This is book number 1 in the Runelords series.
Farland came out of seemingly nowhere with this thoroughly well-conceived and original work, and continues to blow us away with each volume. Runelords greatest strength may be as an original feat of magical worldbuilding. Farland really does a terrific job of creating believeable characters and a complex, interrelated system in which magic is an integral part of the culture and society of the world. The deep, painful consequences of the use of this magic create a dark, poignant background for this exciting and vibrant story. What a terrifically satisfying series this is turning out to be.
The first book of the saga of The Runelords
Young Prince Gaborn Val Orden of Mystarria is traveling in disguise on a journey to ask for the hand of the lovely Princess Iome of Sylvarresta. Armed with his gifts of strength and perception, Prince Gaborn and his warrior bodyguard stop in a local tavern along the way. Immediately, they spot a pair of assassins who have their sights set on Princess Iome's father. As the prince and his bodyguard race to warn the king of this impending danger, they realize that more than the royal family is at risk, the very fate of the Earth is in jeopardy.
“A first-rate tale, an epic fantasy that more than delivers on its promise.” —Terry Brooks
“With The Runelords, David Farland breaks new ground in fantasy fiction and wakes up anyone who thought they'd read everything the genre had to offer.” —Kevin J. Anderson
“The characters are real, the action fast, and the sum a brilliant and engrossing novel.” —David Drake, author of The Lord of the Isles