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Shadowrise (Shadowmarch Series #3)

Shadowrise (Shadowmarch Series #3)

4.3 60
by Tad Williams

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A year ago, the March Kingdoms were at peace, the Eddon family held the throne, and all was right in Southmarch Castle. Now the family has been shattered. King Olin Eddon is a prisoner and his heir is slain. The royal twins Barrick and Briony have done their best to hold the kingdom together, but now Barrick has been captured and Briony has been forced to flee the


A year ago, the March Kingdoms were at peace, the Eddon family held the throne, and all was right in Southmarch Castle. Now the family has been shattered. King Olin Eddon is a prisoner and his heir is slain. The royal twins Barrick and Briony have done their best to hold the kingdom together, but now Barrick has been captured and Briony has been forced to flee the castle. Old magics are stirring beneath the ancient castle and behind the Shadowline, and the machinations of gods, fairies, and mortals threaten to spread devastation across the entire world.

Editorial Reviews

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.
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

Product Details

Publication date:
Shadowmarch Series , #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.76(h) x 1.46(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Tad Williams has held more jobs than any sane person should admit to—singing in a band, selling shoes, managing a financial institution, throwing newspapers, and designing military manuals, to name just a few. He also hosted a syndicated radio show for ten years, worked in theater and television production, taught both grade-school and college classes, and worked in multimedia for a major computer firm. He is cofounder of an interactive television company, and is currently writing comic books and film and television scripts as well. Tad and his family live in London and the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find Tad Williams at tadwilliams.com. 

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Shadowrise 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Deborah_Beale More than 1 year ago
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.
melboogiedown More than 1 year ago
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!
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
Beauty_in_Ruins More than 1 year ago
With it's deliberate pacing, slow unveiling of the deeper mysteries, and fitful advances of the plot, this is hardly what one would describe as an all-consuming read . . . and yet, no matter how many times I put it down, it was never long before I found myself itching to take it up again. A far more languid read than the first two volumes, this is also the first instalment where we really begin to get a sense of what is going on in the realm of Southmarch and beyond. All the various tangled threads begin to come together here, hinting at deeper meanings, yet never really coming right out and declaring the story's intentions. As it always the case with Tad's books, the writing here is stellar, with the dreamlike scenes beyond the shadowline more powerful than anything I've read in recent years. The dialogue is crisp and clever, and the theology/mythology is wonderfully detailed. Even the minor characters stand out on their own, instantly recognizable no matter how little page time they receive. Part of me wants to rail against Tad for choosing to split this final volume into two parts (with Shadowheart concluding things), unnecessarily drawing out the story, and dragging us through a novel that's as much set-up for the end as it is movement towards that end. The other part of me, however, is perversely thankful for the prolonged climax and the chance to spend a little more time in his world. Don't get me wrong, this is no Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, but it is Tad Williams, and that means it's epic fantasy of a higher calibre. Had this been any other author, I likely would spend more time singing it's praises, but Tad has created such expectations that I (perhaps unfairly) feel the need to nitpick.
boardoe More than 1 year ago
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.
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I read a lot of fantasy already and was a bit bore about this kind of stories. Tad Williams brought me back with this fantastic serie. The Shadowmarch series is one that comes the closest to Tolkien's philosophy : Williams develops this world entirely, from the religions to the personnalities of each character. I think he succeeded to overtake the genius of Tolkien because his writing is easier to read and no one in his books is bad because they belong to an evil species. The purpose of each character is explained (if you read them all :D) and be carreful to every details because they'll make sense later !
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