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by Will Elliott

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Eric Albright was a luckless journalist living in London. He had a so-so life…until the day he opened a battered red door that appeared on the graffiti-covered wall of a local bridge, and entered Levaal, a magical world between worlds. A place populated by power damaged mages, stone giants, pit devils—and dragons, Levaal's possible creators, who are


Eric Albright was a luckless journalist living in London. He had a so-so life…until the day he opened a battered red door that appeared on the graffiti-covered wall of a local bridge, and entered Levaal, a magical world between worlds. A place populated by power damaged mages, stone giants, pit devils—and dragons, Levaal's possible creators, who are imprisoned in a sky prison. It is also where the mad Lord Vous rules with an iron fist and is busy working on a scheme to turn himself into a god. Vous has been defeated so far because Levaal has been contained by the great Wall at World's End.

But the Wall at World's End has been brought down, war is coming to the land, and Eric and his newfound friends are caught in the thick of it. They are forced to flee from the Tormentors, dreadful creatures that have poured through the breach, and there are rumors that one of the great dragons has escaped its sky prison.

Worse yet, Vous's journey to godhood is almost complete, and a mysterious being called Shadow (who is not but looks remarkably like Eric) is wandering Levaal with great power but no purpose it yet understands.
The end might be coming faster than anyone thinks.Shadow is the second title in Will Elliott's fantasy Pendulum Trilogy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Elliott expends little effort in making this tepid sequel to 2014’s The Pilgrims accessible to newcomers. Those who skip over the Dramatis Personae list at the beginning will not find its vital information elsewhere, and the absence of even a brief prologue makes the plot murky for anyone without a solid recall of the previous book. Eric, an undistinguished journalist, chanced upon the world of Levaal by entering a red door, and is now known in that realm as the Pilgrim. As this book opens, a god with the uninspired name of Valour warns that “the Pendulum has begun to swing,” presaging radical changes for Levaal. Eric is viewed as a counter to the forces of darkness threatening the realm, someone whose talent for “changing people’s minds” could make “all the world... beautiful.” The notion of the human savior of another reality is familiar to epic fantasy fans, and Elliott doesn’t offer any memorable variations on it. Readers who enjoy smooth narration will also be uncomfortable with Elliott’s radical changes of tone. Agent: Lyn Tranter, Australian Literary Management. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

Praise for the Pendulum Trilogy

“The first stage in a gloriously wayward journey through the shattered relics of standard epic fantasy that left me eager to continue.”—Locus on The Pilgrims

“A gripping series of events moves briskly…leaving us all wanting to know what happens to the world as much as to our protagonists.”—RT Book Reviews

“The author's not only a superb craftsman and character-builder, but a consummate storyteller, so that each good-against-evil clash appears fresh and engrossing.”—Kirkus Reviews

Library Journal
Eric Albright traveled through a door in London to an epic fantasy world in The Pilgrims. The story continues here as Eric fights the forces of Lord Vous now that the Wall at World's End is down and war spills over the land.
Kirkus Reviews
Second, and even more bewildering, entry in the Pendulum trilogy (The Pilgrims, 2014).This book picks up where the previous one left off—more or less. Apathetic London journalist Eric Albright, together with his only friend, Case, a chess-playing drunk, stumbled into Levaal, a land dominated by a huge, white, dragon-shaped castle, where they're called Pilgrims and have certain powers. The castle's Lord Vous, through the agency of the Arch Mage, is on the verge of becoming a god. Somehow, Vous has created a being, the Shadow, which he fears. This powerful yet enigmatic Shadow wears Eric's face and has the ability to manifest almost anywhere. Vous' chief wizard, the Arch Mage, helped destroy the vast Wall dividing this part of Levaal from its southern counterpart, apparently so as to use the evil magic found there for his own purposes. Case finds his way into the skystone, where Vyin, a friendly dragon, transforms him into—something else. Many of the characters—by and large an ill-informed or unreliable bunch, though with a certain presence—converge, by accident or design, on a magical tower. The background features powerful, hostile dragons intent on escaping their ancient imprisonment, demonic Tormentors, various factions involved in a civil war and a (figurative) Pendulum's existential swing. Elliott's vision is highly inventive, and he writes attractively clear prose. Indeed, the individual parts fascinate and beguile, but even patient, attentive readers will find themselves groping to understand the overall concept. The narrative terminates in what might be dubbed an anti-cliffhanger: It just stops, and what it all adds up to, or where it's going, is anybody's guess.

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Pendulum Trilogy Series , #2
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.40(d)

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Read an Excerpt


Book II of the Pendulum Trilogy

By Will Elliott

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2011 Will Elliott
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3189-2




There are horse hooves thudding on the Great Dividing Road. Their beat is fast, urgent. The world has the soft blurred edges of a dream, the deep purple twilight seeming to filter through water. Fragments of memory like broken possessions float in a dark pool but do not break through to its surface. There is just the beating of hooves: closer, closer it comes.

The man's heart, recently still, now beats in time with that sound. He groans. Warmth flushes through his cold flesh, beat by beat, until it reaches his stiff cold fingers. He cannot remember a thing, not a cursed thing: not his name, not how he came to be here in a pool of dried blood. His hand goes to his belly, his hand remembering something his mind does not. Then to his neck.

A light approaches from the south, comes close, swallows him, then heat is washing over him in pulsing waves. Above him is a rider on horseback, who pulls his steed to a halt. It hurts to look at the rider directly. The steed has silver barding which glows jewel-bright. Halted or not, the man can still hear the hoofbeats thudding down. 'Who are you?' he says hoarsely.

A voice, quietly commanding, answers, 'I am Valour. You are reprieved.'

Blooming light flares brightly about the god, filling all the world. The man feels for a long time that he is floating in it, laughing, forgetting everything and knowing only joy until the god speaks again to drag him back to the Great Dividing Road and the pool of dried blood. 'Hear me,' says Valour. 'There shall be no second reprieve, if again you fall. Not for you, nor for any other. I have altered the world itself to return your mortal life. I cannot do so again, lest my creator rise in wrath. Do you understand?'

'I do, my redeemer,' he says though he does not understand. He tries to see the god's face but cannot find its features in the light. He can feel Valour's gaze upon him, cold and warm at once.

'Stand again. You are a warrior, not a servant.'

He staggers to his feet. 'For what purpose do I live, my redeemer?'

'Act as you will: with freedom, till death take you. Take you it shall. But I say this: do not serve the brood. Come what may. Whether I leave this land or remain.'

'But, my redeemer ... why would you go?' The thought fills him with profound sadness.

'The brood wish to be free, for we Spirits to be gone. The day will come when I must ride to war. I do not know my future.' The light about Valour begins to withdraw.

'Wait! I love you dearly. Stay with me! I do not understand your words, my redeemer.'

'Then hear this. There are two great Dragons, not one. Now they are naked before each other. Ours still sleeps, the far one is awake. They bend their thoughts to war. The Conflict Point is World's End, where stood the Wall. Where the Great Road meets its twin.'

Valour tosses to the ground a chest-panel of plated metal. It lands with hardly a sound. Atop this he drops a sword, sheathed. 'I give you a part of myself,' says Valour, 'so that part of myself remains, if I am sent away. I cannot better aid a mortal man than this. You will take this sword, this armour. If you find a steed, tell it my name and it will serve you. Do not serve the brood. For the Pendulum has begun to swing. Hear me? The Pendulum has begun to swing.'

Tears run down the man's face. Then Valour is gone, and the only way he knew it was no dream or fevered vision is the armour and sword lying there for him, and the pools of dried blood. And his heart, beating again.



'Asked for me?' Case laughed. 'Now why the Christ would a bunch of fucking monster dragons or whatever you got up here ask for me?'

Evidently this was a question not worth answering, for the Invia ignored it. Her staring eyes were bright as little pools of water in sunlight, though they and her parted lips expressed nothing other than that she watched him. Case wondered if any human emotion stirred beneath. The wind gaily tossed around her snowy hair and ruffled her wings' long soft feathers. She stood on a shelf of air and stared.

Case's feet dangled from the edge of a jutting shelf just above the thick layer of the sky's lightstone. Though it was dimming to usher in night, its brightness was still painful. A long, long way below them the ground waited to thump the life out of him. He was beginning to get impatient for it. He'd flap his arms on the way down, whoop and bray like a jackass. Try not to land on anyone who didn't deserve it, though the odds were slim. He pictured a bunch of people going about their business and a suicidal old man landing among them making a hell of a mess, and he burst out laughing. He tossed his hat into the sky; the wind whisked it out of sight. 'If I jump, you're going to catch me, aren't you?'

Said the Invia, 'Yes. Don't!'

He laughed. 'Why the hell not?'

'It would annoy me.'

'Which would be just tragic. S'cuse me a moment, some things never go out of fashion.' Case scratched his balls with vigour. The Invia unfurled her wings and picked him up with effortless strength. 'Watch what the fuck you're doing!' he snarled as her hands pinched his underarms, already tender from the long flight after she'd plucked him from his would-be plunge to the death.

Her wings beat the air as she carried him higher through a funnel of deep grey stone, away from the lightstone, up to where she had to push him from beneath through a gap hardly big enough. After an uncomfortable crawl the space widened out to a vast cavern of smooth dark walls. Wind came at intervals through a hundred off-shooting holes bored in the cavern's domed roof and walls, singing eerie notes like a huge woodwind instrument being randomly blown. Now and then echoing inhuman cries reached them from deeper within.

Despite himself, Case was intrigued by the sense this vast bare dome was ancient, far older than anything people had built anywhere. Its age pressed down on him so tangibly he could feel it. The air was thick with a strange smell. 'Where're your dragons then?' he said.

'Not here! This is the Gate. They never come here. Not much.'

There was a distant thudding sound. The stone underfoot just faintly shivered. The Invia gave a fluttery excited whistle.

'That was big, whatever that was,' Case said. He sniffed deeply, trying to place the air's scent. His head began to spin and suddenly he was on his back. His thoughts spun dizzily until they broke down and became colours and shapes floating before his eyes – all the world just coloured shapes, each with its own simple meaning which needed no elaboration. Then there was a pleasant taste he sucked at greedily, something pressing against his lips. Slowly his mind came back together.

The Invia's expressionless eyes peered at him closely while she put her gashed wrist to his mouth, feeding him her blood. 'Are you alive?' she said.

Case wanted to make a smart-arse remark but all that came out was, 'Ehhhh ...'

'No walkers come here,' she said. A deep piping note played with a blast of cold wind from a nearby tunnel, throwing her hair around. 'The air is very strong here. Walkers are soft as their skin. They don't like it. Foolish walkers.'

There was a burst of movement and the tunnel directly overhead sang its high-blown note. A small flock of Invia poured through, filling the space about the tunnel's mouth. They exchanged fluttery whistles. Each of them shot off in a different direction, one alone pausing to stare down at Case before it flashed away in a blur of white wings and skin and scarlet hair.

The Invia waited for Case to recover from his faint. He was shaken by sudden cravings for half-a-dozen chemicals he'd been hooked on, once upon a time. He'd taught his body in the end to be content with just the booze; it was the best he could do. 'Not sure what hit me there,' he said.

'You're old, for a walker. And sick. Your aura's bad. Faint and sick.'

'Yeah well. You know my idea to fix all that. But you won't let me.' The enormous dome stretched in all directions further than he could see. 'What is this place for anyway? Doesn't look like a gate to me.'

She tapped the grey stone floor with a knuckle. 'Strong skystone. This keeps them here. They cannot break it. Or fit through gaps. They can't even change shape to fit through! It was made for this.'

'Got it,' he said.

'And the gods. They make sure it holds. This is how it works.'

'Yes, ma'am.'

'If the gods went away, it might be different.'

'I'll see what I can do.'

She leaned close to him, her bright sparkling eyes going wide. 'Already, Dyan escaped. He's just a Minor, but clever. There could be others, soon. They are trying to find out how. It's hard. Are you ready to fly?'

Case sat up, rubbing his head. Taking this for assent she grabbed him and flew, picking out a gap in the roof from the scores around it. Cold air blasted out in a low note, painfully loud as they plunged through the wide stone maw, the tunnel snaking around but always leading upward. From off-shooting ones to either side came the occasional shriek reminiscent of the Invia's dying wail he'd heard at Faul's place. The sounds' meanings he caught but they made no sense to him, much like catching only one or two words in a long conversation.

After a time the Invia sat him on one of the ledges set in the tunnel's sides, cocked her head and listened. Wind blasted through with a low thrumming note; within the gust a flock of Invia shot past in a blur of white feathers. Case's Invia wrapped her wings around him, shielding him from any accidental collision. Her cool cheek pressed against his; her wings about him imparted strange tenderness, protecting him as an animal protects its young, no human sentiment in the gesture at all. Still he'd have happily stayed in the soft feathered nest all day.

When the flock had passed, she said, 'They heard him speak. Just a word. They have not heard him for a long while! I have. They are excited. They should come here more often. Those ones always pester Tsy. He dislikes them.'

Her face showed unusual animation. Not wanting her to remove the tiny house of soft feathers (he stroked them) he said, 'Who spoke?'

'Vyin. He knows you are here. You heard his feet press down, when he leaped from a perch. That was when we were in the Gate. You didn't hear his voice. Walkers can't, unless he lets you.'

She picked him up and on they flew, through an endless labyrinth of stone.


In the maze's deepest darkness were what seemed life forms made of strange light, their bodies a twisted glowing core within a blurry nest, their flickering fingers groping blindly at the cavern about them as if seeking flaws or cracks.

There were times the dark was so utterly black Case could grab handfuls of gloom from the air and feel it as he squeezed it in his fist. There were passages where the stone creaked and wept with the bitter sadness of someone wishing desperately for the bright world below: for running water, trees, winds, oceans to dive into, glaciers to swat through the waves with a gush of foam and breaking ice, lands to beat into sculpted shapes. But there was only this darkness, the pressing stone walls – the cruellest cage ever made – with no quick and easy mortal death to buy freedom for those here imprisoned. Case almost drowned in the sadness pouring through him, pouring through the very stones. He could not help weeping. Even the Invia wept, her tears splashing down on his head as she brought him higher, deeper and into the sadness, out of his life and into a dream he was sure he'd had long ago.

Then the narrow ways poured into an open space even more vast than the Gate had been. Below them was a kind of ziggurat, a structure of strangely laid slabs of shining black metal with long arms stretching off at different points. The arms spun slowly. More such designs were set into the walls and roof, ugly and incomprehensible things. A city of such buildings stretched back into the dark, though no living beings moved on the smooth barren ground that he could see. A river gouged into the stone floor cast up a long wedge of brilliant light.

The strange smell was overpowering. Again Case's thoughts dissolved to shifting coloured shapes; again the Invia fed him her sweet nourishing blood to bring him back to consciousness. They flew toward a high roof of gleaming stone, carved with runes through which brilliant colour moved and flowed, as though the cavern had a heart and pulse, and these colours were its lifeblood pumping beneath the dark stone skin.

Case threw up.

The Invia descended with a noise of annoyance at the puke on her forearms. 'I should not be here,' she said. 'I would not be, if you could come yourself. Silly walker! You cannot fly.'

She had only just set him down when there was a sense of something large rushing toward them, a mouth opening wide enough for Case to walk inside, pearl-white teeth so close Case would have (if he'd had time) been certain meant to eat him.

Instead, the Invia gave a surprised squawk as the jaws closed upon her. The thing – whatever it was – rushed away with her so fast it was gone in the ink-thick gloom before he'd turned around to check he'd actually seen what he thought he'd seen.

'Hello?' he said.

A high-pitched wail bloomed through the cavern from the direction she'd gone, its echo slow to fade. Something further away called in answer, but the sound was not made by an Invia. Then silence fell.

For want of better ideas, Case walked to the bank of that glowing river, which seemed filled not with water but with liquid light. Despite its brilliance the light did not penetrate the cavern far or deeply. The footing was bad and Case could not see what he slipped and staggered on – it felt powdery. Bits and pieces like beach shells kicked from his feet and clattered musically together. In parts the floor was ankle-deep with them. Shells? He knelt, felt one, and found it was actually a scale, its colour hard to make out this far from the river's light. The scale was similar but not as big as those Kiown and Sharfy had made such a big deal of. He fished around in the powdery litter for a whole one, compared it with the memory of those Eric had shown him. Smaller, he judged, and thinner.

About Case loomed the odd tall structures he'd seen from high up, twisting and writhing like living alien things. He had to rub his eyes, for it seemed the nearest structure was solid as metal yet behaving like liquid, fluidly changing shape and remoulding itself.

He pegged a scale at it. As though by magnetic force, the spinning scale was drawn to the structure's wall, struck it then glanced away with a chink! The moving structure froze motionless, so suddenly it imparted a sense of vertigo that made him stagger. There fell heavily on Case a sense of being observed. 'Hello,' he called. 'Any chance of a beer?'

The structure burst into motion again with greater speed. He looked away, dizzy.

It was then that a voice seemed to vibrate through Case's body: You stare at things I have made. But you do not understand them.

The glimmering light-play over the roof snuffed itself out. He felt something approach, something huge. A swirl of darkness blacker than the rest gathered itself up before him and assumed a massive shape. Close by there was a thundering boom, boom: the noise of very heavy pillars being dropped. Case felt and heard the ground groaning under the weight of something enormous. Two points high above gleamed and sparkled down at him in twin bursts of unclasped light.

Case could only laugh in awe. Around the two lights – eyes, he understood, though they seemed like pieces of a star – was a huge head, reared back on an enormously long, arching neck, between huge, spreading, pinioned wings. Look away, the voice ordered.

Case looked away.

The voice seemed to come not from the dragon's head, but from the ground at Case's feet, vibrating through his whole body. It said, I have not been beheld by your kind before. I find I do not wish to be. To have you here brings me not rage, as I'd feared it might. It brings a sadness I had not expected.

I try now to speak in a voice like yours, so you can hear me. It is difficult to express so little. To express much more would drown your mind with my thought and nothing left of yours.

Case laughed again. He had never been so small in all his life and the feeling was somehow liberating. Why fear? This enormous monster was really no larger than familiar old death! 'Are you the Dragon?' he said. 'The one they all talk about?'

I am Vyin, the eighth of its young. At your feet is a gift I crafted. It was not made for you. Do not touch it yet. Look at it.


Excerpted from Shadow by Will Elliott. Copyright © 2011 Will Elliott. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

WILL ELLIOTT's debut novel, The Pilo Family Circus, co-won the Aurealis Award for best horror, won the Golden Aurealis for best novel, and the Australian Shadows Award. He is also the author of the visionary Pendulum Trilogy, The Pilgrims, Shadow and World's End. Elliott was born in Brisbane, Australia.

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Shadow 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read them on paper back wish i put them on my Nook now i got a daughter that reads my books Lets just say they dont allways come back in good shape i would like to read them again.