Published in the US as The Warded Man (2009).
Sometimes there is very good reason to be afraid of the dark…
Eleven-year-old Arlen lives with his parents on their small farmstead, half a day's ride from the isolated hamlet of Tibbet's Brook.
As dusk falls upon Arlen's world, a strange mist rises from the ground; a mist that promises a violent death to any foolish enough to brave the coming darkness, for hungry corelings – demons that cannot be harmed by mortal weapons – materialize from the vapours to feed on the living. As the sun sets, people have no choice but to take shelter behind magical wards and pray that their protection holds until the creatures dissolve with the first signs of dawn.
When Arlen's life is shattered by the demon plague, he is forced to see that it is fear, rather than the demons, which truly cripples humanity. Believing that there is more to his world than to live in constant fear, he must risk leaving the safety of his wards to discover a different path.
In the small town of Cutter's Hollow, Leesha's perfect future is destroyed by betrayal and a simple lie. Publicly shamed, she is reduced to gathering herbs and tending an old woman more fearsome than the corelings. Yet in her disgrace, she becomes the guardian of dangerous ancient knowledge.
Orphaned and crippled in a demon attack, young Rojer takes solace in mastering the musical arts of a Jongleur, only to learn that his unique talent gives him unexpected power over the night.
Together, these three young people will offer humanity a last, fleeting chance of survival.
"The Painted Man works not only as a great adventure novel but also as a reflection on the nature of heroism." - Charlaine Harris
"Peter V. Brett is one of my favourite new authors." - Patrick Rothfuss
Peter V. Brett is the bestselling author of The Demon Cycle, which includes The Warded Man (first published as The Painted Man in the U.K. by Del Rey Books), The Desert Spear, The Daylight War and The Skull Throne. The final book in the series, The Core, is expected in 2017. In addition to the quintet, he has published three novellas, The Great Bazaar, Brayan's Gold, and Messenger's Legacy, as well as Red Sonja: Unchained and Red Sonja: Blue for Dynamite Comics. Raised on a steady diet of fantasy novels, comic books, and Dungeons & Dragons, Brett has been writing fantasy stories for as long as he can remember. He received a bachelor of arts degree in English literature and art history from the University at Buffalo in 1995, then worked for a decade in pharmaceutical publishing before returning to his bliss. He lives in Manhattan.
Written by Booknan the Bookuser (2015-09-01)
Two thirds of the book is spent on backstory and character-building, and the book ends when things are finally getting interesting. Brett is also too obvious when moralizing, not clever when borrowing inspiration from the real world, and some of the things his characters do does not make sense, although we've spent almost two-thirds of the book getting to know them! It's basically Dragon Age: Origins, but not as fun or interesting.