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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 18 September 2017
This story is another version of the legend of Uther Pendragon. The characters are plausible and the settings of the story well researched. The mystery and magic of the time is well woven into the legend and hints at the gathering of the Knights of the round table in the final chapter. A well rounded tale imaginatively told.
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on 23 May 2017
Good price
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on 31 May 2017
Brilliantly unputdownable! I'm 61 and can't wait to start the next one! Fantasy is not only for youngsters!! Great book!
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on 23 February 2013
I enjoyed watching Merlin on television but this book was much better. Easy reading with a different slant to the traditional story.
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on 5 May 2012
Shadowland is what I would call a pre-Arthurian Dark Ages story as it deals with events that mostly happen before the birth of Arthur. As it starts out, you get to know the main characters and could easily forget that the story is connected to the Arthurian legends as their connection to names that those of us who have read Arthurian legends extensively recognise is not immediately apparent. The story is well-written and edited and draws the reader into a fantasy world set in an unsettled part of Britain's history. It is only after we've become entrenched in the story of two boys who have suffered tragedy as a result of changing rulers and borders that the familiar references creep in and we find ourselves enjoying a new alternate version of an old legend. The storyteller device used by the author is effective in the way it is done and adds to a touch of mysticism that shows itself in the later stages of the tale.

I don't want to give away spoilers, but will say that I thoroughly enjoyed the story and found myself wanting to go back to see what happens next. The author has a good 'voice' and I hope we will see more stories from his hand.
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on 7 October 2012
C.M. Gray's "Shadowland" was truly an educating and entertaining read. I learned a lot from Mr. Gray's description of the various U.K.tribes. I'd previously never heard of the Iceni or the Picts. I also learned that the early Britons fought with chariots!

I'm a story guy and this was an excellent story, well told. The author's method of using a present day storyteller to relate the ancient events was very well done. The ending was carefully hidden throughout and took me by surprise. I love stories that do that...;o).

I particularly like the portrayal of the druids and their impact on the everyday lives of ancient Britons. Adding to the fun was a paranormal sub-plot where one of the boys' spirit lives in both a human and wolf body.

I rated this four stars, rather than five, only because I felt that a bit more detail into the backgrounds of all characters, but particularly Usher, Calvador and the Saxons Hengis and Horsa would have enhanced the reading experience. There were also some transitions from on event/scene to the next that were a little bumpy or hard to follow. I'll admit to being something of a nit-picker when it comes to these kinds of issues, and likely wouldn't be noticed by other readers. I can, however, unequivocally state the "Shadowland" is an exciting, pleasurable and interesting read.
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on 15 November 2012
The story starts in an inn, where villagers have gathered around to listen to the story of an old man as is tradition. The old man tells a story about two teenage boys who suddenly find themselves orphaned, and have no choice but to go after the people that destroyed their homes and their lives. They meet a stranger who help them along the way and train them to be warriors.

After a few chapters, you feel like you know the characters well, then all of a sudden, Gray hits you between the eyes with a sudden character epiphany. It was very cleverly done, I applaud Gray for this!

This book has twists and turns and surprises a-plenty; there's never a dull moment and I admit I loved every second of it! The last chapter gave me goose-bumps and made me feel quite sad that the adventure was over.

My only criticism is that in the latter half of the book, time seems to go by quite quickly but there's no mention of how much time has passed between major events. I got the impression of about 6-7 years but I couldn't be sure. In the last chapter, I gather that it's in terms of decades.

I've really enjoyed Gray's writing style so I'm also trying out his other book, "The Flight of the Griffin".
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on 13 May 2014
This book is a good yarn, which is ironic, beczuse ghag s how the story is told ...by a storyteller by a roaring fire to an eager audience.
I'm still not too sure about the "canine element" in the story, but once it was there it was handled quite well. I like historical fiction that is woven around historical facts, and this was a good attempt at a genre that is domnated by the likes of Cornwell and Iggulden.
A good read, and money well spent.
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on 11 May 2014
This book was absolutely enchanting. It was well grounded in meticulously researched history, but brought a whole new dimension and enrichment to the Arthurian legends. The research even cast light on the Christian practice of utilising the traditions of the Celtic druids. The whole tale was brought to life in the hands of a master story teller. Fingers very firmly crossed that he continues the tale in future volumes.
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on 15 September 2012
Shadowland is an excellent novel and in my opinion suitable for all ages, though intentionally aimed more for younger readers. Its author, C.M.Gray, combines a lot of well researched and accurate factual history, social and political, beautifully melded with the enduring legends of Britain in it's Dark Ages. A time when the Romans with their organised, controlling administration left Britain without notice to remaining Britons, tribal peoples such as the Iceni, to govern themselves and where warlike tribes, for example the Picts from Scotland, and Saxon invaders who took opportunities to gain land by destruction and conquer of its indigenous tribes. This story is a precursor to the Arthurian Legends.

It begins with an ancient story teller, Usher, telling his stories of long ago, from the fireside of an inn or hostelry and surrounded by his audience. He tells of two boys, approaching teen years, Usher and friend Calvador, returning to their forest based village who find themselves surrounded and under threat from a pack of wolves, their only safety high up in the trees. Trapped by wolves, they witness a vivid attack and destruction of their village, their families and friends by unknown warriors whose sole aim is to kill all, bar a few children, Calvador's sister included, are then taken away as prisoners. Chris Gray, the writer, portrays clearly the boys helplessness to respond to what they see, their shock, grief, anger and resolve to follow and rescue Cal's sister and deliver retribution to as they discover the Pict murderers and their mysterious leader.

Poorly equipped, without plan, but determination, they meet an older warrior, Meryn, who takes them under his care and protection. Little do Usher's listeners, or yourselves as readers realise they will be taken on a journey that is a precursor to the enduring legends of Arthur Pendragon, King of Briton. A journey that gives us descriptions of life, warrior training, of Pagan, Druid religion, nature and mysteries, battles vividly described, which
portrays well the horrors of such and squeamish readers should be aware of this and prepared for. A story that has all the elements of a classic.

This current edition I've read is well written, edited and free from the few typo's mentioned in earlier reviews. It should
appeal to all ages but includes particular appeal to lads who need enthralling adventure to entice them and keep them reading. This is a book for lovers of historical literature and legend and with the recent changes in my opinion it is worthy of 5 stars, and I'm pleased to recommend it.
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