This was one of Dave Duncan's first books that was published way back in 1987. Make no mistake however, this is definitely not "amateur hour". "Shadows" has the streamlined approach that so many of his books have. No wasted moments. Every sentence and paragraph has purpose and propels the story forward, on the wings of soaring eagles this time. The world built here is unique, a place where humans could not survive without their giant winged mounts. Unfortunately the kingdom is rotten to the core, the royalty corrupt and many questions arise over the keeping of eagles in the first place. Are they too intelligent to be considered yet another of man's beast of burdens? A peasant stock born rider of these sky kings is thrown in the midst of the political turmoil. A rise in station becomes a a life sentence and then is revealed as a grand adventure. The courtly intrigue sprinkled here and there takes some rather shocking turns. The reader will have no idea where this is going to end up before Dave is done spinning another of his wonderful yarns. Another thrilling stand alone book, where an alien world becomes reality. This book is of the perfect length and is wonderfully complete.