The Name Of The Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One by Patrick RothfussThe Name Of The Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name Of The Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One

byPatrick Rothfuss

Mass Market Paperback | April 1, 2008

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Discover #1 New York Times-bestselling Patrick Rothfuss’ epic fantasy series, The Kingkiller Chronicle.
“I just love the world of Patrick Rothfuss.” —Lin-Manuel Miranda • “He’s bloody good, this Rothfuss guy.” —George R. R. Martin • “Rothfuss has real talent.” —Terry Brooks
My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.  

Praise for The Kingkiller Chronicle:
“The best epic fantasy I read last year.... He’s bloody good, this Rothfuss guy.”
George R. R. MartinNew York Times-bestselling author of A Song of Ice and Fire
“Rothfuss has real talent, and his tale of Kvothe is deep and intricate and wondrous.” 
Terry BrooksNew York Times-bestselling author of Shannara
"It is a rare and great pleasure to find a fantasist writing...with true music in the words."
Ursula K. Le Guin, award-winning author of Earthsea
"The characters are real and the magic is true.” 
Robin HobbNew York Times-bestselling author of Assassin’s Apprentice
"Masterful.... There is a beauty to Pat's writing that defies description." 
Brandon SandersonNew York Times-bestselling author of Mistborn
Patrick Rothfuss is the bestselling author of The Kingkiller Chronicle. His first novel, The Name of the Wind, won the Quill Award and was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. Its sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear, debuted at #1 on The New York Times bestseller chart and won the David Gemmell Legend Award. His novels have appeared on N...
Title:The Name Of The Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day OneFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:736 pages, 6.75 × 4.2 × 1.5 inPublished:April 1, 2008Publisher:DawLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0756404746

ISBN - 13:9780756404741

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic I found this book slow to get into. Once I did I couldn't put it down. It has become one of my favourite series. I love everything about this book. I was recommended it and I'm beyond happy that I checked it out.
Date published: 2018-02-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really enjoyed this! The story sometimes got a bit long in the telling, but I really enjoyed the overall feel and tone of the book. I have the second book and look forward to reading it down the road. Really enjoyable overall, but it was a book that I read over a relatively long period of time due to putting it down for a couple of weeks periodically when I felt like it was dragging.
Date published: 2018-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my Favourites This series is one of my favourites. The first two books are out and I can't wait for the third to finally release. If you like Fantasy with a unique perspective, you'll love this book.
Date published: 2018-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing book. Love this book. It is original and exciting. Great​ characters and plot. Love everything about it. Very well written. The only downside is I have been waiting over a decade for the final book.
Date published: 2018-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great magic system I really enjoyed this one. The magic system is very interesting, and the world building is quite good. There's a set up for a Big Plot, but that's almost entirely in the background. The interesting bits are all about the main character's attempts to survive as an orphan and get himself through school.
Date published: 2018-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best new series This series is fantastic. Highly recommend to fantasy fans.
Date published: 2018-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this, waiting for Day 3 Great Book if your love fantasy, Love the world and the idea of this being a history written of Kovothe told by him. Highly Recommened
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Solid read Don't have to read 50 pages a day like you have to with game of thrones
Date published: 2018-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Do yourself a favour and pick this up! Love this book and the series! You need to read this if you like fantasy. Just read it slow, I've been waiting for years for the third book to come out.
Date published: 2017-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite Book Ever I actually purchased this book on a whim as it was by the till and on sale. I hadn't picked it up to read it until a couple years later. And boy was I ever upset I hadn't read it sooner!!! This book is beautifully written and is a completely original tale. Rothfuss did a phenomenal job creating this world Kvothe finds himself in. I honestly cannot praise this book enough! It is a must read, especially for anyone enthralled by fantasy novels.
Date published: 2017-12-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent! I loved the book, it was easy to follow yet had a great amount of detail and character development. My only critique is that I found the ending too open; otherwise it was an incredibly enjoyable novel and I would recommend it to anyone!
Date published: 2017-11-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good fantasty! Good fantasy read! I loved that the characters were fairly easy to relate to in a weird way but you got invested in their lives.
Date published: 2017-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ALL TIME FAVORITE Hands down, (not counting Harry Potter), this is my #1 favorite book of all time. Took a bit of time to get used to the writing style, but wow! Definitely a book I will be re-reading over over in the future.
Date published: 2017-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenomenal I was putting off writing a review for this book because I knew there was no possible way I could convey how incredible it is. As an avid reader, I can honestly say that this is one of the greatest books I've ever read. It has everything you could possibly want in a fantasy, not to mention the fact that Rothfuss is one of the greatest writers of this generation (in my opinion). Whether or not you are a fan of fantasy novels, do yourself a favour and pick this up... you will not regret it.
Date published: 2017-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE I don't know where to begin with this book. The way it's written is seamless, I didn't have any difficulty following the story at all. The main character is not your typical hero. He was annoying at times, but still I couldn't put the book down. What I don't like is that the third book is not out yet, its been years and the release date is still not confirmed.
Date published: 2017-10-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Probably my favourite fantasy book! This is probably my favourite fantasy book. It's beautifully written. The protagonist makes for a compelling hero/anti hero, the magic system is detailed and fascinating, and there is just the right amount of humor. It is a little reminiscent of Harry Potter, and there are themes of storytelling throughout. Lots of people come back to my store to tell me how much they loved it, though the author is taking his time with book 3, so you have been warned!!! #indigoemployee
Date published: 2017-10-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Rollercoaster ride It felt like rollercoaster ride when I reading this but over all I enjoyed it. The ending of the book definitely make me wanted to continue with the series but then the lack of third book for many years scare me to continue with the series.
Date published: 2017-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An unexpected find! I happened to find this book while browsing and figured I'd give it a read. I'm so happy that I did. It is a great story, filled with interesting characters and a captivating plot.
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this! I haven't finished it yet but I am about halfway, and all I can say is that it is amazing, the writing, the plot, I adore everything about this book. It's one of the books you don't want to finish just because you never want it to finish! Definitely buying, The Wise Man's Fear.
Date published: 2017-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible One of my favourite series of all time!!
Date published: 2017-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good quite long but nonetheless, a really good and entertaining novel to read!
Date published: 2017-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my all time favorites To this day, I have no found a novel harder to describe and recommend to friends than this one. through stumbling and rambling about a badass Innkeep, I manage to convince them to try it, and not a single person has regretting diving into this amazingly written, beautiful world that Rothfuss has created. If you're on the fence, I HIGHLY suggest picking this book up you will not be disapointed!
Date published: 2017-08-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great One of the best fantasy books I've read.
Date published: 2017-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it - haven't been as engrossed in a fantasy book in a long time This book follows the story of Kvothe, as told by himself later in his life. Both the story of his life and the mystery of who he becomes and what is in store for him are presented in a beautifully written, imaginative and captivating fashion. The main character, one born into a family of performers and storytellers, presents the story from his perspective and in his own style. I really loved the way the character's experience and personality informed the narrative style and perspective. Rothfuss has created a really beautiful and engrossing world and I totally loved this book. Be warned though, this is the first book in the series, and we've been waiting for the third for some time now!!
Date published: 2017-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I cannot recommend this book enough. Patrick Rothfuss pulls you into his world within the first few pages of his novel, leaving you wanting more as you close the cover. Filled with adventure, and exciting characters, you can't go wrong reading this book!
Date published: 2017-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Instant Classic A beautifully written and compelling tale. Can't wait for the trilogy to be completed!
Date published: 2017-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great patrick rothfuss is really cool. good book
Date published: 2017-06-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Felt so good to read. A book that captured me instantly because of it's focus on the main character. It's always a great experience to read about the main character acquiring vast knowledge and power over the course of their journey and evokes the "feel good" aspect of fantasy that i really enjoy. If you're a reader who enjoys a story focused on a single character "leveling up" over the course of the book(s) this is definitely one you're going to want to add to your shelf.
Date published: 2017-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this I bought this a month ago and I'm so happy I did.
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Critical Hit Saw Rothfuss on Critical Role and decided to pick the book up on a whim. Sooooo glad I did!
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This has become my favorite novel. An absolutely phenomenal book and one of the best I have ever read. Set in a medieval world it follows a man telling his story of how he learned magic and became a legend in the world. This has my favorite form of magic I have ever read about, a scientific magic called sympathy, and is an incredibly real story. It flows incredibly easily and Kvothe is an amazing character you just want to know more about. I have convinced tons of family and friends to read this novel and not one person has ever come back disappointed. Even if you don't like Fantasy this is a must read."
Date published: 2017-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I don't usually write reviews. But when I do... I never write reviews, however I feel I have to write one for "The Name of The Wind". A friend recommended it to me, as did an Indigo staff member when I went to buy it. I can honestly say that this book (and the next in the series "The Wise Man's Fear") are without a doubt the best fantasy I have ever had the pleasure or reading. Although a bit slow in the beginning, the story picks up and then never stops. The emotions and reactions to situations shown by the protagonist Kvothe are quite realistic. It's very refreshing to see an author understanding the complex psychology of each character rather than giving them typical "two-dimensional" personalities and reactions. I would definitely recommend for fans of fantasy and anyone new to the fantasy genre.
Date published: 2016-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book A must read for any fantasy book lover.
Date published: 2016-06-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful writing Saw this book listed as one of the top fantasy novels of all time so decided to check it out. The writing was beautiful and fluid but the beginning was a bit slow for my liking. I understand the necessity of character development but I found myself lacking the urge to devour the book because of its slow pace. But it does pick up mid way into Kvothe's retelling of his own journey. Overall a great read.
Date published: 2015-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Real Page Turner I really enjoyed this book and it was never boring. I love Kvothe and his trials and tribulations in the book.
Date published: 2014-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible For a person who has fallen in love with reading and these types of books. These books the King Killer Chronicles are by far the best books I've read to date. Magically written with everything for everyone, action, adventure, romance,etc....Can not wait for the third installement. These books have been in my thoughts daily for two years and are the only books I have re read!
Date published: 2014-04-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good story line Received this book (and part two: 'A Wise Man's Fear') as a gift. The story line is good. It needs a bit of elaboration or continuum in a few places; but not so much that it ruins the story. I am hoping to get some explanation in book 2. The author is clever with his characters. I really like Kvothe and found myself to be emotionally involved with his triumphs, his failures and his losses... The author knows when his main character needs a change of scenery. This book has everything to keep readers interested.
Date published: 2014-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tremendous First Novel rating 5 of 5 stars bookshelves read edit shelves status Read from April 11 to 21, 2013 format Hardcover (edit) review (no spoilers) This was such a tremendous book and I can’t wait to start the second one. The book simply does a masterful job of storytelling. That is the best way to describe it. It centers around one character and the story moves smoothly throughout, never really bogging down. This book is listed under the Fantasy genre although it’s different than most. It’s not an epic fantasy like Lord of the Rings where the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. There aren’t a ton of characters in the boo...more (no spoilers) This was such a tremendous book and I can’t wait to start the second one. The book simply does a masterful job of storytelling. That is the best way to describe it. It centers around one character and the story moves smoothly throughout, never really bogging down. This book is listed under the Fantasy genre although it’s different than most. It’s not an epic fantasy like Lord of the Rings where the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. There aren’t a ton of characters in the book – there is one main person Kvothe. It isn’t full of violence (very little) or nudity (none). There are no elves or dwarves or trolls. Just humans for the most part in a normal world without electricity. It is simply a tremendous coming of age story that is the first of three books to tell the story of Kvothe. He’s an incredibly interesting character and (minor spoiler) the mystery surrounding his parents is an underlying theme that drives the story forward. There is magic in the book but it’s different, it’s very cool and not overdone. I don’t know what else to say other than to read it. I can’t believe this was the author’s first novel. Fantastic.
Date published: 2013-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this The book started out rather cliche and I was unsure if i could stick with it. I'm glad I did because I could not put it down and went out and bought the sequel and now I am anxiously awaiting the third. Good fantasy with great and memorable characters.
Date published: 2013-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read Brilliantly written. Intellectually stimulating and extremely well thought out. This book has turned me on to fantasy.
Date published: 2013-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You shouldn't pass this up Not to sound like a broken review record, but if you like fantasy. this is a series to check out. I always read in what little spare time I have, but this book made me MAKE time to read it. Great series, enough said :D
Date published: 2012-12-01
Date published: 2011-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read for fantasy fans The Name of the Wind has a different take on fantasy, the story is narrated as a chronicle which gaves it a unique personal perspective. Another aspect that deserves is the magic system, it is extremely well done but not over done so the magic doesn't take over the whole story, The room left by the passive magic system allowss the author to flesh out the characters thouroughly; and I think this is the reason why this book is so great, each character is extremely easy to understand and like (or hate ), therefore is almost impossible to stop oneself from reading. Absolutely awesome book; don't miss out!
Date published: 2011-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Name of the Wind I picked this book up on a whim, and boy was I pleasantly surprised. I could not put this book down, and that is no exaggeration. The story was interesting and what I define as "believable fantasy". I can't wait to get my hands on book number two.
Date published: 2011-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very fullfilling! You can quickly get into this book and it certainly continues to build throughout. You can see the potential power in the protagonist and are routing for him to discover his buried talents. Very excited about book 2. Recommened this one to anyone with a fantasy sweet spot. Easy to read and follow. Not bogged down in too many characters.
Date published: 2011-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book I've Read In Ages! After I started reading, I couldn't put it down. The Name Of The Wind belongs on your book shelf right between LOTR and Harry Potter.
Date published: 2011-07-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great read I picked up this book randomly after having seen it as one of my suggested titles (just finished A Song of Ice and Fire) and I have to say that I have no regrets. The story takes a little time to get into, but the main character is very well developed and it is presented in a different fashion than most fantasy books which makes it all the more interesting. Overall, I recommend that you check it out.
Date published: 2011-07-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A little soft but i expect the next two in the series to be darker I'm intrigued by how the story is going to continue. This book did a good job setting the stage for the next two books. It was very interesting watching the main character's life & adventure unfold. kind of like a harry potter since the first book was a little soft but I exepct the next book to bring it up a notch and get a little more darker.
Date published: 2010-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Should have posted this review a long time ago... It's been awhile since I first read The Name of the Wind, picking it up mainly because I said to myself "Humm, this fellow has a funny name and I haven't seen him before. Let's see what his debut it all about." I got home, divested this gem of its nice little Indigo Chapters "bag-dress" (Yes? Any reason you're staring at me?), and flipped open the front cover... It punched me in the face. (No, not literally, you silly goose, obviously figuratively!) I believed it must have dislocated my jaw because I was unable to close it while I was reading this book. The characters are fully realised people instead of stereotypes; they have their own motivations, faults, fears, and dreams (The opposite of most fantasy fiction characters). You can really connect with them and become invested. To see Kvothe develop and mature was a real delight that I enjoy every time I reread this book. ...Yes I've reread it over 15 times. No, I'm not "trying to get my money's worth", it's REALLY THAT GOOD. This is a masterpiece debut from a great author. Mr. Rothfuss is one of my idols and if I ever get published he's going to be on the dedication page. I'll be happy if my debut is even 1% as good as his. ...Ahem. In conclusion go buy this book.
Date published: 2010-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I've Read This Book 9 Times I'm not exaggerating, this book was the most amazing thing I've ever laid my eyes on. I saw it on the shelf the first day and thought, 'There's something about this book...' So I read it. And I have got to say, it was better than every other book I've ever read combined. I made this account just to leave a review. I'd like to start off by saying the characters are beautifully written, well-developed, deep...PEOPLE! They've got flaws, and strengths, and traits, physical uniqueness and DEPTH!!! Some of them have crooked noses, or small ears, or a certain shade of hair that is sure to catch your eye. And they are written so beautifully that by the end of the book you feel as though you know them as intimately as your best friend, even if they were only in a few chapters. The plot: realistic. This is no magical hero with a velvet cape come to liberate the world from the nasty troupe of evil. No, unfortunate situations have forced Kvothe to use his wit, perserverence and good humour to make good decisions. The things he does are often amazing, funny, and heart-burstingly wonderful, but they're real things (albeit, in a different world). They've simply been taken out of context, and he's become a hero. The world, for once, does not revolve around the main character. He is not a strange otherworldy deity, he is a man (an awesome, fire-headed, witty man), and so when he does things, the world does not shift on its axis. Not everyone loves him and very few situations are tailored to his requirements. He just pursues his goals and lives. Oh, and one last thing. Patrick Rothfuss? Hilarious. Do not read this in school/work. You will have tears (of laughter AND sadness) running down your face the entire time, and a stupid grin plastered from temple to temple. The songs in this book wrench your heart as though you're hearing them, the jokes make your cheeks hurt, the awkward silences make you cringe, and every risk Kvothe takes will have you gripping the pages with worry. Read this book, and further live. That's all I've got to say...well, all I can think of right now. Buy it.
Date published: 2010-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Destined to be a Classic!! OK i'll be short and frank. I don't write many reviews but i fellt compelled to write this. Not since G R R Martins "Song of Ice and Fire" books have I been so drawn into a Fantasy book. Mr. Rothfuss is a storyteller of top rank and this book deserves to be up on the shelf besides Robin Hobbs "farseer trilogy" , Martins "Song of Ice and Fire", Jordans "wheel of time", and all other classic epic fantasy. Now all I have to do is wait till book two....arghhh! Its a tie Between "dance with Dragons" and "Wise mans Fear" as to which Author I'd like to light a fire under...but both will be worth the wait. Buy this, Read this, you will not be sorry.....
Date published: 2009-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from OH MY GOD This is an awesome, amazing, fabulous book! It just draws you right in, the characters are well created and fleshed out and you get a wonderful feel for the world the story is set in when other people get to tell their tales in the book. If you decide to give Patrick Rothfuss a try, you will not be disappointed.
Date published: 2009-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Suprising I'm hard to new authors, specially with shitty covers. I wasn't really enthusiastic when a Coles employee recommended this book to me. I was looking for a new series to fill my time till I could get my hands on Brandon Sanderson's Hero of Ages - which I highly recommend. Suffice to say, this book blew my mind. Rothfuss is very good. I'm glad I didn't return it. It's meatier, if that makes sense. Some authors barely scratch the surface of their characters let alone the whole series and some flesh them out, give them life and meaning and cradle them, giving us, the readers, the pain, agony, and joy of how it was when the author wrote it. Rothfuss' debut felt like the latter, like its a beginning of something wonderful. The beginning teases you and hints at what the story is all about. It unravels at the right time, giving us just the perfect amount of emotion. The main character is not a hero nor is he a villain, but he's certainly arrogant enough to be both. It's a great addition to the great epic trilogies and series that's out in shelves to date. If we compare epic books, the usual names crop up: Jordan and Martin, comes to mind and early Hobb, etc.... I think Rothfuss is a serious addition. If his sequel is as great or even better than the first book, this author will wind up having a following as large as the greats I mentioned.
Date published: 2008-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from masterful and imaginative This startling discovery was recommended to me, of all things, by a customer. After comparing fantasy likes and dislikes for a few minutes, he turned to me with shining eyes and announced: "I think this is the best fantasy book I've read in the last 5 years." This from a man who had, by all evidence, read nearly every fantasy book in the section. For that man, I have two words: "Thank you." "The Name of the Wind" is a gem in the fantasy world. The characters are living, breathing people with emotions, thoughts and all too realistic impulses. You live the story right along with Kvothe, you wonder what might be hidden under Bast's impish mannerisms, and you get swept along into a story worthy of Tolkien's sagas or Ed Greenwood's mischievous Elminster. Humour, action, emotion and, most of all, intelligence are intricately woven into a stunning tapestry of fantasy that propels Rothfuss into the ranks of the best fantasy writers.
Date published: 2008-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An unexpected discovery First, the title of the book caught my eye, but I didn't think much of it. Then, I started reading the book and couldn't put it down. 700 pages may seem long but the end, I found myself wanting more. It may resemble Harry Potter in a way because there's a young magician in a school of magic and all, but the resemblance probably ends there... You will find it darker and much deeper. The author has a great style, he knows how to set up the atmosphere so you get completely lost in the story. I love the fact that although the book has its dark side with sometimes deep philosophy and charming poetry, it is also filled with jokes throughhout the you get to laugh, cry, and so much more. I recommend it to all fantasy lovers ...and also to the fatasy beginners, because this book will make them love the genre. I won't say more about the book or the details in it, because it would take all the fun of reading it away. So buy it or borrow it....but make sure to read it!!!!
Date published: 2008-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A sleeper hit This book caught me by surprise. What started as a mediocre and badly written story, launched into a wonderfully realized history of an interesting and gifted individual. This authors first work creates a unique history and potent setting to combine academia and magic that is full of ideas and some of the best dialogue i've read in years. Low fantasy at its best.
Date published: 2008-04-22

Read from the Book

PROLOGUEA Silence of Three PartsIT WAS NIGHT AGAIN. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.The most obvious part was a hollow, echoing quiet, made by things that were lacking. If there had been a wind it would have sighed through the trees, set the inn’s sign creaking on its hooks, and brushed the silence down the road like trailing autumn leaves. If there had been a crowd, even a handful of men inside the inn, they would have filled the silence with conversation and laughter, the clatter and clamor one expects from a drinking house during the dark hours of night. If there had been music…but no, of course there was no music. In fact there were none of these things, and so the silence remained.Inside the Waystone a pair of men huddled at one corner of the bar. They drank with quiet determination, avoiding serious discussions of troubling news. In doing this they added a small, sullen silence to the larger, hollow one. It made an alloy of sorts, a counterpoint.The third silence was not an easy thing to notice. If you listened for an hour, you might begin to feel it in the wooden floor underfoot and in the rough, splintering barrels behind the bar. It was in the weight of the black stone hearth that held the heat of a long dead fire. It was in the slow back and forth of a white linen cloth rubbing along the grain of the bar. And it was in the hands of the man who stood there, polishing a stretch of mahogany that already gleamed in the lamplight.The man had true-red hair, red as flame. His eyes were dark and distant, and he moved with the subtle certainty that comes from knowing many things.The Waystone was his, just as the third silence was his. This was appropriate, as it was the greatest silence of the three, wrapping the others inside itself. It was deep and wide as autumn’s ending. It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die.CHAPTER ONEA Place for DemonsIT WAS FELLING NIGHT, and the usual crowd had gathered at the Waystone Inn. Five wasn’t much of a crowd, but five was as many as the Waystone ever saw these days, times being what they were.Old Cob was filling his role as storyteller and advice dispensary. The men at the bar sipped their drinks and listened. In the back room a young innkeeper stood out of sight behind the door, smiling as he listened to the details of a familiar story.“When he awoke, Taborlin the Great found himself locked in a high tower. They had taken his sword and stripped him of his tools: key, coin, and candle were all gone. But that weren’t even the worst of it, you see…” Cob paused for effect, “…cause the lamps on the wall were burning blue!”Graham, Jake, and Shep nodded to themselves. The three friends had grown up together, listening to Cob’s stories and ignoring his advice.Cob peered closely at the newer, more attentive member of his small audience, the smith’s prentice. “Do you know what that meant, boy?” Everyone called the smith’s prentice “boy” despite the fact that he was a hand taller than anyone there. Small towns being what they are, he would most likely remain “boy” until his beard filled out or he bloodied someone’s nose over the matter.The boy gave a slow nod. “The Chandrian.”“That’s right,” Cob said approvingly. “The Chandrian. Everyone knows that blue fire is one of their signs. Now he was—”“But how’d they find him?” the boy interrupted. “And why din’t they kill him when they had the chance?”“Hush now, you’ll get all the answers before the end,” Jake said. “Just let him tell it.”“No need for all that, Jake,” Graham said. “Boy’s just curious. Drink your drink.”“I drank me drink already,” Jake grumbled. “I need t’nother but the innkeep’s still skinning rats in the back room.” He raised his voice and knocked his empty mug hollowly on the top of the mahogany bar. “Hoy! We’re thirsty men in here!”The innkeeper appeared with five bowls of stew and two warm, round loaves of bread. He pulled more beer for Jake, Shep, and Old Cob, moving with an air of bustling efficiency.The story was set aside while the men tended to their dinners. Old Cob tucked away his bowl of stew with the predatory efficiency of a lifetime bachelor. The others were still blowing steam off their bowls when he finished the last of his loaf and returned to his story.“Now Taborlin needed to escape, but when he looked around, he saw his cell had no door. No windows. All around him was nothing but smooth, hard stone. It was a cell no man had ever escaped.“But Taborlin knew the names of all things, and so all things were his to command. He said to the stone: ‘Break!’and the stone broke. The wall tore like a piece of paper, and through that hole Taborlin could see the sky and breathe the sweet spring air. He stepped to the edge, looked down, and without a second thought he stepped out into the open air….”The boy’s eyes went wide. “He didn’t!”Cob nodded seriously. “So Taborlin fell, but he did not despair. For he knew the name of the wind, and so the wind obeyed him. He spoke to the wind and it cradled and caressed him. It bore him to the ground as gently as a puff of thistledown and set him on his feet softly as a mother’s kiss.“And when he got to the ground and felt his side where they’d stabbed him, he saw that it weren’t hardly a scratch. Now maybe it was just a piece of luck,” Cob tapped the side of his nose knowingly. “Or maybe it had something to do with the amulet he was wearing under his shirt.”“What amulet?” the boy asked eagerly through a mouthful of stew.Old Cob leaned back on his stool, glad for the chance to elaborate. “A few days earlier, Taborlin had met a tinker on the road. And even though Taborlin didn’t have much to eat, he shared his dinner with the old man.”“Right sensible thing to do,” Graham said quietly to the boy. “Everyone knows: ‘A tinker pays for kindness twice.’”“No no,” Jake grumbled. “Get it right: ‘A tinker’s advice pays kindness twice.’”The innkeeper spoke up for the first time that night. “Actually, you’re missing more than half,” he said, standing in the doorway behind the bar.“A tinker’s debt is always paid:Once for any simple trade.Twice for freely-given aid.Thrice for any insult made.”The men at the bar seemed almost surprised to see Kote standing there. They’d been coming to the Waystone every Felling night for months and Kote had never interjected anything of his own before. Not that you could expect anything else, really. He’d only been in town for a year or so. He was still a stranger. The smith’s prentice had lived here since he was eleven, and he was still referred to as “that Rannish boy,” as if Rannish were some foreign country and not a town less than thirty miles away.“Just something I heard once,” Kote said to fill the silence, obviously embarrassed.Old Cob nodded before he cleared his throat and launched back into the story. “Now this amulet was worth a whole bucket of gold nobles, but on account of Taborlin’s kindness, the tinker sold it to him for nothing but an iron penny, a copper penny, and a silver penny. It was black as a winter night and cold as ice to touch, but so long as it was round his neck, Taborlin would be safe from the harm of evil things. Demons and such.”“I’d give a good piece for such a thing these days,” Shep said darkly. He had drunk most and talked least over the course of the evening. Everyone knew that something bad had happened out on his farm last Cendling night, but since they were good friends they knew better than to press him for the details. At least not this early in the evening, not as sober as they were.“Aye, who wouldn’t?” Old Cob said judiciously, taking a long drink.“I din’t know the Chandrian were demons,” the boy said. “I’d heard—”“They ain’t demons,” Jake said firmly. “They were the first six people to refuse Tehlu’s choice of the path, and he cursed them to wander the corners—”“Are you telling this story, Jacob Walker?” Cob said sharply. “Cause if you are, I’ll just let you get on with it.”The two men glared at each other for a long moment. Eventually Jake looked away, muttering something that could, conceivably, have been an apology.Cob turned back to the boy. “That’s the mystery of the Chandrian,” he explained. “Where do they come from? Where do they go after they’ve done their bloody deeds? Are they men who sold their souls? Demons? Spirits? No one knows.” Cob shot Jake a profoundly disdainful look. “Though every half-wit claims he knows….”The story fell further into bickering at this point, about the nature of the Chandrian, the signs that showed their presence to the wary, and whether the amulet would protect Taborlin from bandits, or mad dogs, or falling off a horse. Things were getting heated when the front door banged open.Jake looked over. “It’s about time you got in, Carter. Tell this damn fool the difference between a demon and a dog. Everybody kn—” Jake stopped midsentence and rushed to the door. “God’s body, what happened to you?”Carter stepped into the light, his face pale and smeared with blood. He clutched an old saddle blanket to his chest. It was an odd, awkward shape, as if it were wrapped around a tangle of kindling sticks.His friends jumped off their stools and hurried over at the sight of him. “I’m fine,” he said as he made his slow way into the common room. His eyes were wild around the edges, like a skittish horse. “I’m fine. I’m fine.”He dropped the bundled blanket onto the nearest table where it knocked hard against the wood, as if it were full of stones. His clothes were crisscrossed with long, straight cuts. His grey shirt hung in loose tatters except where it was stuck to his body, stained a dark, sullen red.Graham tried to ease him into a chair. “Mother of God. Sit down, Carter. What happened to you? Sit down.”Carter shook his head stubbornly. “I told you, I’m fine. I’m not hurt that bad.”“How many were there?” Graham said.“One,” Carter said. “But it’s not what you think—”“Goddammit. I told you, Carter,” Old Cob burst out with the sort of frightened anger only relatives and close friends can muster. “I told you for months now. You can’t go out alone. Not even as far as Baedn. It ain’t safe.” Jake laid a hand on the old man’s arm, quieting him.“Just take a sit,” Graham said, still trying to steer Carter into a chair. “Let’s get that shirt off you and get you cleaned up.”Carter shook his head. “I’m fine. I got cut up a little, but the blood is mostly Nelly’s. It jumped on her. Killed her about two miles outside town, past the Oldstone Bridge.”A moment of serious silence followed the news. The smith’s prentice laid a sympathetic hand on Carter’s shoulder. “Damn. That’s hard. She was gentle as a lamb, too. Never tried to bite or kick when you brought her in for shoes. Best horse in town. Damn. I’m…” He trailed off. “Damn. I don’t know what to say.” He looked around helplessly.Cob finally managed to free himself from Jake. “I told you,” he repeated, shaking a finger in Carter’s direction. “There’s folks out lately that would kill you for a pair of pennies, let alone a horse and cart. What are you going to do now? Pull it yourself?”There was a moment of uncomfortable quiet. Jake and Cob glared at each other while the rest seemed at a loss for words, unsure of how to comfort their friend.The innkeeper moved carefully through the silence. Arms full, he stepped nimbly around Shep and began to arrange some items on a nearby table: a bowl of hot water, shears, some clean linen, a few glass bottles, needle and gut.“This never would have happened if he’d listened to me in the first place,” Old Cob muttered. Jake tried to quiet him, but Cob brushed him aside. “I’m just tellin’ the truth. It’s a damn shame about Nelly, but he better listen now or he’ll end up dead. You don’t get lucky twice with those sort of men.”Carter’s mouth made a thin line. He reached out and pulled the edge of the bloody blanket. Whatever was inside flipped over once and snagged on the cloth. Carter tugged harder and there was a clatter like a bag of flat river stones upended onto the tabletop.It was a spider as large as a wagon wheel, black as slate.The smith’s prentice jumped backward and hit a table, knocking it over and almost falling to the ground himself. Cob’s face went slack. Graham, Shep, and Jake made wordless, startled sounds and moved away, raising their hands to their faces. Carter took a step backward that was almost like a nervous twitch. Silence filled the room like a cold sweat.The innkeeper frowned. “They can’t have made it this far west yet,” he said softly.If not for the silence, it is unlikely anyone would have heard him. But they did. Their eyes pulled away from the thing on the table to stare mutely at the red-haired man.Jake found his voice first. “You know what this is?”The innkeeper’s eyes were distant. “Scrael,” he said distractedly. “I’d thought the mountains—”“Scrael?” Jake broke in. “Blackened body of God, Kote. You’ve seen these things before?”“What?” The red-haired innkeeper looked up sharply, as if suddenly remembering where he was. “Oh. No. No, of course not.” Seeing that he was the only one within arm’s length of the dark thing, he took a measured step away. “Just something I heard.” They stared at him. “Do you remember the trader that came through about two span ago?”They all nodded. “Bastard tried to charge me ten pennies for a half-pound of salt,” Cob said reflexively, repeating the complaint for perhaps the hundredth time.“Wish I’d bought some,” Jake mumbled. Graham nodded a silent agreement.“He was a filthy shim,” Cob spat, seeming to find comfort in the familiar words. “I might pay two in a tight time, but ten is robbery.”“Not if there are more of those on the road,” Shep said darkly.All eyes went back to the thing on the table.“He told me he’d heard of them over near Melcombe,” Kote said quickly, watching everyone’s faces as they studied the thing on the table. “I thought he was just trying to drive up his prices.”“What else did he say?” Carter asked.The innkeeper looked thoughtful for a moment, then shrugged. “I didn’t get the whole story. He was only in town for a couple hours.”“I don’t like spiders,” the smith’s prentice said. He remained on the other side of a table some fifteen feet away. “Cover it up.”“It’s not a spider,” Jake said. “It’s got no eyes.”“It’s got no mouth either,” Carter pointed out. “How does it eat?”“What does it eat?” Shep said darkly.The innkeeper continued to eye the thing curiously. He leaned closer, stretching out a hand. Everyone edged even farther away from the table.“Careful,” Carter said. “Its feet are sharp like knives.”“More like razors,” Kote said. His long fingers brushed the thing’s black, featureless body. “It’s smooth and hard, like pottery.”“Don’t go messing with it,” the smith’s prentice said.Moving carefully, the innkeeper took one of the long, smooth legs and tried to break it with both hands like a stick. “Not pottery,” he amended. He set it against the edge of the table and leaned his weight against it. It broke with a sharpcrack. “More like stone.” He looked up at Carter. “How did it get all these cracks?” He pointed at the thin fractures that crazed the smooth black surface of the body.“Nelly fell on it,” Carter said. “It jumped out of a tree and started to climb all over her, cutting her up with its feet. It moved so fast. I didn’t even know what was going on.” Carter finally sank into the chair at Graham’s urging. “She got tangled in her harness and fell on it, broke some of its legs. Then it came after me, got on me, crawling all over.” He crossed his arms in front of his bloody chest and shuddered. “I managed to get it off me and stomped it hard as I could. Then it got on me again….” He trailed off, his face ashen.The innkeeper nodded to himself as he continued to prod the thing. “There’s no blood. No organs. It’s just grey inside.” He poked it with a finger. “Like a mushroom.”“Great Tehlu, just leave it alone,” the smith’s prentice begged. “Sometimes spiders twitch after you kill them.”“Listen to yourselves,” Cob said scathingly. “Spiders don’t get big as pigs. You know what this is.” He looked around, making eye contact with each of them. “It’s a demon.”They looked at the broken thing. “Oh, come on now,” Jake said, disagreeing mostly out of habit. “It’s not like…” He made an inarticulate gesture. “It can’t just…”Everyone knew what he was thinking. Certainly there were demons in the world. But they were like Tehlu’s angels. They were like heroes and kings. They belonged in stories. They belonged out there. Taborlin the Great called up fire and lightning to destroy demons. Tehlu broke them in his hands and sent them howling into the nameless void. Your childhood friend didn’t stomp one to death on the road to Baedn-Bryt. It was ridiculous.Kote ran his hand through his red hair, then broke the silence. “There’s one way to tell for sure,” he said, reaching into his pocket. “Iron or fire.” He brought out a bulging leather purse.“And the name of God,” Graham pointed out. “Demons fear three things: cold iron, clean fire, and the holy name of God.”The innkeeper’s mouth pressed itself into a straight line that was not quite a frown. “Of course,” he said as he emptied his purse onto the table then fingered through the jumbled coins: heavy silver talents and thin silver bits, copper jots, broken ha’pennies, and iron drabs. “Does anyone have a shim?”“Just use a drab,” Jake said. “That’s good iron.”“I don’t want good iron,” the innkeeper said. “A drab has too much carbon in it. It’s almost steel.”“He’s right,” the smith’s prentice said. “Except it’s not carbon. You use coke to make steel. Coke and lime.”The innkeeper nodded deferentially to the boy. “You’d know best, young master. It’s your business after all.” His long fingers finally found a shim in the pile of coins. He held it up. “Here we are.”“What will it do?” Jake asked.“Iron kills demons,” Cob’s voice was uncertain, “but this one’s already dead. It might not do anything.”“One way to find out.” The innkeeper met each of their eyes briefly, as if measuring them. Then he turned purposefully back to the table, and they edged farther away.Kote pressed the iron shim to the black side of the creature, and there was a short, sharp crackling sound, like a pine log snapping in a hot fire. Everyone startled, then relaxed when the black thing remained motionless. Cob and the others exchanged shaky smiles, like boys spooked by a ghost story. Their smiles went sour as the room filled with the sweet, acrid smell of rotting flowers and burning hair.The innkeeper pressed the shim onto the table with a sharp click. “Well,” he said, brushing his hands against his apron. “I guess that settles that. What do we do now?”Hours later, the innkeeper stood in the doorway of the Waystone and let his eyes relax to the darkness. Footprints of lamplight from the inn’s windows fell across the dirt road and the doors of the smithy across the way. It was not a large road, or well traveled. It didn’t seem to lead anywhere, as some roads do. The innkeeper drew a deep breath of autumn air and looked around restlessly, as if waiting for something to happen.He called himself Kote. He had chosen the name carefully when he came to this place. He had taken a new name for most of the usual reasons, and for a few unusual ones as well, not the least of which was the fact that names were important to him.Looking up, he saw a thousand stars glittering in the deep velvet of a night with no moon. He knew them all, their stories and their names. He knew them in a familiar way, the way he knew his own hands.Looking down, Kote sighed without knowing it and went back inside. He locked the door and shuttered the wide windows of the inn, as if to distance himself from the stars and all their varied names.He swept the floor methodically, catching all the corners. He washed the tables and the bar, moving with a patient efficiency. At the end of an hour’s work, the water in his bucket was still clean enough for a lady to wash her hands in.Finally, he pulled a stool behind the bar and began to polish the vast array of bottles nestled between the two huge barrels. He wasn’t nearly as crisp and efficient about this chore as he had been with the others, and it soon became obvious the polishing was only an excuse to touch and hold. He even hummed a little, although he did not realize it, and would have stopped himself if he had known.As he turned the bottles in his long, graceful hands the familiar motion eased a few tired lines from his face, making him seem younger, certainly not yet thirty. Not even near thirty. Young for an innkeeper. Young for a man with so many tired lines remaining on his face.Kote came to the top of the stairs and opened the door. His room was austere, almost monkish. There was a black stone fireplace in the center of the room, a pair of chairs, and a small desk. The only other furniture was a narrow bed with a large, dark chest at its foot. Nothing decorated the walls or covered the wooden floor.There were footsteps in the hall, and a young man stepped into the room carrying a bowl of stew that steamed and smelled of pepper. He was dark and charming, with a quick smile and cunning eyes. “You haven’t been this late in weeks,” he said as he handed over the bowl. “There must have been good stories tonight, Reshi.”Reshi was another of the innkeeper’s names, a nickname almost. The sound of it tugged one corner of his mouth into a wry smile as he sank into the deep chair in front of the fire. “So, what did you learn today, Bast?”“Today, master, I learned why great lovers have better eyesight than great scholars.”“And why is that, Bast?” Kote asked, amusement touching the edges of his voice.Bast closed the door and returned to sit in the second chair, turning it to face his teacher and the fire. He moved with a strange delicacy and grace, as if he were close to dancing. “Well Reshi, all the rich books are found inside where the light is bad. But lovely girls tend to be out in the sunshine and therefore much easier to study without risk of injuring one’s eyes.”Kote nodded. “But an exceptionally clever student could take a book out-side, thus bettering himself without fear of lessening his much-loved faculty of sight.”“I thought the same thing, Reshi. Being, of course, an exceptionally clever student.”“Of course.”“But when I found a place in the sun where I could read, a beautiful girl came along and kept me from doing anything of the sort,” Bast finished with a flourish.Kote sighed. “Am I correct in assuming you didn’t manage to read any of Celum Tinture today?”Bast managed to look somewhat ashamed.Looking into the fire, Kote tried to assume a stern face and failed. “Ah Bast, I hope she was lovely as a warm wind in the shade. I’m a bad teacher to say it, but I’m glad. I don’t feel up to a long bout of lessons right now.” There was a moment of silence. “Carter was attacked by a scraeling tonight.”Bast’s easy smile fell away like a cracked mask, leaving his face stricken and pale. “The scrael?” He came halfway to his feet as if he would bolt from the room, then gave an embarrassed frown and forced himself back down into his chair. “How do you know? Who found his body?”“He’s still alive, Bast. He brought it back. There was only one.”“There’s no such thing as one scraeling,” Bast said flatly. “You know that.”“I know,” Kote said. “The fact remains there was only one.”“And he killed it?” Bast said. “It couldn’t have been a scraeling. Maybe—”“Bast, it was one of the scrael. I saw it.” Kote gave him a serious look. “He was lucky, that’s all. Even so he was badly hurt. Forty-eight stitches. I used up nearly all my gut.” Kote picked up his bowl of stew. “If anyone asks, tell them my grandfather was a caravan guard who taught me how to clean and stitch a wound. They were too shocked to ask about it tonight, but tomorrow some of them might get curious. I don’t want that.” He blew into his bowl, raising a cloud of steam around his face.“What did you do with the body?”“I didn’t do anything with it,” Kote said pointedly. “I am just an innkeeper. This sort of thing is quite beyond me.”“Reshi, you can’t just let them muddle through this on their own.”Kote sighed. “They took it to the priest. He did all the right things for all the wrong reasons.”Bast opened his mouth, but Kote continued before he could say anything. “Yes, I made sure the pit was deep enough. Yes, I made sure there was rowan wood in the fire. Yes, I made sure it burned long and hot before they buried it. And yes, I made sure that no one kept a piece of it as a souvenir.” He scowled, his eyebrows drawing together. “I’m not an idiot, you know.”Bast visibly relaxed, settling back into his chair. “I know you’re not, Reshi. But I wouldn’t trust half these people to piss leeward without help.” He looked thoughtful for a moment. “I can’t imagine why there was only one.”“Maybe they died coming over the mountains,” Kote suggested. “All but this one.”“It’s possible,” Bast admitted reluctantly.“Maybe it was that storm from a couple days back,” Kote pointed out. “A real wagon-tipper, as we used to say back in the troupe. All the wind and rain might have scattered one loose from the pack.”“I like your first idea better, Reshi,” Bast said uncomfortably. “Three or four scrael would go through this town like…like…”“Like a hot knife through butter?”“More like several hot knives through several dozen farmers,” Bast said dryly. “These people can’t defend themselves. I bet there aren’t six swords in this whole town. Not that swords would do much good against the scrael.”There was a long moment of thoughtful silence. After a moment Bast began to fidget. “Any news?”Kote shook his head. “They didn’t get to the news tonight. Carter disrupted things while they were still telling stories. That’s something, I suppose. They’ll be back tomorrow night. It’ll give me something to do.”Kote poked his spoon idly into the stew. “I should have bought the scraeling from Carter,” he mused. “He could’ve used the money for a new horse. People would have come from all over to see it. We could have had some business for a change.”Bast gave him a speechless, horrified look.Kote made a pacifying gesture with the hand that held the spoon. “I’m joking, Bast.” He gave a weak smile. “Still, it would have been nice.”“No Reshi, it most certainly would not have been nice,” Bast said emphatically. “‘People would have come from all over to see it,’” he repeated derisively. “Indeed.”“The business would have been nice,” Kote clarified. “Busy-ness would be nice.” He jabbed his spoon into the stew again. “Anything would be nice.”They sat for a long moment. Kote scowling down into the bowl of stew in his hands, his eyes far away. “It must be awful for you here, Bast,” he said at last. “You must be numb with boredom.”Bast shrugged. “There are a few young wives in town. A scattering of daughters.” He grinned like a child. “I tend to make my own fun.”“That’s good, Bast.” There was another silence. Kote took another spoonful, chewed, swallowed. “They thought it was a demon, you know.”Bast shrugged. “It might as well be, Reshi. It’s probably the best thing for them to think.”“I know. I encouraged them, in fact. But you know what that means.” He met Bast’s eyes. “The blacksmith is going to be doing a brisk business in the next couple days.”Bast’s expression went carefully blank. “Oh.”Kote nodded. “I won’t blame you if you want to leave, Bast. You have better places to be than this.”Bast’s expression was shocked. “I couldn’t leave, Reshi.” He opened and closed his mouth a few times, at a loss for words. “Who else would teach me?”Kote grinned, and for a moment his face showed how truly young he was. Behind the weary lines and the placid innkeeper’s expression he looked no older than his dark-haired companion. “Who indeed?” He gestured toward the door with his spoon. “Go do your reading then, or bother someone’s daughter. I’m sure you have better things to do than watch me eat.”“Actually…”“Begone demon!” Kote said, switching to a thickly accented Temic through half a mouthful of stew. “Tehus antausa eha!”Bast burst into startled laughter and made an obscene gesture with one hand.Kote swallowed and changed languages. “Aroi te denna-leyan!”“Oh come now,” Bast reproached, his smile falling away. “That’s just insulting.”“By earth and stone, I abjure you!” Kote dipped his fingers into the cup by his side and flicked droplets casually in Bast’s direction. “Glamour be banished!”“With cider?” Bast managed to look amused and annoyed at the same time as he daubed a bead of liquid from the front of his shirt. “This better not stain.”Kote took another bite of his dinner. “Go soak it. If the situation becomes desperate, I recommend you avail yourself of the numerous solvent formulae extant in Celum Tinture. Chapter thirteen, I believe.”“Fine.” Bast stood and walked to the door, stepping with his strange, casual grace. “Call if you need anything.” He closed the door behind himself.Kote ate slowly, mopping up the last of the stew with a piece of bread. He looked out the window as he ate, or tried to, as the lamplight turned its surface mirrorlike against the dark behind it.His eyes wandered the room restlessly. The fireplace was made of the same black rock as the one downstairs. It stood in the center of the room, a minor feat of engineering of which Kote was rather proud. The bed was small, little more than a cot, and if you were to touch it you would find the mattress almost nonexistent.A skilled observer might notice there was something his gaze avoided. The same way you avoid meeting the eye of an old lover at a formal dinner, or that of an old enemy sitting across the room in a crowded alehouse late at night.Kote tried to relax, failed, fidgeted, sighed, shifted in his seat, and without willing it his eyes fell on the chest at the foot of the bed.It was made of roah, a rare, heavy wood, dark as coal and smooth as polished glass. Prized by perfumers and alchemists, a piece the size of your thumb was easily worth gold. To have a chest made of it went far beyond extravagance.The chest was sealed three times. It had a lock of iron, a lock of copper, and a lock that could not be seen. Tonight the wood filled the room with the almost imperceptible aroma of citrus and quenching iron.When Kote’s eyes fell on the chest they did not dart quickly away. They did not slide slyly to the side as if he would pretend it wasn’t there at all. But in a moment of looking, his face regained all the lines the simple pleasures of the day had slowly smoothed away. The comfort of his bottles and books was erased in a second, leaving nothing behind his eyes but emptiness and ache. For a moment fierce longing and regret warred across his face.Then they were gone, replaced by the weary face of an innkeeper, a man who called himself Kote. He sighed again without knowing it and pushed himself to his feet.It was a long time before he walked past the chest to bed. Once in bed, it was a long time before he slept.As Kote had guessed, they came back to the Waystone the next night for dinner and drinks. There were a few half-hearted attempts at stories, but they died out quickly. No one was really in the mood.So it was still early in the evening when the discussion turned to matters of greater import. They chewed over the rumors that had come into town, most of them troubling. The Penitent King was having a difficult time with the rebels in Resavek. This caused some concern, but only in a general way. Resavek was a long way off, and even Cob, the most worldly of them, would be hard pressed to find it on a map.They discussed the war in their own terms. Cob predicted a third levy tax after the harvests were in. No one argued, though there hadn’t been a three-bleeder year in living memory.Jake guessed the harvest would be good enough so the third levy wouldn’t break most families. Except the Bentleys, who were on hard times anyway. And the Orissons, whose sheep kept disappearing. And Crazy Martin, who had planted all barley this year. Every farmer with half a brain had planted beans. That was one good thing about all the fighting—soldiers ate beans, and prices would be high.After a few more drinks, deeper concerns were voiced. Deserter soldiers and other opportunists were thick on the roads, making even short trips risky. The roads were always bad, of course, in the same way that winter was always cold. You complained, took sensible precautions, and got on with the business of living your life.But this was different. Over the last two months the roads had become so bad that people had stopped complaining. The last caravan had two wagons and four guards. The merchant had been asking ten pennies for half a pound of salt, fifteen for a loaf of sugar. He didn’t have any pepper, or cinnamon, or chocolate. He did have one small sack of coffee, but he wanted two silver talents for that. At first people had laughed at his prices. Then, when he held firm, folk had spat and cursed at him.That had been two span ago: twenty-two days. There had not been another serious trader since, even though this was the season for it. So despite the third levy tax looming large in everyone’s minds, people were looking in their purses and wishing they’d bought a little something, just in case the snow came early.No one spoke of the previous night, of the thing they had burned and buried. Other folk were talking, of course. The town was alive with gossip. Carter’s wounds ensured that the stories were taken half seriously, but not much more than half. The word “demon” was being spoken, but it was with smiles half-hidden behind raised hands.Only the six friends had seen the thing before it was burned. One of them had been wounded and the others had been drinking. The priest had seen it too, but it was his job to see demons. Demons were good for his business.The innkeeper had seen it too, apparently. But he wasn’t from around here. He couldn’t know the truth that was so apparent to everyone born and raised in this little town: stories were told here, but they happened somewhere else. This was not a place for demons.Besides, things were bad enough without borrowing trouble. Cob and the rest knew there was no sense talking about it. Trying to convince folk would only make them a laughingstock, like Crazy Martin, who had been trying to dig a well inside his own house for years now.Still, each of them bought a piece of cold-wrought iron from the smith, heavy as they could swing, and none of them said what they were thinking. Instead they complained that the roads were bad and getting worse. They talked about merchants, and deserters, and levies, and not enough salt to last the winter. They reminisced that three years ago no one would have even thought of locking their doors at night, let alone barring them.The conversation took a downward turn from there, and even though none of them said what they were thinking, the evening ended on a grim note. Most evenings did these days, times being what they were.

Editorial Reviews

“The best epic fantasy I read last year.... He’s bloody good, this Rothfuss guy.” —George R. R. Martin, New York Times-bestselling author of A Song of Ice and Fire   “Rothfuss has real talent, and his tale of Kvothe is deep and intricate and wondrous.” —Terry Brooks, New York Times-bestselling author of Shannara   "It is a rare and great pleasure to find a fantasist writing...with true music in the words." —Ursula K. LeGuin, award-winning author of Earthsea   "The characters are real and the magic is true.” —Robin Hobb, New York Times-bestselling author of Assassin’s Apprentice   "Masterful.... There is a beauty to Pat's writing that defies description." —Brandon Sanderson, New York Times-bestselling author of Mistborn   “[Makes] you think he's inventing the genre, instead of reinventing it.” —Lev Grossman, New York Times-bestselling author of The Magicians   “This is a magnificent book.” —Anne McCaffrey, award-winning author of the Dragonriders of Pern   “The great new fantasy writer we've been waiting for, and this is an astonishing book." —Orson Scott Card, New York Times-bestselling author of Ender’s Game   “It's not the fantasy trappings (as wonderful as they are) that make this novel so good, but what the author has to say about true, common things, about ambition and failure, art, love, and loss.” —Tad Williams, New York Times-bestselling author of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn   “Jordan and Goodkind must be looking nervously over their shoulders!” —Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times-bestselling author of The Dark Between the Stars   “An extremely immersive story set in a flawlessly constructed world and told extremely well.” —Jo Walton, award-winning author of Among Others   “Hail Patrick Rothfuss! A new giant is striding the land.” —Robert J. Sawyer, award-winning author of Wake   “Fans of the epic high fantasies of George R.R. Martin or J.R.R. Tolkien will definitely want to check out Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind.” —NPR   “Shelve The Name of the Wind beside The Lord of the Rings...and look forward to the day when it's mentioned in the same breath, perhaps as first among equals.” —The A.V. Club  “I was reminded of Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, and J. R. R. Tolkein, but never felt that Rothfuss was imitating anyone.” —The London Times   “This fast-moving, vivid, and unpretentious debut roots its coming-of-age fantasy in convincing mythology.” —Entertainment Weekly   “This breathtakingly epic story is heartrending in its intimacy and masterful in its narrative essence.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)   “Reminiscent in scope of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series...this masterpiece of storytelling will appeal to lovers of fantasy on a grand scale.” —Library Journal (starred)