Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defenders, the king’s children Princess Briony and Prince Barrick, are both trapped far away from home and fighting for their lives.
Barrick is lost behind the Shadowline, facing all the terrible dangers and mysteries of that magical twilight land. Briony is alone in a treacherous foreign court, struggling to survive with no weapon left to her but her wits. And in the midst of all this, something unbelievable is awakening underneath Southmarch, something powerful and terrible that the world has not seen for thousands of years.
In this third volume Barrick and Briony, along with Qinnitan - the Autarch’s desperate, escaped slave - a loyal soldier named Ferras Vansen, and a tiny handful of other folk, ordinary and extraordinary, must find a way to save their world, or else witness the rise of a terrible new age - an age of unending darkness.
©2010 Tad Williams (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I love switching back and forth between reading and listening.
One of the best things in this book is the realism of the central characters, at least the twins. Their weaknesses, fears, and inadequacies make them real, love-able and believe-able. The mystery of the shadow world is alive and deepened.
The only part I don't yet understand is the motivations of the Autarch. Why does he want to get god-like powers? If he already has so much power, what motivates him? Even the pleasures in torture, much like those of CIA operatives, needs to be explained. Was he abused that he must be abused? Is the Autarch controlled by bankers or a small spiritual community of occupying interlopers on another spiritual people's land? There are many questions of motivation missing on the evil side.
Of course, the love-able creatures below the castle, Chert and the mysterious boy Flint, make one long for the beautiful days spent in childhood with father or grandfather. The way Flint is something other, something mysterious and perhaps not-altogether-good is interesting too. Of course, the novel could use some more grey figures. The Tendon Hally character is good along these lines. Would that W. or Obama would receive their rewards for their evils too.
Overall, a good, not a great book. I'm enjoying the next one far more. Of course, after the masterpiece of the Otherworld series, the imagination of Williams is superb. You can't not like this book.
The narration by Dick Hill is adequate.
I wish I could listen to this book in one super long walk.
Worth the price. We need more quality authors like Williams.
A long story that I enjoyed while travelling recently. The narrator does a good job with the many different characters and his voice suits the tone of the story.
Tad Williams has to be one of the most imaginative writers, I've had the pleasure of reading or listening.
Avid Biker - RAGBRAI rules
It becomes painfully obvious almost immediately in this book that the narrator does not like the characters he portrays. He reads them as whiny spoiled children who hate everyone and have no redeeming qualities. The sad part is that I agree with him. This is the worst "attempt" at character development I have ever been exposed to. The characters, with few exceptions, are completely unlikeable. The storyline drags like it is stuck in the bog of eternal stench. Yes, it is really that bad. I've read books by or co-authored by, Tad Williams and it is hard for me to believe this is the same writer. I'd give the book zero stars or negative stars but people tend to skip over reviews that appear to not have a rating.
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