A Shadow in Summer Hardcover – Mar 7 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Gesture and posture convey as much information as spoken words in Abraham's impressive first novel, a fantasy set in a world where poets create and bind powerful shape-shifting creatures called "andat." The Empire hangs on, literally, by a thread; the cloth industry depends on the ability of andat Seedless to magically remove seeds from cotton plants to keep commerce flowing and the barbarians in check. Seedless, who can also remove unborn children from their mother's womb, aims to drive his poet-creator, Heshai-kvo, mad with grief. A love triangle develops among a threesome—Heshai's apprentice, Maati; Itani, a laborer with a past; and the beautiful scribe Liat—as they unknowingly assist the andat in his plot to abort a wanted child. When Liat's master, Amat Kyaan, uncovers the plan, Amat must flee and live as a bookkeeper in a brothel. The complex characters all struggle to navigate a path between their duty to their Empire and to themselves. A blurb from George R.R. Martin will help alert his fans to this promising newcomer. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Otah is a good soldier; otherwise, why would he be in charge of training a motley array of boys just learning arms? Quickly his challenges increase, as a magical menace out of legend threatens the Summer Cities. Factor in sheer human folly, and one understands why Otah has his hands full. Apart from its well-developed protagonist, this first volume of a projected tetralogy has a somewhat conventional plot. What make it a distinguished fantasy debut are Abraham's command of language, which recalls even if it does not equal that of Jack Vance, and his facility at creating fully realized settings, such as the bustling seaport Saraykhet, which exerts a particularly strong appeal to the apparently growing audience for fantasy seasoned with a dash or more of saltwater. The direction of The Long Price Quartet is hard to determine from this first volume, but after finishing it, more than a few readers won't especially care, not as long as Abraham just gives them more, as promised. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
There is very little action in this book, so fans of heroic fantasy may not enjoy it. Instead, this book is very character driven. The characters are all very well developed compared to most fantasy novels. The writing is also very good - the author really made the world come alive for me. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series, and suspect fans of Guy Gavriel Kay will enjoy this book. Unfortunately I've heard the North American publisher is not releasing the final novel in mass market paperback - meaning either picking up the hard cover, an e-book, or an import, unless they change their mind or another publisher picks it up.
As my title suggests, this is the beginning of a solid start to a fantasy series. Mainly my problems with the book are nitpicky. They concern the use of the phrase "took a pose" that negates the need to accurately describe what the poses actually are, although I'm sure he remedied this in future volumes. Similar sounding character names or names that begin with the same letter had me confused more often than should be expected even in a fantasy novel. The story is strong, and the prose is done well. I would recommend this book, but not before reading GRRM's song of ice and fire, or Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind.
Still, if you want to take a look at how good Daniel Abraham is as an author, google: "The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics By Daniel Abraham." Fantastic short story. He has what it takes, so later novels might be stronger, although I haven't read them.
Cons: characters make disappointing choices
Otah Machi, sixth son of the Khai Machi, gives up his chance to become a poet and leaves the training school he was sent to without a brand, in order to make his own way in life. Years later, one of Otah's pupils, Maati, comes to Saraykeht to apprentice with its poet. Poets keep Andat, spirits made flesh who perform particular tasks. Saraykeht's Andat, Seedless, helps with the cotton trade. The Andat does not wish to be a slave and has plotted to bring his poet down.
Otah has built a new life for himself in Saraykeht, with a powerful trading house and a woman he loves. But everything changes when the overseer of the house finds out about Seedless's plot.
This is a very complex book. There are plots within plots and it's hard to know what will happen next. I loved all of the characters. Each one felt like a real person, with problems and strengths. In fact, when Maati makes a decision that would normally have angered me, in this book, it worked. I felt sorry for the characters involved and understood their complicated emotions when things went wrong.
The world also felt real. Abraham created a complex vocabulary of hand gestures meant to explain one person's rank in relation to another's, to ask questions, to give thanks. There's a flourishing bath culture for escaping the heat of the day as well as for doing business and learning gossip. The court ceremony and trade bureaucracy are intricate and time intensive. Though the greater politics between nations is only touched on in this volume, I expect it to show up more in later books.Read more ›