The Painted Man (titled The Warded Man in the US) is a fantasy novel written by American writer Peter V. Brett. It is the first part of the Demon Cycle. It was first published by HarperCollins's Voyager imprint in the United Kingdom on 1 September 2008, and was published in the United States under the title of The Warded Man in March 2009. It has been translated into German, Japanese, Polish, Czech, French, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese.
The novel follows three POV characters in their passage from childhood to maturity. They are inhabitants of a world plagued by the attacks of demons known as corelings, which rise from the planet's core each night to feast upon humans. The ongoing attrition of these attacks have reduced humanity from an advanced state of technology to a 'dark age'. The only defense against the corelings are wards (magical runes) that can be drawn, painted, or inscribed to form protective barriers around human settlements. These are, however, fragile and prone to failure unless properly maintained.
As the novel progresses, the protagonists each embark upon their own "hero's journey" in an effort to save humanity.
In writing the tale, Brett was keen to move beyond a simple adventure story, to present a fantasy novel about fear and its impact. He was particularly interested in the effect of fear "causing some to freeze up and others to leap into action".