The Way of Shadows
|The Way of Shadows|
|Cover artist||Illustrator: Calvin Chu
Design: Peter Cotton
|Series||The Night Angel Trilogy|
|Media type||Print (Mass Market Paperback)|
|Followed by||Shadow's Edge|
The story takes place in Cenaria City, the capital of Cenaria, which is located in the fictional land of Midcyru. Cenaria City is split into two halves, the Warrens and the East Side. The Warrens are full of cheap prostitutes, brothels, orphans, beggars, muggers, and slums. The East Side, though still infested with crime, is where the richer middle and upper class live. Cenaria is ruled in a Monarchy, with a single king ruling the land and power passing on to the next heir. However, the Sa'Kage hold all the real power in the land. The Sa'Kage (Lords of the Shadows), is a mob-like organization that participates in extortion, prostitution, and assassination.
To the north of Cenaria is another land called Khalidor. Khalidor is a powerful empire ruled by the tyrannical Godking. The Godking seeks to use the might of Khalidor to rule all the nations, and the Khalidorian army is merciless in its pursuits.
Azoth is an orphan who lives in the Warrens of Cenaria City. He and his two friends, Jarl and Doll Girl, are members of the Black Dragon guild. They make their living stealing money to buy food and pay their guild dues to Rat, the Guild Fist, an enforcer who beats anyone who doesn't pay. One night while Azoth is underneath a local tavern scrounging for coins he overhears a confrontation between Durzo Blint, the best wetboy in the city, and several unknown assailants. After Durzo slaughters the assassins, he catches the escaping Azoth and tells him to not lose a word about that to anyone.
One day Rat asks Azoth to be one of his "pretty boys". Azoth's rejection humiliates and angers Rat. Later that day Jarl shows Azoth a secret stash of coins that he has been saving for four years, which he gives Azoth so that he can apprentice to Durzo Blint.
Blint is ambushed by the Black Dragon after fulfilling one of his contracts, but makes his way out by incapacitating Rat, "the fist" of the guild, and scaring everyone else away. After that he is followed by Azoth as he leaves to make his report at the Sa'kagé headquarters. Although Azoth stays outside, Blint discovers his presence and declines Azoth's bid of being allowed to become Blint's apprentice. Azoth fails in following him when the wetboy leaves.
The next day Azoth wakes up to find out that Rat has raped Jarl and made him "one of his girls". Rat wants to punish Azoth for pursuing Durzo but Ja'laliel forbids it. However, Ja'laliel is terminally ill, and Azoth is afraid that Rat will soon be the guild head. Azoth plans his revenge on Rat for Jarl's rape, trying to turn the guild against him, but Rat lets him play the hero.
Elsewhere in Cenaria, eleven-year-old Logan Gyre watches his father, Duke Regnus Gyre, as he prepares to travel to a garrison, called Screaming Winds. Logan asks to go with his father, but Duke Gyre refuses and leaves his son as the Lord of House Gyre.
Three months pass, during which time Azoth starts to get followers who also hate Rat. One of his followers steals a metal shiv and gives it to Azoth. One night in an alley Azoth encounters Durzo. Azoth insists on apprenticing with him, even going so far as to threaten Durzo's life. Durzo finally makes Azoth an offer; if he kills Rat in one week without any help and brings proof, Durzo will apprentice him.
A travelling mage, Solon Tofusin, arrives at the Gyre estate. He is on a mission from the prophet Dorian to help Lord Gyre. When he finds out Duke Gyre has gone to Screaming Winds, he plans to head there immediately, but his plans are disrupted when he finds out that Logan has also been named Lord Gyre. Logan forces him to spar, and Solon humiliates him. He tells him that Logan's soldiers have been losing to him on purpose, which infuriates Logan. He tells his men to treat him as no more than an equal; he is soon going to join his father at Screaming Winds, and if they truly love him, they should be preparing him for the battles there. He apologizes to Solon, who is impressed with Logan and decides to stay with him, at least for now.
Rat, meanwhile, has a secret meeting, where it is revealed that he is actually one of the sons of the Godking, who rules Khalidor, a vicious empire to the north, and that Rat was brought to the city in order to prepare it for invasion. A Vurdmeister, a powerful mage assigned to protect him called Neph Dada, shares with him a plan on how to truly destroy Azoth.
Four days pass after Durzo gives Azoth his challenge and Rat is still not dead. Worried that Rat will begin to purge his followers, Azoth stays awake all night, but leaves briefly to urinate. While away, Rat and his men kill one of Azoth's followers and kidnap Doll Girl. In the morning, Azoth runs into Durzo, who grabs him and tells him that he will show Azoth the price of his hesitation.
Solon is having dinner with the Gyres. They make small talk and not much else, until Solon offends Logan's mother. She tries to send Solon away, despite Logan's efforts, but Logan reminds her he is now Lord Gyre, and sends her away. Solon is even more impressed with Logan, and becomes less certain that Duke Gyre is the one he must serve. In his indecision, he heads out to a tavern.
Rat has beaten Doll Girl almost to death, and given her terrible scars on her face. Durzo plans to leave Azoth, but he insists that he will kill Rat within the week, and pleads with Durzo to save Doll Girl. Despite his protests that life is empty and meaningless, Durzo finally concedes. He finds Solon drinking, poisons him, and takes him to Doll Girl. He tells Solon that he can have the antidote if he heals Doll Girl, which he does.
Upstairs in a brothel, Durzo is meeting with Momma K. He tells her that Azoth has him worried; he doesn't think that Azoth has it in him to be a killer. At that very moment, however, Azoth is confronting Rat. Rat takes his shiv and tries to rape Azoth, who kills him and cuts off his ear to take to Durzo. He walks in right after Momma K tells Durzo why he needs Azoth. Durzo initially doesn't accept the ear as proof, so Azoth takes him to the river and shows him the body. Durzo offers him one more chance to get out, to apprentice in a clean trade, but Azoth refuses and goes with Durzo.
Azoth begins his training with Durzo, which carries on for several years. Eventually, Azoth is sent to Count Rimbold Drake, an old friend of Durzo, who will give him a new name and life. On his way out with his new identity, a poor noble named Kylar Stern, Durzo see Solon Tofusin standing with the mountainous Logan Gyre. Durzo has Kylar run into Logan then start a fight so Durzo can get away. After being beaten senseless by Logan in front of Count Drake's daughter Serah, his crush, Logan insists upon forgiving Kylar. Durzo sends Kylar into Logan's house and they soon become great friends. A few years later, Durzo enters Kylar into a swordsman tournament sponsored by the local Blademasters. The winner will become the king's new bodyguard. Durzo tells Kylar that the Sa'kagé wants to stretch its arm and remind everyone who is in charge. The catch is no Talented, or magical, contestants. Kylar is confronted by a sister of the Chantry who tells him that his conduit for magic is broken while his glore vyrden, his magical store, is huge. There is nothing to be done. Upon facing the opponents, almost all of them should have given him a much harder challenge, he learns that the Sa'kagé has stacked the racks so Kylar could win. Kylar then faces Logan who Kylar beats easily, while wearing a mask so Logan cannot discover his identity.
After the tournament Durzo seeks a way for Kylar to be able to use his talent. A kakari would be the perfect thing. With the rumored silver kakari supposedly close, Kylar is supposed to get into the party to get it. Dorian breaks into his herbalist shop and tells Kylar to "ask Momma K" and that "a square vase will give you hope." Momma K had told him that she had someone who may be able to get him in. When he goes to visit this person, it turns out to be Elene, A.K.A. Doll Girl. She denies him an invitation due to her obligation to her family. Kylar leaves and finds his own way into the party. Once there, he starts a fight with Logan as a distraction and then walks off to sneak up the stairs into the chambers to find the kakari. He gets into the room where it is supposed to be. Even after opening the secret area with the square vase, he finds nothing. The kakari isn't there. Soon after, a ruthless wetboy named Hu kills the entire Gyre family except for Logan and his father.
Kylar then realizes that Elene must have the kakari. He went down to her room to find her wielding a weapon, but she inadvertently shows him where the silver kakari is hidden with her eyes. Kylar knocks Elene out, and Durzo arrives. The silver kakari ends up being a fake, however Kylar still ends up with a kakari, the black kakari, which he unknowingly steals from Durzo. The heir to the throne is killed that night. Durzo demands they leave. After they leave the death is blamed on a wetboy. While Kylar is in his room at Count Drakes house, Vi, dressed as a maid, attempts to first seduce him, and then kill him. She hesitates, and Count Drake bursts in. After that Royal guards show up and charge Logan with murder of the heir and take him to prison. The King arranges a marriage between Jenine, his daughter, and Logan to secure the line of succession and an heir in case of his own death. Kylar heads to the castle to kill the king. During the ceremony Durzo, who is working for Roth in order to preserve his daughter, poisons everyone in the King's court. During this time Roth and Neph attack the castle. Khalidorans arrive by sea with vurdmeisters but Kylar slows down the process by burning quite a few.
Amidst panic of the coup, General Brant Agon behead the king so that the remaining knights will focus on saving the new king, Logan, who is in his bed chambers preparing to consummate his marriage to Jenine. These knights get trapped by Roth and Roth shoots each one down through a spy hole while six Khalidoran archers hide behind the door to the chamber. After they all die Roth and Neph come into the room as Logan kills the Khalidorans. Roth apparently kills Jenine, but Neph secretly preserves her for the godking, who is on his way. Neph then orders Logan to be castrated and fed to the holers. Kylar, as the Night Angel, helps release some prisoners and tells them to rebel. After hearing of Logan's location he heads to the bedchamber. He finds the trapped dead people, and the six dead archers. In the bed chamber, there is nothing but blood and a torn up night gown. He is apparently too late.
Kylar then battles with Durzo to get to Roth and finally kills him.
As Logan is marched toward the hole, one of the guards kills the other and castrates him, leaving the organs as if they were Logan's and tossing the body into the hole. The guard reveals that he was hired by Jarl and tells Logan he can leave. By the time Logan is free from his magical bonds and able to move, it is too late. Several magicians are about to arrive. As a last resort, Logan takes a knife and jumps into the hole.
Kylar encounters Roth, but he is surrounded by Vurdmeisters, who end up capturing Kylar. Roth reveals himself as Rat, who had survived the earlier attempt on his life. Solon arrives outside with Curoch and uses the powerful magical sword to slay a large group of vurdmeisters. Kylar breaks free of his captors' hold and kills everyone, including Roth, but is killed himself. Kylar meets the Wolf in death. He is given the choice of life or full death. He chooses Elene and life, then revives to find himself with Uly and Elene. They had dragged him out of the castle and back to Momma K and Jarl.
- Azoth - The former name of Kylar Stern, which he keeps until late in his apprenticechip to Durzo Blint, when he finally sheds the name of Azoth
- Kylar Stern
- The Night Angel
- Durzo Blint
- Gaelan Starfire
- Master Tulii
- Acaelus Thorne
- Roth Ursuul
- Doll Girl
- Elene Cromwyll
- Lord General Brant Agon
- Duke Regnus Gyre
- Pon Dradin
- Corbin Fishill
- Gwinvere Kirena
- Momma K
- Logan Gyre
- "King" in the Hole
- Catrinna Gyre
- Solonariwan Tofusin
- Neph Dada
- Dorian Ursuul
- Vonda Kirena
- Count Rimbold Drake
- Ulana Drake
- Ulysandra or Uly, Durzo Blint's and Momma K's daughter
- Serah Drake
- Aristarchos ban Ebron
- King Aleine "Niner" Gunder IX
- Fergund Sa'fasti
- Ilena Drake
- Mags Drake
- Devon Corgi
- Sister Drissa Nile
- Feir Cousat
- Hu Gibbet
- Viridiana Sovari
Awards and nominations
David Gemmell's Legend Award (Finalist)
2008, United States, Orbit 0316033677, October 2008, Mass Market Paperback
- Weeks, Brent. The Way of Shadows, New York. Orbit Books. pp. 688. ISBN 0-316-03367-7