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May 2003
© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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Lord of Snow and Shadows: Book One of The Tears of Artamon by Sarah Ash
Bantam, London Trade: ISBN 0593049837 PubDate: May 1, 2003
Review by Iain Emsley

464 pages List price £10.99
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Sarah Ash has come back into print with a wonderfully lyrical fantasy which enchants the reader. She first appeared in the early Nineties with a series of stand alone novels which often utilized music and art in a fashion rarely seen in fantasy; not as a simple means of moving the story but as a way of awakening other worlds and senses. In this debut novel of The Tears of Artamon series, she manages to combine both her artistry and standard epic fantasy in an intriguing novel.

Gavril Andar is a young portraitist, an outsider to Muscobar society, where he is engaged to paint the Altessa Orlova. In Azhkendir, the dying ruler sends his right hand man across the sea to give Gavril the inheritance that he little expects to have. Kidnapped and brought to the castle to claim the inheritance, Gavril must deal with the expectations of his fatherís soldiers and the political machinations brewing around him. Yet his father has bequeathed something else to him which he must cope with.

Ash paces her novel wonderfully, drawing the reader through Gavrilís various travails with a sense that she has a story to tell. Behind Gavrilís story, she portrays wonderful family intrigues which promise to become more important in later novels. He develops into an intriguing character as he tries to hold himself together.

In a fantasy industry awash with pale epics of heroes merely going through the motions, Lord of Snow and Shadows is a welcome read. Ash has set up an intriguing situation that looks to be played out in interesting fashions with characters who come alive in their own rights.

sfr3d.gif (19860 bytes)© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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