Ombria in Shadow

( 7 )

Overview

When Ombria’s prince, Royce Greve, breathes his last—in palace rooms high above the city—he leaves his young son and mistress at the mercy of his ancient and powerful great-aunt, Domina Pearl. Meanwhile, in a dreamlike underworld peopled by Ombria’s ghosts, a sorceress weaves her spells and brews her potions, never revealing her real face—or true heart. And somewhere in between, the struggle to rule the whole of Ombria—both its light and shadows—will rest in the hands of those whose fractured lives align like the...

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Ombria in Shadow

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Overview

When Ombria’s prince, Royce Greve, breathes his last—in palace rooms high above the city—he leaves his young son and mistress at the mercy of his ancient and powerful great-aunt, Domina Pearl. Meanwhile, in a dreamlike underworld peopled by Ombria’s ghosts, a sorceress weaves her spells and brews her potions, never revealing her real face—or true heart. And somewhere in between, the struggle to rule the whole of Ombria—both its light and shadows—will rest in the hands of those whose fractured lives align like the lost pieces of a magical puzzle….

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Patricia A. McKillip, author of award-winning novels such as The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and Harpist in the Wind, has written her best novel in years. Ombria in Shadow is a surreal mixture of fantasy, romance, and fairy tale where the lines between reality and myth become blurred in the shadows of an ancient city.

Ombria is a place heaped with history -- and secrets. There is a buried city beneath it inhabited by ghosts, accessible only through magical passages and long-forgotten doorways. When the Prince of Ombria dies suddenly, his wicked great-aunt Domina Pearl seizes power by becoming regent to the prince's young son, Kyel. Minutes after the prince's death, Domina kicks Lydea, the prince's longtime mistress, out into the streets to die. But she is saved by a strange girl named Mag, a supposed waxling created by a powerful sorceress who lives underneath the city. With the help of Mag and the prince's bastard nephew, a strange, silver-eyed man obsessed with drawing, Lydea tries to save Kyel and somehow defeat Domina.

Reading Ombria in Shadow was an absolute delight. Not just a haunting bittersweet story with truly captivating characters but a beautifully designed book as well. The cover art by Kinuko Y. Craft makes this a book lover's treasure. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
Harking back to some of her earliest works (namely The Forgotten Beasts of Eld), McKillip offers up a ghostly tale of human emotions gone astray in a city that lives and dies in endless cycles. Greed, despair, grief and avarice have all taken their toll on the once-beautiful city of Ombria, but it is the death of its prince that pushes it over the edge into darkness and shadow. Several key players participate in this particular procession of dying and rebirth: Kyel Greve, the new prince-to-be who is too young to rule but old enough to feel the despair of those around him; Lydea, the dying prince's lover who feels the weight of the city resting on her shoulders; Ducon Greve, the bastard prince who sees and feels the change happening but is in no position to alter the coming darkness; Domina Pearl, the sorceress who is pushing the city even further on its path of destruction; and Mag and Faey, two mysterious women who hold some of the past, present and future of Ombria inside them. In tone more gothic horror than straight fantasy, this somber novel lacks a clear protagonist, each character being more intent on finding his or her own path than fighting any clear battle. But the fine prose is nothing less than what one would expect from a World Fantasy Award winner, while the detailed portraits of the dying city coupled with the gloomy attitude of its citizenry are quite chilling. (Jan. 8) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
The Prince of Ombria lies dying. His aunt, called the Black Pearl, is poised to take over, and very few can oppose her: Kyel, the child-heir; Ducon, the Prince's bastard nephew, more interested in sketching than in ruling; and Lydea, once mistress to the Prince and now a lowly barmaid. But there is another Ombria, existing in the shadows beneath this one, inhabited by a sorceress and her human child-servant Mag. The sorceress knows a secret about Ombria, but she has no interest in the affairs of the world above, until the Black Pearl dares to interfere in her own life. This hallucinatory novel is almost impossible to summarize, but it is wonderful, and fans of historical fantasy will love it. For all fantasy collections. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Berkley, Ace, 298p., Root
VOYA
Veteran fantasy author McKillip will please her many fans and win new ones with this haunting Gothic fantasy. During the past decade, she has produced half a dozen fantasy novels, each in the same small format with sumptuous jacket illustrations by Kinuko Craft. Here she draws readers into the crumbling, brooding port city of Ombria, whose young prince, Royce Greve, has recently died, leaving his vulnerable young son, Kyel, in the dubious care of the malignant regent Domina Pearl. Kyel's survival becomes the focal point of intrigues in the corrupt and decadent city
— Walter Hogan
Library Journal
The death of Ombria's prince places the city and its child-heir in the hands of a ruthless regent. Only the late prince's former mistress, a bastard nephew, and a sorcerer's apprentice stand between the machinations of the ageless and apparently deathless Domina Pearl and the true heir to the city. In her latest novel, award-winning fantasy author McKillip (The Tower at Stony Wood) creates an intriguing and compelling portrait of a city born of light and shadow, whose citizens may discover the means to cross the borders between the real and the merely possible. The author's graceful prose and remarkable depth of characterization bring to life a tale of love and loyalty that transcends time and space and belongs in most fantasy collections. Highly recommended for both adult and YA readers. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780441010165
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/21/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 474,382
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.01 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia A. McKillip is a winner of the World Fantasy Award, and the author of many fantasy novels, including The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy, Stepping from the Shadows, and The Cygnet and the Firebird. She lives in Oregon.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 9 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    McKillip at her richest and most beguiling.

    All of McKillip's novels are beautiful. Her exquisite prose and her ability to capture the sense of magic (both light and dark) that imbues traditional fairy tales ensures that any novel she writes will tantalize and delight. Her style is deliciously archaic, even baroque, and she has a habit of giving the reader the bare minimum of information to make the plot and motivations of her characters understandable, tingeing every action with the spice of mystery. This has worked not very well in some novels -- I found the climax of In the Forests of Serre near-incomprehensible -- but even when the mystery isn't working her novels are delightful confections designed to be savored.

    Ombria in Shadow is McKillip at her best -- a dark chocolate truffle, rich and beguiling. The city of Ombria, with its decaying streets, and its shadows that bleed into the underworld of its past, and its hints that there is yet another shadow city that may overlay Ombria itself, is the most breathtakingly beautiful McKillip creation I have encountered since I read Alphabet of Thorn (my first McKillip, though published two years later -- clearly McKillip was on a hot streak). The cast of characters is just as good, each one three-dimensional and bowed (but not broken) by heartbreak. And the central mystery, of how the city will cope with the loss of its prince in an already uncertain time, is always enticingly just out of reach until the climax, when strand after strand of the plot comes together in a breathless resolution that answers a host of questions and raises a dozen more, but which is still entirely satisfying on a visceral level. The denouement is quietly wonderful, granting the happy ending that seemed hopeless in a most unexpectedly melancholic way.

    All in all, I don't think I could have loved this book any more.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    beautiful lyrical fantasy

    Ombria is a city in trouble and its inhabitants know it. The ruler Royce Greve has died, leaving behind his heir, the child prince Kyel. However, serving as regent is Domina Pearle, an evil and ageless being, intending to rule with an iron fist. She practices the black arts and uses the sorcery of the shadow city to kill people. <P>The sorceress Faey has an assistant Mag, a curious young woman who likes to go into the city proper to spy on its inhabitants. A chance encounter with Domina Pearle makes Mag determined to keep the young prince alive along with his loving uncle Dicon. When Mag goes too far and is caught in Domina Pearl¿s clutches Faey travels to Ombria, causing a catastrophe of epic proportions. <P> OMBRIA IN SHADOWS is a beautiful lyrical fantasy, an adult fairy tale that makes no pretenses as to whom is whom when the forces of good battle those of evil. Patricia A. Mckillip has such a vivid imagination that readers will believe that the author has written about a place she actually visited. Readers will want more visits to the magical realm of Ombria. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    One of McKillip's formidable best.

    All of McKillip's novels are beautiful. Her exquisite prose and her ability to capture the sense of magic (both light and dark) that imbues traditional fairy tales ensures that any novel she writes will tantalize and delight. Her style is deliciously archaic, even baroque, and she has a habit of giving the reader the bare minimum of information to make the plot and motivations of her characters understandable, tingeing every action with the spice of mystery. This has worked not very well in some novels -- I found the climax of In the Forests of Serre near-incomprehensible -- but even when the mystery isn't working her novels are delightful confections designed to be savored.

    Ombria in Shadow is McKillip at her best -- a dark chocolate truffle, rich and beguiling. The city of Ombria, with its decaying streets, and its shadows that bleed into the underworld of its past, and its hints that there is yet another shadow city that may overlay Ombria itself, is the most breathtakingly beautiful McKillip creation I have encountered since I read Alphabet of Thorn (my first McKillip, though published two years later -- clearly McKillip was on a hot streak). The cast of characters is just as good, each one three-dimensional and bowed (but not broken) by heartbreak. And the central mystery, of how the city will cope with the loss of its prince in an already uncertain time, is always enticingly just out of reach until the climax, when strand after strand of the plot comes together in a breathless resolution that answers a host of questions and raises a dozen more, but which is still entirely satisfying on a visceral level. The denouement is quietly wonderful, granting the happy ending that seemed hopeless in a most unexpectedly melancholic way.

    All in all, I don't think I could have loved this book any more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2005

    Breathtaking

    Ombria in Shadow comes close to the top of my list of favorite books. Patricia's verbal imagary leaves one speechless and in awe of what is happening. The secrets, passion, and beauty make this one of the best books I've ever read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted May 4, 2012

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    Posted September 2, 2009

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    Posted December 9, 2008

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    Posted August 6, 2010

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    Posted January 9, 2010

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