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Shadowmarch by Tad Williams

Shadowmarch (2004)

by Tad Williams

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Shadowmarch (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,011345,168 (3.7)57
Shadowmarch begins Tad Williams' first epic fantasy trilogy since his best-selling Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Rich with detail and exotic culture, and filled with a cast of characters both diverse and three-dimensional, Shadowmarch is a true fantasy achievement, an epic of storytelling by a master of the genre.… (more)
Recently added byrena75, AlMargheim, TheDoug, bobf32, private library, carliwi
  1. 21
    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (alcc)
    alcc: Another high fantasy, the first novel in the series a A Song of Ice and Fire, that shares many similarities. It has an amazing cast of characters, an intricate world, riveting plot, and was thoroughly enjoyable.
  2. 10
    Shadowrise by Tad Williams (Dragonlord21)
  3. 00
    The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: A better introduction to Tad Williams' fantasy oeuvre.
  4. 00
    The Dark Tide by Dennis L. McKiernan (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: This earlier work also featured an encroaching "shadowline"

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» See also 57 mentions

English (31)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed Williams' Otherland series, so I thought I'd give one of his fantasy works a read. I have to be honest - it took me a little while to really get into the book. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but I feel like I really didn't identify with or really care about the main characters until later on in the book. Once the story got settled and moving, I became more emotionally connected to the characters even though they still came across as a little one-dimensional.

To my surprise, I really liked what Williams did with the immortal Twilight People - instead of being the good and nearly perfect beings like the elves in most fantasy stories, Williams creates a sense of stark beauty and horror around them. They are totally Not Human, and the strangeness that accompanies them brings a terrific contrast to the Lords and Ladies of the mortal lands.

While the Twilight People seem evil and terrible, at least from the points of view of the mortals, I couldn't help but feel that there's something bigger going on with them. It was this sense, along with the tragic trials of Captain Ferras Vansen, that kept me pushing deeper into the novel. The ending - unexpected and intense - pushed me into reading the second novel in this series.

This book is more focused on mysteries and political intrigue than the battles and war preparation that involve some of the characters later on. I would have liked to see more focus on that, rather than a constant focus on the "Who Done It?" and the political backstabbing and distrust swirling around the different characters. However, that's just my own opinion - I've always preferred a good battle scene or two over the stress of constant political vigilance. I figure if they wear swords, they should use them. Competently. Sadly, the army that was mustered towards the end of the book was a poor realization of what was claimed earlier on - that Southmarch was the most powerful city in the March Kingdom. Granted, they were missing some key pieces, but still.

Bottom Line: I liked it. Not my favorite book, but entertaining and engaging enough to keep me reading. ( )
1 vote Starman_B | May 8, 2018 |
I didn't read this book for years because of personal writing reasons. Now that I have I am glad I waited. Having said that I still enjoyed it. The book started really slow for me. Eventually it got going and by the time I reached the end I felt invested in the characters and the story. ( )
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
Helaas heb ik boek 2 niet. ( )
  EdwinKort | Mar 23, 2017 |
another epic start of a series about magic, elves, ages coming and going, and the human factor. Many characters, I can’t wait to see how they all are interweaved. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
After concluding the Memory Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, Tad Williams switched to writing science fiction (Otherland) before this return to fantasy. A new medium may have suggested itself as a solution for not repeating himself, and Shadowmarch first began as a television project. You can see the bones of this in the prelude and opening chapters, with their camera-ready scenes. When that didn't pan out (excuse the pun), he attempted to present it as an pay-per-read online project. Finally, he came back to the published novel format. If he'd known that was coming, I think he might have steered wider of the parallels with MS&T: an ancient castle, a dark threat in the north from an elven-like folk, a storyline centered upon royalty, an eccentric scientist - all of these are echoes, and it takes some time for Shadowmarch to establish itself as a unique property. From that point on it delivers a solid if largely traditional fantasy ride.

Briony and Barrick are portrayed very well, the teenage twins at the heart of the story upon whom great responsibility must fall - and they're already royalty, so we're spared the predictable rise to this station. There's also the fun of Shadowmarch being directly on the border of the great evil, rather than placed in the opposite corner of the map. Most welcome is the presenting of this "evil" as having been deeply wronged in the past: as the original inhabitants of this land, their motive is only to reclaim what once was theirs before they were forced from it by sword and flame. I especially like this element, but this too contributes to the resurfacing impression of Shadowmarch as a scaled-back MS&T Redux with a few new twists.

With this series Williams continued to occupy the space between the original Tolkien tradition and the latest gritty genre offerings grounded in realism, exploring the territory he staked out for himself. It can feel like a step back in one sense next to today's fantasy offerings, but on the other it's a nice variant with its benevolent view of humanity that still allows for darker elements. Be patient with this slow-burn series opener, typical of this author, to receive the rich rewards he always delivers later. ( )
  Cecrow | Nov 3, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tad Williamsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hurme-Keränen, AuliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to my children, Connor Williams and Devon Beale, who as I write this are still small but extremely powerful. They amaze me every day.

Someday, when they are grown and their mother and I have ambled on to the Fields Beyond, I hope the two of them will be warmed by the knowledge of how fiercely we loved them, and a tiny bit embarrassed by how wickedly they took advantage of it, charming, funny little buggers that they are.
First words
For almost a thousand years before our Trigonate Era, history was written only in the ancient kingdoms of Xand, the southern continent that was the world's first seat of civilization.
Come away, dreamer, come away. Soon you will witness things that only sleepers and sorcerers can see.
The belling of the hounds was already growing faint in the hollows behind them when he finally pulled up.
Perhaps it really is as the ancients say, he thought. Perhaps a heart was indeed like a piece of dry birchwood, and could only take fire and burn brightly once - that any fire that came after would be only an ember, smaller and cooler.
It's as if we live on a thousand, thousand different islands in the middle of an ocean, he thought, but with no boats. We can see each other. We can shout to each other. But we can none of us leave our own island and travel to another.
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