Black Sun Rising is the first in C.S. Friedman's Coldfire trilogy of novels. It's a somewhat unknown but
nonetheless excellent read.
WARNING: The rest of this node contains (fairly minor - no plot) spoilers, so stop here if you don't like that sort of
Black Sun Rising is set on the planet of Erna, a distant planet far from Earth. Erna is a believable and
interesting fantasy world. While Friedman doesn't create huge worlds like some other
authors, the world is rich enough for the story to progress.
Even when writing a "traditional" fantasy, C.S. Friedman manages to incorporate science fiction elements. In the sequel,
When True Night Falls, the reader discovers that the human race actually arrived (well, crashed is more like it) on
a spaceship from Earth. So you might call the entire trilogy science fiction - it certainly isn't fantasy in the usual
The story revolves around Gerald Tarrant, the character shown on the cover. Tarrant is an incredibly well developed,
fascinating character. Similarly to most of Friedman's books, the reader neither fully loves nor fully hates Tarrant. The
so-called Hunter lives on the fae - in fact, this bond is his Achilles' heel. Toward the end of the trilogy, the reader
learns exactly what this bond entails for him - but I won't give this away.
What is the fae? The Merentha site explains it better than I ever could (http://www.merentha.org/dictionary.asp):
Fae is "an energy source both generated by and permeating the planet, Erna. There are four known types of fae: earth,
dark, solar, and tidal...The fae responds to the thought pattern, conscious and
unconscious, of all living creatures on Erna...All types of fae
can be bound to physical objects to perform a particular function. Such items are known as Worked objects. Only adepts
can see the fae unaided, anyone else must Work his sight."
Gerald Tarrant - a.k.a. the Hunter and the Neocount of Merentha. Most of the story revolves
around him. Carries a coldfire blade and is bound to the fae. He lives in the Forest, inside a black tower.
Damien Kilcannon Vryce - a fairly... unorthodox priest and the "protagonist" (but not the main character) of the
story. He's a hero in the style of Eddings's Sparhawk and Belgarion.
Ciani - an adept who lives in Jaggonath. There's more to her, obviously, but I don't want to give the plot
Senzei - a scribe and well-studied sorcerer, who is, tragically, not an adept.
Read merentha.org for more details on this excellent novel.
Most of the information here was taken from my recollection of the book (hmm, maybe I should reread it again),
except as otherwise noted.