The Painted Man
|The Painted Man|
The Painted Man Book Cover
|Author||Peter V. Brett|
|Cover artist||Larry Rostant|
|Series||The Demon Cycle|
|Publisher||Harper Colins Publisher|
|Followed by||The Desert Spear|
The Painted Man (titled The Warded Man in the US) is a fantasy novel written by American writer Peter V. Brett. It is the first part of the Demon Cycle. It was first published by HarperCollins's Voyager imprint in the United Kingdom on 1 September 2008, and was published in the United States under the title of The Warded Man in March 2009. It has been translated into German, Japanese, Polish, Czech, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Serbian and Estonian. There is also a Graphic Audio production of the book.
The novel follows three POV characters in their passage from childhood to maturity. They are inhabitants of a world plagued by the attacks of demons known as corelings, which rise from the planet's core each night to feast upon humans. The ongoing attrition of these attacks have reduced humanity from an advanced state of technology to a 'dark age'. The only defense against the corelings are wards (magical runes) that can be drawn, painted, or inscribed to form protective barriers around human settlements. These are, however, fragile and prone to failure unless properly maintained.
As the novel progresses, the protagonists each embark upon their own "hero's journey" in an effort to save humanity.
In writing the tale, Brett was keen to move beyond a simple adventure story, to present a fantasy novel about fear and its impact. He was particularly interested in the effect of fear "causing some to freeze up and others to leap into action".
Arlen is introduced in the aftermath of a coreling attack that claims 27 lives. Those happen often, usually due to marred or misplaced wards. He realizes that humans have been mostly on the defensive, hiding behind wards. During an attack which endangers his family he overcomes his fears of the corelings and attempts to fight them off, though with little success. He is disgusted by his father's cowardice after his mother is attacked, and leaves his home to seek training as a messenger, a traveling warrior-nomad responsible for maintaining trade and communication links between villages. As he matures he becomes determined to hone his skills and help turn the tide against the corelings. In the second half of the story, Arlen discovers the lost combat wards inscribed in the ruins of Anoch Sun. Betrayed by the men of Krasia, he uses the wards on himself, becoming "The Painted Man".
Leesha is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her abusive mother and downtrodden father. After a slanderous rumor spread by her fiancé seems to destroy her chances of a respectable marriage and shows the true nature of many of her friends and the hypocrisy of the villagers, she devotes herself to learning the ways of herb gathering to care for the sick.
Rojer enters the narrative as a toddler, the only member of his family to survive a coreling attack. He is rescued and adopted by an alcoholic jongleur, a type of roaming jester that frequently travels with messengers and performs in villages on the messenger's route. Rojer has a crippled hand, caused by the loss of two fingers in the coreling attack that killed his parents. This limits his ability to juggle but does not hinder him in the least when he plays his favorite instrument, the fiddle. He later remembers that the jongleur that adopted him actually caused the death of his mother, he confronts him on the road about this later, and the jongleur, in a fit of drunken rage, pushes him into the corelings. He then sees his mistake, and dies in order to save Rojer's life. With his fiddle Rojer can entrance the corelings with his music causing the corelings to follow him, anger them to rage, make them oblivious to others, or drive them away with jarring music. Rojer tries without success to teach others his skills with the fiddle. Rojer harbors strong unrequited feelings for Leesha.
The origin of the corelings is an enigma to humankind, but legend suggests that corelings live by day in the Earth’s core and rise to the planet’s surface each night to feed. There are different types of corelings (known as alagai in the Krasian language), each associated with a particular element.
- Fire demons – Small, cat-like creatures, fond of arson, and able to spit “demonfire” - a supernatural form of napalm.
- Wood demons – Tall and powerful, with skin that camouflages them in wooded areas, though vulnerable to fire and thus antagonistic to fire demons.
- Wind demons – Small bodied but with large membranous wings, these demons hunt from the air silently and effectively but their wings also limit their movement on the ground.
- Rock demons – Massive powerful creatures, with rock-like, horny thick skin.
- Water demons – Tentacled and unable to survive away from water.
- Bank demons - Giant frog-like demons staying near banks of water sources in the north. Uses its tongue to catch and swallow humans whole.
- Sand demons – Smaller versions of rock demons but with weaker armor, which stand on all-fours and are the most commonly encountered demons in the deserts of Krasia where they hunt the sands in packs.
- Snow demons - Extremely fast.Their spit can cause instant freezing and frostbite.
- Lightning Demons- Similar to wind demons except they can spit lightning from their mouths from long distance resulting in wide spread destruction.
- Clay demons - Four legged demons found near clay river banks. They tend to charge their targets and attempt to ram them using their heads.
- Mother demon - Mother of all demons. Krasians believe her to be a handmaiden of Nie herself.
- Alagai Ka - Believed to be the father or first of the demons and their first general. The most powerful by far and direct father to the mind demons.
- Mimics - Little is known aside from their ability to perfectly imitate anything, although they are not too intelligent. So far they have only appeared when escorting a mind demon.
- Mind demon - Also known as princlings, they are bipedal and have bulbous, pulsating horn-like organs on their heads which facilitate their telepathic abilities. They are incredibly intelligent and very old, possibly older than the first demon war. They are served by mimics and can use ward magic of their own. They command lesser demons which they view as drones, as well as being able to control the minds of unprotected humans in whose memories they can rifle without notice. Love to eat human brains. They are extremely sensitive to daylight, able to surface only when the moon is waning. Their concentration is easily broken by physical pain.
All of demons have magical abilities, including rapid healing, enhanced strength, and poisonous talons. Although primarily interested in their human prey, they are also prone to attacking one another - particularly when a more powerful coreling chances upon a smaller, weaker or wounded variety. More types of corelings appear in the four subsequent books.
The historical name for the land in which the northern four free cites rest, although the dukes don't advertise this as it implies a power beyond their own. Historical records indicate that pre-fall Thesa had a population in the millions. The Painted Man takes place predominately in Thesa, with large sections taking part in Fort Krasia and its surrounding desert environment.
The Free Cities
The Free Cities refers to the collection of cities that once belonged to the nation of Thesa, and are Miln, Angiers, Rizzon, and Lakton. The Free Cities are Feudal governments run by a Duke, whose position is hereditary. Historical records post-fall do not reveal how the major cities gained their independence from Thesa, but each stand as independent governments. Each Free City has territorial control over numerous smaller towns and hamlets, exacting taxes and engaging in regular and open trade.
A large city nestled in the mountains with a massive outer wall of stone farther north than any of the other free cities. This city has mines producing metal, coal, and salt, but its rocky soil cannot produce the food necessary to feed its populace. It relies heavily upon trade with the southern Free Cities and hamlets for wood, grain, and other food stuffs.
This city is located in the forest south of the dividing river that separates the duchies of Miln and Angiers. Its primary product is lumber which it ships to the other cities for both fuel and construction.
A huge Farming community that provides the other free cities with corn and other farm bred produce.
A city that rest on a huge lake which provides the people of Thesa with fish.
The only city remaining of the kingdom to the south of Thesa. This desert land has the only people who continue to fight against the demons. Their society is composed of a strict hierarchical caste system based on their religion. The Sharum (warrior) caste engage in battle every night with the demons, who stand second only to the Dama (priests) caste. The lowest cast are the Khaffit, merchants and tradespeople whose only goal in life is to support the higher castes.
The second volume of the Demon Cycle, The Desert Spear, was released in April 2010, published by Del Rey Books in the US and Canada, and Voyager in the UK. The third volume, entitled The Daylight War, was released February 12, 2013 by Del Rey in the United States. As of now the series is planned to be 5 books long. There are also two novellas related to the story. "The Great Bazaar" and "Brayan's Gold" each released in limited edition by subterranean press.
It has been confirmed that the Demon Cycle has been optioned for film production by director Paul W. S. Anderson and longtime producing partner Jeremy Bolt, the duo behind the Resident Evil film franchise.
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- "The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2008". Amazon.com. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- "Nominees". The David Gemmell Legend Award for Fantasy. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- "Daylight war release date". http://www.petervbrett.com. 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
- Kit, Borys (28 July 2009). "'Resident Evil' duo picks up 'Warded'". HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved 2011-04-11.