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Publisher's Summary

For generations the misty Shadowline has marked the boundary between the lands of men and the lost northern lands that are the lair of their inhuman enemies, the ageless Qar. But now that boundary line is moving outward, threatening to engulf the northernmost land in which humans still live - the kingdom of Southmarch.
For centuries, the Eddon family has ruled in ancient, forbidding Southmarch Castle, guarding the border against the Qar's return, but now this powerful royal line has been dealt a devastating blow. The monarch, King Olin, is being held captive in a distant land, and it falls to his inexperienced heirs to lead their people in a time of growing danger and dread.
It is on the two youngest Eddons that the heaviest burdens fall. The twins Barrick and Briony, who in such evil times have only each other, may lose even that bond as darkness closes over them. As the Qar’s power reaches out across their land, will Southmarch Castle, the only home they’ve ever known, become in fact what it has long been called - Shadowmarch?
©2006 Tad Williams (P)2010 Brilliance Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By JC on 11-09-10

It's the characters that matter...

As a longtime reader of fantasy novels, I understand that the first book in a series is many times a bit slower paced than the later books. The author has to paint the picture of an entire world and the characters and things within it. This book however was a bit of a yawner. Williams is a tallented writer as far as describing things in the universe that he has created, but he falls far far short on character development.

There are four main story lines in the book, with most of the book concentrating on the two most uninteresting characters in the story. A spoiled prince and princess. There is a pretty good storyline about a mysterious orphan boy and a dwarf (for lack of a better word). I'd like to fiind out what happens to them. I never will though, because after thirty plus hours of listening, I don't think I could take another book with the same boring characters.

You can have an interesting story and universe, but if you don't fill it with interesting characters, characters that readers will care about, then you just have a long boring slog to the end.

The narrator does a fine job on the book. He gives the characters very definable voices and livens things up. But try as he might, this book still falls short on several different levels.

Favorite authors lately: Robin Hobb, Jim Butcher, Guy Gavriel Kay. If you are a fan of these three authors I reccomend you stay away from this one.

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22 of 26 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Laura on 02-01-11

By Far, NOT Williams' Best

I love Tad Williams. His Otherland series is one of my top three series. This series, however, is dreadfully slow. I've tried to get through it twice and keep listening to another book instead. I've finally restarted it with the goal of perservering and finishing the thing. Its a long slog through slow plot, whiny characters and annoying writing. I have always thought Williams to be an excellent writer, but the writing in this book is bad to the point of distraction. The characters are unbelievable, cardboard and just plan annoying. They are whiny and pretulant, and the reader adds to the whiny quality in the dialogue by reading all of them (especially the females) in nasal tones that drive me crazy! To top it off, I just finished reading G.R.R.Martin's Song of Fire and Ice books, and honestly, sadly, this latest series from Williams seems a rip off of that series, The plot, characters and all are very similar in too many ways, but its a shallow, hallow shell of a reproduction. I love Song of Fire and Ice as well, so if it had been a better representation, I'd have been happy to read it. I pray the next book in this series is better, because I bought it as well.

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16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By thetwistedtail on 03-06-15

terrible narrator

terrible narrator, voice is all over the place, hard to listen to, so bad im going to return it and try the book

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Vivienne H. on 02-29-16

Awful narrator

What didn’t you like about Dick Hill’s performance?

I found the pronunciation most bizarre- long as lawng, gone gawn, palm pawm, etc. Also his rendition made the female characters sounded like squeaky ninnies. In all I found his performance so irritating that I am hesitating whether to listen to the rest of the series, even though I loved the books when I read them years ago. I thought I would get used to the narrator, and I managed to get to the end of volume one, but it remained very irritating and detracted considerably from the enjoyment. Someone like Rupert Degas would have been a much better choice.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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