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Literature / The Redemption of Althalus

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The Redemption of Althalus is a stand-alone fantasy novel by David and Leigh Eddings about... well, the Redemption of Althalus.

In his early adult life, Althalus was a thief. Since he was neither strong enough to rob people by force nor small and fast enough to steal via stealth, he aspired to become successful by outwitting his targets. He did, and he managed to gain a reputation as the best thief in the northern wilds of the world. After hearing of the wealth available in the cities to the south, he decided to try his luck there. When things didn't go well, he returned home and accepted a job to steal a Book from the House at the End of the World.

Upon reaching the house, Althalus met the goddess Dweia and became her disciple, spending multiple centuries preparing for the final confrontation between the forces of good and evil, before embarking on a journey with her to find those needed to unite and destroy the evil that threatened the world.


This book provides examples of:

  • Adipose Rex: Gosti Big Belly is just a clan chief, but otherwise fits the bill.
  • The Alcoholic: Twengor until Althalus cures him.
  • The Atoner: Bheid, eventually.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Lampshaded: Each good character has an evil counterpart, and they are the only ones who are allowed to confront them, despite Althalus preferring to get things over with quickly.
  • Big Bad: Daeva
  • Big Brother Instinct: Deiwos threatens Althalus with divine retribution if he doesn't treat Dweia right. Althalus gets the If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... speech from God.
  • Big Eater: Eliar (though he grows out of it), and Gosti.
  • Big Good: Dweia
  • Blood Knight: Gelta
  • Book-Ends: The last section of the book is Althalus going back in time to revisit his adventure in Gosti's hall and his meeting with Ghend, and making it play out differently this time.
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  • Broken Bird: Leitha
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: All the heroes are beautiful, strong, wise or great. All the villains are deformed, ugly, scarred and smell bad. Without exception, if a character is described in negative adjectives, they are minions of Daeva.
  • Burn the Witch!: Nearly happens to Leitha, before Althalus and crew save her.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Ghend, who first shows up to recruit Althalus for the job of stealing the Book and then, chapters later, turns out to the be The Dragon (although when a character is described as reflecting fire in his eyes even when the real fire has gone out and carries around a book whose writing makes even someone who can't read uncomfortable, it's pretty obvious there's something more at work). A subtler example is the mad eremite in Kaghwer who talks to God and points Althalus towards the Edge of the World. When he is met again in the re-run at the end of the book, it turns out he was talking to himself.
  • Crystal Ball: The windows of the House.
  • Death Seeker: Yakhag. The only emotion he has left is a faint desire to die.
  • Designated Love Interest: With the exception of Althalus-Emmy, all the romantic unions are handwaved or done off-screen in the span of two paragraphs. The most ludicrous was Andine and Elial, who passed from being obsessed with killing him (he slaughtered her father in blood frenzy) to love him desperately in the span of two weeks, after being chewed once by Althalus and Gher, because he wasn't really at fault but the person who contracted him as a soldier. The rest are not better.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: One of Ghend's plans to destabilise the lowlands is to forment a peasant revolt, by sending out a group of priests in red robes to preach about the oppression of the underclass, equality and redistribution of wealth.
  • Divine Date: Althalus and Dweia
  • Empty Shell: Yakhag again.
  • Eternal English: When Althalus emerges from the House after two thousand years, he has no trouble understanding anybody, this may be part of his training.
  • Evil Counterpart: Everybody has one (Ghend for Althalus, Argan for Bheid, Koman for Leitha, Khnom for Gher, Gelta for Andine, Pekhal for Eliar and Daeva for Dweia).
  • Expy: Many, many expies for characters from Eddings's earlier books.
    • Althalus himself bears many similarities to both Silk and Belgarath from The Belgariad.
  • Fate Worse than Death: How Gelta is dealt with, by sending her to a room in The House. "It's a fairly nice room, it just doesn't have any doors or windows."
    • Given his reactions to it, Yakhag's life is this.
    • Koman's reaction to Leitha disconnecting his ability to read minds certainly suggests this is how he viewed it.
  • Fiction 500: Dweia leads Althalus to the location of an enormous storehouse of gold that he uses to hire all the Arum clans as mercenary armies.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Daeva's headquarters Nahgharash apparently looks like this.
  • Five-Man Band
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: Played straight with Deiwos, averted with Dweia.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Althalus returns to the past and becomes thieving partners with Ghend.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Yakhag
  • Heel–Face Turn: Andine, who spends the first part of the book trying to kill Eliar.
  • Heroic BSoD: Bheid has this after he kills Yakhag.
  • High Fantasy
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Deiwos to Althalus.
  • I Have Many Names: There are dozens of gods in the world, known by names like Kherdhos and Apwos. Turns out that there's only three gods- Deiwos, Daeva and Dweia. Apwos, Kherdhos and all the others are just other names for Deiwos- cultures looked at what was most important to them, like lakes or herds, and turned that into the names of their god- Apwos means 'water god' and Kherdhos means 'herd god'.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Pekhal likes eating human flesh.
  • Immortal Immaturity
  • Informed Attribute / Offstage Villainy: Despite the numerous comments made by Dweia, as well as Argan and Koman, suggesting that the depths of Yakhag's evil is too horrible to discuss, and Gelta's obvious terror of him, the most villainous thing he's portrayed or discussed doing is killing a relatively minor character in a fairly straightforward manner.
  • Invincible Hero: The Villains are, to a T, incredible stupid and incompetent compared to the heroes and in the over Five different war fronts, they never, ever so much as put a dent into the heroes plans the closest was when Perka nearly killed Eliar, cutting the heroes from the doors, and yet their armies were slaughtered over and over and over again with barely an effort.
  • Language of Magic - Proto-Indo-European.
  • The Legions of Hell
  • Loophole Abuse: Althalus occasionally uses very loose definitions of words to make magic work. Although it's pointed out that the Book wants to help them, it's Dweia who insists on exact terms.
  • Love Goddess: Dweia is the goddess of love and fertility.
  • Medieval Stasis: Averted, the story starts in the Bronze Age and ends in the Iron Age, and some characters are from the Stone Age.
  • Merlin and Nimue: Dweia and Althalus, minus the betrayal.
  • Negative Continuity: With Dweia appearance. The first time she was described as otherworldly beautiful, a level of perfection that left all the heroes speechless and was obviously beyond mortal ken. All her other encounters with mortals (Arums mostly), her beauty is unremarked by anybody or treated as any other woman in her real form. This is never explained in anyway.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Leitha thinks so anyway.
  • Mordor: Nekweros.
  • Multinational Team
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Daeva is the god of destruction, and the job he does is important- it's when he decides to destroy everything that things get out of hand.
  • The Only One
  • Orcus on His Throne: Daeva
  • Painting the Medium: The scenes where the villains and Dweia try to change history or the future are printed in a different font than the rest of the narrative.
  • Papa Wolf: Althalus.
  • Parental Substitute: Althalus and Dweia take the roles of surrogate parents to the rest of the group.
  • Physical God
  • Place Beyond Time
  • Portal Network: both the House and Nahgharash.
  • Portal to the Past
  • The Power of Friendship: Good wins because their evil counterparts only care about themselves.
  • Psychic Link
  • Purple Prose : The "hey-let's-change-history" parts (in a different font, no less) are not as purple as most fanfiction, but more purple than the rest of the text. Lampshaded by the characters.
  • The Quest
  • Really 700 Years Old
  • Revenge Myopia: Andine to Eliar over her father's death. She gets over it eventually.
  • Rewriting Reality
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory
  • Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: The witch-hunter who tries to burn Leitha. According to her, he specifically targets women he finds attractive.
  • Sinister Minister: Argan
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Andine's relationship with Eliar starts out with her wanting to brutally and slowly kill him for the death of her father, and ends with them getting Happily Married.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Averted. While Althalus would prefer to die and the mines are considered the ultimate form of evil, most of the characters are indifferent to slaves or are quite ready to profit from it with war prisioners (Ghebel and Kalor).
  • The Starscream: Argan would kill Ghend and take his place in a heartbeat if he could.
  • Stepford Smiler: Leitha
  • The Strategist: Khalor
  • Suffer the Slings: The shepards can kill a charging warhorse with a well-aimed shot; they soon become very popular among the mercenary army.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Althalus gets Leitha onto a battlefield by pretending that she is a male ballista specialist. This leads to an officer hearing her distract Koman with random numbers and assuming that she is doing calculations.
  • Teleporters and Transporters
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: Deiwos made the universe, but that doesn't mean he gives a damn about maintaining it in any way
  • There Are No Therapists: Andine and Leitha
  • Tsundere: Andine
  • Unsexy Sadist: Gelta is sexually aroused by blood and death, and is also described as very ugly, overweight and masculine-looking.
  • Vow of Celibacy: Celibacy is either required or recommended for at least some religious organisations. One village priest deals very badly with it, deciding that the women to whom he is attracted must be using witchcraft on him (since a moral person like himself wouldn't struggle so, otherwise). This results in them getting burned at the stake.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The telepaths, Leitha and Koman, are vulnerable to people thinking lists of numbers and fractions- specifically, out of order numbers and fractions.
  • Weddings for Everyone
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After the good guys rescue Leitha from being burned at the stake, they leave without doing anything permanent about the priest. The man had killed countless other girls for alleged witchcraft, and would very likely continue to do so unless stopped, but once the heroes save the one girl they need, they don't care anymore.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Althalus robs somebody but doesn't take anything because he doesn't understand what paper money is.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Dweia and Daeva are fond of this when they're making and breaking prophecies. Althalus tends to make fun of it.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: played straight and inverted.
  • You Killed My Father: The reason that Andine wants to kill Eliar, though the good guys convince her to let it go.

Example of: