One of our first fantasy books! The series started with 'The Sunset Warrior' in 1977 (Van Lustbader’s debut novel) and the other four books followed from the same cycle:, 'Shallows of Night' in 1978, 'Dai-San' in 1978, 'Beneath an Opal Moon' in 1980, 'Dragons on the Sea of Night' in 1997. Originally a trilogy and published by WH Allen in the UK as such, there is no hardcover UK edition of book four. The standout for us is the Bruce Pennington dust jackets of the UK editions, love them! but finding copies that are not sun faded on the spine is next to impossible.

Eric Van Lustbader:

The Sunset Warrior Sequence

In an underground world, a rogue swordsman fights to save civilization

Centuries after an ecological calamity turned the surface of the world to ice, mankind has retreated beneath the earth’s crust.

In the contained environment of the Freehold, civilization reverts to feudalism and lords known as Saardin maintain their grip on power through the strength of their Bladesmen.

Among these subterranean samurai is Ronin, an unaffiliated warrior who lives by his blade alone. When war threatens to engulf the Freehold, this wandering fighter will be called on to save mankind. As battle draws near, Ronin attempts to stay out of the conflict. But in an environment as claustrophobic as this crumbling underground shelter, neutrality is impossible.

To prevent what remains of humanity from destroying itself in an underground war, the Bladesman will embark on a quest that takes him to the frozen surface of a forgotten world to feel for the first time the heat of the sun.

WH Allen First Edition hardcover

Ronin never believed there could be life on the surface of the earth. He was a Bladesman of the Freehold, a subterranean city built centuries ago to shelter civilization from the ecological catastrophe that coated the world with ice. But when the rulers of the Freehold turned on him, Ronin fled the only way he could: up, to the frozen surface.

Accompanied by Borros, the Magic Man, Ronin strikes out across the ice shelf, seeking shelter beside the frozen sea. What the pair finds is the exotic port city of Sha’angh’sei, home to the beautiful Kiri, where Ronin finds that everything is his for the taking. But even in this land of pleasure, they are not free from danger.

Mythic creatures called Makkon threaten destruction. Ronin and Kiri must fight side by side to defeat this terrifying adversary.

WH Allen First Edition hardcover

In was Kai-feng, the end of days, the time of chaos.

One by one, the four grisly abominations called the Makkon had come together, marshaling their inhuman armies to reap a bitter harvest of death. Mankind's struggle to turn back the tide of blood was doomed, for soon the hideous Makkon would summon their master, The Dolman. Truly, then, would all hope be lost.

No choice, no chance remained for humanity -- save only one. The arcane magics of the mysterious Scroll of the Ancients would have to be invoked.

For only if Ronin could discover the true meaning of the Scroll's secrets would he unlock the power to face the inconceivable horror of The Dolman, in the final battle at the end of time.

WH Allen First Edition hardcover

As we stated books four and five take place in the same world and should perhaps be seen as builds on the core trilogy. Book five was published twenty years after ‘The Sunset Warrior’, so whilst still featuring Ronin, the authors’ style is somewhat advanced since the original. The art for the Voyager edition of book five was done by Don Maitz!

The story's protagonist is Moichi-Annai-Nin, a navigator and 'blood brother' to the Sunset Warrior who is cooling his heels in the wondrously chaotic metropolis of Sha'angh'sei after having participated in the Kai-Feng, the last battle for humankind.

Moichi's reverie however is brought to a harsh end when he is asked by a friend, and the regent of the city, Aerent, to investigate a series of brutal deaths. Along the way Moichi meets the beautiful and enigmatic Aufeya, who is linked to both the victims and murderers, and the Bujun warrior Chiisai.

Moichi's adventures take him, Aufeya and Chiisai to exotic lands to confront a mad sorceress, Sardonyx, and the struggle to possess a powerful magical artifact, the fabled Firemask.

Doubleday first edition, ex-lib hardcover

He was but a man named Ronin.

Trained as a swordsman, endowed with breathtaking skill, he was not destined merely to live and then die in a doomed city beneath a frozen world.

Many years have passed since he first ventured into the void. Now he possesses powers beyond all imagining—godlike abilities both marvelous and terrible.

Now he is revered and feared as savior and avenger, the tamer of monstrous beasts, the destroyer of the dark angel of Chaos—and dearly loved by his devoted bond-brother, Moichi Annai-Nin, and the beautiful, enigmatic, and lethal Chiisai.

Now he is Dai-San, the Sunset Warrior

The Pearl Saga (Trilogy):

The first volume opens as the Kundalan people have suffered for a century under the viciously oppressive, technologically-superior V'ornn invaders.

In the resulting crisis of faith -- why hasn't their goddess Miina saved them? -- Kundalan religion has fallen under the control of evil forces from within who forbid the teaching of traditional sorcery, pretending to have no magic of their own. The V'ornn's mysterious leaders, the Gyrgon, know better, and search for the lost Ring of Five Dragons, the key to the door of the fabled Kundalan Storehouse, and perhaps to Kundalan sorcery as well.

But misused, the Ring is the trigger of seemingly inexorable annihilation for V'ornn and Kundalan alike. Now from among the oppressed must arise the hero of prophecy, the Dar Sala-at, who alone can wield the sorcerous power to save the world.

Thus begins a huge epic rooted in the conflict between spiritual and technological cultures. The twisting plot raises difficult and provocative moral questions in the course of a constantly surprising, sometimes shocking, fantastic adventure that will transport fantasy readers to new heights of enthusiasm, and make them ask for more.

First edition hardcover

First edition hardcover

First edition hardcover

Trade paperback

Trade paperback

Trade paperback