The Nightrunner Series
An official logo for The Nightrunner Series.
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The Nightrunner Series is a multi-part fantasy series written by Lynn Flewelling. It currently contains seven novels and a collection of related short stories.
‘Nightrunning’ refers to espionage, the principle occupation of the series’ two protagonists, Seregil and Alec. The books also explore sexuality and gender roles, presenting a world where bi- and homosexuality are as accepted as heterosexuality.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Characters
- 3 Themes
- 4 Books & Other Media
- 5 Concept & Publication
- 6 References
Luck in the Shadows
Seregil stumbles into the rescue of Alec, a poor, orphaned hunter. After hiring Alec to guide him through the Northern Lands, Seregil notes Alec’s quick learning ability and fast hands, and offers him a job as his apprentice. Alec, though wary of Seregil at first due to a distressing amount of secrecy and suspicion that he’s becoming a thief or spy, accepts the offer. They fall into a mystery that involves the fast deterioration of Seregil’s mind and sanity, and Alec must find a way to save his new teacher and friend. Alec manages to deliver Seregil into the hands of Nysander, a wizard of Skala, but the mystery seems to only deepen. At the same time, a traitorous plot against the Queen seems to be unfolding, and Seregil must solve it quickly; before he is found guilty of treason himself.
The seemingly harmless wooden disc that nearly caused Seregil’s death and loss of sanity in Luck in the Shadows is revealed to be part of a broken, evil, helm belonging to the ‘Eater of Death’, a forsaken god named Seriamaius. A plan to retrieve all the pieces of the helm is attempted by a Plenimarine, Mardus, who wishes to use it to conquer Skala and Mycena and rule over the three lands. A prophecy long foretold takes place, and Seregil has to kill his mentor, Nysander, in order to destroy the helm. In the last paragraphs of the book, Seregil and Alec admit their feelings for one another.
Seregil and Alec are sent to Aurënen, Seregil’s homeland, with Princess Klia, in a Skalan delegation to ask for open ports, warriors and supplies in the deepening war between Skala and Plenimar, but the attempted murder of the Princess means trouble. Seregil and Alec must unravel the mystery before all chance of a treaty is ruined. At the same time, Seregil must readjust himself to the country he was exiled from more than thirty years previously.
A collection of short stories including the story of how Seregil, Nysander, and Micum all meet.
Seregil and Alec are kidnapped by Zengati slavetraders, and bought by a Plenimaran alchemist. Using Alec’s unique blood as a half-northerner, half-hâzadriëlfaie, the alchemist intends to create a creature called a rhekaro, who appears to be a young child, and yet is most definitely not human at all. Seregil eventually helps Alec and Sebrahn escape, coming to terms with his own past as he reunites with an old lover and enemy.
The White Road
Having escaped death and slavery in Plenimar, Seregil and Alec want nothing more than to go back to their nightrunning life in Rhíminee. Instead they find themselves saddled with Sebrahn, a strange, alchemically created creature - the prophesied "child of no woman." Its moon-white skin and frightening powers make it a danger to all whom Seregil and Alec come into contact with, leaving them no choice but to learn more about Sebrahn's true nature. But what then? With the help of old friends and Seregil's clan, the pair sets out to discover the truth about this living homunculus - a journey that can lead only to danger... or death. For Seregil's old nemesis Ulan í Sathil of Virèsse and Alec's own long-lost kin (Hâzadrielfaie) are after them, intent on possessing both Sebrahn and Alec. On the run and hunted, Alec and his friends must fight against time to accomplish their most personal mission ever.
Casket of Souls
More than the dissolute noblemen they appear to be, Alec and Seregil are skillful spies, dedicated to serving queen and country. But when they stumble across evidence of a plot pitting Queen Phoria against Princess Klia, the two Nightrunners will find their loyalties torn as never before. Even at the best of times, the royal court at Rhíminee is a serpents' nest of intrigue, but with the war against Plenimar going badly, treason simmers just below the surface. And that's not all that poses a threat: A mysterious plague is spreading through the crowded streets of the city, striking young and old alike. Now, as panic mounts and the body count rises, hidden secrets emerge. And as Seregil and Alec are about to learn, conspiracies and plagues have one thing in common: the cure can be as deadly as the disease.
Shards Of Time
The last novel in the series. The governor of the sacred island of Kouros and his mistress have been killed inside a locked and guarded room. The sole witnesses to the crime—guards who broke down the door, hearing the screams from within—have gone mad with terror, babbling about ghosts... and things worse than ghosts. Dispatched to Kouros by the queen, master spies Alec and Seregil find all the excitement and danger they could want—and more. For an ancient evil has been awakened there, a great power that will not rest until it has escaped its prison and taken revenge on all that lives. And our heroes must find a way to stop it and save those they hold most dear... or die trying.
His full name is Seregil í Korit Solun Meringil Bôkthersa. Seregil is one of the protagonists and a full-blooded Aurënfaie. He is 57 at the beginning of the series, but looks 25 because of his people's long lifespan. He is described as tall and fair-skinned with grey eyes and brown hair.
After being seduced by Ilar í Sontir into breaking atui during a treaty and having accidentally killed a man by mistake he is exiled to Skala by the rhui'auros request where he becomes a Watcher, a spy in the queen's service.
Alec is the son of Amasa and Ireya ä Shaar, He is a ya'shel because of his mother's Hâzadrielfaie blood. A boy of sixteen at the beginning of the series, he is described as tall, blond and blue-eyed. Because of his looks and his Dalnan conservative upbringing he is generally perceived as naive and innocent, though he shows great intelligence and cunning over the books.
He is captured and thrown in prison where he meets Seregil. After Seregil helps him escape he contracts Alec to guide him to Wolde. Being impressed by Alec's talent and intelligence he asks Alec to be his apprentice and learn "the acquisition of goods and information".
Nysander is the last disciple and heir of Arkoniel and guardian of the necromancer Helm. He is described as kind and eccentric.
He was the first to befriend Seregil after his exile from Aurënen and offered him an apprenticeship at the Orëska House. When that didn't work he hired him as a Watcher, one of the spies under his command.
He is killed by Seregil at his bequest in Stalking Darkness in an effort to destroy the Helm. After this he appears twice more in visions to offer guidance.
A master swordsman and dear friend of Seregil who meets Seregil years before the events of Luck in the Shadows. At the beginning of the series he is in his forties. Already settled down with a family of three, later four children and a foster son he does not always accompany Seregil on his adventures anymore. Micum himself is a Watcher too and father of Beka, Elsbet, Illia and Gherin. At the end of Stalking Darkness he and his wife Kari adopt Luthas.
Thero is a wizard who was Nysander's apprentice after Seregil. At first, he and Seregil are bitter rivals, but become more respectful of each other after the events of Stalking Darkness. He becomes head of the Watchers after Nysander's death.
A powerful Wizard of the Third Oreska and once Nysander's love interest, despite her being celibate.
Eldest daughter of Micum and an officer in the Horse Guard
Adzriel í Illia is Seregil's oldest sister and has acted as a mother figure for him. After her father she becomes the khirnari of the Bôkthersa.
Ilar í Sontir of Chyptaulos, also known as Khenir, was introduced in Shadows Return, although often mentioned in the previous books.
Seregil's first lover, Ilar seduced him at Ulan í Sathil's bidding and betrayed him when Seregil was 22 years old. He was a reason of Seregil's downfall and his exile from Aurënen. After his escape, Ilar was caught by Ulan and sold into slavery in Plenimar. He spent 40 years under the a false name Khenir, coming to believe it all Seregil's fault. Seeking revenge, he helped his master, Yakhobin, to catch Seregil and Alec, but later he also helped them escape.
Found again by Ulan's men, he was taken back to Viresse in The White Road where the khirnari unravelled the story of the rhekaro. Ulan took him back to Plenimar to help him steal Yakhobin's books, but left him there when he helped Seregil instead.
Ulan í Sathil is the khirnari of the Virèsse clan. Until the events of Traitor's Moon his clan held monopoly over trading with Skala and as a result holds a grudge against Seregil and Alec for enabling the opening of Gedre. He is two hundred seventy years old and suffers from a sickness of the lungs and severe arthritis. He is described as cunning, ruthless and devoted to his clan's welfare. He dies in Riga at the end of The White Road.
The Khirnari of Gedre. Knew Seregil when he was very young.
Eldest Princess of Skala, inherited the throne after Idrilain's passing. She managed to push back the Plenimarian's back into their homeland but died on the threshold of victory. She wanted to conquer Plenimar so that the land could see a peace that lasted without threat. Under her rule, even though Aurenen were allies, the style of the Aurenfaie went out of fashion. Tried to alienate all things not Skalan, including magic, seeing it do more harm than good.
Son of Idrilain, twin of Phoria. Was Seregil's first lover after he was exiled to Skala.
Klia is Queen Idrilain and her last consort's only surviving child. She is 23 years old at the beginning of the series.
Mother of Klia and Phoria and Queen of Skala at the beginning of the series.
Rekharos or tayan'gil(silver blood) are humanoid creatures created from the blood of the Hâzadrielfaie. They can heal though no one except Sebrahn can speak or bring back the dead.
A rhekaro, Sebrahn is described as very pale with silver-colored eyes and shining white hair. Because of his appearance, Alec named him moonlight in Aurënfaie.
The prophesized child of no woman, Sebrahn was created in Shadows Return by the Plenimaran alchemist Yhakobin for Ulan í Satil in hopes of distilling a healing elixir to prolong his life. He was created using Alec's Hâzadrielfaie blood and as a result is only able to feed by drink Hâzadrielfaie blood. Alec took him along when he escaped the alchemist's house.
Later he let him be taken in the care of the Hâzadrielfaie in The White Road when he realised that couldn't continue his lifestyle and still care for Sebrahn.
Another rhekaro, he was made from the blood of Hâzadriël herself and has since hunted with the Ebrados by her wish. He is pale and silver-haired like Sebrahn, though he doesn't speak and has wings.
The series' two main male protagonists fall in love during the course of the story. This is not the main point of the story, and in fact, their relationship does not become established until the end of the second book, Stalking Darkness. There are hints throughout the first two books of a more romantic nature their relationship could take, but the fantasy adventure plots take up much more of the readers' attention. In Lynn Flewelling's words: "I wanted to handle it the way I would with a straight character—an important part of who [Seregil] is and how he functions in society, but not the sum of who he is. I also created a culture where homosexuality is more accepted, if not universally so." 
Flewelling created a unique world in Luck in the Shadows, continued throughout the rest of the series, and expanded upon in her sister series', The Tamir Triad. The main setting takes place in a country called Skala, which is part of the Three Lands: Skala, Mycena, and Plenimar. She gives the land a history that is deep with detail and realistic happenings, from war, trade and racism to natural corrosion. The politics are easy to understand, yet still rich with intrigue and, if you know where to look for them, falsities.
Flewelling's world is described similarly to medieval-Europe in setting, with farming and hunting being the primary occupations of the populace. Horses and ships are the only real modes of transportation, and the country is ruled by a Queen put there by her mother's bloodline and a prophecy from Afra: "So long as a daughter of Thelátimos’ line defends and rules, Skala shall never be subjugated." Flewelling also added in religious aspects, as well as magical ones. She created an entire new society known as the Third Oreska: wizards, and combined them with the rest of her setting seamlessly.
Flewelling wrote a religion into her stories that goes deep into her characters backgrounds, influencing the entire series as religion does in the real world. From language usage to prayer and magic, the religious aspects slide their way into every book. In Skala, most citizens believe in four notable deities, although depending on the part of the country, special attention may be provided to certain deities. There is Illior, the Lightbearer or the Lightbringer. In Aurënen, she is called Aura. She is the goddess of the moon, wisdom and insanity. There is Sakor, the Flamebringer, god of the Sun, war and victory. There is Dalna, the Maker, god of fertility, land and hearth. And there is Astellus, the Traveler, goddess of messengers.
There are also minor deities, acknowledged throughout the country, but not worshiped at the same level as The Four. One of the more popular deities is Bilairy, said to guard the gate of the afterlife.
Books & Other Media
In September 2009, the independent film company C-Squared Productions optioned the rights to the first two books, Luck in the Shadows and Stalking Darkness, with the intention of adapting the text to film. Due to budget concerns, the project has since been called off.
|1.||Luck in the Shadows||496||17h, 52m||August 1, 1996|
|2.||Stalking Darkness||512||19h, 15m||February 3, 1997|
|3.||Traitor's Moon||560||21h, 58m||July 6, 1999|
|4.||Shadows Return||544||12h, 2m||June 24, 2008|
|5.||The White Road||400||12h, 9m||May 25, 2010|
|6.||Casket of Souls||476||14h, 7m||May 29, 2012|
|Glimpses||128||x||September 19, 2010|
|7.||Shards Of Time||409||12h, 55m||April 1, 2014|
Concept & Publication
Lynn Flewelling originally wrote Luck in the Shadows and Stalking Darkness as one book. The editor proposed splitting it in two due to the length and “so a series was born”.