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Nights of Villjamur (Legends of the Red Sun #1)

3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  1,917 Ratings  ·  192 Reviews
An ice age strikes a chain of islands, and thousands come to seek sanctuary at the gates of Villjamur: a city of ancient spires and bridges, a place where banshees wail the deceased, cultists use forgotten technology for their own gain and where, further out, the dead have been seen walking across the tundra.
Paperback, 497 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Tor Books (first published May 22nd 2009)
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(showing 1-30)
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mark monday
EH? EH! it took a while for my feelings of annoyance and disdain to really flourish. unlike the last travesty of a novel that i gave up on, there was at first some intriguing world-building that kept my attention. and so i made excuses for the incredible weaknesses apparent on the first couple pages. first and foremost, the author seems to suffer from an advanced case of Steven Erikson-itis: his ability to write dialogue and interesting characters falls far, far, faaaaar short of his potentially ...more
Jan 20, 2010 seak rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, audio, dnf
I tried, but failed. I made it through a little over 4 of 14 cd's (I calculated it to about 100 to 120 or so pages) and it just wasn't working for me.

I guess, and maybe it's because I'm getting older or because I have a one-year-old and all I read every day is Goodnight Moon or Thomas the Train, but I'm just tired of books being completely focused on sex. I read fantasy because I like fantasy elements like medieval times, swords, adventure, different races and lots more.

I don't read romance.

4.5 to 5.0 stars. A superb debut novel and an excellent beginning to what may be a great new series. This is a gritty, noir like fantasy set in a "dying earth" setting and filled with great characters and an interesting plot. The world-building elements, many of which are only hinted at in this first book, are what set this book above the lesser works in the genre. A very good book. Highly recommended!!
Oct 16, 2011 Megan rated it did not like it
(Re-posted from

So if you buy a book solely because the cover is beautiful, or because the title is intriguing, then you accept the risk that the book might be not so good. But when you buy a book because you've seen it mentioned all over the place and because the plot sounds like ten different kinds of awesome, then you're your expectations might be somewhat higher. And yet, sometimes, the spur of the moment book will be fantastic and the anticipated one, well
Aug 28, 2011 Carol. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol. by: Fantasy Aficionados monthly
Shelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy
A slow experience. I loved the concept of the oncoming ice age forcing a political revolution.

Unfortunately, the book starts with the usual disjointed narrative, hopping from person, place and time, which drives me up the wall. My most frequent review complaint: why must everyone write the deconstructionist novel? I'm convinced that it's a writing shortcut--it's so much easier to keep doing brief sketches from each viewpoint rather than strive for a cohesive whole. And it's a lazy-ass way to de
Paul Forbes
Aug 23, 2010 Paul Forbes rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was really looking forward to this book because of the many good reviews and comparison to China Mieville and Joe Abercrombie's books. But this book is nothing like their books. This book was totally unremarkable. The characters were dull and unbelievable, the story long, boring and drawn-out and the fantasy world not very interesting. I've no idea what the people who gave this a good review were reading but it couldn't have been this book. I can't be bothered to comment further on this book e ...more
Superb book - epic fantasy debut of Mark Newton who has published one small press sf novel The Reef before.

Under the Red Sun, the long-awaited Freeze is coming and presumed to last for some decades at least and the Villjamur archipelago Empire centered on its capital with the same name is preparing.

The corrupt ruling Council led by Chancellor Urtica wants to keep the population as low as possible so tens of thousands of refugees from neighboring island-provinces are allowed to starve in tent
Feb 27, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine a book that reads like Joe Abercrombie, set in a Jack Vance-like Dying Earth and written with characters the equal of Moorcock and Mieville. Too good to be true? This book might just meet your expectations.

The novel is mainly set in Villjamur, an enormous city, set on a world where the weak red sun heralds the coming of a decades-long Ice Age.

Amidst such a widescreen vista there is a pleasing range of memorable characters. Brynd Lathraea, an albino commander of the Emperor’s elite Night
Rosu Aquabutts
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 22, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
Right, I checked out the ratings on this before I started it, saw it was getting 3 and 4 stars more than 5 stars.

can see why this is happening, its a first book but written very well without the common mistake new authors do like waffle on about descriptions.

The author keeps the suspense going with the characters backgrounds and the cities.

The author has created a good thriller/mystery/fantasy which I hope he continues in the later books in this series.

fresh ideas keep it interesting not going t
Yeah, ditched it at page 166. Reasons, from the ones that caused most aggravation to the ones that are actually serious problems:
- Words used wrong. As in "mortification" at finding more stairs at the end of a long climb. (Look, I find my personal level of fitness embarrassing too, but that's not what he meant.)
- General uncomfortable language use. Scott Lynch once mentioned something about wanting to feel like the author really chose their words with care, but this was like feeling that he wa
In the eye of an approaching ice age, everybody faces the end of the world as they know it differently. In some it will bring out the worst, but others step up to be better versions of themselves.

To be honest, plot and characters don't really offer something I haven't read before. The plot is pretty straight forward, some elements being clearly a setup for later books.
Those parts are quite intriguing and I'll definately will go back to the Jamur Empire to find out what happens next.

This book ha
Jan 22, 2011 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2011
4.5 Stars...There is a lot to like in this dark fantasy. First the world building is superb and truly set this up to be a great series. Not since I read China Mieville and his city New Crozubon have I been so into the world building. Villjamur is very similar in scope, in beauty, in horror, and in the style of New Crozubon. Newton blends and bends magic with technology, and cult religions into a fascinating art form. This book is filled with dark magic, prostitution, artwork that comes to life, ...more
Feb 14, 2009 edifanob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2009-reads
If you want to read reviews then check out following post where you get links to 13 reviews.

My impression:

You see my rating - five stars - which means I really liked it.
It is a superb read and I wonder how the story will continue in the next book.
From my point of view the star of the book is the town VILLJAMUR.
Mark Charan Newton did a great job to make the town alive. You breathe the history of VILLJAMUR. But there are also some characters to identify with.
There have been many fantasy novels written over the years which are set in a city which is meant to be more than just a place for the plot to happen, but is meant to be an integral part of the story itself. The latest attempt at a great city is the titular Villjamur in “Nights of Villjamur”, the first book in Mark Charan Newton’s “Legends of the Red Sun” series. Villjamur is an ancient city, built on the ruin of a long-lost civilisation and the capital of an Empire stretching across the Boreal ...more
Ranting Dragon
Jan 09, 2011 Ranting Dragon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: marty

Mark Charan Newton’s debut novel, Nights of Villjamur, is the first in his The Legends of the Red Sun series. The Legends of the Red Sun will consist of four volumes, with the second volume released in 2010 and the third slated for a 2011 release.

An ice age is coming as the sun grows old and red. The people of Villjamur, the mighty fortress city of the Jamur Empire, say the ice could last for fifty years, but there are greater worries than just the coming
Ole Imsen
Jun 27, 2010 Ole Imsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is one thing that can annoy me to the point that it seriously hampers my enjoyment of a book: How a word is pronounced. This may have something to do with me being Norwegian, sometimes my Norwegian and English pronunciations will battle for superiority. It happened with the name Lathraea in this book. In Norwegian it would be Lath-ra-eh-ah. Fortunately Twitter exists so I could ask the author and get told that it is actually pronounced La-threy-a. -The wonders of modern technology put to ...more
Oct 18, 2010 Jana rated it it was ok
Not a bad start so far. A number of characters have already been introduced and I did not feel sympathetic to a single one yet. But that might change as soon as I learn a bit more about them. Well, one is dead already. :) I like that.

Weeeeeell, I just don't know. I connected with none of the characters. I have some hopes that Empress Rika might get the chance to develop something like an interesting character/personality in the next instalment, but I'm not even sure that I will give it a chance
Jun 05, 2014 Staticblaq rated it did not like it
When I purchase a novel, we make a pact. I'm willing to suspend disbelief and come on your journey as long as you show competency in the art of writing.

I found this book unreadable. In it's current state it shouldn't even be offered for sale. I feel really sorry for the author to have been so let down in editorial standards by his publisher. There is a blatant failing in basic grammar to the point where that's all I saw. Every few lines I'd be abruptly jarred by clanging syntax. There's misuse o
For those of you looking for a nuanced analysis of plot and character, please look elsewhere. Never before have I given up on a book so quickly - so, no, I didn't get acquanted with the characters etc.

I love science fiction - but not the genre as a whole. The SF-novels I like to read are thought-provoking, original, have good character development - and a decent writing style (think Ursula K. LeGuin, China Miéville etc.). SF-books full of clichés and more focused on action than ideas don't do it
Mark Newton
Jan 04, 2010 Mark Newton rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I wrote this, so you should probably disregard how good I think it is. :)
Marc Aplin
Sep 03, 2011 Marc Aplin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you didn’t live through the Golden Age of Speculative Fiction (I didn’t) and haven’t gone back and read some of the fantastic 1930’s-1950’s novels (I have), you are certainly missing out. Today, Fantasy Novels and Science Fiction novels tend to be more character based than they were back then. Back in this ‘Golden Era’ the novels tended to be focused on the setting. The locations within these novels really seemed to live and breathe – they left you with that ‘oh, I wish I could visit there!’ ...more
Adon Coya
Feb 25, 2014 Adon Coya rated it did not like it
This is the worst book that has fallen into my hands in a long time. In my life, there have been a few books that I didn't like, yet I managed to finish. And a couple that I quit after months of trying to get past the middle. But I have never before quit a novel in disgust before reading at least half of it.
There's a reason we read books; for me, it's because it's so much more rewarding than watching TV. If you want to read a book that feels exactly like watching a B-rated TV-fantasy series, get
Jun 21, 2011 Efseine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Horribly disappointing. I made it to page 51 and couldn't force myself to continue. Perhaps if I were in a less critical mood (reading dozens of queries and manuscripts at work does that to you) I might have been able to overlook this novel's flaws, but as is I found them insurmountable.

The intriguing world-building lost its charm quickly in the parade of clumsy info-dumps. The prose seems to believe itself more literary than it is, repetitive language and awkward phrasing undermining its streng
Nov 04, 2010 Donald rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I made it "only" about 200 pages into this book or so and found that I could not finish it. The pros were an interesting story idea and a really cool setting. Unfortunately they were overwhelmingly outweighed by the cons. The characters were broad sketches with little to no depth and the writing was weak.

On example: the author spends an inordinate amount of time telling the reader how people are feeling. Don't insult your reader's intelligence. Tell a good story and we can get it from context.
Super Monkey
Jun 14, 2011 Super Monkey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had to give up a quarter of the way through. There might be a good story buried under all the turgid prose, but it's too painful to wade through. It reads like it was translated into Japanese and back again.

'Shapes shifted in the far umbrage either side and he questioned their meaning.'
'Her white blouse, unbuttoned to reveal cleavage like a bad cliche, she made the most of what she had.'
'It's no enigma that she despised the Emperor for his treatment of her late mother.'

Sep 10, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I devoured this book.

Read my full review here:
Jul 27, 2010 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
(This review was originally published at and can be read on my blog as well.)

Reading Nights of Villjamur is like standing too close to a tapestry. At first, all you can see are threads, bits of story that you know are important, but you can't make sense of in the overall context of the book. The more you read, the farther you step back from the tapestry, so that this thread connects with that one, and you begin to realize just how all of these wildly different characters are linked wi
Liberty Gilmore
Aug 06, 2010 Liberty Gilmore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What’s Good About It

There’s a lot going on – political intrigue, dangerous unknown threats on the outer islands, an ice age. All these big things are played off against the small concerns – a husband trying to reconcile with his wife, a son trying to save his mother, and it’s the contrast that works so well. Often epic fantasy is so concerned with the epic that it forgets about the human interest, the telling details that help us relate to the characters and their struggles, and through them tak
Another of those books that the first time I picked it up, I made it about 50 pages into, and it just didn't "click" with me...picked it up again a few months later, and was immediately sucked up into it. So much so that I'm making the 45-minute-drive to the nearest bookstore--during a tornado watch, nonetheless--to pick up the sequel, even though I haven't *quite* finished this one yet!

I'd put it in the "New Weird" category, without being OVERLY weird. You never find yourself thinking "okay, y
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Mark Charan Newton was born in 1981, and holds a degree in Environmental Science. After working in bookselling, he moved into editorial positions at imprints covering film and media tie-in fiction, and later, science fiction and fantasy. He currently lives and works in Nottingham. His major label debut is Nights of Villjamur, which is published by Tor UK (Pan Macmillan) and Bantam Spectra (Random ...more
More about Mark Charan Newton...

Other Books in the Series

Legends of the Red Sun (4 books)
  • City of Ruin (Legends of the Red Sun, #2)
  • The Book of Transformations (Legends of the Red Sun, #3)
  • The Broken Isles (Legends of the Red Sun, # 4)

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