Blood Song
US Cover
Vital statistics
Author Anthony Ryan
Illustrator Orbit Books (UK)

Ace (US)

Published on November 20, 2012
Published by Orbit Books (UK)

Ace (US)

Penguin Publishing Group (US)

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None Tower Lord

Blood Song is an epic fantasy novel by Anthony Ryan, exploring themes of conflict, loyalty and religious faith. It is the first book of the Raven's Shadow series.

The book tells the story of Vaelin Al Sorna, Brother of the Sixth Order, as he is trained from childhood as a warrior in service to the Faith.

Cover Synopsis Edit

“The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm.”

Vaelin Al Sorna was only a child of ten when his father left him at the iron gate of the Sixth Order. The Brothers of the Sixth Order are devoted to battle, and Vaelin will be trained and hardened to the austere, celibate, and dangerous life of a Warrior of the Faith. He has no family now save the Order.

Vaelin's father, Kralyk Al Sorna, was Battle Lord to King Janus, ruler of the Unified Realm. Vaelin’s rage at being deprived of his birthright and dropped at the doorstep of the Sixth Order like a foundling knows no bounds. He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world.

Plot Summary Edit

The framing device follows the Hope-Killer, as Vaelin is known, who is an adult prisoner of war of the southern nation, being transported to a duel at the behest of his captors. A duel to the death everyone believes he will lose. He is being transported alongside a historian who begins to chronicle his life story.

Vaelin is unceremoniously dumped by his father on the steps of the Sixth Order when he is ten and his beloved mother has just died of an illness. He endures some of the most brutal training in warfare imaginable to become a warrior monk. He must survive seven years and seven deadly tests that weed out the weak and the morally unfit to become a full Brother. Even as a novice, he survives assassination attempts, foils the attempt to murder one of the leaders of another order, falls in love with a Sister in the healing order, befriends a heretic with magical powers, and fights a crime lord with less pleasant magical powers. These trials forge Vaelin and the novices in his group into true brothers-in-arms.

Eventually, he falls under the sway of the brilliant but ruthless King, who schemes to pass on a stable and economically secure realm to his well meaning but seemingly ineffectual heir. As a Brother, he must go on campaigns against some rebellious heretics and a usurping Lord, during which he learns that he may have a magical gift himself, something that is explicitly against the national religion. That gift, the titular Blood Song, will guide him to his righteous fate if he learns to control it.

Before long the King turns his envious gaze on the rich southern nations. In the heat of battle, Vaelin kills the heir to the nation, a man known as The Hope; giving Vaelin the unwanted title of Hope-Killer for the rest of his life. He takes one of the enemy's cities and holds it, even while the rest of the realm’s forces are driven back. During this time he deals with an outbreak of a lethal plague and tries to develop his gift. At the end of the war, he surrenders the city and himself under the condition that his people, including the woman that he loves, are allowed to leave.

Throughout all this, he is confronted with two great mysteries. Does there exist a Seventh Order of their Faith, and is it good or evil? What are the malevolent spirits that throughout his life have tried to kill him? Malevolent spirits that can possess the bodies of the living, even one of his closest friends.

Returning to the framing story, the duel is being fought by the champion of the country that Vaelin's father waged a brutal war against. If Vaelin wins, a southern noble will be returned. After so many years in solitary confinement, can he really win this duel? Yes and so blindingly fast that it's hard to count the seconds. Vaelin walks away to freedom.

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