Crown of Shadows : Coldfire

  • by C. S. Friedman
  • Narrated by R. C. Bray
  • Series: Coldfire
  • 19 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

More than a millennium after the human race forges an uneasy stalemate against the demonic human-psyche feeders known as the fae, a pain-hungry demon called Calesta declares war on all living beings.


What the Critics Say

"Despite opposition by his Patriarch, warrior priest Damien Vryce again seeks the assistance of the immortal sorcerer Gerald Tarrant. While racing against time to prevent the enslavement of their world, the two men find themselves trapped between justice and retribution. Betrayal and loyalty assume ironic forms in this conclusion to Friedman's complex and compelling "Cold Fire Trilogy." The richly detailed setting and strong supporting characters give substance to a tale that explores the consequences of embracing evil in hopes of achieving its redemption." (Library Journal)


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Customer Reviews

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3.5 Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

Crown of Shadows brings C.S. Friedman’s COLDFIRE trilogy to a close. (This review may contain spoilers for the previous books, which you really must read before beginning Crown of Shadows.)

In the previous book, When True Night Falls, the unlikely allies Reverend Damien Vryce and undead vampire Gerald Tarrant battled their way across hostile foreign countries to combat the evil force that was threatening humanity. Just when they thought they were finished, they were essentially told: “But wait! There’s more!” Now they’re on their way back home where they will — they hope — finally really combat the actual final real ultimate source of evil … which turns out to be Calesta the demon.

Damien and Gerald will once again be called on to travel together to intimidating foreign lands, fight side-by-side, and save each other’s lives. There will again be deadly enemies, powerful illusions, and hostile terrain to overcome. Just when I thought Friedman had put Gerald and Damien through every lethal landscape she could think of, she sends them through a horrible hell inhabited by Gerald’s numerous victims. This part is quite upsetting and makes us question whether or not we really want to see Gerald redeemed.

Meanwhile Calesta has been mustering up his own troops. One of these is the patriarch of Damien’s church. This man has the best of intentions and we even see him calling for unity and tolerance, but he has no idea that his desire to rally his church on a crusade against Gerald is playing right into a demon’s plans. Friedman does a great job with this character, using him to again emphasize the blurriness of the line between good and evil.

Calesta has also dredged up Gerald’s last living descendant, a decadent man named Andrys who is perfectly willing to be Calesta’s pawn. For most of his life he has let hatred and despair drive him, but he also will be changed by his encounters with the other characters in this tale.
Friedman surprised me with this story. With all the emphasis on sacrifice and redemption, I kind of thought I knew how it was going to turn out, but I was wrong. The story is about sacrifice and redemption, but it didn’t go like I expected. Also surprising are the stunning revelations we get about where the demons of Erna came from. I liked this part of the story best.

In audio format Crown of Shadows is only 19 hours long (book 1 was 24 hours and book 2 was 26 hours long) but it is still longer than it needs to be with too much page time spent describing travelling. This is my main complaint about the series. The trilogy could have been condensed to two volumes and it would have been better. Despite the length, though, the COLDFIRE trilogy is an above average epic science fantasy that’s smart and thought-provoking.
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- Katherine "I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!"

Wow, the ending blew me away!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, the author provides detail to the mindset of each character and the narrator brings them to life. The final book had me on edge from beginning to end.

What other book might you compare Crown of Shadows to and why?

I find it to be unique. A living world that adapts and has a symbiotic bond with its inhabitants. It feels like the era is old but it is actually thousands of years into our future.

What about R. C. Bray’s performance did you like?

I really enjoyed the narrator's performance. He scares me when he does the voices of the nameless and the demons. Each character sounds different and he really brings out the personality of the Hunter and the Priest.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I actually cried at the end. I don't want to give anything away but you actually feel sorry for many of the characters.

Any additional comments?

I wish there were more books to this series but at last it cannot be. :-( So I purchased C.S Friedman's "Feast of Souls"..

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- Amy D. F

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-15-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios