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The Dark Age

(The Ancient Future #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,682 ratings  ·  165 reviews
The white light surrounded her, exuding from the ground within the circle. The mist rose towards the sky to form a billowing cloud. From within the largest stone a ball of blue light steadily made its way towards her.

Late one evening, a car accident leaves Tory - a daughter of a prominent history professor - stranded near a ring of stones in the English countryside. She re
Paperback, 560 pages
Published October 1996 by Voyager Online Australia (first published 1996)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,682 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Feb 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
Truly awful. Mary Sue, uh, I mean, Tory is at the same time conveniently one of the few modern speakers of early medieval Welsh, a black belt in martial arts - and a shallow, ignorant idiot who the author would have us believe is a great woman of destiny.

The editing is terrible, but then, the manuscript probably started out worse (hard though that is to believe). There aren't many good places to go when you start out with an author capable of using, or misusing, two 17th-century English words (
May 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: trime-tavel
The No. 1 problem I had with this novel:
What people think Old English is: Thou art indeed a fine lad, prithee yonder! Wherefore arest mine pantalones?
What it actually is: Syððan ǽrest wearð feasceaft funden, hé þæs frófre gebád, wéox under wolcnum weorðmyndum þáh, oð þæt him ǽghwylc ymbsittendra ofer hron-ráde hýran scolde, gomban gyldan. Þæt wæs gód cyning!

* fast paced (there was always something happening in each paragraph)
* ancient Wales, need I say more?
* hot guys - all incredibly f
May 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book first came to my attention as a very young teen, and I was instantly enthralled. The elements of time travel, metaphysics and romance captured my attention. It was my first taste of fantasy that was 'easy-to-swallow'. In fact, I begged my best friends boyfriend to let me borrow the additional books in the series and I was captivated all over again.

As an adult, reading it all over again the book is quite flawed in the typical ways - one dimensional characters, unrealistic (yes, I know i
Dec 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Read these series about twice a year just because I love these books so much. The story is amazing, the journey the characters are on is wonderful, and I still laugh, smile and cry... each and every time I read these books!
Amber Craig
Aug 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I got given this book from a friend of my parents before they moved overseas and I threw it on the bookshelf for a while. When I got the chance to read it I loved it and I've since re-read it quite a few times. I love the storyline and I love the characters! ...more
Nikk the Sapphired Book Dragon
Given this is my favourite book of all time, I have read this book a dozen times over the last 20 years however having just read This Present Past, which is essentially a prequel to this, I really needed to read this again with all my new knowledge.

Despite knowing this story so well, I still get pulled in, every single time, and this time was no different. This story has everything I love in a good story: time travel, romance, action and a story line that keeps you completely immersed from begin
May 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Blondes/Twilight fans/Mills & Boon 'historical' fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 15, 2014 added it
I don’t want to give this book a rating because I only read the first third of the book, and it might have gotten better after that.

What I didn't like:
Firstly, the romance aspect of this book is understated in the blurb. The first part of the story is basically a romance novel. The blurb talks about the main character being an awesome fighter, so I really expected that to be the main focus of the story. I expected to like the main character more, but I just didn't.

Character development was very
Mar 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
I started this book thinking I'd seen a lot of Traci Harding books around, she must be a good author. But oh no! I honestly don't know how this got published, I've read more in depth and interesting pieces written by emos on FanFiction. I understand the appeal, travel back in time and meet your true love, make your mark on history - who doesn't want to do that? It's a good idea, but I just couldn't stand the acceptance of the characters of Tory. Modern woman who flaunts her discman and camera... ...more
Carla Khoo
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is the gateway to a memorable series of action packed, page turning adventure. I don't know what to say here to motivate you to read it other than, if you if you consider yourself a female fantasy lover, YOU MUST read these. Traci has a way of making you adore the characters - to the point where you get that delicious sense of loss when you finish a book. The good news on that note is that Traci is still powering ahead and if you kick off with this one, you still have many more adventu ...more
Gwen (The Gwendolyn Reading Method)
Ugh. First of all, I'm never going to come around to characters who think it's ok to try to rape a woman, even if they say sorry later (though that's mostly because they find out she can kick their butts). Second of all, this just wasn't that... interesting. I gave it a good whirl but I gotta DNF this one. ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
After her car gets a flat tire, Tory spends the night in a stone circle. This transports her back into the past where she meets the prince Maelgwn. Tory is a black belt in taekwondo and is a modern woman. Is the past ready for her?

I quite liked this book and I am looking forward to reading more in the series. It has magicians, faeries but with a bit of a sci-fi time travelling/reincarnation spin.
Lisandra Linde
Sep 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
Take Outlander, remove all of its charm and character depth, add some martial arts and more than a few thee's and thou's and you have this book.

Our protagonist is Tory Alexander, a 20th-century Australian woman who is a black belt martial artist, speaks an ancient language and is beautiful to everyone she ever meets. One night her car breaks down and she is forced to spend the night within a circle of standing stones. Thanks to some good old fashioned magic she is transported back in time to th
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Geraldine Macci
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it
It's utterly, utterly awful, but I love it to bits.
Don't go into this expecting it to be literature, or even well-written sci fi/fantasy. It's not. The plot is clunky, the 'perfect' characters you'll want to smack over the head, and the writing leaves a lot to be desired, but there's something about this series that gets to you. Perhaps in my case it's nostalgia, having first read these in my teens, but I found them still unputdownable and good silly fun. You'll need your suspension of disbelie
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing

it makes me wish i had amnesia so i could read it again, for the fist time!

the second book is really good too, but i don't particulary like the third and all the following books in the series don't even bother with.
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the best on my bookshelf. I read this trilogy about once a year and I still love it, the characters, the history, the mysticism.
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Let me start by saying this is very different to the kinds of books I've been reading recently. My partner is a big fantasy fan and has been pestering me to read it for a while, so when I left my book behind on a weekend together he handed me this in an instant.

The writing was jarring at first, it felt clumsy and clunky, and I was rolling my eyes at the simplistic spelling it out and telling rather than showing approach. But I struggled on, and found that somewhere around the 100-200 page mark I
I don't think I can actually give this any stars. I'm far too conflicted lol. I read this when I was... 13(?) and absolutely loved it. It had a wicked strong female lead, magic, time travel, castles, romance, martial arts... It was like a shopping list of all of the things I found kick-ass as a kid, so of course I lapped this up.

But is the story and writing actually any good...? Umm.. Well.. Probably not.

However it did fire up my imagination, and push me to learn more about taekwondo and history
Jill Smith
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was fortunate enough to meet Traci Harding at Somerset Literary Festival a few years ago. She was giving a session with Kim Wilkins and another author. Being that Science Fiction/Fantasy/Gothic Horror is my favourite genre, I was fascinated to hear Traci explain her writing techniques. I was heartened by the fact that she was dyslexic and not highly educated and often writes with heavy metal music playing!

This book is an amazing adventure and as intriguing as its title, and it is the first bo
Nurni (Leave What's Heavy Behind)
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a good romance
Recommended to Nurni by: family friend
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Natalia Smith
Aug 20, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Davison
So, I read this along time ago and really enjoyed it then.
This time, however, I only got about 1/3 of the way through.
I still enjoyed the main characters and the overall plot, but I struggled with the writing style. Harding uses a passive voice and does a lot of telling. In every paragraph she tells us exactly what our characters are thinking and feeling, without any attempt at subtlety or faith that the reader could figure it out for themselves based on context or through showing their body lan
Dec 25, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Die-hard mythical sci-fi fans who don't need their books to be well-written
Shelves: sci-fi
I got this book as a present, which makes it a little more difficult laying into it. I will therefore try and be balanced:

It was interesting.
It was easy to read (despite clocking in at 672 pages).
It was different from what I usually read.

The pretend-use of the Brythanic language really grated on me and made the book more difficult to read (all the characters speak English, but with 'thee', 'thou', 'dost' and 'thine' thrown in - argh!).
It's appallingly badly written.
The whole New Age spiri
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
My most favourite novel ever. EVER. For some reason no other book, fantasy based or otherwise has even come close to the awesomeness that this book oozes. I first read it at fourteen years old tucked under my desk in english class (I read it in class just to piss my teacher off).
If I had to guess how many times I've read it since, it would be over fifty times.
Set in the 1990's, Tory Alexander finds herself stranded on a quite English country road with a flat tyre. The rest is history. Traci inc
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I absolutely adore this book and the two and three others that come after it.

I find the characters interesting and human, and can't help but fall madly in love with them all.

The way that Harding has interwoven mythical tales and historic facts in with an intriguing and unique storyline is brilliant.
I love the fact that it is presented in a way that it could be real, but not so much as to make you forget that at times and just go along with the captivating fiction you are being fed.

I can't say en
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love everything and anything by Traci Harding and this book is what started it all.

Tory is a strong, independent and brave woman. I love any story when there is a heroine instead of a hero because it's so refreshing, especially when they just get on with it all and don't become a blubbering mess all the time.

The idea of time travel is so cool and incorporating the marshal arts fighting style was a really cool twist on it all as well.

I could go on all day about this book, but you should read it
Maggie Best
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This isn't the first time I've read this book. It's great fun and I enjoy it just as much each time I revisit it. The Ancient Future was my first introduction to Traci Harding, and made me seek out each new book she releases. Traci has a lovely,light,fresh style. I loved taking the journey with her characters and found her worlds very believable. If you've never read any of Traci's books, this is a great one to start with. ...more
Sep 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: most teenagers
Recommended to Heather by: sibling
I love this series! I read them when I was fifteen and have never thought of them as poorly written or boring. I find the plot captivating and original, as well as the characters. Tory's relationship with Maelgwn is insanely romantic and I love the idea of everyone coupling up! This type of novel is the one I tend to head towards when i scour the shelves of book stores. I love every bit of it! ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it liked it
I adored this book when I first read it as a young lass and I've re-read it many times since. I tried re-reading it again recently, but the writing is awful at times and Tory seems to be a perfect character who "just happens" to be well-read up on ancient Britain and lore. The story is good, though and fun. ...more
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Traci Harding, is an Australian science-fantasy author who currently has twelve books in publication, on the Voyager label of HaperCollins Publishers Australia.

Her work blends fantasy, fact, esoteric belief, time travel and quantum physics, into adventurous romps through history, ulternative dimensions, universes and states of consciousness.

The Ancient Future Trilogy
Book 1 -The Ancient Future 19

Other books in the series

The Ancient Future (3 books)
  • An Echo in Time: Atlantis (The Ancient Future, #2)
  • Masters of Reality: The Gathering (The Ancient Future, #3)

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