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(The Rhenwars Saga #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  471 ratings  ·  66 reviews
The hope of the world rests in the hands of a Darkmage.

The Well of Tears is open and the terror of the night has been unleashed. Now, the last Sentinel left alive with the power to defend his world against the minions of the Netherworld is a man destined to be corrupted into the image of what he hates. In the name of duty, Darien Lauchlin will see oaths forsaken, crowns to
Paperback, 560 pages
Published November 18th 2011 by Stoneguard Publications (first published November 11th 2011)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  471 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Darkmage starts off strong, with an intricate society and an immense level of destruction. The pacing slows down while the main characters regroup. The scope feels too broad at first. It takes awhile for all the pieces to get into position, but once they do, this book becomes nearly impossible to put down. Halfway through, I was enjoying the read, thinking, “Yes, I see why people are excited about this series.” Still, I was unprepared for how excellent it would be. The intensity that commands th ...more
Jesse Teller
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading a book is an intimate thing between author and reader. Usually I don't talk about the experience of reading a book because it is hard to describe just how a book hits me. But in this case I'm going to try. This case is special because the very nature of the book is special. So here goes.

See this book comes in strong. It starts chilling and brings you in close. It is sinister and hits you with a prologue that dazes you and you feel the grip of the author on your collar. The writer whisper
Ed McDonald
I decided to give Darkmage a try after asking for recommendations in a Facebook group, having heard the series mentioned a number of times in the past with a consistently positive reception.

Darkmage is a fun epic fantasy that holds it own against other contemporary works. The world has depth, and from the very beginning there is a great sense of epic background and history. The character's feelings about their allegiances and oaths are well expressed. This is really important, as the oath taken
A.M. Justice
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spfbo
Darkmage is a solidly good read (4.0 of 5 stars). Spencer ratchets up the tension slowly but surely as things go from bad to worse in this story of a people trying to fend off an invasion by an overwhelming enemy.

The story's hero is a rebel with a cause named Darien. On the night he ascends from acolyte to full mage, his hometown is destroyed and everyone he knows is killed when his jealous, power-hungry brother opens up a portal to hell. Darien survives by pure luck, but then, as the world's l
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
One of the most compelling books I've read.
I really enjoyed the last half of this book, but it did take some time to get going. I love how Spencer forced her characters through some changes. A few minor pacing issues, but overall a great book. Full review to come
Paul Lavender
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you thought this series couldn’t get better after Darkstorm, you thought wrong.
Excellent follow on. Glad I’ve got the next book already!
Damien Black
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Al Burke
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Darn that was good - here's the review:
C.T. Phipps
I very much enjoyed M.L. Spencer's Darkstorm novel, which was a breath of fresh air from the usual fantasy novels which have a massive threat to the world only for the heroes to resolve it with a laugh and a lark. So, I was very interested in picking up Darkmage which was the sequel set a millennium later. The world has managed to recover from the first book's apocalypse but bear's permanent scars. Furthermore, there are still those who would like to repeat casting opening the gates of hell to l ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for SPFBO #4, originally posted at Thoughts Stained With Ink:

First off, my apologies it took so long for me to get this review up! I was frantically reading the two semi-finalists from The Alliterates before Christmas and then, once the holiday hit, I took a much needed break from most obligations and social media. Though it’s biting me a bit now, getting back on track and catching up, I definitely needed it. But you’re not here to read apologies and
Rosalyn Kelly
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This grimdark fantasy follows the story of Darien Lauchlin, a rebellious but honourable mage who returns to his hometown to take his official mage oath only to see the city, and his loved ones, destroyed by his wicked brother. Said brother opens a portal to the netherworld and unleashes all kinds of hellish creatures on the real world. Darien must regain control, even if that means he has to break the oath he holds so dear…

The narrative is told for the most part from Darien’s point of view, as
Frank Dorrian
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm far, far, far overdue to review this book, and the only excuse I have is a hell of a lot happened all at once between me starting and finishing it and immediately after, and I've only just had the clarity of mind to write a review that would do her work justice.

This is the second of Spencer's books I've read, and the true start of her Rhenwars Saga, my first foray into her world being Darkstorm, which I thoroughly enjoyed earlier this year.

Darkmage, I found however, outstrips it a fair bit i
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This tale is a tad slow to start while the author gathers up his characters and sets the stage, but once the stage is set a wonderful show starts. A final mage. The last sentinel. His city destroyed by his brother's greed for the ultimate magic of the underworld, now released. The mage is powerful, save one interesting premise. The last sentinel must help to destroy the armies of the released evil. However, he has sworn an oath that he can only use his magic to heal, to maintain harmony and for ...more
Fee Roberts
Darkmage by M.L. Spencer is the second book in The Rhenwars Saga. Set 1000 years after Darkstorm, the Well of Tears is opened, yet again, and Darien Lauchlin is determined to close the Well of Tears, and keep it closed.

I enjoy Spencer's writing and world building. The characters are tormented, and emotions run high in this dark fantasy story. Spencer's writing takes us to the edge of darkness and keeps us there, hoping to find the light. Looking forward to reading more from this author.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a roller coaster between two covers. The characters are built along with the story and I enjoyed getting to know them. The action scenes written very well. I don't care for how most war episodes are written and tend to skim the, these I didn't. They were well developed and not full of blood and gore. I will be reading the rest of the series. Found another favorite author.
Eleanor Shepherd
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very Interesting

Fast paced. Intricately woven stories of a damaged mage, his fractured family, a priestess, many incredible warriors and an blessed acolyte. Very good.
Stephen Wertan
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
DarkMage is one of the Best Books I have ever Read.Some Books have Heros in Shining Armor and Happy endings.That is not these books!
I am about half way done with the second Book and Loving every page.
Melissa Hayden
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, fantasy
M.L. Spencer catches my attention with the story she's crafted, and her word choices. Wow. She's accomplished a huge thing in fantasy reads with her descriptions that give more than simply shows the scene. She draws me in with the words as it creates a vision in my mind that projects a feeling as well. Wonderful!

Allen M Werner
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished reading this book a week ago and finally had time to review it.  I had no  idea what to expect when I picked up the entire Rhenwars Saga by author M.L. Spencer.  Darkmage is the first book in the series.

The tale begins with death and destruction and the opening of the Well of Tears which unleashes chaos upon the world, Eight Servants of Xerys; demons.  Great start.  I was drawn into the book right away.

Darien Lauchlin is a minor acolyte of Aerysius who still hasn't committed to the fa
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very solid wizarding adventure in the mold of Raymond Feist. Darkmage is classic fantasy, skillfully executed.

I've been reading a lot of stranger stories lately, with weirder structures and more unique stylings, and so Spencer's Darkmage felt a bit like comfort food. It was suspenseful in turns, exciting, full of action, mysticism, all the great staples of classic fantasy, and what it arguably lacked in innovation it amply made up for in skill of execution. It's a fun read, and fantasy lovers
Stanislas Sodonon
So here is my second foray into the Rhen.

I just re-read my review of Darkstorm to put this into perspective.
And to be honest, I leave this book with generally the same misgivings as the other.
I'm left with too many questions, and not enough meat on the story.

The Bad Guys:
I was expecting to pick up where we left off last time, and finally get into the core of the problems raised in Darkstorm. Instead, we're sent a thousand years later (and the world has not changed one bit), into a brand new conf
Sarah Hays
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
Awesome thriller!

Darkmage is an action packed story with lots of twists and turns along the way! It follows the life of Darien as he strives to protect his city and those he loves. It is a great sequel to the original story!
S.K. Wee
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This dark and twisted story begins a thousand years after the first book. I felt like this book actually seemed more like a book one in a series with the first one more like a prequel. The story itself is quite amazing. Two brothers, Darien and Aiden. Darien is called back from the battle front and is deemed ready to receive his mage powers. The power is received through Transference from a dying mage to the recipient. Darien also must give the Oath of Harmony which though he rebelled against it ...more
denise boseman
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it

Action packed and can't wait to read next one.
Book series worth buying to have on your shelf at home.
Richard Myers
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book

This book is about a mage who seems to give up his life for the woman he loves. He is conflicted about his powers.
Susan Brouillette
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t think I would enjoy this book when I started it but I grew to love it. I am not a GOT kind of reader but the addition of the magic mages really made this book a winner.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The concepts in this book/series are original, and the characters are flawed in interesting ways. I am looking forward to the rest!
N.W. Moors
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Darkmage is a dark fantasy, richly written, and filled with fascinating characters. The action starts almost immediately and takes the reader on a journey through a detailed and nuanced world.
Darien Lauchlin is an acolyte, called back to Aerysius, the city of the mages after a stint on the frontier guarding against the enemy in the Dark Lands. It is his time to rise up to the level of mage, an occurrence marked treason from within and the destruction of Aerysius as the Well of Tears is opened an
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It started off strong enough, but the pacing was too uneven and I kept losing interest. Derian and Kyel are cool, but a lot of the other side characters and chapters felt unneeded. The limitations and abilities of magic were unclear - I kept expecting it to be able to do things it apparently can't, then being surprised when it actually could do things I'd come to believe were beyond it.

Derian's storyline felt odd and rushed, and I get the distinct feeling there's something seriously wrong with
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M.L. Spencer grew up on the works of Steven R. Donaldson, Stephen King and Frank Herbert. She wrote her first novel-length manuscript at thirteen. Her debut novel Darkmage won the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award for Fantasy. She was also awarded 1st Place Prose in in the San Bernardino County Writing Celebration.

Ms. Spencer lives in Southern California. By day she works as a biology teacher; by n

Other books in the series

The Rhenwars Saga (5 books)
  • Darkstorm (The Rhenwars Saga, #0.5)
  • Darklands (The Rhenwars Saga, #2)
  • Darkrise (The Rhenwars Saga #3)
  • Darkfall (The Rhenwars Saga Book 4)
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