The Warded Man (#1)

Next: The Desert Spear

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. 

For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.


“Brett ably blends fantasy and horror in this arresting first novel, the first in a planned series. An imaginative and exciting tale, recommended where there is interest in epic fantasy.”

Library Journal, Starred Review

“Brett’s fantasy debut is a highly readable adventure with a unique setting and three strong protagonists. Brett includes plenty of exciting battles, terrifying monsters, and heart-wrenching moments to make the focus of the story — the development of flawed, ordinary children into legends — believable. Consider the series this begins worth tracking.”


“Brett’s debut builds slowly and grimly on a classic high-fantasy framework of black-and-white mortality and bloodshed. Brett’s gritty tale will appeal to those who tire of sympathetic villains and long for old-school orc massacres.”

Publishers Weekly

“Fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable. Brett’s style is easy to read, and even at more than 400 pages, the book leaves the reader wanting more.”

The Miami Herald

“A gripping adventure — a very promising start to a new series, and an excellent first novel.”


“An absolute masterpiece… for me, the novel was literally 'unputdownable,' and certainly deserves to be the next Big Thing in dark fantasy.”

Horrorscope (Australia)

“An assured and promising first novel… definitely worth a read and looks set to form the cornerstone of an epic fantasy series.”

SF Site

“A great page turner which soon becomes an irresistible read. The characters evolve into people you care about and the word is pleasantly engaging. I was pleased, though a little surprised, to place this in my top five Fantasy reads for 2008. There’s enough here to secure the future of a new writer who should be very pleased indeed with his debut.”

SFF World (Yon, on UK release)

“The story flows incredibly well and essentially, Brett has written an “unputdownable” book in THE WARDED MAN and one of my favorite books of 2009.”

SFF World (Bedford, on US release)

“A fabulous new fantasy series by Brett. The new world he has created is complete, complicated, and fascinating. Brett’s ability to make his creations feel real is the stamp of excellent fantasy. This is a series that is likely to become a classic.”

Cairns Post (Cairns, Australia)

“It’s rare these days that I can’t put a book down without my fingers itching to pick it up again, and rarer still for it to be a debut book from a first time author. But Peter V. Brett’s The Painted Man comes up trumps. Brett has the knack of making you care about his characters and you want ot know what happens to them. And better yet, to make you hungrily look forward to the next book, The Desert Spear.”

Dominion Post (New Zealand)

“Very likeable […] a very accomplished debut fantasy, without doubt exciting and with exceptionally well-rendered characters — the fate of whom the reader cares very much about. How the fight against demonkind will develop, I cannot guess, but I will most certainly be visiting Peter V. Brett’s misty and murky world to find out. Recommended.”

SFRevu (UK)

“A very good fantasy novel […] it’s original, it’s well-written, and it’s extremely absorbing […] The book is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever encountered in the genre, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if it ended up claiming an award or two along the way.”

Black Gate

“Not since Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind have I been this pleased with a debut. THE WARDED MAN is character-driven fantasy at its page-turning best. The three main protagonists are fully-realized people — magnificent and flawed at the same time. Watch them grow up in a world designed to beat them down. Can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Mysterious Galaxy

“Makes you genuinely excited by the idea of reading more […] will leave you impatient for the next installment.”

SFX Magazine (UK)

“Like many fantasy epics before it, this debut from Peter V. Brett bursts onto shelves with much anticipation and plenty of buzz. On opening this promised gem of literature, I was surprised to find that this time the hype is largely justified […] THE PAINTED MAN is a real treat, with Brett displaying a bucket-load of talent in making the familiar so gripping.”


“A strong debut. It’s highly inventive plot will captivate the imagination immediately. A page turner with a satisfying climax, it promises much more to come in future books.”

RT Book Reviews

“Brett is a spectacular writer. I cannot recommend THE WARDED MAN highly enough. It is thoroughly entertaining, having the right mix of suspense, action and introspection. It never bogs down for any of its length, as Brett paces the story masterfully. The world itself and the concept of the wards make the story unique among epic fantasies. The tale ends on a note of expectation, making me eager to read the second book, The Desert Spear, to find out what happens. THE WARDED MAN is truly unputdownable. Make sure you have plenty of time for reading it, because you will not want to leave its pages for anything.”

Grasping for the Wind

“Not only did I enjoy what I’d read but I’m left in the position of eagerly waiting to find out what’s to come.”

Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review

“Brett provides complex characters and plenty of action.”


“Captivating and well-written, quickly drawing readers in, THE WARDED MAN is a must-read for anyone looking for a new fantasy series to explore.”

School Library Journal

“Brett says he hopes to bring further psychological depth to his demons as well as his mortals. Considering the fine start he’s made here in his first published novel, I think he’s likely to pull it off.”


“Overall with superb characterization, suspensful action and accomplished writing, THE PAINTED MAN is a very assured debut that will make its way onto many Best of 2008 lists. Highly, highly recommended.”

Fantasy Book Critic

“The writing is incredible. Fast action sequences alternate with stretches of introspection, so you feel you really know the characters–both the good and the bad–and what they’re working towards. The world is written with such detail that you can almost step right into it. THE WARDED MAN is an epic novel that comes up with a lot of fresh ideas. An excellent read.”

SciFi Fan Letter

“This is hearty, muscular fare. There is no formula here and little to remind you of other writers. Brett has found his own way to his own world, on the F train. We’re glad to be along for the ride.”

January Magazine

“A stunning character focused fantasy set in a vividly realised world […] such great promise to deliver an excellent story arc […] I’m now officially a fan for life.”

Walker of Worlds

“A lot of zing. If you are looking for some great heroic epic fantasy, wiht a lot of action and character building (with a pretty cool magic system), THE WARDED MAN delivers this in full force. One of the more exciting fantasy reads out there.”

Best Fantasy Books

“I loved this book […] If you haven’t tried this series yet, please do. It has magic, demons, grit and drama. What more could a fantasy fan want?”

Fantasy Faction

“It’s a bold debut, and it is no wonder that with it, Brett established himself in Epic Fantasy circles very quickly indeed. It’s a pure hit of epic fantasy.”

Functional Nerds

“Peter Brett has a tremendous talent for story-telling […] this is the series to get on board.”

Staffer’s Musings

“I enjoyed THE WARDED MAN immensely. There is much to admire in Peter Brett’s writing, and his concept is brilliant. Action and suspense all the way; he made me care about his characters and want to know what’s going to happen next.”

Terry Brooks, the New York Times bestselling author of the Shannara Chronicles

“Peter Brett’s tremendously readable first novel, THE WARDED MAN, is set in a harsh and feudal world in which demons rule the night. No one is free until a hero rises who is willing to defy the demons, but at a terrible price. THE WARDED MAN works not only as a great adventure novel, but a reflection on the nature of heroism.”

Charlaine Harris, the New York Times bestselling author of ALL TOGETHER DEAD

Awards & Accolades

United Kingdom

#43 UK Bookscan hardcover fiction list

United Kingdom

#13 UK Bookscan fantasy list

United Kingdom

#2 UK Bookscan hardcover fantasy list


#4 Eslite Foreign Literature chart


#1 Yentha’s Best Books of the week

United Kingdom

Amazon UK: “Best of 2008”


ALA: “Top Five Fantasy of 2009”


Mass Market: "In its 26th printing"