This book, along with its sequel 'Hunter's Death' is a favorite. If you love fantasy with depth, courage and sacrifce, you need to read these novels. Keep tissue handy.
This duology (Hunter's Oath & Hunter's Death) is one story in two books, not really two separate novels.
After reading the Greg Keyes "Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone" books, I was
in the mood for some more epic fantasy; however West's books compare
very badly to those.
The story starts out with a somewhat promising premise: The Hunter
Lords of Breodanir are an elite class, pledged to their hunter god.
However, each Lord is oathbound to a Huntbrother, picked from the
peasantry, who lives as partner and brother for life - which is often
not that long, as hunter Lords and Huntbrothers are regularly killed
in their ritual hunts.
The story follows Stephen, Huntbrother, and his Lord, Gilliam. Stephen
turns out to be an intelligent young man, hungry for learning, while
Gilliam is crude, crass, and tends to behave much like his beloved
hunting dogs. The hunt is his only interest.
If the story had just stuck with these two characters and their
personal conflicts within their own society, I think I would have
liked the story.
However, soon a Wise and Beautiful Sorceress, Evayne, shows up. She is
one of the most one-dimensional characters I've ever encountered. No
clue is given to her background, personal feelings, etc. She warns of
Evil Demons, trapped underground, who want to break out and Take Over.
(Very cliche.) For some reason, which I can't quite remember, as it
felt very contrived, in the second book, Stephen & Gilliam have to
travel to the foreign city of Averalaan and help Evayne stop the
That's an extremely short summary of what is in reality an extremely
long and often tedious story. I nearly gave up on it at times, but
then it would pick up and catch my interest for a bit - so I did
finish, but overall I would say it never gets better than mediocre.