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  • The Darkness That Comes Before

  • The Prince of Nothing, Book One
  • By: R. Scott Bakker
  • Narrated by: David DeVries
  • Length: 20 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (146 ratings)
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The Darkness That Comes Before cover art

The Darkness That Comes Before

By: R. Scott Bakker
Narrated by: David DeVries
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Summary

Strikingly original in its conception, ambitious in scope, with characters engrossingly and vividly drawn, the first book in R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing series creates a remarkable world from whole cloth - its language and classes of people, its cities, religions, mysteries, taboos, and rituals - the kind of all-embracing universe Tolkien and Herbert created unforgettably in the epic fantasies The Lord of the Rings and Dune.

It's a world scarred by an apocalyptic past, evoking a time both 2,000 years past and 2,000 years into the future, as untold thousands gather for a crusade. Among them, two men and two women are ensnared by a mysterious traveler, Anasûrimbor Kellhus - part warrior, part philosopher, part sorcerous, charismatic presence - from lands long thought dead. The Darkness That Comes Before is a history of this great holy war, and like all histories, the survivors write its conclusion.

©2003 R. Scott Bakker (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Darkness That Comes Before

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Overwhelming at times

And what I mean by that is trying to keep track of all the characters and how they interact and what is probably happening, I enjoyed it but I also endured it

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Mediocre at best

I was unable to finish this. None of the characters were engaging or memorable and even the often touted philosophical content was sparse and nothing special.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator is good.

I loved reading these books but avoided the audio books due to the bad reviews of the narration. I was presently surprised when I finally took the leap. Infact by the end of the book I was very happy with it. Really looking forward to the rest. Although only the unholy consult is the only book of the 2nd trilogy available on Audible, which is odd.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible.

That was absolutely incredible, compelling, and just bloody brilliant. The Darkness That Comes Before is the first is first book in the Prince of Nothing trilogy, and damn, I'm just in awe.

This book is, without a doubt, one of the most detailed fantasy books I have ever read and has an incredibly rich world with dozens of religious factions and rivalries, whether they be political, cultists, barbarians and heathens. Multiple converging storylines and sub-plots will keep you gripped whilst R Scott Baker, a richly dark imagined historical world that takes place, will draw you in hook line and sinker.

A full cast of intriguing and amazing characters that you will absolutely love, some of my favourites are Kellhus, the superhuman who has mastered himself, and may just be a god, we will find out soon enough, a brilliant, if deeply troubled, tribesman named Cnaiur, an old mandate sorcerer and teacher, Achamian and the prostitute, Esmenet are they are just the tip of the iceberg.

Excellently written, and the prose is just beautiful. Fantastic worldbuilding, plot, and setting are sublime. As Steven Erikson has put it, Something remarkable has begun, and I couldn’t agree more.

In The Darkness That Comes Before, A score of centuries has passed since the First Apocalypse, and the thoughts of men have turned, inevitably, to more worldly concerns.

The spiritual leader of the Thousand Temples seeks a Holy War to cleanse the land of the infidel and heathens.

But the fate of men - even great men - means little when the world itself may soon be torn asunder. Behind the politics, beneath the religious fervour, a dark and ancient evil is reawakening. After two thousand years, the No-God is returning. The second apocalypse is coming, and you best be ready when it does.

I implore you beautiful fantasy readers to check this out. You will not regret it, I very, very highly recommend....😁🖤🔥🗡💀

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Sets up the series beautifully


The lore of this book can be a little overwhelming at first with all the different places, schools, characters, battles and religions referenced in this novel. It's certainly not a casual read and will require some patience and time invested to fully grasp the different factions and their iintentions but its well worth it.

The world is well described and takes you on an adventure and almost feel like you're there with the POV way it goes through events from different characters perspectives.


This book is the first in a series and beautifully sets the hook for the coming books and events.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not your average Sword and Sorcery!

A complex world of intrigue, politics, violence, faith and magic are explored with meandering, intertwining events that delve into the history and destiny of the people of Eärwa.

I love the story and characters in this book, and I was hooked from the epilogue onwards, with its probing internal monologues to the epic events that unfold. However, this is a story you have to engage with and not just have on as background distraction

I am no audio book aficionado, but I have listened to many recently and have found that a poor choice of narrator or an odd reading style can be really jarring and make a book hard to engage with. For me this is not one of them.

The rhythm can be a little flat at times, but the reader does a fantastic job of injecting drama and urgency at the right moments, and distinct character voices brings everyone to life. I don't envy his job of coping with really complicated names of people and places, as this was something that made me struggle with reading it for myself. So bravo for that! He certainly did as good a job as the text would allow as some passages are very heavy with unusual words, unique to the world of Bakker's creation.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Epic, in every sense

Truly epic in scale and concept, as you get further and further into this series you’re not necessarily sure who the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ are, and nor, it seems, are they. Brilliant storytelling in a world that is IMHO arguably as or more complex and interdependent than LOTR, yet an intensely personal and human book. It’s not, however, always the easiest of reads or listens. So possibly not something best suited to just listening in the background? The thing that strikes me so forcibly in reading or listening to this book (and the others in the series) is the sheer quantity and quality of thought and preparation that has gone into them. Where with some fantasy authors you can unfortunately get the feeling of their books being written by the yard and whilst telling a story that have little real story to tell, with Bakker you get the complete reverse sense; that years of careful thought and consideration are often being distilled in a few minutes or pages of reading. In that sense, very much like Tolkien. Highly recommended!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good read!! Bad Narrator!!

Please, Please, PLEASE.... get Steven Pacey to record this!! For whatever reason... the reader/storyteller just doesn't get it. I have had SO much trouble listening because his reading, voices and timing are just plain OFF.

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21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Serious adult fantasy

Written before the time of adult gritty TV and Film. This story takes gritty fantasy to the next level. Huge story arc fantastic characters. An Original good vrs Bad story.
A huge book. Nice to be able to get through it quickly listening this via the audio version. Narrator did a fair job. So many characters to portray must have made it tough creating so many voices. Throughly Enjoyable. Well recommended.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Please don't take notice of the below reviews

What made the experience of listening to The Darkness That Comes Before the most enjoyable?

Awesome book. If you like an adult-version of Bakker mixed with the depth of of Frank Herbert's 'Dune' then this could be for you. Forget Tolkien, Martin and anyone else. This is dark, complex and easily the best Fantasy series of books I have ever read. Outstanding.

What other book might you compare The Darkness That Comes Before to, and why?

Dune, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones. This book is for adults and has the complexity and depth that 'wipes the floor' with anything else i have read or listened too. Fantasy for adults.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

From beginning to end

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It touched me on an intellectual level. It is complex, dark with many characters. I found it better listening to the audiobook than reading it.

Any additional comments?

The narrator is American, which doesn't normally work on fantasy books inspired by the middles/dark ages, but his characterisations are excellent. Overall, he does a great job.

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3 people found this helpful