The First Binding (#1)

Next: The Doors of Midnight (#2)

All legends are borne of truths. And just as much lies. These are mine. Judge me for what you will. But you will hear my story first.

I buried the village of Ampur under a mountain of ice and snow. Then I killed their god. I’ve stolen old magics and been cursed for it. I started a war with those that walked before mankind and lost the princess I loved, and wanted to save. I’ve called lightning and bound fire. I am legend. And I am a monster.

My name is Ari.

And this is the story of how I let loose the first evil.

Thus begins the tale of a storyteller and a singer on the run and hoping to find obscurity in a tavern bar. But the sins of their past aren’t forgotten, and neither are their enemies. Their old lives are catching up swiftly and it could cost them the entire world. No one can escape their pasts and all stories must have an ending.


"An ode to storytelling, complete with a rich mythology, turbulent adventures, and a flawed hero you'll root for....Approached with patience, this epic fantasy will satisfy any fan of the genre."


"Virdi has created a rich world where he lays out his magic system thoroughly and requires his characters to work within it. This isn’t the magic of a chosen one, plucked out of obscurity and given a great power. No, this magic is work and was learned through sacrifice and necessity."


"The interwoven tales and multiple narrators might be welcome company on a long winter’s night by the fire."

Wall Street Journal

"[T]he pattern woven by the recurring elements is beguiling. You'll want to sit down with this Storyteller again."

SFX Magazine

"The First Binding is beautifully written, vast in its scope, and features a world with considerable depth and a flourishing rhythm throughout."

Grimdark Magazine

"This book is one of my top reads this year. It celebrates storytelling, is written in lyrical prose, and contains elements that are immersed in South Asian mythos and culture. Virdi isn't just an author, he is a bard in all ways the written word allows."

Fantasy Book Critic (5/5 stars!)

"It’s a marvelous epic fantasy, and the evil at the heart of this world is a tense and demonic presence."


"The First Binding is a big book and an epic drama that could draw a big audience. With a striking world and memorable cast of characters, with stories swirling within stories, and twists and turns, lies and truths, and plenty of action, this might be the big new epic series that fantasy readers have been waiting for."

Amazon Book Review

"The First Binding is the first volume in a new magnificent and ambitious high fantasy series to obsess over."

Novel Notions

"The First Binding by R.R. Virdi is fantasy to fall in love with. It’s an excellent world filled with characters that move you. This book is an instant classic. Highly recommended."


"The First Binding is an incredible, ambitious start to a new series. Author R.R. Virdi pulls in the landscapes and cultures of South Asia for an amazing ode to storytelling that you don’t want to miss."

Geek Girl Authority

“[A] new favourite of mine, and I can’t wait for the next book to come out!“

Library of a Viking

"‘The First Binding’ was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022 and I am happy to say that it met my expectations. A worthy Epic South Asian Fantasy to look out for."

Book A Fiction

"I recommend The First Binding to every epic fantasy fan and am assuming that in a decade it'll be remembered as one of the cornerstones of this genre."

Books In Blankets

"A beautifully told story from start to finish, this is the kind of book that will stay with you long after you finish reading."

The Bibliophile Chronicles

"The world building I felt is where this book truly shined for me. [...] From the introductions to gods and monsters to the magic of the bindings, we have a vast world unfolding before us."

Hiking Reader

"Crafted with patience, passion, and most importantly, tremendous love. Read R.R. Virdi!"

Jim Butcher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Dresden Files

“R.R. Virdi’s THE FIRST BINDING is engrossing and beautiful, joyous and painful—always entertaining, sometimes profound. This book makes me remember why I love epic fantasy.”

Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Dune: House Atreides

"An epic like no other - grand, sweeping, dramatic, a love letter to fantasy burning with with the dust and heat and mythos of South Asia. It reads like magic and tastes like saffron."

Yudhanjaya Wijeratne, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia, Washington Post bestselling author of the Salvage Crew and the Commonwealth Empire

“R.R. Virdi spins a very personal epic fantasy about the consequences of our actions and the nature of heroism. Rich world-building, plenty of action, and devious twists abound. Very highly recommended!”

Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of V-Wars and Kagen the Damned

"A work of extraordinary depth; readers will be unpicking the secrets of Tremaine for years to come."

Richard Swan, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Justice of Kings

"Imagine a magical story that's like a harmonious song with many enchanting layers, bringing to life cultures and myths rarely explored before. It's as if the music of the tale resonates deeply within, creating a beautiful and legendary experience. 'Tales of Tremaine' weaves a melody of heroism, love, and tragedy, echoing the captivating performances of music, storytelling, and theater. If you have a heart for exquisitely composed fantasy, this is a must-read symphony of words."

Dominick Sanchez, Grammy Award Winner

“A world as deep as it is broad. Virdi’s love for fantasy and history both shines through on every page.”

Christopher Ruocchio, Internationally Award-Winning Author of The Sun Eater

"Lyrical and enchanting. A new star has risen in the firmament of epic fantasy."

D.J. Butler, Dragon Award-winning author of Witchy Eye

"This is a SPECTACULAR book, deep and rich and intense. It takes my breath away"

Faith Hunter, New York Times bestselling author

"The First Binding is epic fantasy at its finest—an homage to storytelling and legend, richly told and endlessly engaging. Complex and luxuriant, this is an emotional, multifaceted gem of a book that examines the twists and turns a story takes on its journey from the truth."

Andrea Stewart, author of The Drowning Empire trilogy

"If you loved The Name of the Wind and The Lies of Locke Lamora, this is your next reading addiction."

Dyrk Ashton, author of The Paternus Trilogy

"Lavish in detail, a saga colorfully flavored with the mythos of India, R.R. Virdi's The First Binding is a fantasy debut recommended for the exceptional promise that The Name of the Wind enthusiasts have been pining to discover and read"

Janny Wurts, author of The Wars of Light and Shadow

"THE FIRST BINDING is a masterpiece of epic fantasy storytelling.”

Michael Mammay, author of the Planetside series

"A work of staggering ambition born out of a fathoms-deep love for epic fantasy, THE FIRST BINDING marks the arrival of an author and protagonist who are both trickster heroes on a multi-layered legendary journey!"

Samit Basu, author of The City Inside

"Filled with astute nods to South Asian lore, The First Binding is a classic in every way: layered, nuanced, and luxurious. A story that forces you to examine reality and truth, and the power of legends themselves.

Kritika H. Rao, author of The Surviving Sky

"The First Binding is a mysterious odyssey through the ancient legends and culture of South Asia that weaves an enchanting tale of theatre, thievery and richly fleshed binding-magic. The story within story unravels like a Matryoshka doll and each discovery pulses with music and wonder and sometimes, even deceit. The Old Gods will be pleased with this marathon of lyrical prose. Perfect for history-mythology geeks."

Gourav Mohanty, author of Sons of Darkness