What I can remember about the book:

  • I read it in the late 90s/early 00s;
  • the protagonist was a priest/monk, from a temple that used fire magic;
  • the protagonist was scarred/burnt in some way, when he went below the temple/monastery and discovered the secret of the fire - his face is covered by a mask (I think), and his hands with gloves;
  • the city where the story takes place is ruled by vampires, and there is a vampire king;
  • I believe this book was the first in a series.

The story starts when the monk/priest is coming down the mountains and arriving at the city. I can't recall his reasons for being there, but he enters the city and the story picks up speed from there.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think the protagonist's hands were so badly burned that the gloves he wears also complement the stubs that are left of his fingers - in other words, they act as prosthetic hands, almost.

Another thing I recall, is that at the end of the book, he and one of the other main characters from the book escape the city through some form of portal to another place, and that is where the grounds for a second book are set up.

I really enjoyed this book and would love to re-read it at the very least, and perhaps read the rest of the series, if it exists. I just cannot find anything on the Web resembling what I am looking for - the details I have are too vague to conduct a proper search, which leaves me wading through an immense amount of irrelevant data.

Does anyone have any suggestions of the book/series I am speaking of?

  • "discovered the secret of fire"? Surely they had fire.
    – Valorum
    Dec 24, 2014 at 11:34
  • 1
    @Richard Having the ability to make fire does not necessarily mean you know all its secrets. I have gas burners in my flat, but I willingly admit I don't know how to build a flamethrower.
    – user867
    Nov 4, 2015 at 5:06

1 Answer 1


This is The Forging Of The Shadows, by Oliver Johnson.

It's been a while since I read it, so my memory is sketchy. It's set in a city that has been taken over by vampires, and three heroes unite to try to survive. One of them, according to amazon.co.uk's writeup is a priest of flame, hideously scarred, and I vaguely remember that he wears a mask to hide the scars.

It's the first book of a trilogy, so if you liked the first one, there's two more to look forward to.

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