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The Runelords (The Runelords #1)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  15,032 Ratings  ·  395 Reviews
Young Prince Gaborn Val Orden of Mystarria is traveling in disguise on a journey to ask for the hand of the lovely Princess Iome of Sylvarresta when he and his warrior bodyguard spot a pair of assassins who have set their sights on the princess's father. The pair races to warn the king of the impending danger and realizes that more than the royal family is at risk--the ver ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 613 pages
Published July 1999 by Tor Fantasy (first published June 1998)
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A close approximation of the female lead.

This has been a pretty good year for me for reading. I haven't come across that many real stinkers. I've found some new favorite books and authors, including Chuck Wendig, Ben Aaronovitch, and Guy Gavriel Kay. Lucky me.

That said, I'm sad for myself that I spent time reading this. Thankfully I bought it at a used book store, so I think I'm only out about $1.75. A lot of people are intrigued by the magic system. "Oh it's so unique!" they cry. To that, I a
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
May 19, 2016 Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This was a reasonably good swords-and-sorcery type of fantasy adventure, well thought-out and with a very unusual magical system, and popular enough that it's a series of eight books so far. But I just could not with the way that their magic worked. It was highly disturbing, and it ruined the entire book for me.

The magic functions on a system of "endowments": using the magical spells, one person permanently (until either the giver or the recipient dies) gifts another with his or her personal at
QUICK STORY: As various nobles fight it out, Raj Ahten, the villain, takes over various lands one by one. Prince Gaborn and his father try to stop him and in the process involve another kingdom called Silvanesti. But, there is a greater need . . . the Earth is rejecting humanity and only one such as Prince Gaborn can fully protect and extract the powers/mysteries of the Earth.
SHORT WORD FEELING: Good prose but characters weren't entirely fleshed out as much as they could; great idea on endowment
Jan 27, 2008 Tom rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tom by: Professor Taylor, BYU
This following review was an assignment for a fantasy literature course at BYU.

The Runelords

Author, Title, Facts of Publication

The Runelords was written by David Wolverton and published in 1998. The author used the pseudonym David Farland to market the book because he wanted it on store shelves in the F section as a marketing strategy. David Farland is a Mormon and LDS themes such as covenant making and sacrifice thread through his work.
The book takes place in the fantasy kingdom of Ro
Jan 23, 2012 Traci rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
It was "okay" but I didn't "like it". Two stars seems a bit harsh but going by the goodreads guidelines here.

I hadn't heard of this series before it kept cropping up on twitter. I thought it would be another Jordan clone of the eighties and nineties and in that aspect anyway I was surprised. It has a unique magic system reminiscent of Brandon Sanderson and must have seemed very new at the time.

Rulers enhance their abilities, their looks, speed, power, voice, hearing, sight etc., by taking the s
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
Jul 29, 2013 Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
As I said in my review of On My Way to Paradise, I don't know how I missed Dave Wolverton back in the late 1990s, but I'm sure it had something to do with starting college, doing more homework and reading fewer novels, and, probably, girls.

Whatever it was that distracted me at the time, I've found Wolverton, or Dave Farland as he goes by for his fantasy novels (and which name I'll use from here on out since this is a fantasy novel), and I feel like I've discovered some kind of not-so-hidden loc
Oct 25, 2008 Stephen rated it liked it
3.0 stars. One of the more original "systems" of magic I have read about in some time. I thought the author did a decent job of exploring the results of the system as well though I thought the story and the prose were just okay. Still, a pretty good read.
Sep 11, 2012 Bell rated it it was ok

Overall it wasn't that bad, but left me very disappointed. I think this was mainly due to the fact that I thought the author had some very promising ideas with a good plot, making a bad final quarter of the book leaving me feeling empty and dissatisfied.

The original 'Endowment' concept was pretty interesting. The book was too long for what the storyline required, consequently, a lot of it was a tad boring. And i didn't like how there was no victory for the 'hero'. The blurb promi
Will Caskey
Jan 14, 2012 Will Caskey rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I don't know at all what to think about this series.

There's its basic concept of people being used like livestock to give superpowers to a few boneheads. It does dwell on the...DUBIOUS morality, but not in a way that really provokes any thought or reaction.

There's the naturalist religion that is SORT OF a counter to the rampant rune use and possibly a stand-in for christianity. But then it veers off into fairly arbitrary moral standards and inconsistent miracle-work (okay, maybe that reinforces
Andrew Obrigewitsch
I was actually expecting this book to be quite bad. While it does have its flaws, it's a pretty good story actually. It's better than any of the new video game fantasy that seems to be all the rage today, like Brent Weeks and The Warded Man (actually the half about the desert people is decent, it's just the rest that is super lame), or some of the authors that just can't write that somehow got famous like Terry Goodkind or Terry Brooks. But does not stand up to any of the greats.

This is the fir
Marianne Dyson
Apr 18, 2012 Marianne Dyson rated it it was amazing
As a writer who reads rather critically, I often find myself guessing the ending of a book, and sighing in disappointment as the plot plays out exactly as I'd expected, or worse, falls apart into meaningless mush. Well, not so with this book!

Farland really is a master writer. There's no wasted exposition. The setting is alive with details. Each character was expertly drawn and different from every other character in ways important to the story. Their lives intertwined with purpose, and their re
Feb 01, 2012 Leilani rated it it was amazing
5 starts without a doubt. There wasn't a single part of this book that I found boring or irritating - actually, I found the main bad guy VERY irritating but I'm pretty sure that was Farlands intention - the story moved at a good pace with plenty of action and fantastic characters. I have a weakness for books that have a clever villain that challenges the spirits and wits of the good guys. This book was cleverly plotted and the bad guy was more than devious. I couldn't say who was the main hero i ...more
Dave Hart
Oct 23, 2012 Dave Hart rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: younger fantasy readers, teenagers
Having read this over 5 years ago its hard for me to say that I like it now. At the time my mind was maybe a little more open to the concepts and my teenage mind reveled in its fantasy glory. But now I think I would find it a little too cliche, (a term I hate to use) perhaps it was aimed at the younger market of reader, in which case it is spot on and deserves 5 stars! But as a now 20-something reader it is hard to imagine that I would fall for Farland's ideas of love at first sight and heroic s ...more
Leon Aldrich
An Amazon Review:

The Runelords is that rare book that will remind you why you started reading fantasy in the first place. Much of the setting--and even some of the story--is conventional fantasy fare, but David Farland, aside from being a masterful storyteller, has built his world around a complex and thought-provoking social system involving the exchange of "endowments." Attributes such as stamina, grace, and wit are a currency: a vassal may help his lord by endowing him with all of his strengt
I rather liked this, once I got into it I tore through it. The magic system is unique and interesting, although some of the time it did feel a little bit like an RPG. "Oh you require X endowments of wit to remember what your mother said to you eighteen years ago". The writing was also a little bit odd in places, feeling very... modern? I dunno.

In spite of that, I enjoyed it. The good/evil struggle was believable enough and the characters were well grounded, good set up for a (huge, by now) serie
Ben Babcock
Dec 09, 2014 Ben Babcock rated it it was ok
I read The Runelords, or at least The Sum of All Men, when I was much younger. I like to revisit books I think I enjoyed when I was younger but don’t remember now. If I like them still, hoorah; if I don’t, then I get to better understand how I have changed over the years. The Sum of All Men falls in the middle of that spectrum: it’s an enjoyable book with intriguing fantasy elements, but the characters and story vary from pedestrian to poor.

Most of the praise for this book will involve the magic
Connie Jasperson
Apr 14, 2012 Connie Jasperson rated it it was amazing
This book was first published in 1998, but for some strange reason I had never read any work by David Farland. That omission, however, has been rectified. I am now a drooling fan!

The novel begins violently. A man is set upon and injured most gruesomely. He later dies from his injuries, and a series of events is set into motion. Meanwhile, young Runelord, Prince Gaborn Val Orden of Mystarria has traveled to the kingdom of Heredon with the intention of winning the hand of Princess Iome Sylvarrest
Sep 14, 2009 Julie rated it really liked it
Synopsis: Gaborn Orden, the next King of Mystarria is headed to the kingdom of Heredon to ask the lovely Princess Iome for her hand in marriage. Castle Sylvarresta however is under attack by the evil Raj Ahten, the Runelord of all Runelords. With thousands of endowments taken from other men and women he is truly a man among men and takes over Castle Sylvarresta without a single drop of blood being shed. Gaborn however can see through this ruthless man. Endowed with the Gift of the Earth and deem ...more
Jan 20, 2013 Lucinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The sum of all men is the first book in David Farland's epic fantasy series the Runelords, that currently consists of 8 books with book 9 (the tale of tales) being published next month. The Runelords is a series that captured my imagiation with book one and has since become a series that i have much treasured and loved, which is new & completely origional and i could not compare David Farland's work to any other author as it is just so unique. It is a captivating story that is complex and de ...more
Jun 23, 2013 Zach rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Upon beginning this book I could see that Farland certainly has had an influence over Brandon Sanderson's writings which is why I wanted to read it. The main magical system is complex and well thought out with rules and laws, benefits and disadvantages. I also thought, and liked, the fact that it could be a bit morbid at times. For me it added a certain reality to it and forced me to look on the moral character of those taking endowments, the Rune Lords.
On the other end of the magical system we
Петър Стойков
Изненадващо интересна, с изненадващо добър превод.

Книгата взема основния елемент от РПГ игрите, а именно "статистиките" на героите в тях и ги използва, за да създаде цял един човешки свят и цивилизация, базирани на това, че хората могат да си прехвърлят един на друг физически характеристики (сила, зрение и т.н.) и да акумулират характеристики на няколко (или много) други хора.

Едновременно с това, авторът успява да избяга от математическата система на тия РПГ игри и да вкара реален, физически и ч
Eric Smith
Oct 24, 2012 Eric Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy
I think I have tried to read this series before a few years ago and couldn't get past the magic system. I think that I may even have tried to read it when it first came out and was just pissed off by the system at the age of 18 when it hit back in '98 to give it a fair shake. Now don;t get me wrong the magic system here is very unique and well created but I can see the younger version of my self just getting irrationally angry at these characters for how they drain from other characters for thei ...more
May 11, 2011 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
In 'The Sum of All Men', book one of the long-running 'Runelords Saga', David Farland delivers a masterpiece of epic fantasy writing. Set in the backdrop of Rofehavan, a land full of men, wizards and fantastical creatures, Prince Gaborn val Orden must overcome extreme odds against beasts, sorcerers, politics and his own inner morals in order to save the land from the tyrannical wolf-lord and fulfill a 2000 year old prophecy.
The superbly original magic system of endowments, mental and physical ab
Mar 18, 2011 Richard rated it really liked it
David Farland here creates a fantastic world that revolves around the notion of Kings and Castles and the typical fights for land. The idea of endowments is one that really works well and is interesting to think about concerning Wit, Metabolism, Grace, etc. It also opens up an immediate series of questions about morales and ethics which are repeatedly brought up. The underlying story of the Prince trying to win over the affection of a Princess takes a format that everybody is used to and adds to ...more
Doc Opp
Feb 10, 2011 Doc Opp rated it liked it
Such a good premise, so poorly executed. The basic notion of the world is that people can grant their own strength, speed, wit, etc. to another. This leaves the dedicate an invalid, but creates people with twice the strength/speed/wit etc. of a normal person. Or 10 times that strength if they have 10 dedicates. This changes warfare, politics... well, everything. It has so much premise.

But the characters are bland and change personality depending on the needs of the story. Basic facts change as
Andy Angel
May 13, 2013 Andy Angel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series has been on my radar for many years but for some reason I never got round to starting it.................oh, you foolish, foolish person! Turns out I've been missing a real treat.

Although the story is fairly standard fantasy stuff there are two things that really stand out;

1) The magic system, whereby people can be empowered by taking enhancements from people - making the person recieving the the enhancement more powerful but leaving the donor a wreck. At times this can be quite hor
Feb 04, 2010 {eri} rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in fantasy epics
Recommended to {eri} by: GoodReads peeps
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I found the concept of endowments, forcibles and Dedicates very interesting and took an interest in several of the characters. I have not read many fantasy epics and would like to start. So I may in time come back and look upon this novel less favorably in comparison, but for the time being I enjoyed it. Not as much as Sharon Shinn's Twelve Houses series...but I highly doubt I will ever favor ANY fantasy novel series as much. What a wonderful find ...more
Erin Edgar
Jul 08, 2012 Erin Edgar rated it really liked it
This is a marvelous start to the Runelords epic fantasy series. The series begins by exploring a potentially troubling question: How much do we value people based on their physical atrribubes? In this society, people have figured out a way to magically transfer endowments--such as glamour, wit, metabolism, and stamina--to others. A king from a southern land is taking endowments from thousands of his subjects in order to turn himself into the "sum of all men". He tells everyone (and might even be ...more
Les Moyes
Jun 28, 2012 Les Moyes rated it it was amazing
This is book one of The Runelord Series, a fascinating look into the human condition, how good people can do evil in the name of good. It speaks to the conflict inherent in each of us.

In this book, a young prince, Gaborn Val Orden of Mysteria, travels throughout the land in disguise. His purpose: ask for the hand of Princess Iome of Sylvarresta. While stopping at a tavern, they discover a plot to assassinate Iome’s father. As they journey to warn him, the learn that more than just the king and h
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Runelords: How will it end? 1 9 Jun 29, 2012 11:03AM  
  • Rules of Ascension (Winds of the Forelands, #1)
  • The Death of Chaos (The Saga of Recluce #5)
  • Prophecy: Child of Earth (Symphony of Ages, #2)
  • Lord of the Isles (Lord of the Isles, #1)
  • The Prince of Shadow (Seven Brothers, #1)
  • The Wayfarer Redemption (Wayfarer Redemption, #1)
  • The Baker's Boy (Book of Words, #1)
  • The Jackal of Nar (Tyrants and Kings, #1)
  • The Fifth Sorceress (The Chronicles of Blood and Stone, #1)
  • Prince of Dogs (Crown of Stars, #2)
  • Servant of a Dark God
  • The Warrior's Tale (Anteros, #2)
David Farland is the author of the bestselling Runelords series, including Chaosbound, The Wyrmling Horde and Worldbinder. He also writes science-fiction as David Wolverton. He won the 1987 Writers of the Future contest, and has been nominated for a Nebula Award and a Hugo Award. Farland also works as a video game designer, and has taught writing seminars around the U.S. and Canada. He lives in Sa ...more
More about David Farland...

Other Books in the Series

The Runelords (9 books)
  • Brotherhood of the Wolf (Runelords, #2)
  • Wizardborn (Runelords, #3)
  • The Lair of Bones (Runelords, #4)
  • Sons of the Oak (Runelords, #5)
  • Worldbinder (Runelords, #6)
  • The Wyrmling Horde (Runelords, #7)
  • Chaosbound (Runelords, #8)
  • A Tale of Tales (Runelords, #9)

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