Now in mass market paperback-Tad Williams' triumphant return to high fantasy!
Publishers WeeklyIn the impressive opening installment of his first new high fantasy trilogy in a decade, Williams (the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy) injects hope and humor into an end-of-the-world conflict that pits "the strange, pagan Qar," a race of fairy folk, against the humans who forced them behind the Shadowline (the line of demarcation between the Qar and the human lands) and claimed their ancient stronghold of Southmarch (aka Shadowmarch) on the continent of Eion. The March kingdoms, whose ruler, King Olin, is held captive by the empire of Hierosol's Lord Drakava, are in turmoil after the assassination of Prince Regent Kendrick, whose twin siblings, Briony and Barrick, must struggle to keep their domain together. Soon after the fairy war begins, the Qar dump a mysterious boy beyond the Shadowline, where he's discovered by Chertz Blue Quartz, a little "Funderling," whose stone-working people live beneath Southmarch. Packed with intriguing plot twists, this surreal fantasy takes the reader on a thrill ride from a haunted wood where madness dwells and the sun never rises, to drafty castles and adventures deep underground. Much of the imagery seems inspired by Arthur Rackham with a hint of Edvard Munch. The author's richly detailed world will enchant established fans and win new converts. Agent, Matt Bialer. (Nov. 2) FYI: Williams's most recent novel is a stand-alone fantasy, The War of the Flowers (Forecasts, Apr. 28, 2003). Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
KLIATTFantasy lovers waiting to immerse themselves into the next great epic will be thrilled with Shadowmarch. Williams' three-part volume takes readers to the world of Eion and its many kingdoms, including Southmarch, just beyond the Shadowline that divides the twilight land of Qar from the human lands of the light. In the main plot, King Olin of Southmarch has been kidnapped, leaving his oldest son Kendrick to rule in his stead and to raise the ransom money demanded by his captives. When Kendrick is brutally murdered, his twin siblings, young Barrick and Briony, must take over the rule and free their father. In one parallel story line, Qinnitan is a priestess of Nushash in the southern continent kingdom of Xis who is chosen to leave her order and become the bride of the God. In yet another story line, the Chert, one of the small people who specialize in stonecraft, realizes that the Shadowline is moving, encroaching on the human land. Williams shifts from story to story, building the plots to the point where they meet. Magic and suspense weave through each chapter, and Williams' attention to detail, including maps and a glossary for support, brings his world into sharp focus, a place where readers can walk among the many characters and live for a while in their lands. Complex and meaty, Shadowmarch is for the serious fantasy reader who can tether multiple plots together for a rich reading experience. KLIATT Codes: JSRecommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Penguin, DAW, 656p. maps., Ages 12 to 18.
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