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Shadowmarch
Tad Williams
DAW, 796, 737, 589 and 730 pages
Volume 1 Shadowmarch
Volume 2 Shadowplay
Volume 3 Shadowrise
Volume 4 Shadowheart

Shadowmarch Shadowplay
Shadowrise Shadowheart
Tad Williams
Tad Williams is the bestselling author of Tailchaser's Song and the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy. He is co-founder of an interactive television company, and is currently writing comic books and film and television scripts as well as novels.

Tad Williams Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Memory, Sorrow and Thorn
SF Site Review: Rite: Short Work
SF Site Review: Shadowmarch
SF Site Review: The War of the Flowers
SF Site Review: Sea of Silver Light
SF Site Interview: Tad Williams
SF Site Review: Otherland, Vol. 3: Mountain of Black Glass
SF Site Review:Otherland Vol. 2: River of Blue Fire
SF Site Review:Otherland Vol. 1: City of Golden Shadow

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Dominic Cilli

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I had such a great time last year reading Memory Sorrow and Thorn for the first time that it was a no-brainer to continue to explore the work of Tad Williams. I was excited to find out that he had written another fantasy trilogy called Shadowmarch. The series began back in 2004 and we reviewed the first volume, the self-entitled, Shadowmarch but haven't returned to it until now, three books later. As was the case with Memory Sorrow and Thorn, the final volume of this planned trilogy just got too big and had to be published in two volumes. I would normally complain, but in both cases, this has been a good thing for Tad Williams. It allows his stories to be uncompromising and fully evolved while unfolding at his pace. In November of last year, the final volume of Shadowmarch, Shadowheart was published and lovers of traditional epic high fantasy were treated to an extraordinarily moving final novel and one terrific series.

For the patient reader, Shadowmarch will deliver like few other fantasy series can. The stories of Barrick and Briony Eddon, Chert Blue Quartz, Farris Vansen, and a host of other plotlines started in Shadowmarch continue throughout Shadowplay and Shadowrise and all come together in the final volume. Shadowheart itself feels like it is one long 700 page crescendo and Williams's ability to bring together multiple storylines appears effortless, as everything falls neatly into place. The bulk of Shadowheart is action-packed, as readers are taken from one long battle scene to another. Emotional climaxes are heaped upon readers throughout Shadowheart as each individual thread of Williams's extraordinary work comes together. The extra time and care that Williams takes to develop his characters and the world they live in throughout Shadowmarch, will assure readers they are emotionally invested in each and every one by the time they read Shadowheart.

Shadowheart was an immensely satisfying final entry to the series and to say it wasn't among the finest examples of "high fantasy" written last year would be an outright lie. It was among my top five reads of the year and anyone who likes their fantasy "Tolkienesque" will be hard-pressed to find any author writing today better than Tad Williams.

Copyright © 2011 Dominic Cilli

When asked to write a third-person tag line for his reviews, Dominic Cilli farmed the work out to an actual 3rd person, his friend Neal, who in turn turned it over to a second person who then asked his third cousin to help out and this person whom Dom doesn't even know then wrote in 8th person Omniscient mode "Dom's breadth of knowledge in literature runs the gamut and is certainly not bounded by the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. One thing I can say with certainty is that of all the people I don't know who've ever recommended books to read, Dom's recommendations are the best.


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