The title of Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary Super Size Me could easily be the tagline for the latest epic fantasy saga from Tad Williams (Tailchaser's Song, the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn saga, et al.). The Shadowmarch trilogy -- which is set in a sprawling, surreal realm being irrevocably altered by political upheaval, invading mythical monstrosities, and the awakening of a long-dormant magic -- is essentially the story of Barrick and Briony, royal twins who, as their world crumbles around them, must somehow survive long enough to understand the shadowy mysteries that shroud their family, their kingdom, and the much-historied land over which they've ruled. As armies of demonic Twilight People plague the northern reaches of the March Kingdoms and an insane god-king plots invasion from the south, prince Barrick and his twin sister embark on separate but equally perilous journeys to somehow reclaim their kingdom -- and fulfill their extraordinary destinies.
Williams said in an interview with Barnes & Noble.com that one of the things he enjoyed most about writing "big books" was the opportunity to create complex worlds and bring depth to realms like Shadowmarch by viewing them through the eyes of many different characters. In Shadowplay (and in the trilogy's first volume, Shadowmarch), Williams does just that, creating an endlessly fascinating and magic-filled realm filled with a profusion of memorable characters and just as many intriguing plots and subplots. Fantasy fans who enjoy their story lines super-sized (Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Jordan's Wheel of Time, Goodkind's Sword of Truth, et al.) will thoroughly enjoy Williams's shelf-bending saga -- arguably his most accomplished work to date. Double quarter-pounder with cheese and 42-ounce soda not included. Paul Goat Allen