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The Whitefire Crossing

(Shattered Sigil #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  2,338 ratings  ·  259 reviews
Dev is a smuggler with the perfect cover. He's in high demand as a guide for the caravans that carry legitimate goods from the city of Ninavel into the country of Alathia. The route through the Whitefire Mountains is treacherous, and Dev is one of the few climbers who knows how to cross them safely. With his skill and connections, it's easy enough to slip contraband charms ...more
Paperback, 375 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Night Shade (first published July 26th 2011)
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Popular Answered Questions
Courtney Schafer Yes. The heart of the trilogy lies in the bond that grows between them.
Courtney Schafer Yes, there is an ebook version, but sadly the publisher of the 1st two novels in the trilogy only sells the ebooks in the US & Canada. I have made my …moreYes, there is an ebook version, but sadly the publisher of the 1st two novels in the trilogy only sells the ebooks in the US & Canada. I have made my own e-versions that I am allowed to sell direct to readers who live outside North America. You can email me at courtney (at) if you want to find out details.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  2,338 ratings  ·  259 reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
woah, I've been reading this book forever! Just as with my last 10 books this is a reflection of my stupidly small amount of free time! I'm now supposed to read 2 books by the 5th of May for a newspaper review - help!

Anyhow, putting the focus back on The Whitefire Crossing: This is an excellent fantasy tale with an original form and interesting setting. The story is told from two points of view, two halves of a developing friendship, one told in the first person and the other in third person. It
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who want high magic use.
Recommended to seak by: Justin
Shelves: 2011, arc-review
In 2007, a good friend of mine took me to a movie called Into the Wild . You may already know it, but the short version of this true story is that a guy on his way to Harvard and a hugely successful career decides to give up all his money and stuff and make his way to Alaska.

When I walked out, all I wanted to do was go on one big, epic adventure meeting random people, learning how to survive on leaves and grass (hehe) and sky and rainbows.

I think we ended up heading to Vegas a week later on
Nimrod Daniel
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Whitefire Crossing is a very enjoyable adventure-fantasy read, that is somewhere between epic fantasy and sword & sorcery. It starts more like a S&S novel but gets a lot of epic fantasy flavors as you go along. Fantasy enthusiasts who like these sub-genres might find it to their liking. I definitely count myself as one of them :)

Setting - the setting is pretty interesting, and mainly focuses on two cities and the mountains between them. While one city allows the use of magic with almost no l
Dan Schwent
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, lendable
A smuggler named Dev is hired to escort a young man from Ninavel to Alathia, taking him through the treacherous Whitefire Mountains. But when the young man turns out to be an apprentice Blood Mage with an angry master on his backtrail, Dev gets a lot more than he bargained for...

I had this on my radar for about a year. When the ebook went on sale for $1.99, I knew the time was right.

The Whitefire Crossing is a refreshing change of pace from most fantasy novels on the racks. Gone is the pseudo-
Milda Page Runner
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Milda by: Alissa

Loved it! It’s been awhile since I had so much fun with epic fantasy. Story hooks you in with mystery from the get go and then keeps the suspense with the journey through treacherous mountain passes, murder, blood magic, twists and betrayals, politics and budding friendship. Smooth and flowing prose without unnecessary flourishes or philosophising; there is no romance and it’s not too dark – all focus is to action adventure and characterisation. Very engaging book with likeable characters an
Apr 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was a decent fantasy adventure story. The plot was interesting and the characters were a likeable enough bunch.

Dev is a guide who takes merchant caravans through the Whitefire Crossing mountain paths. The mountain crossing is what links the city state of Ninavel to the country of Alathia. Dev also has a secondary job as a smuggler. He mostly smuggles small charms into the restrictive Alathia. In need of money quickly Dev accepts a riskier than normal job. Instead of smuggling goods he agre
Sad Sunday (If I say it's bad, it's bad)
DNF at 25%

Two dudes travel trough mountains. And they travel. And travel. Travel. And travel.


It's solid classic fantasy. Too solid. Too classic. Nothing unexpected happens. There is evil, there is good. It might be a "bromance" tale, but characters seems too generic to "master" and "apprentice" roles. To quote Heidi Klum: "Snoozefest".
Apr 10, 2012 marked it as to-read
I've had this on my to be read pile for some time now, and thanks to being picked by a group I'm in I have a good excuse to move it to the top of the TBR pile. I'm excited to get started. ...more
Jeff Salyards
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There are two things I really look for in any fiction: compelling characters that feel fleshed out, full of contradictory impulses, doubts, jealousies, and all the other human foible stuff; and a clever or unique take or treatment, an angle that separates it from everything else out there. The second is especially important in fantasy novels, which has a history almost as long as storytelling itself if you go back to Odysseus and Gilglamesh, so sometimes falls into the unpleasant habit of recycl ...more
Blake Charlton
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. an excellent start to what promises to be an lively and epic series. the two PoV characters are likeable, vastly different. the interplay between the two as the cross a vivid mountain scape make the book come alive. in fact, the whitefire mountain range and the surrounding lands place such a vibrant role they become, in effect, as memorable as the characters.

my only qualm is with the magic system, which is to my tastes too soft. to be clear, there is nothing wrong with soft magical s
T. Frohock
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
First of all, I enjoyed this novel. I wouldn’t be writing like this if I didn’t. I mean, I really, really had a good time reading it, and hey, isn’t that what it’s all about?

So what can you expect from Schafer’s debut? I know we all like to pigeon-hole books into categories. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just so we can have some kind of idea of what to expect. I think the best way to describe The Whitefire Crossing is to use Schafer’s label of an “adventure fantasy.” With a heavy emphasis on advent
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
**I posted my review on Only the Best, while Seak posted his on Bastard Books and other crap.**

You read fantasy and you wish you could become a wizard detective, a clever thief, Superman...but, a rock-climber? That's precisely what I wished to become after I was done with Courtney Schafer's debut novel, The Whitefire Crossing . Not that the book itself was about rock-climbing, but the passages in which it was featured, were quite compelling. I'm scared shitless of heights, so one can dream. I

I always hear the phrase, "write what you know." My reaction has typically been who the hell would want to read a fantasy novel about bodybuilding, basketball, or energy policy? Of course the answer is - my mom. Thankfully for me, and everyone else who will have the pleasure of reading The Whitefire Crossing, Courtney Schafer's knowledge of mountaineering has a much broader appeal.

When I received my advanced copy of Whitefire, I took a minute to read about
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
I finished the novel and while the style flowed well and the book makes you want to turn the pages and see what happens, I ultimately did not care that much about it.

To be honest this is a book I would have taken a look and after the first page said, nice prose but I have 50 or more books of much higher interest and put it down, but Robert's review (my coeditor at FBC) made me curious so i gave it a higher priority. In the end as mentioned I enjoyed it more than i expected but it never rose to t
I honestly don't even know where to begin with this review. I LOVED this book. And if you look through my review history, you'll know that's a rarity. How do I even write 5-star reviews? I don't get much practice!

The story:

The story presented is a simple enough concept: Dev is a smuggler of magical goods. He crosses the Whitefire Mountains in order to smuggle these goods into a neighboring kingdom. This time, his cargo isn't merely a few trinkets or amulets, but a young man, Kiran. Hijinks e
Jennifer (bunnyreads)
It’s taken me years to get around to reading this book something I kind of regret now because it was quite enjoyable, I blew through it in just a few sittings. The first half of the story moves at decent clip and is damned hard to put down.

Kirin, escaping from Ruslan his mentor and a powerful Blood Mage, with the hired help of Dev, a smuggler, attempts crossing the mountain pass into the protective walls of Alathia where he hopes to hide behind their magic blocking barrier. With Ruslan hot on hi
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Here's another I'm going to open with...I'm sorry, but I don't really like it.

I do like fantasy, epic fantasy, urban fantasy. sword and sorcery fantasy....but sometimes I find that even with a fairly well written book, I'm just not the "target audience".

The characters do get well filled out here and the plot while meandering kind of moves along. The first half of the book takes place in crossing the mountains and the varied dangers (both natural and magical) faced. Then the book moves into a sor
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books, 2011-reads
Beside all the stress I finished reading another great fantasy reading.

There is more behind the story as you think at first sight.
Mountain climbing plays an important part in the book. I do not have any experience in this area but Courtney created breathtaking scenes.

I liked the two main characters - Dev and Kiran - more and more after every revelation.

I look forward to read the next book in the series. I hope I will write and finish my full review before the publishing date of the next book.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 heartfelt stars. Only, don't try to read this book without the second installment ready at hand! ...more
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book blew me away. As a debut, it's awesome. It's tight, the editing is great, the concept is well executed. The characters are distinct people who are all motivated by reasons that make sense, even if for narrative tension, we don't find those reasons out right away. I really enjoy the narration style, where you switch POV between the two main characters and that's it. There isn't a huge cast to keep track of, but it's still a rather epic scale story. Courtney does a great job ramping up t ...more
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it

Courtney Schafer's debut was a breath of fresh air amid all the wonderful debuts from Nightshade books, combing excellent characterization with a rollicking story, she wove the story of 2 different but strong willed individuals that have to come together to survive and find a new way to outlive their persecutors. Can't wait for the Tainted City...
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, giveaways
I read it.

I read it all the way through, and once again I have to feel guilty about leaving a bad review for a book I wouldn't normally pick up. (I won this as a Reddit prize.)

Here we have a fairly standard fantasy tale with a Big Bad and an ingenue and a jaded thief. OK, so some people like that. What I liked was that the jaded thief was a rock climber and held an in-world profession related to that. The rock climbing passion from the character/author started shining through around the 20% mar
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Whitefire Crossing, the debut novel of Courtney Schafer, is an exciting adventure fantasy in a unique world. On its surface the plot is a simple one: Dev, a smuggler and talented climber, is in desperate need of cash and so takes on a dangerous mission to smuggle a person out of the city of Ninavel and into the country of Alathia. What makes the tale interesting are the complications surrounding that job and the rich sense of history behind each character.

I’m rather a fan of the working clas
Fantasy Review Barn

Good Idea: Taking advantage of a free book deal and downloading a book that has received good ratings from all of your friends.

Bad Idea: Not reading the book for over a year because you are scared the “rock climbing elements” will overshadow everything else in the book.

I can’t believe I let this sit on my Kindle without reading it for so long. I truly did put it off because all the talk was about how the author is a rock climber and put it into her book; my brain went meh and
Jun 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Dev works as an outrider for caravans crossing the Whitefire mountains, going from the city of Ninavel to the kingdom of Alathia. To pad his income, Dev also does some smuggling on the side. After all, there’s a prohibition on magic in Alathia, so Dev can make a handsome amount of money transporting various magical items from magic-friendly Ninavel across the border. As The Whitefire Crossing starts, Dev is asked by his contact to take along an unusual package: a young man called Kiran. The surp ...more
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hard-copy
I picked up The Whitefire Crossing a while ago - I had seen it mentioned on r/fantasy a few times, and really enjoyed Courtney Schafer's AMA, as well as random comments and conversations I'd seen her have online. The book's premise interested me, and the mountaineering aspect was something you don't see a ton of in fantasy. I nominated the book for the r/Fantasy Book Club's July book of the month, and was thrilled to see it win, and numerous people pick up the book and help discuss it.

To describ
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This story is told from the points of view of the two main male characters, Dev and Kiran. The unique feature is that Dev's point of view is told in the first person while Kiran's is from the third person. This varying perspective gives you a bit of a double take at first but you quickly settle in to enjoy the tale.

Dev and Kiran were thrown together out of necessity. Dev was an expert mountain guide and Kiran needed a guide to smuggle him out of one city into another in the quickest and most inc
Kathryn Ford
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
2.5 stars

This book is very unusual in that it is told from a first person perspective, that of Dev, a smuggler, and a third person point of view, that of Kiran, a stowaway mage.
At first I found this quite jarring. But, I got used to it. However, Kiran was so irritating, I kept wishing for Dev's parts of the chapters.

A lot of this book was extremely boring. Most of the plot twists are already anticipated, so there were hardly any surprises.
As already mentioned I liked Dev, but found Kiran whine
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kick-assery, magic

I'm not usually a fan of heavy fantasy (GOT made me sleepy, for some reason), but this book. THIS BOOK.

This book made me want to go spelunking and hiking and mountain-climbing. This book made me wish I was in it. This book practically left my brain electric, and I almost had a seizure after reading THIS. BOOK.

Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reddit-fantasy
Here's my full review:

Really enjoyed this and am looking forward to reading Tainted City.
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A voracious reader, Courtney Schafer took up writing when she found that fantasy books weren't published fast enough to satisfy her craving for new worlds full of magic and wonder. When not writing, Courtney figure skates, climbs mountains, squeezes through desert slot canyons, and skis way too fast through trees. To support her adrenaline-fueled hobbies and writing habit, she received a degree in ...more

Other books in the series

Shattered Sigil (3 books)
  • The Tainted City (Shattered Sigil, #2)
  • The Labyrinth of Flame (Shattered Sigil, #3)

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