by Hugh Cook
("The Questing Hero" plus "The Hero's Return")
This online text is a complete story with a beginning, a middle and an end. Although this novel is the second in a series, it is perfectly possible to read this book without reference to any of the other books in the series, all ten volumes of which were published in the United Kingdom as the CHRONICLES OF AN AGE OF DARKNESS.
The first chapter is a bit slow and, in summary, just tells us that Sung is a rural area ruled by barons who pay little attention to the "king," a pig farmer by the name of Skan Askander. The impatient should skip chapter one and should go directly to where the action starts, which is at:
This book is about the adventures of Togura Poulaan, the son of Baron Poulaan. His adventures include (but are not limited to) encounters with wizards, dragons, pirates and magical devices.
Note that this book is the only book in which Togura Poulaan is a major character. He does not appear at all in the first book of the series, THE WIZARDS AND THE WARRIORS (published in North America as WIZARD WAR), a book which deals with the struggle for the control of a weapon of mass destruction known as the death stone.
The way the series works is that the major characters of one book usually only reappear (if they reappear at all) as minor characters in a subsequent book. (Or, similarly, minor characters met or mentioned in one book may reappear as major characters in a subsequent book.)
This present book, THE WORDSMITHS AND THE WARGUILD, has Togura Poulaan as its major character. It is, in a way, a questing hero tale, but it has to be admitted that Togura Poulaan is not the most focused of questing heroes, and his plans tend to get derailed by real life (war, imprisonment, enslavement and so forth.)
Warning: this novel contains violence and vulgar language and, additionally, is not entirely free from sexual content. Written for an adult audience. That said, this online text was originally published in the UK and the USA by respectable publishers, was sold to the general public by respectable booksellers, and was bought (on occasion) by respectable libraries.
Literary Prose Warning: Contains literary prose. You have been warned.