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Shadowfall (The Godslayer Chronicles, Book 1) Hardcover – July 5, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: The Godslayer Chronicles, Book 1
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Roc Hardcover (July 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451459946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451459947
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,935,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For 4,000 years, the people of the Nine Lands have lived peacefully under the guidance of their hundred gods. When the goddess Meeryn is murdered, the peace is shattered, and Tylar de Noche, a defrocked knight who as sole witness is now sole suspect, must, rather predictably, find the killer and prove himself innocent. Tylar isn't too bright, but fortunately he can turn to Delia, a priestess who conveniently doubles as love interest, and to Rogger, a thief wise to the ways of the criminal underworld. Slogging hither and yon for scraps of clues, the three begin to suspect that the supposedly pacific gods are in fact engaged in an ongoing struggle for power and control. The self-absorption of the gods and the apathetic ignorance of the people form stumbling blocks on Tylar's quest, forcing a slow pace that makes sense in context but is frustrating. Once Clemens (Wit'ch Fire, etc.) understands that what characters do with their knowledge is more interesting than how they get it, things should pick up in future installments.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The Nine Lands were created by, and still have, 100 gods. So one would think that the death of a single god wouldn't be all that momentous. But the death of Meeryn, goddess of the Sundering Isles, implies that a dark force that can destroy anything and everything is on the loose. Tylar de Noche, a crippled former Shadowknight, can identify the killer and also has received superhuman powers from the dying goddess. That makes him a marked man in the eyes of humans and dark entities, both certain that he is their enemy. This is one of those fantasy novels that could not have been written without the adjective dark, but Clemens, a seasoned fantasist, has broken darkness down into its various aspects and developed at great, possibly excessive, length how those aspects affect the world and the characters he creates. If hardly original in conception, the first volume of the Godslayer Chronicles is well above average in execution. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

James Clemens was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1961. With his three brothers and three sisters, he was raised in the Midwest and rural Canada. He attended the University of Missouri and graduated with a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1985. The lure of ocean, sun, and new horizons eventually drew him to the West Coast, where he established his veterinary practice in Sacramento, California, eventually settling for good in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He is the author of The Banned and the Banished series (The Wit'ch War Saga) and The Godslayer Chronicles.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By V.A. Raj on July 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
An interesting idea of what constitutes a "god" plays through this book. In this world, 'gods' simply appear to be very powerful 'people' with normal bodily habits (sweating, urinataion, perhaps illness, etc) and no great immunity to harm or injury. However, they do have the ability to Grace others and objects with their considerable powers.
The story starts off strongly enough with the restitution of the mangled body of a disgraced Shadowknight named Tylar. The Shadowknights are somewhat frustrating because I can't figure out their role in this society. They seem like they should be an elite military order, focused on upholding honor and dignity, and the way in which the author writes of them indicates that this is the role they play. But throughout the book, it seems fairly well understood by most, that they hold not particular higher morals and are simply quite skilled swordsman.
Tylar is accused of the murder of a god, and sets out to prove that he didn't do it. Tylar suffers from being dull and not very knowledgeable. Surprisingly, he isn't even that great a swordsman any longer. Rather, he is usually protected and led by those more competent than he to eventually get to a place where he can learn what is really going on. I was also surprised by his lack of depth. Late in the book, when he displays tenderness and caring toward one particular character, I couldn't understand where such empathy and kindness came from. He seems to go from being a broken man, to godslayer, to kind/good leader, but I couldn't match his actions/thoughts to such a progression.
My biggest complaint about this book is that the mystery about what is going on is there for some 250 pages, but nothing really is learned.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Greg on December 19, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After the Sundering, gods fell to the barbaric world of man. Chaos and war reigned for centuries until the gods bonded themselves to the different lands. Then, with their powerful Graces, they bring the world back from the brink, and help mankind to build great cities. Now civilization spreads to all but the Hinterlands, where the crazed, rogue gods rule. But through the years a darkness starts to grow, stirring the winds of war. All-out conflict between the gods means a bloody anarchy for man that will be worse then ever before. All hope falls to the Shadowknights; the blessed, elite warriors of the world, but who can the Shadowknights save? They may have been infiltrated so deeply by the same evil that threatens all, that their very core may be rotted.

Epic fantasy is my favorite genre, but in the last few years I'd all but given it up. Seems like most everything out there now-a-days, is predictable, too whimsical, low on action and description, and/or magic is as commonplace as a cell-phone. The few good fantasy books that I've come across, the writer runs the story into the ground or they make you wait so long between books that your interest fades

Not so with Clemens. His writing moves quickly. The story and setting is unique, the characterization is superb, the action is two-fisted, and, intrigue abounds. While most epics have the formula climatic battle at the end, Clemens sticks a major part or two, right smack in the middle. You'll find yourself surprised when you still have half-book left. Be careful of which character you get attached to. They could get knocked-off so suddenly, you'll find yourself re-reading your last completed sentence; just to be sure you got it right.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By B. Capossere TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Shadowfall is the start of yet another fantasy series and much of it will sound familiar to fans of the genre. There is a military order of skilled knights with a secret sect, a pantheon of gods, not one but two special swords (not to mention a special dagger), lots of folks with hidden origins, a small band fighting against overwhelming odds, and a quest to undertake to save the world.

Despite the oh-so-familiar trappings, however, and despite some flaws of execution, Clemens injects enough originality into the work that it transcends the cliches and becomes an engrossing read.

Shadowfall is set in the Nine Lands, lands kept in peace by gods who "settled", tying themselves to a particular area of land and allowing their "graces" (bodily fluids collected by human "Hands"--and yes, they collect all the fluids) to be used to alchemical effect. The first God to settle was Chrism, 4000 years ago. Now there are 100 settled gods and uncounted "rogue" gods who ply the hinterlands growing more mad.

The story starts off strong, with Tylar,a "fallen" and broken-bodied Shadownight, witness to the slaying of one of the 100 gods whose dying act is to heal him, fill him with a god's Grace, and lay a guardian within him so he may quest for "Rivernscyr", though he has no idea what that is. Arrested for being a godslayer, he must escape imprisonment and then pursuit to find his destiny, joined by Rogger--a mysterious thief, and Delia--one of the murdered god's Hands. He soon picks up other allies, including a Shadowknight thought dead 300 years ago and perhaps a few gods, though their allegiance is unclear.

Meanwhile, two other stories unfold simultaneously.
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