17 May 2009

Books: Shadowplay by Tad Williams

Darkness has fallen on the lands of the sun as an army of misshapen creatures spill out from beyond the Shadowline. Barrick, heir to Southmarch and cursed with madness, has crossed the Shadowline into the realm of his people's ancient enemy. There are stranger things than death here - stranger and older. Much further south, a shadow is also falling over the reign of the Autarch, god-king, and supreme ruler. Qinnitan, junior wife, must flee the royal household or die, her greatest secret as yet hidden even from herself. Ancient blood flows through her veins and she will become a unique weapon in the fight against her greatest terror. And beyond all but a chosen few, the gods are awakening and the world is changing.

Once again, Williams takes us on a long journey (721 pages) in volume two of his Shadowmarch trilogy. As with any epic fantasy novel, the cast of characters is huge, with settings to marvel any Lord of the Rings fan. Williams has created once of most intricate universes and it takes a great effort -but one that is rewarding - to keep things in order.

The characters are well drawn out, and believable. Twin’s Briony and Barrick continue their separate journey’s in hope of one day coming home, while their father, King Olin Eddon faces the challenge of being the “guest” at his enemies castle.

All the while, both the Prince and Princess find allies and enemies in their most desperate hours, and learn that most people they encounter know little of their worlds true history, which puts them in jeopardy when confronted by traitors, tyrants, a mad god-king and some very angry gods.

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