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Farlander (Heart of the World, #1)
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(Heart of the World #1)

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  1,720 ratings  ·  149 reviews
The Heart of the World is a land in strife.

For fifty years the Holy Empire of Mann, an empire and religion born from a nihilistic urban cult, has been conquering nation after nation. Their leader, Holy Matriarch Sasheen, ruthlessly maintains control through her Diplomats, priests trained as subtle predators.

Ash is a member of an elite group of assassins, the Roshun, who of
Hardcover, First US Edition, 388 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Tor (first published 2010)
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Jason ON No, not really. It's a a heavy or deep read, either, so may be appropriate for younger readers.

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Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, grimdark
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

Farlander is the beginning of a series which is seriously underappreciated. This initial installment a pleasant surprise, one which thrilled me with a war-torn world, secretive assassins, power-mad religious zealots, and a conclusion which took me completely by surprise.

The Heart of the World is a land torn apart by war. The nihilistic empire and religion of the Holy Empire of Mann determined to conquer the known world and force their dark faith upon everyone.
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I was surprise at how much I came to enjoy this book. It opens with an interesting scene that intros us to our protagonist, this world and the order in which our "Old Man" Protagonist exists.

We do then launch into a rather slow progression of viewpoints and stories that set up the story and then the book launches us out on it. We get a thumbnail sketch of the political, religious and geopolitical state of the world. We see rot here, hope there and hopelessness elsewhere. We also see the complete
Liviu Szoke
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un prim volum din seria Heart of the World, care ni-l prezintă pe asasinul Ash și pe discipolul acestuia, Nico, porniți într-o răzbunare ce pare că nu prea ar putea avea sorți de izbândă: să-l asasineze chiar pe viitorul moștenitor al vastului Imperiu Mann, imperiu antrenat într-o bătălie fără de sfârșit pentru cucerirea lumii. Lupte, sânge, onoare, răzbunare, personaje plăcute sau respingătoare, săbii ninja și asasini plătiți. Mai multe, pe FanSF:
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This debut novel is another in a string of recent debuts. Like the others it is uneven, but there is enough charm for some readers to enjoy.

The setting is typical Fantasy fare. In a land known as The Heart of the World, The Mercian Free Ports are the last holdout from the Holy Empire of Mann. There, the besieged city of Bar-Khos protects the Free Ports from the masses of the Imperial Fourth Army along an isthmus through a series of walled defences. These are continually being knocked down in the
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-books, read-2011
2 Stars

Unlike many other reviewers I found the beginning of this book to be fantastic. The first third was engaging and interesting. The middle third a bore, and finally the ending made the whole thing fall apart. The opening chapters gripped me and thrilled me with their exciting action sequences. The Farlander was someone that I wanted to get to know...

I liked the dark grity world building. Nico and the Farlander were competent protagonists that I did enjoy. A few colorful side kicks in Barach
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Holy Empire of Mann, ruled by the Holy Matriarch Sasheen, is slowly but surely conquering all the lands bordering the Mideres Sea. One of the last areas desperately holding out against the Empire’s onslaught is the island of Khos, and it's on this island that Nico, a teenager living with his mother and a succession of her boyfriends, decides to run away from home and create a better life for himself. But living on the streets turns out to be harder than he expected, especially when his first ...more
Feb 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2010-reads

For me, Farlander is definitely one of the best debuts in 2010! Exceptionally story telling, comprehensible and enjoyable characters and a story which puts assassins in a new perspective. It promises a lot for the future.

Read my full review.
Shaitarn .
3.5 stars.

From the back cover: The Heart of the World is a land in strife. For fifty years the Holy Empire of Mann, an empire and religion born from a nihilistic urban cult, has been conquering nation after nation. Their leader, Holy Matriarch Sasheen, ruthlessly maintains control through her Diplomats, priests trained as subtle predators.

The Mercian Free ports are the only confederacy yet to fall. For ten years now, the great southern walls of Bar-Khos have been besieged by the Imperial Fourth
Neal Asher
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Having attempted to read a couple of fantasy books within the last few months, and having failed, I was beginning to wonder if I was going off fantasy. Those other books felt derivative, laughably serious about what to me seemed plain silly. Maybe I had lost that vital ability to ‘suspend disbelief’ with fantasy? However, reading Col Buchanan’s Farlander I realised that no, I wasn’t going off fantasy, I’d just gone off the stuff that failed to engage me. I would still be able to enjoy something ...more
J. Else
Jul 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
I picked up this book at the library because of the cool cover art. Great marketing there! From that point on, I really tried to read this book. I thought it had potential. The world was given depth and an array of characters but of whom, unfortunately, do not flesh out more than a superficial caricature. The characters are also uninteresting, and they’re all males! There is NO interesting female character in the first half of the book, and there are no other characters intriguing enough to foll ...more
I liked it a lot - it's a page turner and has lots of interesting stuff going on, but I was quite surprised by the way it went and I am a bit puzzled about its destination, so I need some time truly asses it - the sequel though became a big time asap, no question about it since I definitely want to see what happens next

While the setup (the blurb is ok'sih for it) seems standard and to start at least the villains are the ultra-cliched corrupt, debauched, orgy including killing humans barehanded,
Feb 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Farlander by Col Buchanan is yet another one of those titles. I’ve bitched about the publishing of fantasy in the US vs. UK frequently in the past and I’ll note again that Farlander is another title with a surplus of several months of lead time in the overseas market (March 2010 for the UK versus January 2011 from the US). That out of the way it should also be noted that the advent of Book Depository makes this less of an issue and the world is entirely a better place thanks to their presence in ...more
Leo Knight
Aug 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
It has been a long time since I haven't finished reading a novel. This one broke me.

At first I felt intrigued by the setting. Col Buchanan has created a world similar to Earth, centered on a Mediterranean-like sea. Technology seems set at Renaissance levels, with a few anachronisms like airships. Thus we have a world of swords and armor, cannon and castles, with a bit of mysticism. The sky has two moons. Most of the names are Earthly names (Isle of Skye, etc.) or close analogues.

The Farlander of
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
The Heart of the World (of which this is book one) looks much like the Mediterranean and surrounding areas, though without the long “boot” of Italy. It is an imagined world, though somewhat grounded in ours, with words and names similar enough to be familiar, but foreign enough to be new. The cultures, too, seem vaguely familiar, even to the point of monks who follow the Daoist Way.
But this is not the history of our earth, despite the similarities. In this world, there is a ruling cult, called
Het keizerrijk Mann is onder leiding van de Heilige Matriarch Sasheen bezig met een veroveringstocht die zijn weerga niet kent. Rijk na rijk valt onder hun expansiedrift en slechts de eilandenconfederatie van Mercia en de handelsstad Bar-Khos met zijn machtige muren weten zich nog teweer te stellen. Temidden van deze grootschalige oorlog leeft op een voor buitenstaanders onbekende locatie een groep huurmoordenaars met hun eigen idealen. Wanneer de perverse zoon van de Heilige Matriarch op hun do ...more
Matthew Doucette
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was pretty good. It is probably going to one of my favorites for a long time. The story takes place in the Heart of the World. Its a classic fantasy world. There is little magic. Im not sure if calling it magic is correct. Its more of unexplainable phenomenon that is just excepted by the characters. The good thing about it is that it isnt used all the time as a cop out to save people. "OH YOU DIED?!?!? HUZZAH!!! LIFE SPELL SUCKA!!!!" That really made me happy. The tools of this world a ...more
Sep 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: didnt-finish
I was just hoping for more.

I've been disappointed with my epic fantasy this year- I can't think of much that's really sucked me in, except for "Dragon's Path" by Daniel Abraham. Everything else has been okay but not great, bloated sequels that don't justify the amount of paper used to produce them, or unimaginative writing. Even Peter Beagle's newest short story collection failed to grab me, and that's unheard of.

So there was nothing really wrong with this book, but after 60 pages, instead of re
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
While the plot of the book is interesting, it lacks both originality and oomph, either of which makes a book to be hard to put down. Too many events in the book are easily predictable and the action takes too long to gain momentum.

The somewhat hard to read language is further weighted down by side trails that lead to nowhere. Some of the scenes are there and appear to be important, but then are abandoned without any connection to the main plot. The author randomly starts going into too detailed
Not bad but it just somehow didn't satisfy. A world in strife with names that sound like this one and then names that don't and I just had moments where I wanted him to call a smeerp a rabbit or a rabbit a smeerp but be consistent and just do it. This is a bit of a pet peeve and tends to break my suspension of disbelief.

The world is being overrun by the Holy Empire of Mann, which appears to be a religion of excesses and believe in control. It's a story of a farlander called Ash and his apprentic
Adam Whitehead
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fifty years ago, the Holy Empire of Mann was born when a nihilistic urban cult conquered the city of Q'os. In the decades since then, it has overrun the shores of two continents, conquering all the lands of the Mideres Sea aside from the islands known as the Mercian Free Ports and the powerful Alhazii Caliphate to the east, the source of the Empire's gunpowder.

For ten years the Empire has besieged the Mercian city of Bar-Khos. Despite the Empire's military power, the walls of Bar-Khos have conti
Pavlo Tverdokhlib
Mixed feelings about this one. The setting has nice bits (airships, and airship combat), but the overarching plot concerns the expansion of the Empire of Mann-the principal antagonist, who are ruled by a depraved theocracy that worships "the divine flesh" and considers any form of empathy, law, and decency to be "weakness". The plot involves an order of bodyguards and assassins, the Roshun-who offer the promise of their protection-if anyone who claimed their protection is killed, the order carri ...more
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

(Note: 2 star rating is actually 1.5)- This book took me a very long, long time to slog through.
Largely due to lopsided writing which pulled me in with the world building and disappointed me with the paper cut out characters.
The author seemed to be aiming for an 'epic' feeling, with machiavellian "grand plans at work" feeling as the back drop, but couldn't quite figure out how to plan "threads" to ravel or tighten so instead it was more of a knot than a plot.
There was inconsistency in the 'telli
Mark Vandervinne
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
In some ways, this is a very good book, and deserves four stars. In others, not so much, and deserves only 2-3.

The Good:
An overall enjoyable read. I found the storyline interesting and while I did skim over some of the lengthy descriptions, as a whole I was interested in the tale being told. That's a good thing, and it is probably worth a read, because the book isn't bad and has a lot of potential for future books (which the next one has gotten better reviews).

I liked the characters as a whole.
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it

Base on the cover, it's look like an assassin in a steampunk world with the flying ship... but it's really more a fantasy setting with flying ship in it and black powder.

For me the story drag to much, the first 400 pages are the classic old assassin taking an apprentice with many clichés when training, not many twist. Yet the author creates a detailed world but I didn't immerse myself in it.

A little more action when de vendetta starts and a few surprise I didn't see coming but didn't really like
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting story in a confusing world, full of people, that you can't really get attached to. That's how I feel about the entire book. The whole idea had a great potential and it quieta amazed me, but from the very beginning it feels way too overwhelming to imagine. It could be put into something much simpler without confusing the reader. There were aspects, which you wished would develop further, more emotional, more deeply. There were lots of unfinished ones for me. It gave off a "cut" feelin ...more
Geoff Battle
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Farlander, the début from Buchanan, is a fantasy novel set amongst a world at war. It's approach is similar to Robin Hobbs' Assassin's Apprentice in which a young man is tutored to become something more set against warring factions. In fact, there are scores of books detailing a man's rise from zero to hero, for they make good reading. Buchanan's fantasy world is purely populated by man and although the spiritual world is hinted at, this is a world reliant on science in the absence of magic. Far ...more
Петър Атанасов
Кол Бюканън има някои интересни идеи, но като цяло сюжетът и героите са доста тривиални и типични за жанра. По стила на автора също си личи, че става дума за дебют – не е дразнещ, но има доста излишни или нелогични описания и моменти. Иначе книгата не е лоша – стандартите са като цяло спазени, повествованието се води в добро темпо, все пак има известен опит за новаторство със стиймпънк елементите, а някои читатели дори може да се зарадват на по-нетипичния край. „Чуждоземецът“ не е най-доброто, к ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Malgré cette grosse déception, je tiens à remercier Babelio pour m'avoir envoyé ce livre, ainsi que les EditionsBragelonne pour l'avoir proposé à Masse Critique.

Résumé : Ash est un farlander, un « homme du lointain » venu d'une île où les hommes ont la peau noire. Il appartient à un ordre d'assassins d'élite, les Roshuns, dont l'arme est la vendetta : quiconque menace leurs clients devient leur cible. Nul ne s'y risque, car nul n'échappe aux Roshuns.
Mais Ash est vieux et malade. Le temps est ve
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
originally posted at:

Farlander like many books has been on my radar for a long time. I know this book was published somewhere way back in 2010 in the UK, with the release of the third book in the series, The Black Dream, Tor is re-issuing the first two books: Farlander and Stands a Shadow in brand new covers. And allowing me the perfect time to catch up with them!

The story of Farlander might sound familiar to many fantasy readers who have read Epic Fanta
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Col Buchanan is an Irish writer who was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, in 1973. From an early age he turned to reading and writing fantastical works to escape his troubles. In school he was the quiet dreamer who always sought out the back of the classroom. Later, in his stretches of work as a copywriter, he would be the quiet dreamer who always sought out the back of the office.

Having strayed

Other books in the series

Heart of the World (4 books)
  • Stands a Shadow (The Heart of the World, #2)
  • The Black Dream (Heart of the World #3)
  • Fierce Gods (Heart of the World, #4)