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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An episodic tale that becomes more than just the sum of its parts.
Shardik is a heavy read, but a rewarding one.
I'll start off by saying that, much like Richard Adams' other works, the tone of the book is incredibly dark. Not only in his gruesome and harrowing descriptions of the brutalities of the world, but in the deeper psychological and emotional journeys the central characters go through.

I won't go into great...
Published on 11 Sep 2010 by Mr. J. Rudgewick Brown

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6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The only book I've failed to finish.
Sorry to say that despite being an avid reader, especially through my twenties, this is the only work of fiction that I have started and then failed to complete: once in my late teens, again in my late twenties and finally in my early thirties. I did manage to finally complete the book at the 3rd attempt but only through extreme determination. This has to be the most...
Published on 12 Mar 2007 by Mr. David R. Press


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An episodic tale that becomes more than just the sum of its parts., 11 Sep 2010
By 
Mr. J. Rudgewick Brown (Oxford) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shardik (Paperback)
Shardik is a heavy read, but a rewarding one.
I'll start off by saying that, much like Richard Adams' other works, the tone of the book is incredibly dark. Not only in his gruesome and harrowing descriptions of the brutalities of the world, but in the deeper psychological and emotional journeys the central characters go through.

I won't go into great detail with a synopsis of the plot, but it essentially adheres to a three-act structure: Man sets out on journey of conquest and achieves his goal, man lives the dream long enough to see it become his nightmare, man falls from grace and must claw his way back to normality.
The story focuses around a fantasy land (although one that could very easily be part of our world a couple of thousand years ago), and the politics, the wars, the beliefs and the far-reaching consequences of every action for its people.

To cover the negative points of Shardik - it sometimes feels as if it wants you to stop reading it. When things go bad for the hero they go *really* bad. Half way through the second act Richard Adams has essentially turned the simple and friendly hunter we met in the first couple of chapters into an abhorred tyrant, drawing out all of his flaws to the forefront and inflicting disaster after disaster upon him. Just as you think poor Kelderek can't possibly suffer any more, he's thrust into a situation even more disasterous than the previous one. The villians we meet are so abhorrent, so brutally realistic in their lack of humanity that just reading the chapters focused on them is almost painful.
All of this, of course, is a cyclical part of the main theme of Shardik, and the fact that Adams can wring every drop of emotion from the reader so forcefully is nothing but a testament to his writing ability. But gosh, it's hard to get through sometimes if you're looking purely to be entertained by a book.

As tough as some parts are though it's worth pushing on to the end. Everything turns out well (for the most part) and that light at the end of the tunnel is a real relief when it finally hoves into view, because in all honesty I found myself thinking for a good portion of the book that nothing positive could ever possibly come of it.

That said though, Shardik is a compelling read. The story is always moving forward, and while some of his characters aren't perhaps quite as deeply explored as they could be they are on the whole an exciting ensemble to spend time with. Adams' prose is also wonderfully adept at conveying the meaning of every motion, emotion, thought, and reaction. At no point does his writing become vague or lose its focus, and that combined with the story's solid sense of direction and meaning make for a book that is hard not to return to, despite how unpleasant it can sometimes get.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 3 Feb 2007
This review is from: Shardik (Paperback)
I can't believe that no-one hasn't written a review of this ,well I'm going to put that right,this is a powerful story of a mans destiny through his religious belief that a giant bear found fleeing from a fire is the reincarnation of god,the story portrays all of mans greed and mistaken beliefs in worshipping religion in a grippng tale of war and love and finally fulfilment,I read Watership Down first but believe me there is no comparison this is far and away better and it deserves to be a modern classic anyone reading this will be amazed and moved by the sheer power of the narrative and like me will read it more than once and find new marvels,Richard Adams best book by miles
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Watership Down, 20 July 2011
This review is from: Shardik (Hardcover)
I liked the book. I bought it because I've read and thoroughly enjoyed Watership Down. It took me ages to find a copy since it is out of print. Whereas Watership Down focused on different forms of government Shardik dealt with religion. I don't think it was as good as Watership Down but I still enjoyed the book and don't regret the purchase since I bought it for 1p. If you like Richard Adams its worth getting.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My kind of fantasy novel, 19 Sep 2008
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This review is from: Shardik (Paperback)
I first read Shardik when I was 11 and have re-read it at least three times as an adult. The normal fantasy tropes of elves, wizards and dark lords with undead armies are a complete turn off for me - Shardik is far more my cup of tea, being a human world with convincing human motives and politics. There are themes of religious prophecy and of destiny, but they are not of the 'it's gonna happen no matter what you do' kind. It is more about how people react to or exploit those prophecies for their own ends. And avatar of God or not (you can make up your own mind on that), Shardik is a real bear, not an Aslan with magical powers. The believers react to him as convincingly as worshippers of the Apis bulls doubtless did with their 'divine' animals, and the non-believers think "Huh? It's just a bear?" which is well written and well portrayed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shardik is good, 17 Dec 2012
This review is from: Shardik (Paperback)
Shardik takes a while to get through, has more characters than a story about a giant bear needs, but ultimately is rewarding. Not as good as Watership Down.
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6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The only book I've failed to finish., 12 Mar 2007
By 
Mr. David R. Press "Amdrammer" (Gosport, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shardik (Paperback)
Sorry to say that despite being an avid reader, especially through my twenties, this is the only work of fiction that I have started and then failed to complete: once in my late teens, again in my late twenties and finally in my early thirties. I did manage to finally complete the book at the 3rd attempt but only through extreme determination. This has to be the most unengaging piece of fiction I've come across. So utterly forgetful that the title is about the only thing that remains in my memory 10 years later...mainly as the barometer by which I measure many other modern 'epics'.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good vs Evil... set in the heart of darkness., 23 Dec 2006
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This review is from: Shardik (Paperback)
Picture a Jungle teaming with game and a young hunter within it--this hunter will go on to lead an Empire--the Empire will fail, however this one fails because of a Massive bear named Shardik! The Bear breaks loose from his prison in the Empire's city ( this bear is a holy bear sent from the gods, or he may even be a god himself )

Our young hunter-king goes after him...but the hunter fails in his mission after long searching and finally winds up at the mercy of a Sadistic Slave-owner called 'Genshed'

The character Genshed by chance ( or fate ) is killed by the Great bear Shardik--Shardik, starving and exhausted dies with him. ( is Shardik a god or just a bear?)

Finally the last 80 pages are the best: an envoy from a distant land--this envoy is a cultured fellow who speaks many languages and dresses like an Aristocrat-- he as come to the jungle too trade with the people and see what diplomatic arrangements can be made with them. He learns about the kingdom that fell because of a bear, but naturally, he doesn't understand or doesn't believe the story ' primitive's and their backwardness '.
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Shardik
Shardik by Richard Adams (Paperback - 1 Nov 2004)
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