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Shadowbred: The Twilight War, Book I [Mass Market Paperback]

Paul S. Kemp

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Book Description

Nov. 7 2006 The Twilight War (Book 1)
The Lady has spoken to me.

It has already begun

Shadows move out of the shrinking desert, south to the rich and arrogant cities of Sembia.

“Be brave, little man,” says the shadowman, and the boy thinks his voice is surprisingly soft. “Stay with your mother. This will be over soon.”

The shadows swallow him and he is gone.

On the edge of a war that will change the face of Faerûn, the world will find that not all shadows serve Shade.

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Shadowbred: The Twilight War, Book I + Shadowstorm: The Twilight War, Book II + The Erevis Cale Trilogy
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (Nov. 7 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786940778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786940776
  • Product Dimensions: 17.9 x 10.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best writers in the Realms today Nov. 11 2006
By Andrew Gray - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Shadowbred by Paul S. Kemp, is the first book in the Twilight Wars trilogy. This book follows the path of a character from a previous trilogy; The Erevis Cale trilogy, the three books in that set are: Twilight Falling, Dawn of Night, and Midnight's Mask. I would encourage anyone who has not read those three books to do so before reading this new book. Otherwise things may not make as much sense, such as characters motivations, some of the backstories etc. They are all very good reads so don't worry, you will enjoy it.

Few authors in the fantasy genre today have solid characters and a solid plot interwoven. Usually it is either really good characters or a really good plot. Mr. Kemp has the ability to weave the two together seamlessly. This allows for a deeper feeling of the book and a better understanding of what is going on. Readers are more able to become invested in the characters as well as caring about what is going on in the story.

The characters in this book are old hat. Some are characters from the first trilogy, Cale, Riven, Mags, etc. While there are now some new characters thrown into the mix for good measure. All of the characters in this book `feels' like a different person. Some books each character is the same except in different skin. Some books have cliché ridden characters as well, not so here. Mr. Kemp also has a way of introducing depth to his characters in ways that are not usually seen in fantasy novels. For instance, Riven and his girls. A great way to show some of the underlying feelings characters has. As well as, Cale's emotional turmoil over a specific event from the last trilogy. Mr. Kemp has created several truly memorable characters.

The plot of this book is not your typical - get a task - get a party - kill something - live happily ever after. There is political intrigue, posturing by nobles, self discovery, and yeah - some killing. I have heard that this series will be what is called a Realms Shaking Event, meaning the outcome of this trilogy will have an impact over all of the Forgotten Realms, I think that RSE is that Sembia is being thrown into a civil war. This war will have consequences that will transcend the entire setting. I am eagerly awaiting the next two books to watch this unfold. Yet, that is not all for this book's plotlines. There are several subplots all expertly woven together to offer seamless transitions. Cale is searching for a friend, Cale has returned to help old friends, and Cale is also trying to keep a promise to another friend, all the time a god, or two, has their hands mixed into the batter to make sure things don't go as planned.

The combination of the great characters and the fantastic storylines make this book a true marvel to read. It challenges the reader to put it down. Mr. Kemp's prose allow for easy reading, and his descriptions are just enough to help me `see' but not enough to bog me down with useless details. Mr. Kemp has proven himself to be one of the Forgotten Realms most talented writers and I can only imagine were his books will go from here.

I do have one criticism about this book though. There are a couple scenes that are done in first person, while the rest of the book is more traditional. I have never been a fan of first person books, or scenes, so when I got to these scenes it was hard for me to read them. It didn't feel right with how the rest of the story flowed. It, at times, jarred me out of reading and I had to really work at reading them. Personally, I hope these scenes are done, but I can also see how others may appreciate them. It just didn't work for me.

Overall, I think this was a fantastic book, and certainly a start to a great trilogy. I would recommend Mr. Kemp's books to anyone who enjoys fantasy. Certainly, fans of the Forgotten Realms will appreciate the lore that he adds for good measure. People thinking about starting to read fantasy, or start reading the Forgotten Realms should really look into Mr. Kemp's earlier works to get a feel. I have no doubt, that if they do, they will keep reading. A very entertaining read.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shadowbred by Paul Kemp Nov. 7 2006
By Epheros Aldor - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In Shadowbred, the first book of the Twilight War Trilogy, Sembia is falling into civil war. Erevis Cale returns to Selgaunt, after a year since the events in the Erevis Cale Trilogy, to help House Uskreven and find a friend. He must come to grips with his destiny and his past while rooting out the dark powers behind Sembia's decline.

In this first book, Erevis Cale is back and Paul expertly pulls the reader into the emotional turmoil of the main character. A host of antagonists make there way into this novel, and their descriptions, their personalities, and their little quirks are made so very personable by Paul's ability to clearly set up and describe character.

Paul has woven a marvelous story whose continuity stretches across multiple books (including Realms novels published by other authors) and events, yet is not dependant upon those stories to be enjoyed. Many moments in the book leave one feeling that there is even more going on than what's presented and a sense of almost knowing what those other events are drives one to continue reading - even at odd hours of the night.

The plot is very easy to follow, it's simply laid out, but achieving the plot is what makes this book so outstanding. This is definitely a book in which the path or the journey is the point, not the ending. It ends with one wishing desperately that time travel was available (even now, one day after finishing the novel, I'm fiending to have to the next book!).

This book is definitely fast paced, not necessarily because it is full of action but because everything is so fluid that moving from one chapter to the next becomes timeless. Though, there are parts in the book which are written in first person perspective and it's rather jarring to be carried along on a hypnotic ride through several scenes then suddenly be thrown into this first person narrative. Overall though, the use of it isn't disruptive to the story.

Characters from previous stories, including Erevis, that make an appearance in one shape or another, are depicted just as perfectly as they had been in others, making them akin to a friend you haven't seen or talked to in a year. The new characters - and some of the old ones too - maintain a consistent attitude and personality throughout, and even provide some exciting surprises.

I've been a fan of the Realms since I first started collecting the novels in 1988, and this is definitely one series I'd beseech Mask, the Realms' God of Thieves, to guide me as I gather minions to raid the publishing house for copies of the next two books! I'd love to see Rowling supplanted by devoted Realms, Erevis, and Paul Kemp fans who just NEED the next book.

No question about it, 11 out of 10 stars!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another milestone for this great author March 16 2007
By Festus Baggleton - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Shadowbred is an excellent addition to Paul S. Kemp's stable of books. As always, Mr. Kemp creates believable characters that tap into the reader's emotional interest. Even character's with bit parts are done so well as to make the reader wish to know more about that particular character's adventures. Old favorites from previous books return along with the new characters in this fast paced beginning to a trilogy, which does nothing but add to the anticipation of the books to follow.

Reader's familiar with Mr. Kemp's books will be pleased with Shadowbred on several levels. The obstacles set against the main character Erevis Cale have grown in proportion to his abilities. The opponents set against Cale are vivid and interesting in themselves, not just fodder or fuel for the forces of good. The story itself is engrossing and the scope is intriguing to those interested in the Forgotten Realms world. Paul Kemp is one of the best writer's Wizards has going without question. This book is highly recommended.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get ready to rock Oct. 16 2008
By Excellence - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback

I was minding my business. No, I was. Just perusing through some Forgotten Realms books, wondering what Forgotten Realms was. Breezy little reads, infested with elfs and bearded dwarfs, I thought, though I have played the Shadows of Amn game and Aerie's whinning added winged elfs to my disgust. It was the front cover that caught my attention; the stylised design so artistic I started flicking through the preview. Well, you don't really flick a page you mouse click it and it's not really a mouse . . . Stop rushing me, I'll get to the point eventually.

So I'm reading the prologue and Torm's beard I'm thinking, we got ourselves a cliche hobbit here sans the endless barding, don't we? Some kid excited about skipping stones and good golly a troll attack. Run to mum/mom, fellas, this could get scary. And it was for the kid and his mum/mom, otherwise they wouldn't have been hiding, or were until the troll found them. And while the kid is tossing twigs at it and I'm rolling a saving throw to keep from laughing, the suspense is building to a peak as the troll rears up for the kill---

And a dark man appears out of the shadows, dark sword in hand.

Shadows out, the troll slain. The screams of the villagers, slowly fading. The trolls, now doing the shrieking. And then the silence. The commendable build up of suspense that didn't read as cheesy had even Bane grunting grudging approval. Interest ensnared, I initiated the purchase ritual despite that awful font size all Realms-class books preen themselves with.

I must say I was impressed, very impressed. Kemp dispenses with pretentious prose and pace-slogging descriptions in favour of a no nonsense writing that's pragmatically practical when writing a cast of killers. The irrelevance of whether pragmatically is a word or not aside, Shadowbred is a slick little read of epic adventure. Despite the occasional reference to events of the last trilogy, the book can be read as it is just fine. Villains ranging from calm to homocidially insane, heroes you wouldn't want to meet in a daytime alley, and a talking dog that, ah ... eats shadows.

The Shadovar have recovered a mythallar from the depths of the sea, aspiring to add another upside mountaintop city to their collection. A parasentient battery able to empower magical objects, they need a mind mage to awaken its slumber, and have captured Magadon for the job. Bored teasing Lolth's abdomen, some Shar slut has decided to conquer the world, starting with the merchant cities of Sembia.

Divide from within, conquer from out. Caught between civil war and deceitful allies, the Twilight War begins. Find the book and herald the shadowstorm.

That's a bit of a problem. Guess she forgot Cale's from Sembia.

Get ready to rock.

Enter the Cale. A year ago he was a man. Butler by trade, assassin by profession. Now he's a shade, able to teleport through shadows and heal himself of injuries. But the price has come at an emotional cost to the soul. Erevis is his name; First Chosen of Mask, the deity of thieves. And blaming Mask for the loss of his humanity and best friend, Cale makes for a refreshing hero to read as he fights a war between reverence and resentment.

To find Magadon Cale needs Mask, and with a cataclysm coming Mask needs Cale. On one hand you have Salvatore and his introspective pet drow, who could attack Ao and live to tell the tavern tale. The same swordfights book after book. On the other hand you have Cale, forced to choose between the family he left in Selgaunt and a friend screaming help in his mind.

Because the game has gotten bigger now. Gone are the silly but deadly slaads of the past trilogy. The stakes are higher and Cale is going to need all the help he can get. They're cold, they're assassins, and the lines flow faster than the bodies they sprawl in their wake; and in place of their rival bickering that was classic Kemp, Rivan is back with his signature sneering.

The villains are no less interesting, from the calm and mannered Rivalen, an archmage orchestrating Shar's dark ambitions and apparently 2000yrs old, to Elyril, a sadistic sylph of ruthless amorality sowing political strife. Loyalty is its own reward. Rivalen has murdered his mother to prove his fealty to Shar. Elyril would thank the slut just to be stepped on by her feet. Rivan has finally accepted his second place to Mask. Faced with a siege he cannot repel, Tamlin wars between private ambition and a father's name to live up to. Magadon is losing his sanity within himself. And Cale, his life and humanity flipped over by the deity he trusted, must find that core within himself.

How far would you go to get your friend back?

Shar's own priest, thousands of years old, a shade himself -- bursting through the door, Cale grabs Rivalen by the shirt, shadows sparking violently.

"Where is Magadon!"

The look on Rivalen's face, the sheer chutzpa -- the scene is worth the price of the book alone.

This is Kemp. This is his Cale. This is Shadowbred. And if you're looking for a Realms book that's not saturated with blonde elfs, mindless action and unkillable Drizzt, Mystra's butt cheeks is this the book for you.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I expected nothing less than a 5-star book and that's what I got! Dec 17 2006
By C. Milton - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first novel I read by Paul S. Kemp was Resurrection from the War of the Spider Queen series. I thoroughly enjoy that book so I decided to check in on his other works. I picked up Halls of Stormweather and blazed through that book, but the Erevis Cale story really stood out in my mind as my favorite. I decided to continue with the series and as luck would have it the second book, Shadow's Witness, was about Cale also. I absorbed that book in no time. I attempted to continue the series after that but the drive fizzled out after Cale left. It just wasn't the same.

While I was trying to trudge through the Sembia series I heard that a trilogy was coming based all about Erevis Cale! I picked up Twilight Falling and the rest of the books as they came out. That trilogy was the best trilogy I've read so far bar none. Even the Almighty Bob Salvatore would tip his hat to Mr. Kemp.

I figured Mr. Kemp was going to let Cale rest, but now a new trilogy has begun, The Twilight War. Shadowbred does not disappoint either. He brings the usual characters out and resurrects a couple of other characters from the past for this novel. Cale is a staple(or course). Riven doesn't return until later in the book. The book even leads Cale back to his roots in Selgaunt(sp?) at the summons of Tamlin. If this book is any implication to rest of the trilogy, it will be more epic than the last.

Do yourself a favor and pick this up. Paul S. Kemp can weave a story like no other. You might want to read the other books for back-story, but you will enjoy them as much as this book.

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