The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett

Known in America as The Warded Man, this is book one of the Demon Cycle.

Arlen lives with his parents on their small farmstead, half a day’s ride from the isolated hamlet of Tibbet’s Brook. As dusk falls each evening, a mist rises from the ground promising death to any foolish enough to brave the coming darkness. For hungry demons materialize from the vapours to feed, and as the shadows lengthen, humanity is forced to take shelter behind magical wards and pray that their protection holds until the dawn.
But when Arlen’s world is shattered by the demon plague, he realizes that it is fear, rather than the monsters, which truly cripples humanity. Only by conquering their own terror can they ever hope to defeat the demons. Now Arlen must risk leaving the safety of the wards to discover a different path, and offer humanity a last fleeting chance of survival.

This is the best book I have read all year – and I don’t say that lightly.

It is extremely well written, and I cannot pinpoint a single flaw. I barely know where to begin on my near-worship of this book. The three main characters are incredibly real and as you follow them up through time, they grow on you and you feel both their misery and pain and their pleasure too. Arlen is a fighter, Rojer is a survivor and Leesha never gives up.

The land, which the story takes place in, is so different and yet so similar to our own and it has such a deep and dark history. The people, the background and the story are all so incredibly believable. You can draw several parallels between our own world and history and this, both concerning religions and nations (though only ever so slightly, I would like to just add a disclaimer here, as this book in no way has anything to do with actual religious subjects).

The story goes as the fantasy genre usually does, but it never became predictable and the brutality, the reality, of the demons and their actions shook me, as my legs continually were swept away from beneath me. It is a genuine pay turner and I will recommend it to anyone who even remotely enjoys the fantasy genre. It is in no way for the younger audience though.

The Painted Man is Brett’s first novel and I am amazed at his level of brilliancy from the very beginning. The story continues in the second book The Desert Spear, which I am very eager to get hold on to say the least.

544 pages / published in 2008
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2010


  1. The Desert Spear is even better.

  2. @Tyson, really? Ack I can't wait to read it :D

  3. Wow! What a great, positive review. So intriguing I just went and downloaded it to my e-reader. Thanks for the tip. I'm sure I'll post about it when I'm done reading.

  4. @bibliophilica yay :D I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


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