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Stands a Shadow (Heart of the World 2) Hardcover – 15 Jul 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tor (15 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230744826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230744820
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 4.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 945,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for Col Buchanan "With a narrative that is riveting from beginning to end, from the big battles to the smallest interactions, this is the rare book that a reader wishes would never end." --"RT Book Reviews", 41/2 stars on "Stands a Shadow ""Well rendered and nicely paced... Stirring combat and vivid details.""--Kirkus Reviews "on "Stands a Shadow ""Something special...Buchanan writes vividly and well, and the story grips from the astonishing opening sequence to the unexpected conclusion.""--The Times "(UK) on "Farlander ""Completely absorbing. Once I was into it, I just couldn't put it down. I'm looking forward to the sequel!"--Glen Cook, author of The Black Company series on "Farlander ""Gripping... Delightfully undermin[es] expectations.""--SFX "on "Farlander"

Book Description

This is a reissue of Stands a Shadow, the second novel in the Heart of the World series by Col Buchanan, following on from Farlander. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Farlander was easily one of my favourite books of last year, and I've been eagerly awaiting the second instalment of Buchanan's series ever since. With Stands a Shadow, Buchanan has done everything to build and improve on the first novel. This is a great series.

A lot happens in the opening chapters, as we are reacquainted with the world and characters, as well as introduced to a couple of new faces. Ash, the Rôshun at the centre of Farlander is still deep in the Mann empire, still mourning the events that closed out the first novel (something I had not expected, and was quite distressed by, so invested had I become in the characters). Ché is resting up before he receives new orders from the Matriarch. The defenders of Bar-Khos are waiting anxiously for the Mannian response to the death of the Matriarch's son. The situation is tense, and the world is just days away from greater conflict.

Some readers might think events towards the beginning of the novel were a little too choppy, but I do think it was necessary to reintroduce the main cast and locales, and Buchanan has done this very well, without also giving us bucket-loads of information and exposition.

One of Buchanan's greatest strengths is his gift for characterisation - even peripheral, single-scene characters are well-defined and realistic. His main cast are unique characters with recognisable voices and styles of their own, and there is a sense of getting to know them as the novel progresses. This makes the whole book a very enjoyable read as, even if a character is only fleeting, they never feel pointless or overtly a narrative device.

Ash and Ché remain great, central characters, and we spend more time with them than any other single character.
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By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Second novel in a series of fantasy books called the Heart of the World. The first of which was Farlander.

This one follows on directly from the end of that book, and those who haven't read Farlander will be rather confused if they try to read this because there's little in the way of exposition, so go and start with that book first.

Those who have can read on.

This volume runs for four hundred and seventeen pages. It's divided into forty six chapters plus a prologue and an epilogue. The prologue and the first chapter reintroduce us to Ash, the ageing assassin who is out to kill the Matriarch of Mann. Something that goes against all the rules of his order.

As war rages and the Empire goes on the attack, people are caught up in the middle of things. Imperial assassin Che has some soul searching to do. And a veteran soldier and a young woman who wants to do her bit in the conflict get caught in the middle of things.

While all this is going on, so is Ash's mission. Battle is about to be met, and things will change as a result...

The world of this series continues to be an interesting creation, with weapons and craft that aren't the kind of thing you would find in most fantasy novels. As before it is grim and bloody and contains adult scenes and situations.

But it's a very compelling read also. Although the first quarter of the book does rather take a time to get going as it has to introduce characters, reintroduce others, and do a lot of scene setting. There may be times when you will be willing it to get back to Ash's story.
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Format: Hardcover
Col Buchanan's debut fantasy, Farlander, did not leave me entirely convinced I was a fan. The premise was there, but something appeared to be missing for it to be a fully enjoyable read. With Stands a Shadow Buchanan comes back with a stronger story and improved prose, but he has ways to go yet. A couple of the main issues:

Characters - Stand out characters are few and far between in Stands a Shadow. The pitched conflict between the Empire of Mann and the determined Free Ports continues to be motivation enough to keep on reading but it doesn't seem sustainable for a series arc. Some will make a case for Ash being an interesting character, but like in Farlander I found nothing to make him more interesting than your average protagonist. Thankfully the departure of Nico's viewpoint from the first book is filled with those of a set of characters that enliven and diversify the story.

Structure - Stands a Shadow still lacks much of a coherent story structure. But it's getting there. Like Farlander, the plot has a strong tendency to be revealed in a clunky manner. Without making it entirely incomprehensible, this does affect the clarity - and by extension quality - of the book. Things appear to be more under control in the final act of the novel but this is not enough to compensate for the disjointed nature of the rest.

It's a shame Buchanan cannot get these things right, because these issues apart, Stands a Shadow is a pretty solid fantasy. The battle scenes are gorgeous, the tension often palpable and the politics being played in the background are intriguing, which is why I still hold out hope for Buchanan and his series. The improvements over the first novel are strongly evident but I hope to see more with the next novel. Third time's the charm.
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