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Shadow Road

by Sean Russell

Series: The Swans' War (tome 3)

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283467,629 (3.63)2
A century of enmity has ravaged the one kingdom, as the mighty families of the Renne and the Wills have fought for their right to the crown. But now the decades of bloodshed have roused the unquiet river spirits from a timeless sleep, reviving a feud more deadly than any conflict of man. Alliances shift and loyalties are tested in the harsh civil war between the two great families, but a larger threat emerges. For the dark knight Hafydd has made a sinister alliance, leading him to eons old secrets, secrets that should remain hidden lest they destroy all lives they touch. Woken by the wars of man and nagar, even Death himself is preparing to leave his fell kingdom. And if the door to his domain cannot be shut, the feud between men and even the ancient wars of the nagar will be less than nothing besides the coming doom.… (more)

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Shadow Roads
Series: Swan's War #3
Author: Sean Russell
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 464
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:


Hafyyd, having made his deal with Death, now faces Alaan and Elise and unleashes his fury. He wants to deliver his father, Wyrr, who is sleeping in the river, into Death's hands. The other two thwart him in that and so Hafyyd returns to the normal land and begins his conquest.

Tam is given an arrow with a magical jeweled head and instructed to shoot Hafyyd in the eye and that that will kill him. This is accomplished and the Rennes and the Wills start trying to figure out a way to have peace between their families. The most promising way looks to be through intermarriage of Lord Caral and Lady Lynn.

It turns out that everything was precipitated by a magical Black Swan who fell in love with Tusival, Hafyyd, Sainth and Sianon's grandfather. She had 3 children by Tusival, 2 sons (Wyrr and Aillyn) and one daughter. The daughter was taken by Death in a bid to to gain the Swan's Love. That lead to Wyrr and Aillyn walling Death up which further led to the Swan trying to gain her daughter back by any means necessary, including selling out Tusival, her sons and her grandchildren.

With Hafyyd dead, Alaan begins researching the spell to wall Death in and to strengthen it. Elise retires to a small island on the river to watch over 2 children who have been possessed by Wyrr and the Swan's dead daughter but who now are their own. Tam, Baore and Fynnol return north.

My Thoughts:

A lot gets packed into this book. First book deals with the Rennes and the Wills and the introduction of the Children of Wyrr. Second book introduces Wyrr and Aillyn and now in this book we deal with Death incarnate and everybody's magical Grandmother. It went wicked deep into Fairytale territory.

Russell's style of writing took some mental adjustment on my part. I couldn't race through. I had to read at the pace he set. It was this way with each book and yet each time it came as a surprise.

I think my only gripe is that the 3 young men from the North, Tam, Baore and Fynnol, were not main characters. They were important secondary characters, but the story had moved beyond them and I missed having the bulk of the story from their view. They were the Everyman of the story. The Rennes and the Wills were nobility. Hafyyd, Alaan and Elise were all possessed by magicians. It was hard to relate to any of those, whereas Tam was just a young man suddenly thrust into an adventure far beyond his imagining.

I would sum up this trilogy with the word “Melancholy”. It wasn't depressing, it wasn't necessarily sad but everything was tinged with Melancholy. The pacing of the story definitely added to that feeling. To finish, I thoroughly enjoyed this re-read as much as the first time and suspect I'll enjoy it as much again in another decade or so. Definitely worth owning the hardcovers.

★★★★ ½ ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Jul 26, 2017 |
The conclusion to The Swan's War trilogy.

Alaan, Elise and their respective groups face off against Hafydd and his. Death, also known as Meachi, is trying to get free from the spell that walled him in from the living. Everything comes together quickly in the end and Death is walled in again, Hafydd goes back to the river and Alaan and Elise go their ways. The groups all go back to their ways of life, forever changed. To be honest, it seemed a bit too pat and quick. I enjoyed the ending, but with such humble beginnings[the feud between the Will's and the Renne's], to escalate things to Death himself trying to walk the earth again, it just seemed almost anti-climactic.

Well written, well thought out though. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this trilogy and am looking forward to re-reads already :-) ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
By now I have become completely immersed in this world, with its large cast of heroes, innocent victims and evil villains. I begin to understand why this is a book about groups more so than individuals. Each group, depending on the task at hand, is made up of characters vital to that quest. In addition, the group dynamic makes for an interesting study in human nature. It becomes easy to see who is a natural leader, a loyal follower, a potential problem or simply a reluctant participant. Even though I tend to favor character-driven fantasy, experiencing a story centered around groups was a fascinating alternative. I got to observe as the various groups broke apart, then reformed anew. Some with basically the same members as before but almost always with new members from another group. How that person or persons fit into their new group gave me insights into their character I might not have seen otherwise. In my opinion, it was very well done.
Read Complete Review @ Dragons, Heroes and Wizards ( )
  Mulluane | Sep 9, 2013 |
The concluding volume of the Swan's War trilogy. The Shadow Roads continues the story of the previous two books, with the families of the Renne and Wills pursuing their ancient feud and the otherworldly powers of the dark knight Hafydd complicating matters. As the characters attempt to navigate the treacherous world they inhabit, many characters are forced into unexpected roles and others encounter situations which test their bravery and courage. While an okay read, I am disappointed with this series overall and can't say I could recommend this to others. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Oct 7, 2012 |
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A century of enmity has ravaged the one kingdom, as the mighty families of the Renne and the Wills have fought for their right to the crown. But now the decades of bloodshed have roused the unquiet river spirits from a timeless sleep, reviving a feud more deadly than any conflict of man. Alliances shift and loyalties are tested in the harsh civil war between the two great families, but a larger threat emerges. For the dark knight Hafydd has made a sinister alliance, leading him to eons old secrets, secrets that should remain hidden lest they destroy all lives they touch. Woken by the wars of man and nagar, even Death himself is preparing to leave his fell kingdom. And if the door to his domain cannot be shut, the feud between men and even the ancient wars of the nagar will be less than nothing besides the coming doom.

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