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Lord of Snow and Shadows: Book One of The Tears of Artamon Mass Market Paperback – June 29, 2004


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Lord of Snow and Shadows: Book One of The Tears of Artamon + Prisoner of the Iron Tower: Book Two of The Tears of Artamon + Children of the Serpent Gate: Book 3 of The Tears of Artamon
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Product Details

  • Series: The Tears of Artamon (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 574 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; First Thus edition (June 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553586211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553586213
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #883,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Sara Ash's Lord of Snow and Shadows is the promising opener to the Tears of Artamon series. The novel sets the stage in grand fashion as Ash deftly introduces the principal players in her well-realized fantasy realm. She begins with Gavril, a carefree portrait painter basking in the sunny climes of an irrelevant island republic. He soon discovers he is heir to a great and terrible legacy in the snowy wasteland of Azhkendir. Kidnapped by his murdered father’s personal guard, he is both captive and the Drakhoan--ruler of Azhkendir. His inheritance turns out to be more than just a crown, however. A dark force of immeasurable power is growing inside him while he finds his realm under siege from within and without.

Ash masterfully avoids most of the usual fantasy memes--except, of course, the reluctant hero, Gavril--and imports a vast menagerie of technologies and culturally resonant magics into her world. Her conflicting armies wield magic, muskets, and heavy cannon alongside darker forces that are too delicious to mention here. Apart from a few niggling inconsistencies (Gavril's transformation from foppish artist to deft statesman, for one), Ash's novel is a frosty infusion of new air into a genre overrun with the usual maidens-with-broadswords clichés. –-Jeremy Pugh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In this excellent start to a new fantasy series from British author Ash (Moths to a Flame), Gavril Andar, an idealistic young artist, falls for the nobly born Astasia Orlova, whose portrait he's been hired to paint. Luckily, he's attractive enough for Astasia to return the favor. He doesn't know he's also Gavril Nagarian, son of the recently assassinated ruler of the wintry kingdom of Azhkendir, and that fate is about to deal him a dreadful blow. Like his father before him, Gavril becomes soul-bound to the Drakhaoul, a creature that grants awesome power at a terrible price. Kidnapped, Gavril finds himself trapped in Kastel Drakhaon, reluctant to draw on his new magical abilities, as their use only makes him more beast-like and less human. But with Prince Eugene of Tielin threatening to reconquer all of the Rossiyan Empire, he may have no choice. Fascinating and unpredictable, Gavril's tale gains richness from the grand scope of Ash's narrative, with its echoes of Russian history under the czars. Enhanced by supporting characters who are living, breathing individuals, this book will leave readers drooling to get their hands on the sequel from the moment they turn its final page.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

'Thursday's Child has Far to Go.' Sarah was born in Bath on a Thursday and she likes to think that means there's a lot more mileage in her yet, particularly when it comes to her first love, writing.

After she read 'The Lord of the Rings' when she was twelve, she started writing her own fantasy novels but chose to study music at New Hall (now Murray Edwards College), Cambridge. She's always enjoyed working with young people, so she trained as a teacher, teaching music for many years.

Sarah's first novel 'Moths to a Flame' came out in 1995 from Orion; seven other fantasy novels, including the 'Tears of Artamon' trilogy, and various short stories for 'Interzone' have followed. She also reviews manga and anime - another passion - for various online magazines.

Sarah's new novel 'The Flood Dragon's Sacrifice' is a fantasy set in an alternate medieval Japan.Her dream? To see one of her stories reinterpreted as manga or anime...

Customer Reviews

The first book in the Tears of Artamon trilogy is definitely worth reading.
Ria (Bibliotropic)
I felt that the character development really suffered because the plot took so much precedence.
T. Wheaton
This is a wonderful fantasy story that has a very interesting and different plot.
S. Rhatigan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By T. Wheaton VINE VOICE on January 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Gavril Andar is a talented painter who learns that he is really the heir to a kingdom in a mysterious northern realm known as Azkendir. Gavril's father is cruelly murdered and his men-at-arms come to fetch Gavril to take his rightful place as ruler. Kidnapped and made prisoner in the snowy, dreary Kastel, Gavril slowly learns the full truth of his inheritance. Meanwhile Gavril is a target. Eugene of Tielen wants to crown himself emperor and invading and subduing all of the lands of Rossiya (of which Azkhendir is one) is priority. And Eugene believes that the time is ripe to destroy Akzhendir while the untested and weak Gavril is too new to his rule to be a real threat. Treachery, evil spirits, magic, deceit, betrayal and revolution all meld together as Gavril is forced to embrace his fate.
When I read the reviews of this book, I was excited because the praise seemed to point to a plot and characters that were different from standard issue fantasy fare and full of fresh ideas and surprises. This is certainly true....sort of.
The book is largely set in a time and place that is reminiscent of Tsarist Russia (right down to having a character named Astasia and hungry commoners threatening revolt). The main character turns into a creature that is a weird amalgm of vampire and dragon and he is referred to as Drakhoul or Draghoan. There is magic and alchemy, but they are presented side by side with such "modern" technology as guns, cannon and a device that sounds kinda like an ornately ornamental walkie-talkie. Overall the book has a very old world eastern European vibe as opposed to the decidedly medieval era western European vibe you get with a lot of the fantasy being written. So in this instance the feel of the book is very different.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I saw this book in a local bookstore and was attracted to the beautiful cover art. This book was a pleasant surprise, far exceeding my expectations. It was very fast-paced, but the characters were not one-dimensional, I was sucked into the story and stayed up late to finish it. I felt real sympathy for the hero's plight, and also for the servant girl who was not a servant girl. Kind of nice to see such a strong female character in one of these male-dominated, sword and sorcery novels! This was a very well-thought out plot, somewhat with the feel of George R.R. Martin's " A Song of Ice and Fire" series, without the ponderous, complicated buildup of plots and subplots (don't get me wrong, I love that series also, gave it five stars). This is no Lord of the Rings, but its a heck of an entertaining read, that will keep you up late at night trying to finish it! I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 1, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Lord of Snow and Shadows is the first in a new fantasy series. Although there are many familiar fantasy elements in this novel (sword fights, magic casting, dragons), Sarah Ash manages to put a little twist into her world by injecting some gothic romance into the mix. Thus, on the one hand we have a young innocent painter as our protagonist, who quickly finds himself under the power of the family curse (he is becoming a creature he does not want to become) while on the other hand we have the young serving girl who eventually begins to walk the path of her own magical destiny.

Ash keeps the story moving quickly as she cuts quickly to each scene, describing where necessary to create her version of frozen Russia, but never letting the prose bog the story down. At the same time, she unveils the plots and politics of her world in a clear manner. Characters are developed over the course of the novel; Ash reveals new layers of personality as the story progresses (although sometimes these revelations tend to the melodramatic). There is also a nice balance of story and action. In one chapter characters may be exploring secret hallways and uncovering secret tomes within the mysterious castle and in the next, they are battling werewolf type beasts out in the frozen wasteland.

Overall, Lord of Snow and Shadows is a nice start to a potentially fine fantasy series. It seems to me a particularly well paced and engaging novel, one that has the potential to engage both younger and older readers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By EAnneTrew on January 19, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I too had read reviews and thought the book sounded fancinating; even reading the teaser on the back made me want to read more. However, when I finally purchased the book and settled in for a good read I found myself frustrated.

The setting is indeed intriguing and for the most part well written. The plot is complex and highly intelligent. Hardly ever do you find writers that pull on so many sources to create their plots. Ash is to be credited with having a wonderful imagination.

But the characters! They are, as others have mentioned, flat and wholly unbelievable. They pull the entire story down because they are moved more by the 'god-hand' of the writer than feelings and desires we never truly see or understand. Conversations between characters are often trite and unrealistic calling to mind badly written romances.

I wonder at her editor(s); they are also responsible for letting Ash and this story down.

If it's your first time reading fantasy then you might get through it and feel that the story is good because of the overall excitement one feels about a new idea being explored in the plot, but for seasoned readers I would suggest some Charles deLint or Tad Williams.
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