Lord of Snow and Shadows: Book One of The Tears of Artamon Mass Market Paperback – Jun 29 2004
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Sara Ash's Lord of Snow and Shadows is the promising opener to the Tears of Artamon series. The novel sets the stage in grand fashion as Ash deftly introduces the principal players in her well-realized fantasy realm. She begins with Gavril, a carefree portrait painter basking in the sunny climes of an irrelevant island republic. He soon discovers he is heir to a great and terrible legacy in the snowy wasteland of Azhkendir. Kidnapped by his murdered fathers personal guard, he is both captive and the Drakhoan--ruler of Azhkendir. His inheritance turns out to be more than just a crown, however. A dark force of immeasurable power is growing inside him while he finds his realm under siege from within and without.
Ash masterfully avoids most of the usual fantasy memes--except, of course, the reluctant hero, Gavril--and imports a vast menagerie of technologies and culturally resonant magics into her world. Her conflicting armies wield magic, muskets, and heavy cannon alongside darker forces that are too delicious to mention here. Apart from a few niggling inconsistencies (Gavril's transformation from foppish artist to deft statesman, for one), Ash's novel is a frosty infusion of new air into a genre overrun with the usual maidens-with-broadswords clichés. -Jeremy Pugh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In this excellent start to a new fantasy series from British author Ash (Moths to a Flame), Gavril Andar, an idealistic young artist, falls for the nobly born Astasia Orlova, whose portrait he's been hired to paint. Luckily, he's attractive enough for Astasia to return the favor. He doesn't know he's also Gavril Nagarian, son of the recently assassinated ruler of the wintry kingdom of Azhkendir, and that fate is about to deal him a dreadful blow. Like his father before him, Gavril becomes soul-bound to the Drakhaoul, a creature that grants awesome power at a terrible price. Kidnapped, Gavril finds himself trapped in Kastel Drakhaon, reluctant to draw on his new magical abilities, as their use only makes him more beast-like and less human. But with Prince Eugene of Tielin threatening to reconquer all of the Rossiyan Empire, he may have no choice. Fascinating and unpredictable, Gavril's tale gains richness from the grand scope of Ash's narrative, with its echoes of Russian history under the czars. Enhanced by supporting characters who are living, breathing individuals, this book will leave readers drooling to get their hands on the sequel from the moment they turn its final page.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Ash's style is tight, with no words wasted or left out. In addition to this trilogy, she's written a few other books which I'm going to have to track down, since her style and storytelling ability alone will be enough to keep me coming back to her novels, even if at some point the story itself happens to be less than thrilling.
I loved the fact that Ash took inspiration from Europe's history, cultures,and various aspects of mythology in her worldbuilding. The world is familiar and yet entirely new. The mix of magic and technology, the overlap, and various views held by different people in different cultures was also a treat to see, because the way she wrote even conflicting opinions was as if both sides were right. Some authors will try to pull this off by having magic be primitive and technology be vital, or by technology being overbearing and magic being the best way. While each character has their own opinion on sciences and magics in Lord of Snow and Shadows, the narrative voice offers no bias one way or the other, and we see the opinions purely through the eyes of the characters.
My only comnplaints in regards to this novel are trivial and subjective, such as the fact that I found it hard to think of Kiukiu as an adult, or at least very close to one.Read more ›
I am selective, and it was the blurb on the back of this novel that sold me the book.
Gavril Andral artist and sensitive young man living in sunny Smarma and painting a lovely princess. Her family of course looks on him with disdain and the opening gambit in this debut offering from Ash seems predictable. Except unbeknownst to Gavril right away he has royal blood in his veins as well as a dark legacy from his father Lord Drakhoun of Ankerhisk(sp)?. His father was murdered and his retainers kidnap Gavril as the heir to inherit his father's dark gifts and blood feuds with rival klans.
This novel borrows much from Russian lore including some sounds of names and places and folklore/wisdom. It also borrows from such tones as the darkest fantasy, and if Ash continues in this vein I can see comparisions to Barker(though not as dark) but I was also reminded a little of King's Dark Tower.
The action in the tale is a skilful mix of suspense, classic fantasy, mythology and horror. The plot moves quickly, and not even the preview of the second title in the trilogy saturated my appetite for more concerning the characters populating this magical land. Ash's best qaulity is a succinctness in providing enough detail without detracting from the story's excitement and thereby able to cut off her story in a trilogy as opposed to a tetralogy or longer series. I will probably end up reading them all more than once which for a non fantasy reader should be the seller;).
When I read the reviews of this book, I was excited because the praise seemed to point to a plot and characters that were different from standard issue fantasy fare and full of fresh ideas and surprises. This is certainly true....sort of.
The book is largely set in a time and place that is reminiscent of Tsarist Russia (right down to having a character named Astasia and hungry commoners threatening revolt). The main character turns into a creature that is a weird amalgm of vampire and dragon and he is referred to as Drakhoul or Draghoan. There is magic and alchemy, but they are presented side by side with such "modern" technology as guns, cannon and a device that sounds kinda like an ornately ornamental walkie-talkie. Overall the book has a very old world eastern European vibe as opposed to the decidedly medieval era western European vibe you get with a lot of the fantasy being written. So in this instance the feel of the book is very different.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent bouquin....intrigue bien développé....personnage attachant KuiKui et Gavril. Read morePublished on June 15 2014 by Michel Charron
I LOVED this book, and the entire series. I thought the detail and description was intense and the storyline thoughtful and expansive. Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2006 by Morgan
I was looking for something new in a good fantasy book, and stumbled across this title from an author I had never heard of. Read morePublished on Aug. 3 2004 by Josh Hudson
Why You Should Read This
Sarah Ash has a small but devoted fan base. They will read this book with relish and clamor for more. Read more
I dont know how anybody could write a better book then this-it had it all--wonderful characters-action-suspense-mystery and a complex storyline that has a brooding war with lots of... Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2004
I saw this book in a local bookstore and was attracted to the beautiful cover art. This book was a pleasant surprise, far exceeding my expectations. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2003
This book was a very pleasant surprise. It was a very quick read with lots of suspense and action. The characters, nations, and lands all are exciting and diverse. Read morePublished on Dec 16 2003
Overall, this book was OKAY....I liked the plot idea, but as another reader put it, the characters were somewhat shallow. Read morePublished on Nov. 24 2003 by Kristina L. Thompson