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Above the Snowline [Paperback]

Steph Swainston
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
Price: £10.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Hardcover £17.70  
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Paperback, 25 Feb 2010 £10.69  

Book Description

25 Feb 2010

This is Jant Shira's life before the drugs took over, as a hunter in the mountains. Awian exiles are building a stronghold in the Darkling mountains, where the Rhydanne hunt. Their clash of interests soon leads to bloodshed and Shira Dellin, a Rhydanne huntress, appeals to the immortal Circle for justice. The Emperor sends Jant, half-Rhydanne, half-Awian, and all-confidence, to mediate.

As Jant is drawn into the spiralling violence he is shaken into coming to terms with his own heritage and his feelings for the alien, intoxicating Dellin.

ABOVE THE SNOWLINE tells the story of Jant's early years in the Circle and shows the Fourlands as you've never seen them before.

Frequently Bought Together

Above the Snowline + The Castle Omnibus: The Year of Our War, No Present Like Time, The Modern World
Price For Both: £25.50

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (25 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575081597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575081598
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,065,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Scintillating prose, well-developed characters and talent for brilliant absurdities . . . one of the more innovative fantasies of recent years." --"Publishers Weekly" starred review of "No Present Like Time"

Book Description

This is the book Steph Swainston's fans have been waiting for. A prequel to the Castle novels.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good 18 Aug 2010
By John W
I have read the author's other books about Jant and the Castle, and enjoyed them. To be honest these are the first books in the fantasy genre I have read for many years and I've been impressed by the fresh writing style and original subject matter.

I didn't enjoy this one as much though. I can understand what the author is up to - this is an opportunity to explore Jant's earlier life and some events that have influenced his character. And the changes of viewpoint let us see Jant as others see him, which is interesting.

But the changing viewpoints interrupt the flow of the story, I think we hear from too many different people and their voices are not really distinct enough. Overall it's not the exciting page-turner that the other books are.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Above the Snowline - Slightly Below Par? 30 Mar 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Above the Snowline takes a step back to look at Jant's early life in the Circle. The story is centred on rivalry between the King of Rachiswater and his brother Raven, who is exiled to the frozen wastes of Carnich after a failed coup. With the help of his followers Raven erects a fortification that greatly displeases the indigenous Rhydanne who fear for their hunting grounds and way of life.
Jant becomes involved in this debacle when one of the Rhydanne (Dellin) travels to the Castle to petition the Emperor for aid.
That aid comes in the form of our flying diplomat, Jant.

So, that's the premise in a nutshell, but is the story any good? Personally, I thought it the weakest of Steph's efforts so far as I didn't feel it revealed why Jant is the way he is. Assuming of course that our past defines our present and we're all an amalgam of experiences old and new, I just didn't get the point in telling a story that doesn't define why Jant became the immortal he did. I wanted to read an early experience of his and say to myself: ah yes, that could suggest why he's like that or does this. Maybe I just had trouble connecting the dots; or maybe my expectations for the book were way off kilter, or maybe even I'm being way too subjective - whichever it is I couldn't ignore the growing disappointment as I read through the book.

Right - here comes the "however"...

Having said that, the writing is as accomplished as ever; being at times poetically savage and unapologetically brutal, it has the power to keep the pages turning. The story also jumps around with the points of view; instead of being completely inside Jant's head we get to experience situations through others' perspective.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Self Contained Magic 28 Mar 2010
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Since Steph first came to my attention with her Troy series I've kept a close eye on all her releases as I really do like her pace, her descriptive prose and above all her characterisation. Within this offering is a tale, which is totally self-contained. It is always good when an author does this as it allows new readers a chance to try them without having to get behind a huge catalogue. Steph's writing really is some of the best out there and whilst I still think her Troy books are superior, this is a cracking fantasy novel with characters that are not only flawed but also heroic as they struggle against their fates.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 27 Mar 2010
Really good. If you follow the original closely you'll really notice how well the ties into the books already. Year of our war also contains all of the new books titles (surprise!)
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