The Painted Man and The Desert Spear are among my favourite books ever written. Not only is the story absolutely brilliant, but Peter V. Brett’s writing is just simply, what I like to call: readable. Creating a fantasy world that drags you in and has an atmosphere that terrifies you and yet keeps you gripped is something Peter can do to an extent, that no one else in the fantasy genre can touch him.

For those who don’t know about Peter V. Brett’s world, basically as soon as darkness comes, demons rise up from ‘The Core’. These demons are ferocious and it seems the only reason they live is to wreck havoc on the cities and villages that house the human inhabitants of the world. Our hero Arlen, in other books, has decided that after millennia of just hiding away behind wards, which are magical symbols that stop the demons crossing into the cities/villages, he is going to make a stand.

Now, in regards to this book, it is a story that doesn’t have an exact date in regards to when it happened. But, it seems to have occurred about half way through book one. Peter V. Brett originally had his first book quite a bit longer and as a result had to cut out much of Arlen’s early life. The result has been the decision to publish it as short stories on his blog or in novels such as The Great Bazaar. This tale though of Brayan’s Gold is an original one and one that Peter came up with after a jokey discussion with a friend.

Arlen is an apprentice messenger and is actually taking one of his first jobs. He is to take an extremely important, and extremely delicate, delivery to a mine within a mountain whilst at the same time avoiding any bandits or thieves that may be waiting to steal from him, kill him or even a combination of the two. Now, this doesn’t sound like a short story does it? Well, that is why this book, as much as The Painted Man and The Desert Spear, prove Peter’s worth as a writer. Not many people can write a good short story, yet Peter V. Brett does it superbly.

I can tell you that there is a lot of content squeezed into this little book. Not only are there beautiful, beautiful images by Lauren K. Cannon, which intertwine with the story, but there is a legitimately good read here. In less than 85 pages of actual text, Brett takes you back to Arlen’s past and further shapes his character through this fantastic story. You will find out a little bit more about his motivations and choices that lead him to becoming what he has become by the middle to end of The Desert Spear and generally you will have had a good adventure.

For those worried about the short story not being full of enough world building and such, the way that the world has already been developed in The Painted Man and The Desert Spear means that Peter has saved a ton of words having to do this. The description is there, but it’s not rammed down your throat. You don’t have to know how many blades of grass there are to get a feeling of the area. What is more important, and Brett’s finest skill, is that he can describe and give the readers a feeling of atmosphere very, very quickly. Instantly he has you believing his tales about demon’s having reduced mankind to essentially only being able to live during the day, because at night…the demons arrive, and they want blood. Brett’s world is terrifying and as a reader you really, really feel the same fear and apprehension that Arlen must feel walking through this isolated mountain invested with demons.

Certainly, if you are a fan of the Demon Cycle this is an important read. And for me, the image of Arlen pre-warded really made it. Seeing Brett’s accepted version of Arlen’s face as a fan is a huge moment. How many characters are ever given a face? Not many. Fans of the Demon Cycle…DO NOT MISS IT!


By Overlord

is a Martial Artist, Reader, Student, Boston Terrier owner, Social Media Adviser (to UK Gov/Parliament) and the founder of It's a varied, hectic life, but it's filled with books and Facebook and Twitter and Kicking stuff - so he'd not have it any other way.

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