening centuries, he has learned much, conquered and been set back, and has readied himself for the next blow. This time, he will rule the land. This time, he will outwit the Most High. But against his world-dominating schemes, the Most High has raised up a most unlikely group of heros: small men and women from a village all but forgotten by the rest of the world. A band of five, plus friends, ...more
L Kyi
Jul 04, 2011 L Kyi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There are books I disliked but finished. There are books I disliked and stopped reading half way. Unfortunately "Across The Face of the World" fell into the latter category.

"Across The Face of the World" is the first book in the "Fire of Heaven" Trilogy. In many ways, it appears to emit a sense of epic and grandeur, but unfortunately falls short in several fronts. In particular, most of the characters are un-inspiring, the plot is very slow to progress to keep the readers interested, and the ge
Jun 30, 2010 James rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
This was quite possibly the most boring book I've ever read. At least in the top 5, and fantasy books don't usually make that list.

I read the prologue in Borders to see if I would like this book before I bought it. It was incredibly deceptive and made me think that the book was actually going somewhere, which it does not.

The following is a summary of the book--don't worry, it doesn't give anything away because there's nothing there to spoil:

"We need to leave our village for some reason that does
Jul 23, 2011 Ruth rated it really liked it
c2004. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the second one. Not sure why I have not heard of the series "Fire of Heaven" before now. I agree that there are echoes of Tolkein but that did not take away any of the enjoyment of the read. Courtesy of Amzon, the plot is as follows "For 2000 years Kannwar, the immortal Destroyer, Lord of Bhrudwo, has been planning revenge on those who cast him out from the mortal world and his plans are now nearing fruition. When the trader Mahnum esc ...more
Mar 15, 2015 Scribal rated it liked it
Shelves: tease
This is a beautiful homage to Tolkien and it works on its own as well. Anybody truly familiar with the Lord of the Rings BOOKS (not the movies) will hear the echoes constantly: in a turn of phrase ("nigh on fifty years ago"); in the characterizations of the mountains and the elements that figure almost as characters; the intermittent legends and songs. Kirkpatrick has peoples who fit their landscape as did Tolkien.

Three pages of detailed maps in the beginning alerts the reader that a sense of p
Doc Opp
May 24, 2013 Doc Opp rated it it was ok
On book jacket, Trudy Canavan author compares this book to Tolkien. That's a surprisingly apt description, but not in a good way. What we have here is a book with Tolkien's writing style, but none of the creativity. So, all the tedious leaf by leaf descriptions of forests and the incredible attention to irrelevant detail is supplied in earnest. But the actual plot is your classic epic fantasy archetype, and there was nothing in here that wasn't right out of the fantasy canon.

The other thing tha
Matt Richter
Aug 19, 2011 Matt Richter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
i read 'path of revenge' the first book of kirkpatrick's second trilogy and was most impressed. so i went back to read this the first book of his original trilogy and was surprisingly disappointed.

i believe kirkpatrick is himself a cartographer and he obviously has a vast understanding of landscapes and ecosystems. the problem is that he fills (what seems like) 75% of each chapter with grand descriptions of his world and severely neglects character and plot development.

maybe some people are in
Forgotten Realms Queen
People who like Robert Jordan will probably like this book. I myself was not a fan of Mr. Jordan, i prefer my days taking place over one chapter instead of ten. Russell Kirkpatrick is a lot like that. Not nearly as in depth as the Wheel of Time series, but I found myself skipping more pages than i was reading to find the parts where things like dialogue and action were happening.

Russell Kirkpatrick is a good author. I can see that in his writing. He has good ideas, an eye for detail, and the cha
Jul 21, 2014 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was my second attempt to read this, and, although I came away liking it more than I had the first time, a lot of the problems are still what I remember.

The length, for starters, is padded out with lovely, but unnecessary descriptions of every forest, lake and mountain our intrepid heroes encounter on their quest, while characterization seems to suffer accordingly, and it becomes rather tedious to wade through the landscape in pursuit of the 1-dimensional little blobs that are our characters
P.H. Solomon
Dec 01, 2014 P.H. Solomon rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the whole series several years ago and read all three books in close succession. Kirkpatrick's world-building detail is fascinating as are the magic elements he includes. Take the ride with this story and enjoy the adventure and mystery. Across the Face of the World (Fire of Heaven, #1) by Russell Kirkpatrick
Margaret Kosakiewicz
Aug 12, 2014 Margaret Kosakiewicz rated it did not like it
This story started with a great promise and fell flat on its face. The writing is laboured and stiff; the author goes over the same details twice on a number of occasions; he has not researched his stuff (it's quite obvious he's never ridden a horse and never bothered to find out what hurts when you spend long hours in the saddle), and truly, the story just isn't believable. You cannot expect a reader to believe that a party comprised of a handicapped teenager and his brother, a teenage girl, an ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Barbara rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf, abandoned
I can't really count this as a book I've read as I gave up after Chapter 5.

The author has talent but is in dire need of an editor wielding a red pen. The description of life in a small village in far north and the impact of the harsh weather on the inhabitants was very well described. It should be, given the amount of detail that was used. As this is your standard quest trilogy where the hero has to leave his hometown to save the world, this really could have used some cutting. Enough detail to
Paige Belfield
Jan 28, 2015 Paige Belfield rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this, not as much as his other trilogy I'll admit. Like many first novels this reads a little dry, and there was something about the writing itself that caused me to struggle through reading it.

The plot is one of intrigue and worthy causes, and the world is an intricate creation which is reflected often within the work. I'd say the main issue with the book is Leith. His personality is almost non existent and what does exist is mostly centred around Stella. Many of the less prom
Sep 03, 2014 Devin rated it really liked it
What struck me first about this book and, although changed, remained with me in various forms throughout was the absolute stark reality of the characters' world. The beginning chapters especially portray vividly the cold, windy, fearful life these people lead and the simple pleasures they use to sustain themselves. This, more than anything, is what kept me reading when I realized I may not see much change in the plot line over the course of this long, hefty novel. I felt cold and afraid during t ...more
Nov 01, 2009 Katie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have only ever not finished one book: it was in the fifth grade, and it was a novelized version of a PC game that I had never played. I couldn't get into it, and left off after about 100 pages or so. This is the second book that I have ever started and then put down, never to pick up again.

I tried, I really did. I read the first 225 pages, and then I just couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't connect to any of the characters, including our 12-year-old central protagonist. And, after 225 pages,
Jan 05, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was ok
The front cover quotes Trudi Canavan as saying “Not since Tolkien have I been so awed.” In scope at least, this first book of a trilogy is comparable to LOTR. Kirkpatrick has certainly done plenty of world building but the characters aren't really very fleshed out, for the most part, except maybe Lieth, the protag. He’s a total geek, and he knows it. He wishes he could be more normal and attract the attention of the girl he likes, and having a cripple for a brother and his father mysteriously di ...more
Oct 29, 2012 Lucinda rated it it was amazing
This remarkable, astonishing book is comparable with Tolkien at his very best!

Russell Kirkpatrick has the touch of JRR Tolkien about him in his extensive world building and complex plot, which I feel is both exciting as it is impressive. Across the face of the world is the first installment in the Fire of Haven trilogy (in the earth abides the flame and the right hand of God), that is set within the incalculable sixteen kingdoms of Faltha. The world is as richly imagined as in any modern fantas
Chase Folmar
Jan 20, 2012 Chase Folmar rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
This book is TERRIBLE! Boring, long, tedious, and stupid. The entire story is one long rescue mission, the rescuers being a teenage boy, a cripple, a teenage girl, a fat mayor, an old man, and only two actual warriors. Not exactly the group that would strike fear in the hearts of enemies. And then, almost right when they rescue Leith's parents, someone from out of nowhere comes and kidnaps Leith. That is such weak storytelling I don't even know what to say. Oh wait, yes I do: STUPID!
And god, th
Ана Хелс
Nov 30, 2013 Ана Хелс rated it really liked it
Докъде трябва да спре преклонението пред даден сюжет или стилов похват, преди да се почне откровеното копиране и фенфикуване с шаблоните на жанра? Труден въпрос, на който Ръсел Къркпатрик не ни дава еднозначен отговор, а самите му книги оставят едно особено чувство на несигурност дали в крайна сметка творението му е достатъчно уникално или просто хубава вариация на още от същото. В случая първосигналният образ под индиго е вездесъщия Толкин, обаче без елфите и джуджетата, и без голямото лошо око ...more
Oct 11, 2011 Ken rated it really liked it
Russell Kirkpatrick's Across the Face of the World was without a doubt the most beautiful book I have ever read. The pictures that he paints in your mind as you read the words on those pages are breathtaking and awe inspiring. From forests in spring to snowy winter landscapes whether welcoming or frighting you will not believe that you are only reading it you feel like you are there watching the movie of this book the descriptions are that good.

The books plot is nothing terribly special but i
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Homage to LOTR? 1 8 Mar 07, 2012 07:30PM  
  • Seven Princes (Books of the Shaper, #1)
  • Vengeance (The Tainted Realm #1)
  • Legends of the Dragonrealm, Vol. I
  • The Hidden Stars (Rune of Unmaking #1)
  • Children of Chaos (Dodec, #1)
  • A Magic of Twilight (The Nessantico Cycle, #1)
  • The Map of All Things (Terra Incognita, #2)
  • Winterbirth (The Godless World, #1)
  • Orcs: Army of Shadows (Orcs Bad Blood #2)
  • The First Betrayal (The Chronicles of Josan, #1)
  • World Without End (Moontide and Magic Rise, #1)
  • Destiny (Trinity, #3)
  • Harshini (Hythrun Chronicles: Demon Child, #3)
  • Tymon's Flight (Chronicles of the Tree, #1)
  • Farlander
  • The Company of Glass (Everien, #1)
  • Stolen Crown (Mithgar, #6)
  • Rules of Ascension (Winds of the Forelands, #1)
Russell Kirkpatrick was born in 1961 in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he lived until 2000. He is a geography PhD graduate of the University of Canterbury, and currently lectures at the University of Waikato in Hamilton. During the 1990s he was fortunate enough to work on two major atlas projects, as Deputy Editor of the New Zealand Historical Atlas (Readers Choice winner, Montana Book Awards, 1 ...more
More about Russell Kirkpatrick...

Other Books in the Series

Fire of Heaven (3 books)
  • In the Earth Abides the Flame (Fire of Heaven, #2)
  • The Right Hand of God (Fire of Heaven, #3)

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