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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very strong debut from a great new author
The world is in a state of flux. The old Empire has fallen and the new upstart nation of Galt is flexing its muscles, making inroads on three continents. Yet the city-states of the Khaiem are not concerned. They wield the power of the andat, concepts and ideas that through the magic of those known as poets are given humanoid form and wield tremendous power, enough to give...
Published on 31 Oct 2007 by A. Whitehead

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A cool concept and interesting approach
First off this contains two books, so is excellent value for money.
This is one of the most original fantasies I've read in terms of execution. Far less epic and more concerned with economics and relationships than huge battles and murder. I think it could have done with something more substantial to it but I can see how many people may love this approach to fantasy...
Published on 5 Jun 2010 by Neil J. Pearson


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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very strong debut from a great new author, 31 Oct 2007
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The world is in a state of flux. The old Empire has fallen and the new upstart nation of Galt is flexing its muscles, making inroads on three continents. Yet the city-states of the Khaiem are not concerned. They wield the power of the andat, concepts and ideas that through the magic of those known as poets are given humanoid form and wield tremendous power, enough to give the rulers of Galt pause. To be a poet is one of the most prestigious jobs it is possible to achieve, but for every one who makes it many drop out in their training. A very promising young poet-to-be named Otah learns some unpalatable truths about his destiny and disappears during training, but leaves a vivid impression on another student, Maati. Many years later their paths cross in the fabled city of Saraykeht as they confront a dark conspiracy that could shatter the power of the Khaiem and cost one man his soul and self-respect.

Daniel Abraham's debut two novels are a tremendous breath of fresh air in the fantasy genre. Abraham hasn't gained as much attention as some other high-profile recent debuts (Abercrombie, Lynch and Rothfuss in particular), possibly as his European debut has some some time after his American, but hopefully this will be rectified. These two books are inventive, clever and possess a strong moral core. That Abraham attended writing courses led by George R.R. Martin should come as no surprise, but echoes of other fantasists (particularly the emotional resonance of Guy Gavriel Kay) can be detected as well in his work. His characters are deeply flawed and human, but also utterly convincing in motivation and deed. His fantasy landscape is well-realised, with summer-blessed Saraykeht and cold, distant Machi becoming as much characters as any of the humans (or magical andat) in the tales.

An area where Abraham wins out is his description of hierarchy. A lot of fantasy writers decide to have their heroes in a feudal society come to some pretty radical ideas (equal rights between the sexes, universal sufferage, even republicanism) very quickly, possibly out of fear that they'll be seen as endorsing feudalism or serfdom if they don't. Abraham doesn't do this. His is a world of rigid hierarchal layers with each person fitting into their allotted place, underlined by an alternate method of communication which relies on poses and hand-signals. When one character does start to question how his world does things, it is as logical development of his background and his upbringing.

Are there flaws? Some. The underlying 'threat' in both books is pretty similar and it could be argued that Betrayal is somewhat of a rewrite of Shadow but in a different season and setting. However, the emotional cost to the characters is much greater in the second volume and its ending propels the series onto a different tack altogether. Another potential problem for readers is that Abraham adopts a Columbo-like approach to the story, giving us both the protagonist and antagonists' point-of-view so that the reader is (mostly) in full knowledge of all aspects of the plot. This is an idea I haven't seen pursued in SF&F much and I found it quite intriguing, but I can see some complaining that it reduces tension. Another problem is a fault of the publisher, not the author, and that is that the sudden twelve-odd year leap forward between the two books is a bit jarring.

The Long Price: Shadow and Betrayal is a superb, resonant story that catches the attention and engages both the intellect and heart.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic and enthralling, 1 Mar 2011
By 
MKL Yoong (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shadow and Betrayal: Book One of The Long Price (Kindle Edition)
Well written and thought provoking, this is an amazing debut novel. The author has created a world that you can imagine living in, peopled with characters that have realistic and authentic motivations and reactions. Just with one very important difference in the magic of the Andat. This first volume contains two books, tracking the progress of the main character from boy to young man and maturity. Along the way he will reject godhood, save a people and conquer a kingdom but none in exactly the way you might expect.

It reminded me strongly of Ursula le Guin's Science-Fiction novels - the magic is there not for its own sake, but instead the focus is on people and societies. The pacing is slow, but this has the depth of a true classic.

I can understand where the other reviewers who have given low ratings are coming from - this is not the book to read if you are looking for conventional, action-packed, escapism, but if you are looking for a fantasy novel that unfolds at a slower pace and will challenge your understanding of the genre then there are few better books I could recommend.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look, 9 April 2010
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B. Cowan "Barny" (Berkshire) - See all my reviews
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This is a well written book. I bought it on a bit of a punt as running out of books by authors I have read previously and wan't disappointed. It is an easy book to get into and the story line doesn't drag. Was pleased to find such an original theme to the book in a genre that seems to be swamped with similar characters and plots.
All in all it was an enjoyable read and worth a look at.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for fantasy readers., 2 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Shadow and Betrayal: Book One of The Long Price (Kindle Edition)
The Long Price Quartet is an excellent example of fantasy written with a specific goal - to describe the arc of a man's life - set against a concept that is both simple and world-changing in its power - the andat. I struggled slightly with the second part of the quartet as it seemed characters avoided drawing conclusions to keep the plot going, but nevertheless it is a very good read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A cool concept and interesting approach, 5 Jun 2010
By 
Neil J. Pearson (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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First off this contains two books, so is excellent value for money.
This is one of the most original fantasies I've read in terms of execution. Far less epic and more concerned with economics and relationships than huge battles and murder. I think it could have done with something more substantial to it but I can see how many people may love this approach to fantasy. I did enjoy the concept of the Andat, thoughts/forces made corporeal, and Seedless was very interesting in his motives and behaviour. I thought the poses were a nice touch although they sometimes took me out of the story as i was wondering what a pose of "respectful query", etc might look like.
The second book has even more in common with a shakespearean tragedy and while the characterisation is excellent the plotting is still a little pedestrian. Part of the problem is that the readers know exactly who is behind the murders, leaving the characters trying to solve the mystery look a little stupid and leaving me a little frustrated in places. I hope the remaining half of the series starts to address the bigger machinations at work within this world. Excellently written but could do with a sharper execution.
For people who are tired of the "grim and gritty" fantasy trend but still want an intelligent and mature story, they should really check this out. I enjoyed it enough to try out the second collection but I suspect many will love the approach far more.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably Good, 14 Jun 2010
It's been a very long time since I've read such an enjoyably complete story - although technically 4 books it's sold in 2 tomes and thus (brilliantly to my mind) avoids the hackneyed cliche of the middle volume of a trilogy that often seems there just to draw a plot over too many pages and to get you to buy another book.

Whatever, Daniel Abraham tells a fine story with an engagingly original style - I'm not a fan of giving away best bits and the like, but would add that it's one of the only books where I've slowed up in the final chapters to take in the enormity of the journeys that the surviving characters have been on.

Buy it and find some quiet time and places to have disbelief suspended.
:o)
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something new for a change, 5 May 2009
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An interesting book (actually a compendium of the first two books in a series). A fantasy novel set in a vaguely Japanese / oriental setting. The culture is well described, I liked the comminication by gestures. The fantasy element is subtle, understated (which I like) and original, based on the enslavement of creatures called Andats, who are a kind of personification of abstract ideas.

The characters are morally ambiguous as in real life, it's never clear who are the heroes or villains, instead they all have complex motivations and flaws.

Plenty of action, intrigue and adventure too.

The style reminds me of Paul Park and Ursula Le Guin.

I also like the way he is always describing the food and drink that the characters eat along the way. They always seem to be stopping off at a roadside stall or teahouse for some delicacy. I'd love to try some of these. Reminds me of Jack Vance in that regard.

Originality sometimes seems rare in this genre, but this book is definitely diferent. Very thoughtful, subtle and fascinating.

Highly recommended, if you want something beyond the usual epic quest retreads.

Looking forward to reading more in the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great tale, 8 April 2014
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It's fantasy, but the fantasy is a material part of the world and serves the story much better than the usual wizard with powers kind of thing. Elegantly written and paints a detailed and believable world populated by very human characters.
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3.0 out of 5 stars DIFFICULT BUT WORTH THE EFFORT, 18 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Shadow and Betrayal: Book One of The Long Price (Kindle Edition)
If you've read Daniel Abraham before, then this review should hold no surprises but, if you're reading this wondering whether or not to take plunge, then I hope that this helps. If you have read the Dagger & Coin series ( as far as it's reached ) then I can tell you that these two / four books follow. a very similar line. So the first question is 'how many books are in this series?' and the answer is that the whole story is told in two volumes and each volume contains two 'books'. Each book continues the story with the same characters with a time gap between each book. Now,pay attention because this is important: this review is about the first book only and to make any real sense it has to be read in conjunction with the review of the second book, Seasons of War. Shadow & Betrayal only gets three stars from me but both Seasons of War and the series as a whole gets a much higher score.
As with other Daniel Abraham series, the concepts here, including a world where magic is harnessed by poets and communication is as much by gesture as by speech, are brilliant. There are profoundly deeper meanings in the details of this fantasy world but they are revealed in 'book 3'. The threads of racism, sexism, wealth disparity, political exigencies and love are all, very, very, slowly drawn together and, for me, is what makes these books so remarkably good. You have to persevere with these books ( read on) but the message and sense at the end makes it worthwhile.

OK, here's the bad part. Book 1 is terribly slow going and very little actually happens. That this volume is necessary is not contested and it does lay a rock solid basis for what follows, but it is unnecessarily torpid and could, easily, be trimmed without affecting the story at all. For myself, the excellent writing style and what little movement in the story there is is sufficient to keep me reading but I can imagine that this isn't the case with every reader. Then it gets worse! The second book (still volume 1) should pick up the pace a bit but it doesn't. The slow pace continues almost all of the way through book 2, only stirring right at the end. By the time many readers get to the end of this volume, they just won't bother to buy the second volume; Seasons of War.
That would be a huge mistake. The story builds pace in book 3 and by book 4, it's riveting. Book 4 is sublime and, crucially, cannot be enjoyed without having read Shadow & Betrayal first. It's like a London cab driver. There is no shortcut to the unique skill of negotiating the capital city; the gruelling pain of The Knowledge has to be successfully undertaken first. The profound pleasure of this series can only be experienced by starting with Shadow & Betrayal. Go on, it's worth it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good Story But a Bit Slow, 4 Sep 2010
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This is a well written novel with an interesting background and a well constructed plot. However most of the book plods along at a very slow pace with dreary dialogue between some of the main characters, that, honestly in my view does not add anything to the story. A little more blood and guts for me please.
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