My friend has been pressing me to read this series for a while now, and The Painted Man (apparently called The Warded Man outside of the UK) has made me wonder why I didn’t pay more attention to him before now. It’s been a while since I’ve read some proper fantasy, and this book made me realise how much I’d missed it.
In this world, science and machinery are artefacts of the old world, its knowledge forgotten and its former strongholds now crumbling ruins. The people of this world huddle behind wards in the small hamlets and more fortified cities that dot the landscape, cowering from the demons that now stalk the night.
The Painted Man focuses on three of these people in particular. Arlen, a young boy from a small village who watched his mother die at demonic hands whilst his father did nothing to save her, is determined to become a Messenger – one of the few who will risk the distances between the cities – and learn to fight demons. Leesha, a young girl from another hamlet, is learning to become a Herb Gatherer and Rojer, orphaned in a demon raid upon his parents inn, is apprenticed to a Jongleur. As they each learn that they have their own particular strengths in this world, they come together to make a stand against the night and bring hope to a fearful populace.
A promising start, I’ve already bought the next in the hopes that the series continues to entertain me as well as this opener did.