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The White Road: The Nightrunner Series, Book 5 [Format Kindle]

Lynn Flewelling
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Chapter One

Safe Harbor

DYING—even for just a little while—took a lot out of a person. Alec and his companions had arrived in Gedre last night and Alec had managed to stay on his horse as they rode up from the harbor to the clan house, but he’d spoiled it by fainting in the courtyard. Mydri had taken one sharp look at him and packed him off to bed in a room overlooking the harbor. And when their host saw Sebrahn, Riagil í Molan had ordered that the rhekaro stay hidden, too. Given Sebrahn’s strange appearance, Alec could hardly blame him. 

Winter rain lashed against the window across the room and the wind moaned in the chimney. Gedre harbor was barely visible, the ships anchored there just dark smudges in the mist. After their stormy crossing from Plenimar, it was rather nice to be in a soft bed that didn’t roll under him. He had no idea what time it was. When he’d awakened, Seregil was already gone, no doubt to speak with his sisters or their host, the khirnari. 

Sebrahn was curled up on the cushions of the window seat, gazing out—though at what it was impossible to say. The rhekaro might haveAlec’s childhood features, but it was impossible to pass him off as an ordinary child. His pale, silver-white hair hung nearly to the floor behind him. His white skin looked ghostly in the grey light, and his silver eyes were the color of steel. Riagil’s wife, Yhali, had replaced the rags Sebrahn had arrived in with soft Aurënfaie tunics, knitted stockings, and shoes that fit him, though Sebrahn seemed confused by the latter and kept taking them off. Just as any little child might do— 

But he’s not a child, is he? 

Pushing that thought away, Alec reached for the mug Mydri had left on the bedside table and sipped the medicinal broth. His hand shook a bit, spilling a few drops down the front of his nightshirt. 

He and Seregil had been in desperate condition when Micum and Thero had found them in Plenimar, but Sebrahn had been even worse. He was made of magic and had used a staggering amount to kill their pursuers in the Plenimaran wilderness, bring Alec back from Bilairy’s gate, and heal both Seregil and Alec. For the first few days of the voyage they feared that the wizened, depleted little rhekaro might have used himself up. Too weak to get out of his bunk, Alec had fed Sebrahn several times a day, squeezing blood from his fingertip onto the rhekaro’s little grey tongue.After a few days of this Sebrahn grew more alert and continued to improve. And today he seemed nearly himself again. 

Alec wondered how long Riagil and Mydri were going to keep him shut away up here. His long linen nightshirt was fresh, but he hadn’t had a proper bath since they’d escaped from the alchemist’s villa almost two weeks ago. He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, which hung halfway down his back—lank and dirty. His fingers caught in snarls and tangles. Stretching out one long blond strand, he wondered—not for the first time—whether he should just cut it off, as Seregil had sacrificed his during their escape. Sebrahn was squirming around now. One by one, the borrowed shoes fell to the floor. The alchemist, Charis Yhakobin, had created the rhekaro to be nothing more than a sexless, voiceless tool—one whose unnatural flesh and strange white blood could, according to Yhakobin, be distilled for some kind of potent elixir. But Sebrahn and his illfated predecessor had been much more than that. Sebrahn might be sexless, but he was not voiceless, or mindless, either. 

“What do you see?” asked Alec. 

Sebrahn turned to look at him. “Ahek.” 

Alec chuckled. His name had been Sebrahn’s first halting word. Since then, he’d managed a few more for people, things, and a few actions. Understanding was another matter. Strangely, it didn’t seem to matter whether you spoke Skalan, ’faie, or Plenimaran to him. Tell him cup, tyxa, or kupa, and if there was one in the room, he would fetch it. Sebrahn left the window seat and joined Alec on the bed, leaning against his side. Alec touched the rhekaro’s soft, cool little hand, noting the thin scars that ringed the base of several fingers where they’d grown back after Yhakobin cut them off for some experiment. 

Why didn’t you sing to save yourself? 

Alec gathered him close again, his heart beating a little faster. “No one is going to hurt you again, or take you away. If they try, we’ll leave.” 

Sebrahn looked around the room, then pointed out the window and said in his raspy little voice, “Leeeve.” 

“That’s right. On a ship. Can you say ‘ship’?” 

Sebrahn was not interested. 

“Chamber pot.” 

The rhekaro slipped off the bed and pulled the required vessel from under the bed. Alec made use of it and had Sebrahn put it back for the skutter to deal with. Now what? There didn’t appear to be anything he could do but watch the rain. It was a relief when he heard someone coming up the stairs to his door. 

Micum looked in and grinned. “That’s a long face!” 

“Where is everybody?” 

Micum came in and pulled a chair up beside the bed. “At breakfast. I came up to see if you’re awake. Hungry?” 

“Not really.” 

Micum held out his hands, and Sebrahn abandoned Alec for the big man’s lap. 

“Traitor,” Alec grumbled. Sebrahn had warmed to their tall, red-haired friend during the voyage. Sebrahn reached up to touch Micum’s thick, grey-streaked moustache, apparently puzzled that the big man had something on his face that his two beardless protectors didn’t.

“Uncle Micum,” Alec said with a smile. 

Micum laughed and kissed Sebrahn’s hand, just as if he were one of his own brood. “I like the sound of that. What do you say, little sprout?” 

Sebrahn didn’t say anything, just leaned against Micum’s broad chest and fixed his gaze on Alec. It was too easy to imagine anything he wanted in those eyes. What Sebrahn was really feeling—or if he could—remained a mystery. Alec and Micum were in the midst of a game of cards when Seregil came in with the wizards. Magyana looked most of her two centuries today; under a fringe of grey bangs, her lined face was pale and tired, but her eyes were kind as always. Thero, still in the youth of his first century, was tall and dark, with a thin beard and dark curling hair pulled back from a long, somewhat austere face. But his pale green eyes were warm, too, as he took in the sight of Alec and Sebrahn. 

“We need to talk,” Seregil said, sitting down on the bed beside Alec. 

“I’ll leave you to it,” Micum said, putting Sebrahn on the bed and rising to go. 

“Please, stay,” said Thero. “We have no secrets from you in this matter.” 

This sounded serious, and all the more so when Magyana threw the latch and cast a warding on the room to keep out prying ears. 

“Now then, this creature—” she began, her lined face somber. 

“Please don’t call him that,” said Alec. “He’s a person and he has a name.” 

“He is not a person, my dear,” Magyana told him gently. 

“You may be right about the rest of it, but he’s not human, or ’faie, either.” 

“There’s something we need to tell you,” said Thero. 

“What is it?” 

“Thero sensed it, but not clearly, when he first saw Sebrahn in Plenimar,” Magyana explained. “It’s true that the rhekaro has been given the semblance of a child, but another form radiates beyond the physical. I don’t understand it, but what I see around him is the form of a young dragon.” 

Alec stared hard at Sebrahn, squinting his eyes, but saw nothing unusual. “A dragon? That’s impossible! Sebrahn was made from bits of—me!” Seregil was frowning at the younger wizard. “Why didn’t you tell us, Thero?” 

“I wasn’t sure what I was sensing. It’s Magyana who sees it clearly.” 

Magyana took Alec’s hand in hers. “Seregil has told me something of how Sebrahn was made. I believe you can tell me more. Do you know what materials he used?” Alec shifted uneasily; it was a time he didn’t really want to remember. “Sulfur and salt, tinctures—” 

“Nothing of dragons?” 

“I saw dried fingerling dragons hanging in his workshop, but I didn’t see him put any in.” 

“Very well. What else do you remember?” 

“There was something he called the ‘water of life’—some kind of silver, I think.” 

“Quicksilver?” asked Magyana. 

“Yes, that was it. He put that all in with my tears, blood, shit and piss, hair, and ...

Présentation de l'éditeur

Dissolute nobles, master spies, and the unlikeliest of heroes, Alec and Seregil have survived exile, treachery, and black magic. But the road that lies ahead is the most hazardous they’ve ever traveled. For with enemies on all sides, they must walk a narrow path between good and evil where one misstep might be their last.
Having escaped death and slavery in Plenimar, Alec and Seregil want nothing more than to go back to their nightrunning life in Rhíminee. Instead they find themselves saddled with Sebrahn, a strange, alchemically created creature—the prophesied “child of no woman.” Its moon-white skin and frightening powers make Sebrahn a danger to all whom Alec and Seregil come into contact with, leaving them no choice but to learn more about Sebrahn’s true nature.

With the help of trusted friends and Seregil’s clan, the duo set out to discover the truth about this living homunculus—a journey that can lead only to danger or death. For Seregil’s old nemesis Ulan í Sathil of Virèsse and Alec’s own long-lost kin are after them, intent on possessing both Alec and Sebrahn. On the run and hunted, Alec and his comrades must fight against time to accomplish their most personal mission ever.

From the Paperback edition.

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6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Décevant 16 juin 2010
Par alea
C'est trop triste, mais comparé aux deux premiers tomes, qui sont magnifiques, et au troisième, qui est sympathique et même au number quatre très sombre, le cinq me paraît creux. Pas de réelle substance dans l'histoire où le parcours n'est qu'un simple reflet de Shadow's Return. Certes on retrouve nos personnages, mais les ficelles utilisées sont vraiment grossières.
J'ai eu un sentiment de déception du début à la fin. L'absence de personnages majeurs, tel que Phoria et Klia ou de véritables explications sur les objectifs d'Aura et la nature du rhekaro, l'absence d'action des Plenimarans dont l'Overlord connaissait pourtant les objectifs de l'alchimiste...
Alec semble de plus en plus creux et réduit à un rôle de mère nourricière.
Bref, une déception. On regrette de ne pas s'être arrêté avant.
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6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Tendre et rythmé. Excellent ! 3 juin 2010
Par Sylvia
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Quel plaisir de retrouver Alec, Seregil et Micum ensemble comme au bon vieux temps!
"The White Road" commence immédiatement après "Shadows Return" : Alec, Seregil et Sebrahn sont maintenant sains et saufs à Gedre en Aurënen, mais pour combien de temps? Tant de personnes s'intéressent à Alec et à son rhekaro que leur tranquillité risque d'être de très courte durée...

On retrouve la marque caractéristique de l'auteure: une alternance de scènes d'action et de passages plus tendres ou gentiment drôles, qui rendent ses personnages si attachants. La rencontre avec la famille de Seregil est particulièrement réussie. Et n'oublions pas Thero, qui devient de plus en plus craquant!
Une très belle histoire d'aventure et d'action donc, truffée de références au passé et remplie d'émotion. En fait (et on s'en plaindra pas) l'histoire est plus tendre et nettement moins sombre que "Shadows Return".
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  48 commentaires
37 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Better than Shadows Return: 3,5 stars 27 mai 2010
Par hwm - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Besides nightmares and fresh scars Alec and Seregil brought along another souvenir from their adventures in Plenimar. Sebrahn might look like a little child, but he was created in a dark ritual with Alec's blood, sweat and tears. Such creatures are called rhekaros, but neither Alec nor Seregil know exactly what a rhekaro is and what they can do. What Sebrahn has shown them is scary enough. He can kill with a song, heal wounds with his blood and he has called Alec back from the dead. The two nightrunners don't know what to do with their little charge, but there are many who would love to take their decision away from them.

THE WHITE ROAD might not be the best book that Lynn Flewelling has ever written, but it's an improvement to her last Nightrunner novel. The story is tighter and more suspenseful. Stuff happens - interesting stuff even. We get to know more about the rhekaro, the Hazadrielfaie and Alec's family. The goal of the main quest isn't world shaking or groundbreaking, but Alec, Seregil and Micum face enough challenges for it to be entertaining.
I also liked the characters more than in Shadows Return. Seregil seems to be more confident, Alec doesn't go as easily into a snit and they work as a couple again. Their personality, their chemistry isn't as vivid as in the early books however. Then, a simple glance could be more potent than a love scene in THE WHITE ROAD. All in all I'd say Flewelling has problems with emotional depth in this novel. A lot of stuff happens, but the author flits almost too fast from one scene to another, from POV to POV. For example I was never quite sure how Alec felt for Sebrahn. Sure, we are told that he is important to him and that he loves him, but I never quite got the impression from his actions. Alec treats Sebrahn too much like a pet or a doll that he puts in a corner when he doesn't want to play anymore. I had a similar problem with another POV character. I don't want to spoil too much, but he starts out as an enemy but has a change of mind, which is important to the plot. Again, I couldn't gain a clear emotional picture. I could follow the logic, but didn't feel it.
The main reason I'm not too fond of this novel is the ending. Alec and Seregil are back in an old situation. The events of Shadows Return and THE WHITE ROAD may have left them more scarred and a little bit wiser, but otherwise it's as they've never happened.

THE WHITE ROAD is good enough to keep on reading, but I'm not really excited about this series anymore.
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Follow the White Road 27 août 2010
Par MollyKanHas - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
This is the fifth book in the Nightrunner series (following Luck in the Shadows, Stalking Darkness, Traitor's Moon and Shadows Return), and I sincerely recommend starting at the beginning of the series with Luck in the Shadows. It's an excellent series and well worth your time, unless male/male makes you uncomfortable (have it be know that there are no detailed sex scenes in any of the books so far, so whether you find that positive or negative, you have been told).

The White Road (read an excerpt on Lynn Flewelling's website) follows directly where Shadows Return ended, and centers on the issue of What to Do with Sebrahn. (If you don't know who Sebrahn is, you need to read the other books and not the rest of this review.) For fear of any spoilers, I won't say too much more.

Having been unable to sit down and really enjoy a book for a few months, once I settled into this book I devoured it. It's more fast-paced than Flewelling's other books, which had more calm, introspective moments. While I enjoyed the action, I missed some of the character-developing reflection. It felt as though certain parts of the book had not been completely finished, or fully edited. I thought some of the action might have been more tense if the moments before had received more detailed attention. Not that the writing isn't descriptive, but I felt there were some key scenes that ought to have been slowed down instead of being interrupted by a fight sequence. I'm not saying that the fighting should be held off until all emotional issues have been resolved--damn inconvenient ambushes!--but I AM saying that perhaps not all of these moments had to be interrupted. I think it left out the usual thorough character development, and some of the newly introduced characters were not as fleshed-out as they seemed in the past.

I love this series. It's one of my favorites. And I love the characters. But I sincerely miss the focus on nightrunning. I know not all the books can be focused on it, but it has not been so prevalent in the last two books (or even Traitor's Moon). I did get to have my book signed by Lynn Flewelling at Comic-Con this year, which was very exciting, and I asked her about upcoming books. She said, with seeming certainty, that there would be two more Nightrunner books (I'm not sure if this includes the upcoming collection of short stories entitled GLIMPSES). Based on the ending to The White Road, it seems like there will be more actual nightrunning, and I look forward to it.

So overall I seem a little lukewarm on this book. But I really enjoyed reading it, and if you're already a fan of the series then I consider it worth following through with this book. If you have yet to read any of the books in this series (but proceeded to read my review anyway...tsk tsk), you MUST start with Luck in the Shadows. Trust me. I know stuff. Sort of.

Just read the books.


I actually revised this from four stars to three. In retrospect, it was rather disappointing. It all felt rushed. Initially the book was supposed to be released in July 2009 I believe, but then it was pushed back to Winter 2010, and then finally released in May 2010. I think perhaps Flewelling had some trouble finishing the book, and then maybe the editing was rushed so it wouldn't be released any later. In the end, it seems like a placeholder; the Sebrahn and Ulan i Sathil storylines had to be wrapped up to make way for another storyline. BUT if you enjoy the Nightrunner series, I maintain that this book is worth reading.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Hoping for better from the next in the series 7 novembre 2010
Par DY Sanik - Publié sur Amazon.com
I absolutely loved the first 3 books in the Nightrunner series, and was less enthralled with the fourth as the relationship between Seregil and Alec reached a point where I didn't understand Alec' reluctance to share his feelings with his partner, especially since they shared an empathic bond.

In this, the fifth book, I felt the author had fallen into the trap some others writers like Mercedes Lackey later did: they create stories that seem very rushed for core fans but will be hard to follow for newer fans. I simply found the journeys from point to point all over the maps improbable and the repeated injuries and instant heals unnecessary, and these were my most peeved point of "The White Road". I felt like it was an "interim" novel. I certainly hope more from the next book. I won't stop reading because I love the characters Seregil and Alec, but I would like to go back to the original formats and be "more real".
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Disappointing 12 octobre 2011
Par Hatbox Dragon - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
In this latest installment of the Nightrunner series, Alec and Seregil try to figure out what to do with Sebrahn, the rhekaro created from Alec's body by Plenimaran alchemy, and find themselves allying with a party of the mysterious Hazadrielfaie. They need to escape enemies attempting to apprehend Sebrahn and Alec and ensure that no more rhekaro can be created. Then there's the problem of Sebrahn's future. What can life hold for such a child, when he understands so little and so many want to claim his tremendous powers for themselves?

Unfortunately, while it's an improvement over Shadows Return, with its relentlessly unpleasant atmosphere and events, I didn't find The White Road very interesting. It's a competently written and structured action/adventure story, but no more than that. For me, it re-covered a lot of the ground from Shadows Return and the revelations didn't add up to much. The sparkle the characters once had is still largely subdued. By the time I got to the end, I found myself wondering what the point of these two books had been. It's like Alec and Seregil can shrug it off, return to their life in Rhiminee and forget it ever happened.

Due to its decline in quality - in writing as well as plots - I'm just about done with this series. A shame, when I used to enjoy it so much.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An excellent installment in this wonderful series 26 octobre 2010
Par DP - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
The White Road is another excellent book in the Nightrunner Series, hands-down the best fantasy series I've ever read. The previous book, Shadows Return, was a shorter, more personal story about our heroes, Alec and Seregil. The White Road is more similar to earlier Nightrunner books in its expanded plot lines, changes of location and increased use of secondary characters. All of this combined makes this another thrilling ride where the world is believable and the plot is thrilling. As usual with a Lynn Flewelling book, you won't want to put the book down until you're down.

Ms. Flewelling has done an amazing job with Alec and Seregil's relationship. Her first two books, Luck in the Shadows and Stalking Darness were a long, slow, and wonderful buildup to Alec and Seregil's romantic involvement. But many writers can handle this flirty, new love stage of relationships. But with the last 3 books, including The White Road, Ms. Flewelling has done an amazing job of writing a gripping story about an established couple. Alec and Seregil's relationship continues to evolve and deepen and it works perfectly with the other plot lines and action of a great fantasy.

I highly recommend The White Road, but please start this series at the beginning. You won't want to miss a page!
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