The Sum of All Men

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The Sum of All Men
The Sum of All Men.jpg
US Hardcover Edition
Author David Farland
Cover artist Darrell K. Sweet
Country United States
Language English
Series The Runelords
Genre Epic fantasy
Publisher Tor Fantasy
Publication date
December 1998
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 479
ISBN 0-312-86653-4
OCLC 39280217
813/.54 21
LC Class PS3556.A71558 R86 1998
Followed by Brotherhood of the Wolf

The Sum of All Men is the first novel in David Farland's epic fantasy series The Runelords. First published in 1998, the novel has been printed under a number of names, including The Sum of All Men, The Runelords, and The Runelords: The Sum of All Men.

Plot introduction[edit]

The Sum of All Men is an epic fantasy novel set in a land where men can bestow to each other a number of endowments, granting the recipient of the endowment attributes such as increased strength, a more acute sense of hearing, or better eyesight. The novel combines traditional sword and sorcery elements of fantasy with its own unique magic system of endowments.

Book divisions[edit]

  • Book 1: Day 19 in the Month of Harvest - A Glorious Day for an Ambush
  • Book 2: Day 20 in the Month of Harvest - A Day of Sacrifice
  • Book 3: Day 21 in the Month of Harvest - A Day of Deception
  • Book 4: Day 22 in the Month of Harvest - A Day of Slaughter
  • Book 5: Day 23 in the Month of Harvest - Advent of the Earth King

Plot summary[edit]

The novel begins with a young Runelord, Prince Gaborn Val Orden of Mystarria, traveling to the kingdom of Heredon to try to win the hand of Princess Iome Sylvarresta, daughter to King Jas Laren Sylvarresta, longtime friend of House Val Orden. Gaborn's plans are put on hold, however, when he receives word that Raj Ahten, the most powerful Runelord since Daylan Hammer, is leading his army north into Heredon and has nearly reached Castle Sylvarresta. Although Gaborn travels as fast as possible to the castle, he still arrives just moments before Raj Ahten and his forces. He brings word of the invasion to Iome and King Sylvarresta, then quickly sneaks out the back of the castle with help from the herbalist and Earth Warden, Binnesman. Raj Ahten, meanwhile, takes the entire walled city with only a single arrow being fired; King Sylvarresta's men eagerly swing open the gates for him, his numerous endowments of glamour and voice making laymen powerless to confront him.

Both King Sylvarresta and Iome are forced to give Raj Ahten endowments to show fealty to their new King. Gaborn risks capture by returning to the castle to rescue Iome and her father, and then he and the princess flee south, intending to warn Gaborn's father, King Orden, who is a few days ride from the city. Raj Ahten, meanwhile, moves his forces out, with a similar intent as Gaborn: track down and kill King Orden. With Raj Ahten gone, Prince Orden's personal bodyguard, Sir Borenson, acting on orders of the King breaks into the dedicate's keep at Castle Sylvarresta and begins slaying all the dedicates. Borenson escapes on his own, and Binnesman learns from the Earth that Raj Ahten may be the least of all their problems - an ancient race of subterranean creatures known as Reavers are preparing to strike.

Still having received no word from his son, King Orden and his men fortify Castle Longmot in anticipation of the arrival of Raj Ahten. Gaborn and his company arrive with Raj Ahten's army still a measure off, so King Orden sends Gaborn and his companions to nearby Castle Groverman to ask for aid. Gaborn realizes only too late that his father sends him away only to keep him from being slain in the battle at Castle Longmot. In a desperate attempt to kill the Raj, King Orden and 20 other men form a Serpent Ring, where each man endows metabolism (In this case each having already 2 or 3) to the next in the ring, making it so that the last man in line moves at a speed twenty times that of a normal man. However, Raj Ahten himself takes endowments of metabolism from a number of men, and in a fierce battle, Raj Ahten kills King Orden and the rest of the Serpent Ring. When Gaborn, Iome, and Borenson return to the castle, they find it destroyed and every man dead but one, with his lone life spared to give word of the events to Gaborn. Raj Ahten, with his army, has fled, after many of his dedicate vectors were killed in a freak accident. At the end of the novel, Borenson slays King Sylvarresta on orders from the late King, Gaborn puts his father's body to rest, and the Earth crowns Gaborn the new Earth King, deeming that the Earth is in need of a protector and savior.

Main characters[edit]

  • Gaborn Val Orden
  • King Mendellas Draken Orden
  • King Jas Laren Sylvarresta
  • Iome Sylvarresta
  • Raj Ahten
  • Binnesman
  • Ivarian Borenson
  • Myrrima
  • Chemoise Solette
  • Shostag