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The Prince of Shadow

The Prince of Shadow

4.7 7
by Curt Benjamin

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This first novel in the Seven Brothers series draws upon the rich legends, cultures, and traditions of the East to create an epic tale.

Llesho was only seven years old when the Harn invaded Thebin, slaying his father and selling the boy into slavery.

On Pearl Island, he was trained as a diver--until a vision changed his life completely. The


This first novel in the Seven Brothers series draws upon the rich legends, cultures, and traditions of the East to create an epic tale.

Llesho was only seven years old when the Harn invaded Thebin, slaying his father and selling the boy into slavery.

On Pearl Island, he was trained as a diver--until a vision changed his life completely. The spirit of his long-dead teacher revealed the truth about Llesho's royal family--his brothers were alive, but enslaved, living in distant lands.

Now, to free his brothers--and himself--Llesho must become a gladiator.

He must go face to face with sorcerers.

And gods.

And more.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this likable fantasy adventure, the first of a multivolume saga with an Asian flavor (reinforced by the samurai-like warriors on the crude if effective dust jacket), Benjamin often resorts to good luck to pull his hero out of trouble. Llesho is only seven, the youngest of the royal family of Thebin, when the Harn, a fierce and unsophisticated warrior people, murder his sister and parents, the king and queen, and sell him and his six older brothers into slavery. Confined for years to Pearl Island, where he proves himself an adept pearl diver, Llesho doesn't realize his brothers are still alive until the ghost of an elderly adviser appears during a dive and gives him a black pearl, squeezing it into a small bead and inserting it into a dental cavity where it will be undetectable. Mindful of his noble background and yearning to find his brothers, Llesho volunteers for gladiator school as the first step toward freedom. He studies with several teachers who seem to appreciate his special character, but one, Markko, has evil designs on him. The teenage Llesho eventually battles Markko, leads an army and reaches the kingdom of Shan, where he locates two of his brothers in a slave market. Despite a somewhat plodding style (torpor especially sets in during the war scenes) and superficial characterization, the vivid fantasy elements revive the plot whenever it slips too far into the doldrums. Lacking any sexual episodes, this coming-of-age story will appeal to younger readers as well as to those with more traditional tastes in boyish adventure tales. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Fantasy fanatics who waited with baited breath for the film adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring might find this first title in the Seven Brothers series a passable piece of reading to help fill the void until the next high fantasy comes along. Llesho was a prince years ago, but as the story opens, readers learn that he is forced to dive for pearls along with others of his race, who all have the ability to hold their breath underwater for thirty minutes at a time. Llesho lives in this fashion until the ghost of his recently deceased mentor visits him and sets him on a mission that will change his life forever. Taking pieces from Arthurian quest stories and Greek myths and giving them an Asian twist, Benjamin does not offer much original; however, the nonstop action and fantastical setting might keep readers from dwelling on the derivative story line. With many sexual references and large doses of combative violence—not to mention the many characters that only more sophisticated fantasy readers will be able to keep straight—this novel is definitely for high school age readers. It is not a must—purchase, but it will fit right in for libraries where there are older teen readers clamoring for a low concept-high fantasy mix. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001, DAW, 426p, $23.95. Ages 15 to Adult. Reviewer: Shari Fesko SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Seven Brothers Series , #1
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Curt Benjamin is the author of the Seven Brothers trilogy. He has a degree in art from Antioch University. In his spare time, he is a designer and children’s illustrator.

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Prince of Shadow 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very exciting story. The action blends very well with the character development. I look forward to the next book in the series; I encourage you to try this book if you like martial arts or science fiction or fantasy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved it!!! this book has gotta be one of the best i've read, and it certainly has some of the most well written characters, i hope the next one gets out soon, because it'll be a hard wait
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book sort of sneaks up on you. The set up is pretty standard fantasy stuff, though with an Asian feel. Llesho, the poor slave who always seemed a little different, is really a lost prince of a conquered realm. His mentor dies, telling him that he must find his brothers, who have also been sold into slavery, and take back his kingdom. There is a strong ensemble cast of supporting heroes, all of whom have their own motives. The humble laundry man with a mysterious past, the former assassin, Llesho's two young compatriots, even an overprotective bear. While they mostly seem a little familiar, they are still very effective. In the villain, we see the classic evil magician's rise to power. He is all the more frightening here because his motives too are unclear. One of the real outstanding things about this book is the way Benjamin develops a sense of place. This is a large world with a range of fully developed cultures. We are not overwhelmed with long historical surveys or anything, but there is a sense of a living world with people and politics and religion. The book itself is excellent. As a set up, it is even better. The ending has a twist or two that really raises the stakes for the rest of the series. I can't wait for the next one to come out.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Thebin, once a powerful mountain kingdom, becomes too complacent and its enemies, the slave trading Harn, easily take over the country, kill its king, queen, and princess. The seven princes were sold into slavery and the youngest Llesho was sold to the owner of Pearl Island. When his teacher Lleck died, he was made aware that his brothers lived and he vowed to find them and take back the throne of Thebin.

He petitioned his master to allow him to enter gladiator training and while learning this new skill, he came to the attention of some powerful people who recognized him. Llesto went from being a slave to a symbol and rallying cry for the Thebin cause, making alliances and enemies of power including governors, witches and gods along the way.

Curt Benjamin has written a wonderful novel that is part fantasy, and part sword and sorcery intrigue. THE PRINCE OF SHADOW has a varied cast of characters that are complex, much more so than usually seen in the genre. The plot has so many twists and unexpected turns that the reader will eagerly turn the page to see what happens next. This is the start of what promises to be a grand series.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
The Prince of Shadow is Mr. Benjamin's debut novel, and it's a good one. I finished the book in 2 days, and by the end of it, was enjoying it a lot. The plot itself is ripe with potential and could yield lots of wonderful things. Mr. Benjamin's writing and story telling is above average. I only say this because, at times, it seems he's too eager to get from one part of the story to another, and merely glosses over events and situations that would have more impact and consequence if he took a bit more time in telling/showing them. Not that he must mire his story in wordiness, but if events are supposed to be important, then give them their due: love, torture, death, protection, betrayal, etc. Llesho's character, in the beginning, comes across very wooden and unsympathetic, and at times erratic and inconsistent in his protrayal. But by the end of the novel, I grew to like the character and did hope that he would succeed in his endeavor. Llesho's young and naive to the ways of the world and politics. Sometimes, this comes across as stupidity, arrogance and ambivalence. While these are not traits that I want in a 'hero,' these are believable traits for a 16 year-old. While I did come to like the main character, the 'arch nemesis' fell flat for me. There wasn't much in the story to build up the mystique of the enemy. I do hope that will change in the next book, that he'll develop an enemy that I will want to hate. Among some of the other characters that Mr. Benjamin creates, some were more memorable than others: Master Den, the laundry washer, whom I hope to see and learn more of; Mara, the healer; General Shou; Master Jaks and Bixei. All in all, despite some mis-steps, The Prince of Shadow promises to be very fulfilling a story. I look forward to reading the next book.