The Way of Shadows

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The Way of Shadows
Author Brent Weeks
Cover artist Illustrator: Calvin Chu
Design: Peter Cotton
Country United States
Language English
Series The Night Angel Trilogy
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Orbit
Publication date
October 2008
Media type Print (Mass Market Paperback)
Pages 688
ISBN 0-316-03367-7
OCLC 225870139
Followed by Shadow's Edge

The Way of Shadows is a 2008 fantasy novel written by Brent Weeks and is the first novel in The Night Angel Trilogy.


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. The use of magic plays an important part in the story.

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.

Plot summary[edit]

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, Azoth overhears a confrontation between Durzo Blint, the best assassin (wetboy) in the city, and several unknown assailants. After Durzo slaughters the assassins, he catches the escaping Azoth and tells him to not say a word about what he has seen to anyone.

Jarl gives Azoth money that he'd saved so that he can be Durzo Blint's apprentice. Azoth follows Durzo after an ambush during a contract at the Black Dragon's guild to present his offer for apprenticeship. Durzo declines his offer and disappears. Rat beats and rapes Jarl which prompts Azoth to rally other members of the guild to stand up to him. Azoth encounters Durzo again and threatens to kill him unless he apprentices Azoth. Durzo agrees on the condition that Azoth kills Rat by the end of the week. Before Azoth can kill Rat, Rat kidnaps and beats Doll Girl, leaving her with ugly scars all over her face. Durzo finds Doll Girl, and Azoth pleads with him to save her. Durzo agrees and Azoth sets out to kill Rat. Azoth kills Rat and cuts off his ear as proof to take back to Durzo, who has followed through and saved Doll Girl's life.

Elsewhere in Cenaria, a noble, 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. A traveling 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 for now. Solon offends Logan's mother and she tries to send him away, but Logan reminds her he is now Lord Gyre and sends her away instead. Solon is even more impressed with Logan, and becomes less certain that Duke Gyre is the one he must serve.

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, as a poor noble named Kylar Stern, Durzo sees 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 to becomes the king's bodyguard sponsored by the local Blademasters. Durzo tells Kylar that the Sa'kagé wants to stretch its arm and remind everyone who is in charge and no Talented or magical contestants are allowed. 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. Kylar easily defeats all his opponents and ends up defeating Logan.

After the tournament Durzo seeks a way for Kylar to be able to use his talent. With the rumored silver kakari supposedly close, Kylar is supposed to get into a 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 finds another way in and starts a fight with Logan as a distraction so he can look around.

Kylar eventually realizes that Elene must have the kakari. He goes to her room where he finds the kakari and ends up knocking Elene out to save himself from having to kill her. Durzo finds him in her room and they find out that the silver kakari is 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 and a wetboy named Hu also kills most of the Gyre family. Logan is blamed for the murder of the heir to the throne and is taken into custody but later posts bail and is released.

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. 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 in a coup. Khalidorans arrive by sea with vurdmeisters but Kylar slows down the process by burning quite a few. Amidst the panic, General Brant Agon beheads 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. Roth kills the knights and forces his way into Logan's room. 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 where he finds nothing but blood and he believes Logan has been killed.

Jarl has hired a guard to save Logan from being killed but in the end, to save his life, Logan takes a knife and jumps into the hole of cannibalistic prisoners. Durzo is forced to fight Kylar so that he can unbind the Kakari and give it to Roth to save his daughter. Kylar bests him in the end and Durzo's dying wish is for Kylar to save his daughter.

Kylar saves Elene and Durzo's daughter and then comes face to face with Roth who is surrounded by Vurdmeisters. 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 kills all of Roth's guard and eventually Roth himself but he suffers a price and Kylar loses his life as well. He meets the Wolf in death and is given the choice of an immortal life as the Night Angel or death in either heaven or hell. He chooses Elene and life and is revived. Kylar and Elene make up and decide to try for a life together. While Roth was killed, his army successfully took over the castle and the city, and Azoth must flee with Elene to safety.


  • Azoth - The former name of Kylar Stern, which he keeps until late in his apprenticeship to Durzo Blint, when he finally sheds the name of Azoth
    • Kylar Stern
    • Kagé
    • The Night Angel
  • Durzo Blint
    • Gaelan Starfire
    • Master Tulii
    • Acaelus Thorne
  • Rat
    • Roth Ursuul
  • Jarl
  • 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[edit]

David Gemmell's Legend Award (Finalist)

Publication history[edit]

2008, United States, Orbit 0316033677, October 2008, Mass Market Paperback


External links[edit]