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World Without End (Moontide and Magic Rise, #1)
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World Without End (Moontide and Magic Rise #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  751 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
The Lost Secrets of the Mages

The Age of the Mages is over, and all the secrets of their magical arts are thought to be lost to the world. There are even those who suspect that the last of the great Mages spent their final years scrupulously eradicating all traces of their craft from the pages of history—insuring that their art will never be practiced again. It is the dawn
Mass Market Paperback, 606 pages
Published March 1st 1995 by DAW (first published 1994)
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Chris Moriarty
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Normally I only give four stars to contemporary SF and Fantasy no matter how good it is. I save the five stars for the Immortal Classics. But some books are just so astounding that the rules need to be rewritten for them. This whole series falls into that category. It was steampunk before steampunk, and urban fantasy before UF became the hot new thing. Russell's world has all the magic and intrigue of steampunk with none of the copycat factor. And it deals with the real and profound issues of Vi ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
What I liked:
• Nautical adventure!
• Naturalism!
• Fantasy!
• Subtle court intrigue!
• Immersive world-building!
• And for some reason, I’m a sucker for pretty much any variation on the name “Tristan”.

What I didn’t like:
• Too much romance.
• At times, it was too slow.
The duchess: If the plan was to make us feel sympathy for her, it failed miserably. If the plan was to make us hate her, then well done. Every interaction between her and Tristam was maddening to the point that I almost quit the book a
Apr 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
Shelves: have-read
The book was good, but it was very clear that this was just the first half of the very large story, so it was obviously not a story in itself. Russell tried very hard to give this book its own rise in action and climax, and once we finally got to it, it was at least intriguing. And it did make me eager to get to the second book right away. There was the feeling of "Now the story is *really* getting interesting."

It wasn't that the story in this volume wasn't interesting -- it just took a long tim
Jun 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of slow building and deftly written novels.
Sean Russell has a certain style, it's slow to build, and filed with details. Then, slowly, he brings together all of the details he's dropped into the mix, and suddenly you're in the middle of whatever conflict has been hinted at. It's a style that doesn't work for every reader, but for me...... well, let's just say he's on my shortlist of the Best in Fantasy.
This was the first Sean Russell book I read. I remember seeing the book in Barnes and Noble, the strange stylized cover art. and I reme
Megan Cutler
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
My actual rating is closer to 3.5, but since goodreads doesn't allow half-star ratings, I gave this one a bump for its epic descriptions and one really intense suspense sequence.

This is not your typical fantasy story. The main character is no sword-wielding badass. He's a botanist. And somehow the story surrounding his journey manages to be interesting at least 90% of the time. The world here is obviously extensively researched (though it's also obviously based on England and France) and written
Misti Schmidt
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly gripping, given the pseudo-15th century narration style from an explorer/empiricist wandering the seas a la Darwin.
James Oden
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This book is my only data point, but I have to say Sean Russell is a solid writer. His prose feels like reading some of the great literary authors out of the 19th century. He paints picturesque scenes, and his characterization leaves you feeling like you are dealing with very and distinct individuals. He also seems to spend much time researching the era within which he sets his stories. The attention to detail with regard to rigged ship terminology, for example, was really quite amazing (frankly ...more
Nov 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
World Without End is the first in a two-book series called Moontide and Magic Rise. The milieu is a world that resembles Europe of the late 18th or early 19th century, a time when empiricism and science are on the rise. The twist is that these new ways are replacing the old ways of the powerful Mages, who mysteriously obliterated all traces of magic from the world before their passing. Our central character is Tristam Flattery, a promising young naturalist who is also the nephew and heir of the ...more
Paul Gazis
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
World Without End by Sean Russell and its sequel, Sea Without a Shore, were one of my most treasured discoveries of the 90s. They’re a combination of political intrigue, adventure thriller, nautical adventure, and regency set in a world at the dawn of its scientific revolution, and the author pulls it off quite well. This world resembles ours of Issac Newton or Captain James Cook’s day – it even has analogues of our England, France, and Germany – but with one important exception. In this world, ...more
Jan 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, 2011
Not only does this book take a really long time to get going, but the ending is very abrupt. I recognize that this is part of a series, but I got the impression that I was being goaded into reading the next one before I finished. I could tell when I got down to the last hundred pages that, judging by the pace thus far, there was no way things were going to be resolved. I'm not sure I'll pick up the next one, although I admit I am a bit curious to see where things go.

As far as plot goes, things w
Stephen Stewart
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't think I've read a fantasy book where the protagonist is a botanist. That said, this book is similar to Marie Brennan's Lady Trent series where the main character is a naturalist pursuing some sort of natural phenomenon. I love the setup of the story, and the plot allows for marvelous world building through the character's investigation to a possibly magical plant that could be going extinct. This book didn't have a lot of action to it, as it felt like it was setting up for the sequel nov ...more
Jul 10, 2016 rated it liked it
This book... took a long time to get into. It intrigued me initially, but then when nothing new really happened, it started to feel like just trying to get further into the book when something might actually happen. When we finally hit the climax, I was engrossed and can't wait to read the sequel- it just took an extremely long time to reach that point.

Also, can we please just take a moment to point out how much time is spent on the Duchess. The Duchess this, the duchess that... I don't care how
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
World Without End tricks you into thinking the story revolves around Tristam Flattery. Tristam's eccentric uncle dies and leaves behind a bunch of loose ends which lead him to a ship...The Swallow. The Swallow boasts a crew and guest manifest which would make the Enterprise jealous. Romantic intrigue, mysticism, and a quest to save the king. The author goes out of his way to put you on the deck of the boat along with Tristam. Learning a little about Tristam's adventure, his libido and multitudes ...more
Nov 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Hmm, seems I swapped this review with the one for #2. Anyway, this pair of books had a good, epic storyline. A little fantastic, as if he couldn't decide if this was a rational world or a magical one. It turns out that dichotomy was the major plot point, only not obviously so until the very end. So.... I guess I'd call the main plot-line a little subtle.

Not something I'll read again, but I'm not disappointed I read it.
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
hmm.. i like the concept, but it drags on so. i really love The Initiate Brother, so i want to like other Sean Russell but i can't get into it. i didn't realize when i picked it up that it was connected to Under The Vaulted Hills, I read that a few years back and got impatient with all the cave-wandering. this is somewhat similar, except they're on a sailing ship. i think the characters don't have enough depth to keep it afloat.. there's too much mystery and scheming and not enough humanity.
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b-good
The best part of this somewhat-standard fantasy novel is the unconventional main character -- botanists are not typically the ones caught up in court intrigues. But it makes perfect sense, particularly for a story that echoes the old voyages of discovery around the globe. I am looking forward to reading the second half of the story.
Oct 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I really like Sean Russell as an author and I highly enjoyed his Swan War Trilogy.
World without end has a great setting but it's a slow read. Not much happens and I didn't get cought by the characters as I was with the Swan War Trilogy...

Nontheless a good read and well written. Just not if you want action.

I might read the sequel but not at the moment as I need something more thrilling.
Rebecca Schwendiman
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book because it was like a fantasy fiction cookie with chocolate chips of SCIENCE. The main character is a naturalist! It's like it was written just for me- Think Charles Darwin + Wizards = Awesome! "A great hypothesis is like a great poem, as long as it explains something central to the human mind it will stand." - Sean Russel, World Without End
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Sean Russell's rich and poetic style is marvellously engaging and perfectly suited to both high society schemes and high seas adventure. World Without End is a compelling and deftly crafted blend of adventure, mystery and epic fantasy.
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
[4 and 1/2 stars]
Excellent, atypical fantasy, set in the equivalent of the Age of Enlightenment, with solid characterisation, awesomely twisted political scheming, detailed world-building and elegant prose.
Apr 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
Warning: This book was boring until the last couple of chapters. The plot had potential, and they threw in a lot of sex but it moved so slow I would not recommend it. I was not even sure it rated 1 star. I had got the 2nd book but I am not even going to attempt it.
Oct 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy-medieval
In my second atttempt to read this book I realized that there was nothing wrong with the book. The characters were good and engaging, the story is good but I just couldn't get into it. I made it 3/4 through but had no problem leaving the book behind.
So I guess I'm just indifferent to this book.
Barbara Brien
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Epic fantasy, first of two books. This book held me enthralled.
Fairly certain I read these, but would probably need to reread them to tell you details. As I remember it, I did enjoy it.
Destiny Causby
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A neat combination of Darwin like exploration & magic but be sure to have Sea Without a Shore on hand so you can finish the story
May 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating world. Magic is dying / dead and natural philosophy is the latest thing. This is part 1 of 2, and if you read this one you'll definitely want the next as well.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it liked it
A fantasy epic based in the age of discovery around the 1500s, but where mages and magic did exist but are now extinct and have wiped out their history.
Weston Y
Apr 08, 2015 rated it liked it
It's an 'eh' for me. I thought it was a bit too long, and become somewhat predictable. The ending was worth it, but barely.
Mike Testa
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
Great book, first of a series of 2. Very descriptive when describing the environments and the characters are easy to follow.
Feb 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Though this is billed as fantasy, the first book in the trilogy is more focused on court politics than magic. I like court intrigue so it worked out.
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Aka Sean Thomas Russell

Sean Russel has co-written, with Ian Dennis, a mystery series called "Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner". The first volume of the series was published by Bantam under their joint pen name, T.F. Banks.

Sean Russell was born 1952 in Toronto. At the age of three his family moved to the outskirts of the city, where they lived in a cottage at the beach of Lake Ontario. At the age of
More about Sean Russell

Other books in the series

Moontide and Magic Rise (2 books)
  • Sea without a Shore (Moontide and Magic Rise, #2)

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