- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Bantam Press; First Edition edition (1 May 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0593049837
- ISBN-13: 978-0593049839
- Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 3.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,919,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Lord of Snow and Shadows (The Tears of Artamon) Paperback – 1 May 2003
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More About the Author
Inspired by reading 'The Lord of the Rings' at the age of twelve, she started writing her own fantasy novels but chose to study music at New Hall (now Murray Edwards College), Cambridge. She's always enjoyed working with young people, so she trained as a teacher at Homerton College, Cambridge.
Staying at home when her two sons were small, Sarah started writing again and her first short story was published in 1992. Her first novel 'Moths to a Flame' came out in 1995 from Orion; seven other fantasy novels and various short stories for 'Interzone' have followed. She's taught music on and off all her life and recently retired after running a primary school library for seventeen years.
Sarah also reviews manga and anime - another passion! - for various online magazines. 'Flight into Darkness,' her eighth fantasy novel and sequel to 'Tracing the Shadow,' was published in early 2009 by Bantam Spectra. In response to many requests from readers, she is currently working on Book 4, a direct sequel to the popular Artamon trilogy. Her dream? To see one of her stories reinterpreted as manga or anime...
Sarah Ash earned critical acclaim for three 1990s fantasies and now opens a more ambitious fantasy sequence with Lord of Snow and Shadows, book one of "The Tears of Artamon".
Young hero Gavril is working as portrait-painter to the lords and ladies of Muscobar, a dukedom with a Renaissance flavour. Little does he know that his true father is Lord Volkh, the "Drakhaon" of a far more grim realm in wintry Azhkendir. Volkh's murder brings Gavril not only the throne--forced on him by dourly loyal henchmen--but demonic powers which exact a terrible price. Physical transformation is only the beginning. Yet it seems these powers must be used, because Ashkendir is threatened by spies, traitors, the vengeful spirit of Volkh himself, and external invasion.
High magic mixes with devious politics in Tielen, a princedom whose dreams of empire are supported by technomagical weaponry, "shadowsilk" invisibility cloaks for commandos, and men debased into werewolves. The southern mountains of Ashkendir lie between Tielen and its next goal Muscobar: too bad for Gavril's people. Except that Gavril himself is becoming something close to a nuclear deterrent--dangerous not only to foes.
Further complications involve blood feuds within Ashkendir, and Gavril's unwilling friendship with the man he's fated to kill; a servant girl who has unknowingly inherited the talent of Ghost Singer, able to sing the dead back from the afterworld; Gavril's mother, who becomes a political pawn; and a curse that "crops will fail, winters never end" until Volkh's raging ghost is satisfied.
Well written and smoothly readable, The Lord of Snow and Shadows offers an original flavour of fantasy that will have readers holding their breath for the sequels. Book one ends satisfyingly, but this respite is only a pause in the war, which will soon enter a new phase. --David Langford
Cutting through today's legions of fantasy dross, Ash combines the best of fantasy traditions with her own vision, bringing to life a new saga filled with epic adventure. Far-reaching in scope, Lord of Snow and Shadows marks the first step on a journey into a world teeming with political intrigue and magic. All Gavril Andar has ever known of life is the sunny clime of his southern home, his beautiful mother, and his love of painting, until his peace is shattered - and his destiny decreed - by the arrival of a group of fierce clan warriors from the north. Soon, he must ascend to the throne of Azhkendir, changing into a being of extraordinary power. It's more and more difficult to make a mark in this jostling field, but the auguries are good for Ash.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The place names locate this novel rather too obviously in a mythical analogue of Russia. That quibble aside, Ash develops her world with loving attention to detail, building up a vivid picture of a late eighteenth century or early nineteenth century Russia without the external threat of Napoleon (we are told that Prince Eugene's father decisively defeated Francia in a sea battle a generation earlier) but also without the internal unifying force of a czar. The result is a collection of squabbling duchies at various stages of modernization. In some senses Muscobar is the most modern with the common people beginning to resent the aristocrats who exploit them. At the other extreme, Azhkendir remains thoroughly feudal much to the discomfort of Gavril who has been brought up in decadent Smarna.
One of the strengths of Ash's writing is her characterization. Even her minor characters feel like real people rather than stock figures.Read more ›
Lord of Snow and Shadows tells the story of Gavril, a young painter who is suddenly snatched from his quiet life in sun-bathed Smarna after the father he's never met is murdered, and forcibly taken to the snow-bound kingdom of Azhkendir, where he's expected to avenge and succeed him.
Moreover, he soon learns that his heirloom comes with yet another price: the blood that runs in his family's veins is slowly transforming him into a Drakhaoul, a beast of incredible might but needing to be refuelled with the blood of young innocents. Gavril must absolutely resist it to preserve his soul and not give in to this dreadful craving.
In the meantime, his mother Elysia searches for him, imploring the help of the neighbouring Muscobite aristocracy, only to find herself caught in the middle of a powerplay between people lying in wait of a sign of weakness from the North to attack her son. She'll end up trusting the wrong people, who'll use her to invade Azhkendir.
I was taken in by the story from the very first pages and soon lost myself in the account of these intricate events, trying to see through these complex characters. The book is no light and happy fairy tale, though and some passages are terribly grim. However, Gavril's helplessness and good-heartedness make him very lovable, and I became very fond of Kiukiu, the cook's young niece and other maids' bully target, who'll discover powers of her own and finally befriend the Kastel's other desolate soul... I also enjoyed Sarah Ash's descriptions of winter in Azhkendir, so true to life I could feel the harshness of the cold. I'm eager to go on reading and see how the very tricky situation everyone is entangled in evolves.
Within the first fifty pages, the main character, Gavril, has fallen in love with the beautiful noblewoman, Astasia (destined for the Prince of another land), discovered something terrible about his father -- and his legacy to Gavril, and been kidnapped and taken to a strange land by one of his fathers closest friends. The story definitely picks up dramatically in quality after those first fifty pages, but at the same time, the speed at which everything is turned upside in Gavril's life -- before we get attached to him -- means that we don't really feel any sympathy for him as he struggles to cope with his new life and his new-found position. He doesn't struggle for too long, though -- Ash gives just enough time for us to learn, as he learns, about the new setting, the new rules, the new people, and doesn't over-indulge in back-history.
Gavril is now the Drakhaon, and the Azhkendir throne is his, not that he wants it. Not that he has a choice, at all. The blood running through his veins will change him; it gives him powers -- the ability to change into something akin to a dragon, to fly, to send fire from his hands, to kill.
To be honest, I wasn't that keen on the idea of someone turning into a dragon -- presumably shiny and golden, flying around happily in the summer air, perhaps with people on it's back. It seemed very unoriginal. Sarah Ash is darker than that, though, and a better writer.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this trilogy its the reason i'v now always got my nose in a book. Sarah Ash should be alot more known.
fantastic book buy it if you like fantasy ;)
The Lord of Snow & Shadow is in a way very traditional to the genre but at the same time it is not. I will not reveal any of the plot but it includes all the usual ingrediens: a... Read morePublished on 3 Dec. 2004 by Alex
Thank you Sarah Ash...Your work has created many emotions inside of me! Ilove the way you give the characters such distinct personalities, I feelask if i've know KiuKiu my whole... Read morePublished on 23 April 2004
Great potential! Nice to see a different take on the regular formula for fantasy novels. Good introduction to many characters but they were not well developed, realistic... Read morePublished on 3 Mar. 2004 by Amazon Customer
The first part of the Tears of Artamon trilogy promises good things for the two succeeding parts. It is a deeply dark novel, with a fascinating story and an intriguing main... Read morePublished on 9 Feb. 2004 by Marie Lambert
I read the blurb for this book and thought: "What a great idea! I've got to read it."
Well I did read it and was ultimately disappointed. Read more