Shadowrise (Shadowmarch Series #3)

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Overview

Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defenders, the king’s children Princess Briony and Prince Barrick, are both trapped far away from home and fighting for their lives.

Barrick is lost behind the Shadowline, facing all the terrible dangers and mysteries of that magical twilight land. Briony is alone in a treacherous foreign court, struggling to ...

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Overview

Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defenders, the king’s children Princess Briony and Prince Barrick, are both trapped far away from home and fighting for their lives.

Barrick is lost behind the Shadowline, facing all the terrible dangers and mysteries of that magical twilight land. Briony is alone in a treacherous foreign court, struggling to survive with no weapon left to her but her wits. And in the midst of all this, something unbelievable is awakening underneath Southmarch, something powerful and terrible that the world has not seen for thousands of years.

In this third volume Barrick and Briony, along with Qinnitan — the Autarch’s desperate, escaped slave — a loyal soldier named Ferras Vansen, and a tiny handful of other folk, ordinary and extraordinary, must find a way to save their world, or else witness the rise of a terrible new age — an age of unending darkness.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Tad Williams's wildly anticipated return to epic fantasy after more than a decade's hiatus, takes place in a mythical realm on the brink of utter chaos. With their father being held for ransom, the young twin regents Barrick and Briony must deal with a kingdom unraveling at the seams. While powerful foreign conquerors plot to annex the kingdom and factions within Southmarch scheme to usurp the vacant throne, Barrick and Briony are forced to deal with a much more frightening foe. The Qar, a race of nightmarish non-humans who have lived behind the mysterious Shadowline for centuries, are now on the move and killing every living thing in their path. Their objective is clear: to retake what was rightfully theirs for eons before the arrival of the humans -- the lands of Southmarch.

Williams is world renowned for complicated multivolume sagas like Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, and Otherland; and this series is no different. With dozens of major characters and literally hundreds of important races, places, and historical events, it's no surprise that the book includes a 14-page appendix. The numerous main characters in this story are all so skillfully portrayed, so fully realized that, on a purely emotional level alone, readers will not be able to put this book down. And Williams's use of surreal and poetic descriptive terms for the Qar and its Twilight Lands throughout the book gives the story the spectral ambiance of a fantastical horror not unlike an Algernon Blackwood or H. P. Lovecraft tale.

Breathtaking in scope, lyrical, frightening, intriguing, and -- above all -- wildly entertaining, Williams's Shadowmarch is, simply stated, a magnificent literary achievement. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
In 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.
KLIATT
Fantasy 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: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Penguin, DAW, 656p. maps., Ages 12 to 18.
—Michele Winship
VOYA - Kevin Beach
This is the third of four lengthy books in Williams's Shadowmarch series. The final volume, Shadowheart (DAW, 2010), has also already been released. The books chronicle the political upheavals of the last remaining human city in a land full of faeries, immortals, giants, ghosts, gods, and various magical talking creatures. The primary characters are the two young heirs to Shadowmarch, twins Briony and Barrick. They have a series of adventures avoiding capture after their father is kidnapped. Briony is disguised and following a troupe of actors through a neighboring kingdom. Her brother battles evil forces in a place called Greatdeeps. In fact, a great deal of the novel takes place in various underground locations that also pose threats to Shadowmarch Castle. As with the author's previous series about cyberspace, Otherland (DAW), this verbose but very creative saga is populated with scores of characters; at least six stories are told concurrently while intertwining on occasion. This method allows for the inclusion of mini-cliff-hangers at the end of every chapter, encouraging readers to read on. Characters also relate myths and lore of their lands within these episodes. This reader found this very confusing, but fantasy fans will no doubt eat up all the complicated races, names, and languages. (The inclusion of an appendix of all the names and some maps is helpful.) Ultimately, it is the gods themselves, presently in a sleep state, who may be awakened by a mad man to threaten the very existence of the world. This is an essential purchase for those invested in the series. Reviewer: Kevin Beach
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455842995
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Series: Shadowmarch Series , #3
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Tad Williams is a New York Times and London Sunday Times bestselling author of fantasy and science fiction, with novels translated into more than twenty languages and a global readership. He hosted a syndicated radio show for over a decade, co-created the first completely interactive television program, and is currently involved in film, television, comic books, computer games and other multimedia projects. He and his family live in California.

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Interviews & Essays

Explorations Interview with Tad Williams

Paul Goat Allen: For those who don't know how your Shadowmarch saga got started, can you elaborate a little bit about what motivated you to write an episodic fantasy online?

Tad Williams: We had tried Shadowmarch with some TV people, and it got to a certain point in management and then hit the confusion zone -- they didn't really get fantasy. So, since I really liked the story, I was anxious to find another way to do it. At the time I was in the middle of the Otherland books, so I began to think about doing it in some other way. The idea of a serial novel online seemed very exciting.

PGA: As a longtime fan of your work, one of the things that particularly stood out in Shadowmarch: Volume One was the extraordinarily diverse cast of characters. I can't think of another novel that has so many -- for lack of a better word -- cool characters! The crippled and tormented prince Barrick and his headstrong sister, Briony; the terrifying Qar warrior Yasammez; Ynnir the Blind King; Qinnitan the ill-fated acolyte; the courageous Rooftopper Beetledown; the dutiful Funderling Chert Blue Quartz and his foster son, Flint; the enigmatic potboy Gil; the completely misunderstood Shaso dan-Heza...the list goes on and on. How much fun was it to write this story with so many compelling characters to work with?

TW: One of the things that I like best about big books is the chance to create complex worlds. One of the ways that a writer can give depth to a world is to view it through the eyes of many different characters. Having so many characters is also a bit like making a lot of new friends (and enemies) -- you don't always know what's coming next, you meet someone, you don't know how important they'll be to you, then after a while it turns out you're going to be living with them as much as your family. It's strange and interesting.

PGA: The Shadowmarch web site (www.shadowmarch.com) is impressive to say the least -- the detailed history of the Shadowmarch realm, the tremendous collections of artwork, extensive message boards, etc. I've read in past interviews that you wanted to create an online community based in part around Shadowmarch. Did you accomplish what you set out to do with the web site?

TW: Certainly one mark of how true that proved to be is that we stopped putting the book installments online over a year ago, and the community continues to exist. I'm looking forward to a new round of discussion when the novel comes out as well, and I hope that new people will find their way to the site, and especially the bulletin board, which is a very energetic and welcoming community.

PGA: I've heard that the site has gotten almost half a million posts. Is that true?

TW: I have no idea. But I do know that it's become my home on the Net: It's the one place on the Internet I visit every day. (Well, there are also the hard-core giraffe bondage sites…)

PGA: It seems to me that with such a vast and fertile landscape to play in, the Shadowmarch saga could go on for several volumes. Is this fantasy sequence a work in progress or have you already plotted out roughly the number of volumes that you're going to write?

TW: This will be three volumes. I have a good (although not absolute) idea of what's going to happen in the rest of the story, but I like to leave room to make discoveries along the way.

PGA: What books initially got you interested in science fiction/fantasy? Any favorite authors and/or series while growing up?

TW: Tolkien is the most obvious, but I was also very influenced by Ray Bradbury, especially The Martian Chronicles, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, Ursula Le Guin, Theodore Sturgeon, and Philip K. Dick.

PGA: What books are on your reading list at the moment?

TW: I'm reading one of Steven Brust's faux-Dumas books, The Paths of the Dead, which is lovely; and I just finished an Iain Rankin Inspector Rebus novel -- I really like the grit of his Inspector Rebus -- and I've gone through a bout of Irvine Welsh. At the moment, I'm having trouble shedding a Scottish dialect. As always, there are another half-dozen books on the go, but I can't think of them right now.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 56 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Personal Opinion

    I have to take a long look at how I think about Tad's work each time it comes out. I'm generally biased as biased can be - that's because I'm Tad's business manager/partner/co-conspirator (means shared breath) and, erm, wife. So you can count on me to be enthusiastic about Tad's work.

    But it's a really fine novel. The writing has a crystal clarity. The adventure is suspenseful and gripping. The characters, especially ones like that evil bird Skurn and (whilst we're on the subject of evil) Matty Tinwright's mother, just kill me.

    And I'm amazed and fascinated by the survival of the princess, Briony, in the most vicious and deadly of circumstances. It's watching the evolution of a queen. Did you know she's based in part on the young Elizabeth 1?

    Last word: read the first 2 of the Shadowmarch novels if you need to, but think about reading the synopses here and just going for it, if you haven't read Tad before. Tell me it *that* doesn't work for you! @mrstad

    Thank you, B&N, for letting me enthuse all over this page.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Never underestimate Tad Williams!

    I'm a previous huge fan of Tad from his Otherland series which is beyond amazing, but I always stayed away from his strictly fantasy novels. So finally I picked up Shadowmarch which is the first volume of this series (probably because I liked the cover art) and gave it a shot. It took me a little while to get into it because of all the different characters but before I knew it I couldn't put the book down and couldn't stop thinking about all the characters long after I stopped reading. I especially love Briony who's incredibly strong, intelligent, and completely frustrated with the limitations and bias that women have to deal with. It's something that I deeply relate to even in present day 2010. I'm always deeply moved when a man can write a women the way Tad did, because I usually have very little faith that men have any interest in strong intelligent women who are not throwing their sexuality in everyone faces. Anyway, Briony is only 1 of the great characters and the whole story line is fascinating and absolutely amazing. I am greatly anticipating this next book and I must say if you haven't read Tad's Otherland series pick them up NOW!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Tad Williams has created a great storyline that adds much to his enthralling epic fantasy

    Southmarch Castle is eyed by two opposing groups while its rightful ruler King Olin Eddon is taken hostage by the ruler of Hierosol. Hendon Tolly has become de facto ruler of Shadowmarch, but he failed to trap Olin's twin children Barrick and Briony The Autarch of Ixix kidnaps King Olin and they travel to Shadowmarch Castle for his own diabolical purposes.

    Barrick is entranced by the fairy (Qar) Yasammez and goes behind The Shadow Line where the Qar live in perpetual twilight. He has a mission to perform for her but he has many obstacles to overcome and enemies to deal with as he travels across the fairylands. Briony travels to Syan where she is treated as a royal. She hopes to obtain enough support to return home with an army in order to dispose Tolly. Prince Enas is enchanted with Briony and she starts to have feelings for him which makes it impossible to use him and his army in to further her schemes.

    The Qar surround Southmarch Castle until Yassammel orders the attack. Under the castle lies the city of Funderling Town populated by humanoid beings that are cousins to draws who live with and fight for the Qar. Briony is accused of treason, but escapes while the Autarch of Ixix reveals his plans for King Olin which if they come to fruitation will allow him to be a god but he must he triumphs over the Qar, the Funderlings and an unexpected army friendly to Shadowmarch. Several warring forces converge all claiming a kingdom as theirs.

    The third Shadowmarch saga (see Shadowplay and Shadowmarch) continues where SHADOWPLAY leaves off so it behooves newcomers to peruse those tales first even with a strong synopsis to remind readers what previously happened. Tad Williams has created a great storyline that adds much to his enthralling epic fantasy as several rivals are going to Southmarch Castle. Yet with plenty of sprawling action, the characters, especially the twins, drive the story line forward to the cliffhanging ending to be continued in SHADOWHEART.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2010

    Christopher Paolini talks about Tad

    Deborah Beale here (Tad partner & wife): we recently received this rave review from Christopher Paolini, and I thought I would take the liberty of posting it here. "Tad Williams is a huge inspiration for me. He's one of the main reasons I started writing fantasy. His books are epic, exciting, and filled with fascinating characters. When it comes to inventing imaginary worlds, he's as skilled as J.R.R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert. "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is one of the great fantasy epics of all time. I can't even remember how many times I've read it. It kept me so enthralled, I plowed through the last book in just one sitting! Here be magic, dragons, sprawling battles, thrilling feats of derring-do, ancient mysteries, hidden secrets-all the things a good story needs. These are the books, along with a few others, that led me to write Eragon. "Otherland is an awesome sci-fi story. The scale of Tad Williams' ambition and accomplishments as a storyteller in this series is amazing. He weaves together so many characters, locations, and unique worlds, you can't help but be impressed! Also, with Otherland Tad predicted the rise of the internet and online gaming long before it was invented. "Tad Williams' work is an essential part of any science fiction and fantasy library. I look forward to each new book he writes. If you like exciting, thought-provoking fiction, you owe it to yourself to give Tad a try. "His books are thick enough to stop a bullet! I know!" - Christopher Paolini

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    The series keeps getting better!

    I have been looking forward to volume 3 for a long time and although it was to be the last volume I am not unhappy that Tad Williams had so much to write there will now be a fourth volume in October. All the characters remain interesting and the Tad Williams has been able to sustain the suspense. Unlike other similar stories in this genre, Williams seems to have resisted the current trend towards a darker vision; the lead characters have not unexpectedly or unnecessarily died (although they remain in jeopardy) nor have they been rendered unlikeable. A great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    A Fine Third!

    Tad Williams takes us even deeper into his original fantasy series. It easily tops the first two installments, and takes you on a spectacular fantasy journey.

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