Brandon Sanderson is a an author of epic fantasy novels for Tor Books. The sixth novel he wrote, Elantris, was his first published, and he followed this up with the Mistborn trilogy and Warbreaker. Sanderson was also chosen to complete Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series based on his notes, resulting in The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light. Sanderson is now launching his own grand epic that he has wanted to tell for many years, starting with The Way of Kings on August 31, 2010. Read an excerpt here: http://tor.com/wok
More sample chapters from all of Sanderson's books are available at his website: brandonsanderson.com/library -- and check out the rest of his site for chapter-by-chapter annotations, deleted scenes, and more.
Elantris was beautiful, once. It was called the city of the gods: a place of power, radiance, and magic. Visitors say that the very stones glowed with an inner light, and that the city contained wondrous arcane marvels. At night, Elantris shone like a great silvery fire, visible even from a great distance.
Yet, as magnificent as Elantris was, its inhabitants were more so. Their hair a brilliant white, their skin an almost metallic silver, the Elantrians seemed to shine like the city itself. Legends claim that they were immortal, or at least nearly so. Their bodies healed quickly, and they were blessed with great strength, insight, and speed. They could perform magics with a bare wave of the hand; men visited Elantris from all across Opelon to receive Elantrian healings, food, or wisdom. They were divinities.
And anyone could become one.
The Shaod, it was called. The Transformation. It struck randomly—usually at night, during the mysterious hours when life slowed to rest. The Shaod could take beggar, craftsman, nobleman, or warrior. When it came, the fortunate person's life ended and began anew; he would discard his old, mundane existence, and move to Elantris. Elantris, where he could live in bliss, rule in wisdom, and be worshipped for eternity.
Eternity ended ten years ago.
Synopsis of the first book by Brandon Sanderson
I came into this book with two big ideas for the plot. The first was that of a heist story, like SNEAKERS or OCEAN'S ELEVEN involving a gang of gentlemen thieves who each had a distinctive magic power. I wanted to tell the story of how their different magics and abilities worked together for them to pull an incredible caper.
The second idea was to write a story about a world where the good guys lost. I wanted to take the standard fantasy story I'd read a dozen times—that of a young peasant hero who went on a quest to defeat a Dark Lord—and turn it on its head. What if the Dark Lord won? What if, in the final climactic moments, he killed the hero and took over the world?
Hence, MISTBORN. A thousand years ago, the prophesied hero from lore rose up to overthrow a great and terrible evil. Only, he lost, and the Dark Lord took over and has been ruling with an iron fist for a thousand years. Ash falls from the sky in this barren land, and mists come every night, deep and mysterious. In this setting, a gang of thieves decides that the prophecies were all lies and that they can't trust in some fabled hero to save them. They decide to take matters into their own hands, and plan a daring heist of the dark lord himself, planning to use the emperor's own wealth to bribe his armies away from him and take over the empire.
Anyway, that's the 'back of the book' movie trailer type explanation. If I talk about it more conversationally, however, the plot takes a back seat to characters. The truth is that while MISTBORN grew out of my love for heist movies, it didn't end up being much of a heist story itself. As early as the planning stages of the series, I felt that I wanted both more scope from the plot and more focus on character.
During development, the story moved further and further away from the heist. It's still there—don't worry—but it's more of a backdrop now. Instead, the book focuses on Vin, a young a young girl who gets recruited into the team. Beaten down by a life on the streets, Vin doesn't realize that she has the power of a Mistborn (the magic in this book, which many say is its prime selling point.) Her dynamic with Kelsier, the charismatic leader of the gang of thieves, is really what drives this novel.
The book has a little of everything for everyone. Romance, lots of action, a wiz-bang cool magic system, dark lords running amok, great visuals, and character tension. And that's just book one.
- Taken from www.brandonsanderson.com/book/Mistborn
From the Back Cover
I long for the days before the Last Desolation.
The age before the Heralds abandoned us and the Knights Radiant turned against us. A time when there was still magic in the world and honor in the hearts of men.
The world became ours, and we lost it. Nothing, it appears, is more challenging to the souls of men than victory itself.
Or was that victory an illusion all along? Did our enemies realize that the harder they fought, the stronger we resisted? Perhaps they saw that the heat and the hammer only make for a better grade of sword. But ignore the steel long enough, and it will eventually rust away.
There are four whom we watch. The first is the surgeon, forced to put aside healing to become a soldier in the most brutal war of our time. The second is the assassin, a murderer who weeps as he kills. The third is the liar, a young woman who wears a scholar's mantle over the heart of a thief. The last is the highprince, a warlord whose eyes have opened to the past as his thirst for battle wanes.
The world can change. Surgebinding and Shardwielding can return; the magics of ancient days can become ours again. These four people are key.
One of them may redeem us.
And one of them will destroy us.