~© Helen Lowe 2010
In June 2012 The Heir of Night won the UK-based Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer. The Gemmell Awards are reader-voted and the award was accepted on my behalf by my UK editor, Jenni Hill of Orbit (Little, Brown Book Group). Click to see my Morningstar Award acceptance speech, as read by Jenni.
Garrisoned by the Nine Houses of the Derai Alliance, the remote mountain range known as the Wall of Night is the final barrier between the lands of Haarth and the all-devouring Darkswarm—which the Derai have been fighting across worlds and time.
Malian, Heir to the warrior House of Night, knows the history of her people: the unending war; the legendary heroes blazing with long-lost power; the internal strife that has fractured the Derai's former strength. Yet in the long stasis in the war between the Derai and their ancient enemy, she has known little of real danger—but now the Darkswarm is stirring again.
As the tide of shadow rises, Malian learns that she herself may be the key to both unravelling the Derai's fractured past and ending the war against the Darkswarm once and for all. But with opportunity comes danger—and Malian knows that if she accepts the offer of ancient power, she must also prepare to pay the price.
"Lowe's first novel, a series opener ... reinvigorates the epic fantasy with appealing characters and a richly detailed world."
" ... Lowe clearly portrays Malian's difficulties in...facing up to a vital if unwanted birthright, adding depth with descriptions of the stoic and proud Derai warrior culture."
"Refreshing ... a well-told tale that gives several new twists to a tried-and-tested formula ... an enjoyable read."
"In The Heir of Night, Lowe evokes a sense of elegance and myth, over a refreshing realism and grit...Definitely catch this, if you haven't already."
"Lowe never misses a beat ... She has created a dark and magical world, and given readers sympathetic characters and a reason to follow them ... The Heir of Night is a grand entrance."
"Lowe’s voice reminds me of dark chocolate, bitter with just enough sweet to keep you consuming it ... Pick up this book and tell your family to leave you alone. If you love epic fantasy quests a la Robert Jordan, JRR Tolkien and Frank Herbert, you must get this book."
"This is a book about destinies, bravery and hard choices ... I really engaged with the characters. ... An interesting and promising start to a new fantasy series."
"I very much enjoyed The Heir of Night and am anxious for more of this very promising and fast-paced new epic fantasy in the second book, The Gathering of the Lost."
"This is certainly one of those novels that causes the outside world to cease to exist and Malian will plants herself feet first into your imagination – I can't wait for the next nail-biting adventure."
"I was immediately immersed and mesmerized by this dark epic fantasy ... It was easy to fall under the spell of Ms. Lowe’s richly detailed story and almost impossible to leave when the “real world” clamored for my attention. THE HEIR OF NIGHT intrigues and engages ..."
"The Heir of Night is a gripping read. The breadth and depth of the Derai culture, the fresh and nuanced characters, and the wealth of detail create a rich and compelling world."
" ... in a world where fantasy books are often decried as a dime a dozen, Helen Lowe’s The Heir of Night is a bright jewel unlooked for, but greatly appreciated."
" ... several aspects ... turn The Heir of Night into something special. First is the host of intriguing characters that weave in and out of the story ... Secondly, there is a touch of sci-fi at work when we realize that the Derai themselves are alien to the world of Haarth ... There is the sense of a grand scale at work here; not of one family, one race, or one country at risk, but of immeasurable worlds that hang in the balance ... a carefully plotted story in a complex world ..."
"All in all, the author has created a very rich and complex story with a perfect balance between action and character development that got me hooked from the first page."
"Helen Lowe has written a terrific book and a wonderful first installment in an exciting new series ... Lowe is a talented writer who can deftly wave a storyline, develop multi-dimensional characters and hold back surprises to keep her readers guessing."
"A fantasy novel written as grand mythology epic, The Heir of Night hits all the right buttons and is another must-read of the (last) year."
"The Heir of Night is a traditional fantasy epic – ancient prophecy, hero, allies, enemies, foretold destiny, fate, magic – but it has panache ... As a female, I love reading about strong heroines, and The Heir of Night delivers that, and so much more. Lowe has imagined a powerful story"
"There were so many good things about this book that I can't even begin to name them all ... It really kept reminding me of just how much I love complex, rich, high fantasy. And this is that kind of fantasy at its best. I highly recommend it. I can't wait for the rest of the series! "
"The Heir of Night is a book filled with ancient magic, conflicts, sword fights, secrets, surprises, treachery ... Lowe builds up and releases tension brilliantly, which is a difficult thing to do. The events flow easily from scene to scene, because the storyline is strong .... The Heir of Night is an excellent classic fantasy book ..."
"This is not your typical fantasy world ..."
"This is a story that grabbed me by the lapels, led me to a well upholstered chair and demanded I read it from cover to cover."
SFFWorld: (Mark Yon)
" ... a tale where honour, loyalty and sacrifice are paramount ... pleasingly well done."
"This is a terrific coming of age quest fantasy ... the insight into the warrior culture of the Derai is incredibly deep ..."
"Strong female characters...evocative, poetic language; excellent evocation of themes...The Heir of Night is well worth your time."
There is a Nordic doom pervading the tale strongly reminsicent of Tolkien; an unrelentingly dark haunting atmosphere ... The Heir of Night managed to keep me completely hooked from beginning to end.
"This is a cracking story. It has all the elements that I have come to expect in a fantasy novel. Magic, a prophecy, priests, a dark enemy. It gallops along a rate of knots that almost leaves you gasping for breath, but I still found it very hard to put down ... You can safely surmise that I did enjoy this book immensely and I am now desperate for the next instalment."
"I think the most interesting thing about The Heir of Night — the first in a series — is its slowly emerging backstory ... Overall it was a great story with interesting characters and wonderful world-building."
The Heir of Night is published in France as L'Inheritiere de la Nuit and you can read two French reviews, here: