The Sundering Duology

by Jacqueline Carey


Once the Seven Shapers dwelled in accord. First-born among them was Haomane, Lord-of-Thought – and with his six sibling gods, they Shaped the world to their will. But Haomane was displeased, for he thought that his younger brother, Satoris, was too prideful (and too generous) in his gifts to the race of Men.

Satoris refused to bow to Haomane, and so began the Shapers’ War, which Sundered the world. Haomane and his siblings lay at one end of a vast ocean, unable to touch their creations, while Satoris and the races of the world dwelled on the other. Satoris is reviled because most of the races believe that it was he alone who caused the rift.

Satoris sits in Darkhaven – seeking neither victory nor vengeance. He is not alone, for with him came his allies from the various races. And chief among them is Tanaros Blacksword, immortal Commander General of his army. Once a mortal man who was betrayed by king and wife, Tanaros fled to Darkhaven a thousand years ago, and in Satoris’s service has redeemed his honor – but left his humanity behind.

Now a new prophecy has come that tells how the world could be made whole if Satoris were destroyed. In order to thwart the prophecy, Satoris orders Tanaros to capture the Lady of the Ellylon, the beautiful Cerelinde, to prevent her alliance with the last High King of Men. What neither Satoris nor Tanaros realize is that meeting Cerelinde will prove that not all of Tanaros’s heart was turned to stone by his wife’s betrayal, and that part of him is still very human. This will irrevocably change Tanaros’s world forever – and could doom Satoris in the process.


Supreme Commander Lord Tanaros was once human. But he chose darkness and immortality when his wife betrayed him with his king. He killed them both and fled the realms of Men, and now cares nothing for their fates.

A thousand years passed. His only allegiance is to his master, the dark god Satoris, who gave the gift of Life to the race of Men. Satoris rebelled against his elder brother, the god Haomane, who had demanded that gift be taken away. Their fight cracked the very world in two; the name of Satoris became the word for evil throughout all the races, while the legend of Tanaros is the seminal tale of treachery. And yet not all tales told are true.

A final prophecy has begun to unfold, and the races are uniting their quest to rid the world of Satoris. The elder gods and goddesses, stranded on the other side of the world, send dreams to spur all to destroy Satoris and Tanaros, but those loyal to Satoris know a different side of the story and try to defend their citadel of Darkhaven, where their god sits in sorrow, controlling his own dominion, seeking neither victory nor vengeance.

Satoris’s followers capture the beautiful Lady Cerelinde, and without her the Allies cannot fulfill the prophecy. All who support Satoris clamor for her death – but Satoris refuses to act like the monster that he is made out to be, for he recognizes in Cerelinde a spark of the love that he once bore for his fellow gods. She is a great danger to Satoris – and a greater danger for Tanaros and all that he holds dear. For she reminds him that not all women need to be false…and that though he may be immune to death, his heart is still very much mortal.

The Sundering duology is a high concept project: Tolkienesque epic fantasy re-envisioned as epic tragedy. It’s a deconstruction of the structure, worldbuilding, plot twists and characters common to the genre, written from a POV sympathetic to the losing side.

Banewreaker and Godslayer are best read together, as this was meant to be a single volume titled Elegy for Darkness. Grim Oak Press produced a gorgeous limited edition featuring both books in a single volume.

This doesn’t get as much love as my better-known work, which is a pity, because it’s one of the best things I’ve written.

Author’s Description

My take

I read these based on the description above, which I found on her website. I didn’t like the writing style here as much as I have other books of hers that I’ve read, but I did enjoy the story. I might have to try it again sometime.