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Shadowland [Kindle Edition]

C.M. Gray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Shadowland has been written as a ‘Young Adult’ story of historical fantasy set in Dark Ages Britain, however, it is gathering fans of all ages.

We grow up with the Legend of King Arthur... but where did he come from? Who was Merlin? What part did the Druids play in bringing Arthur to his round table? This is the story that came before, when Britain was just a Shadowland.

`I have lived more years than I can remember, probably more than the sum of all your years combined. Kings have called me friend and brigands have sworn to burn the flesh from my bones even if they have to search all seven halls of the shadowland to find me.'

On the night of Midwinter's Eve, a storyteller takes his listeners back to the Dark ages and a tale from his youth.

Deserted by its Roman masters, Britain has been invaded by the Saxons at the invitation of Vortigern, traitorous leader of the Britons. Now, as the tribes unite to reclaim their land, one man must rise to lead them and become their true and only king.

Magical and moving, I couldn't put it down - Jacqueline Rodriguez

"Shadowland" is a tensely written story about the dark days before the rise of King Arthur. Flawlessly weaving history, legend and imagination - Vered E for Readers Favorite.

Gray has a real gem starting with his subject and carries it through with an excellent delivery - Tom Clementson (Kindle Book Review)

Editorial Reviews


Shadowland: Reviewed 4 stars by Vered E for Readers Favorite.

These are dark times. The Romans are leaving the island of Briton, and the Saxons are taking their place, invading the land of the tribes. A false king sits on the throne, demanding allegiance. And all of that seems very far away to Cal and Usher, two boys living in a remote village. All that changes one dark night, when everything they knew and loved is destroyed. Forced to run, Cal and Usher cross a land that is in turmoil, unaware that each of them has a vital destiny to fulfill. Close behind is an implacable enemy determined to destroy a future king and willing to kill anyone who comes in the way. Assisted by a mysterious archer and a prophesy from the Druids, Cal and Usher must grow up fast, for they are about to be thrown into the midst of a battle that will determine not only their future, but that of all of Briton.

"Shadowland" is a tensely written story about the dark days before the rise of King Arthur. Flawlessly weaving history, legend and imagination, C.M. Gray spins a thrilling tale that brings to mind classic epics of days gone by. The mystery of who Cal, Usher and their archer friend are is intriguing and satisfying. Anyone interested in historical fiction around the time of the Saxon invasion, or in stories about King Arthur and his predecessors, will enjoy this great romp through a small but significant time in the turbulent history of Briton.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1101 KB
  • Print Length: 222 pages
  • Publisher: C.M.Gray; 3 edition (November 25, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0075OZWSE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,122 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read - highly recommended February 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
A great story filled with tense scenes. The world described is evocative, atmospheric and really nails the sense of uncertainty as the folk, left behind by Rome's withdrawal from the British Isles at the beginning of the Dark Ages, try to protect themselves and rebuild their culture. There's also a strong sense of mystery, magic and adventure as the plight of the main characters unfolds while they move through the landscape toward their destiny. (Can't say anymore without spoiling!) As you get to know the characters' strengths, weaknesses, hopes and fears I really found myself relating to them and visualizing who they were.
There are some unforeseen and unexpected twists too which move the story forward nicely and some exciting battle/ skirmish scenes. I really was hooked from the beginning. Having read quite a few published novels in the same vein I would rate this for sure. Highly entertaining!
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70 of 80 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Different Slant April 8, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My feelings on this book were very similar to Ignite's. I've read a lot of Arthurian stories, and this was, at least, different. I confess that I had actually forgotten what the book was supposed to be about by the time I started reading, which helped quite a bit.

I enjoyed the "current time" scenes quite a bit more than the "flashbacks," actually. They seemed fresher, more vivid somehow.

All in all, I just wasn't engaged with a lot of the story. I'm not a big fan of battle scenes and my impression, now a few days after finishing the book, was that there were a lot of them that I just kind of flipped through. Once everybody started moving in the same direction, it just kind of lost the spark, for me.

There were also errors noted:
arms "flaying" for a hold on empty air
"Warrior's wearing" rough kilts
in a "warriors knot"
hast "heeling hands"
"as he past"
"may once of possessed"

At one point, Cal says "he doesn't remember comfy." This yanked me right out of the setting. Intellectually, I know that the language was very different. I realize people in this time frame may not have even used the word "comfortable." (At least one dictionary points to the mid-14th century.) However, a relatively modern slang word like "comfy" is just beyond the pale.

There is one section where "thee" and "thou" run amok. "Thee have arrived!" No. For one person, "thou hast." For multiple people, "you have." Thee and thou are generally singular.

To give the author credit, I can't be positive that it wasn't deliberate, considering the source. However, speaking for myself, it was, again, jarring and took me out of the story.

It was an okay diversion.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uther Pendragon carries the day! March 21, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
A fine rendition of the adventures preceding King Arthur and the round table.

The author brings Uther, Merlyn, and the Lady of the Lake to life in this engrossing tale. The characters are real and believable. The action flows quickly as the author stories the lives of our young heroes from young teenagers to heroes of Britain.

If you like the Arthurian Legend genre, you'll enjoy this book.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual re-telling March 24, 2012
By Ignite
Format:Kindle Edition
This is an unusual re-telling of the birth of the Arthurian Legends and I almost gave up when I came to the anachronisms, lemons, tobacco, from a man telling a first person story about the Dark Ages. The explanation comes very far into the tale. It's full of mystery, magic, druidism and hard battles.

There's some rather good writing here and there throughout this story but it was let down by its lack of proof reading. It could have been much better but nevertheless, as a lover of the stories of Arthur, I enjoyed reading it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bones of a Story October 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book had the bones of a great story, but without the flesh. The author spent a lot of time on things that didn't eventually matter (e.g. the whole wolf detour), and not nearly enough time on things that did. I enjoyed it, but it could have been so much more. I think it is probably true that many authors in the Kindle space have great ideas for books, but have difficulty realizing the potential of a well crafted story.

The 3 star rating really reflects disappointment born of anticipation. To quote Todd Snider, "It ain't the despair that gets you, it's the hope".
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read April 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I, too, am a King Arthur/Merlin fan, and I enjoyed Shadowland.

Some passages were superbly written and, for much of the book, I was 'there' in the Dark Ages with all of my senses engaged. I liked the two perspectives ('then and now'), and I felt the changing role of each character was handled well, too.

I was jarred out of the story occasionally by small errors/typos, which was a pity. However, overall, I am glad I took the opportunity to read this book.

For me, the final chapter tied the tale up wonderfully.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shadowland April 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Shadowland tells the back story of King Arther through the tale of his father, Uther. What began as great potential paled almost immediately in this book through lack of proofreading/editing. The writing wasn't bad in and of itself; in fact, some of the description was very well-written. I just found the book hard to finish and toward the end I was downright bored unfortunately. But give it a try...if you're not as picky about writing as I am, you'll probably enjoy it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars It was a great idea to take a background character and make him ...
It was a great idea to take a background character and make him a central part of the legend. Before, Uther was just portrayed as a an ambitious warlord that unwittingly fathers... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Tony L. Duxbury
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Story
"Shadowland" is a unique approach to the Arthurian legend, as related through the eyes of an old story teller. Read more
Published 5 days ago by D. Gill
5.0 out of 5 stars Hats off! a must read
As the Romans were departing from a long reign in Britain, the land was ripe for the taking and the dark ages began, a time when men believed in spirits and magic, the unbeaten... Read more
Published 14 days ago by christopher hepworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling Storytelling
Serendipity played a role in my finding this book and as soon as I saw the reference to 'Arthurian', I had to read it. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars I did enjoy the story and the character's development
Not sure why the title was chosen. I did enjoy the story and the character's development.
Published 17 days ago by James S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Either and Cal
A marvelous flight of pharmacy. An easy flowing and fascinating tale of 2 boys becoming men who rule their world's with honor and great respect. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and haunting...
I loved this book. I won't go into the plot--it's been well covered.

I couldn't remember what this book was about when I came across it on my Kindle. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Teresa Cypher
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done.
Did the world need another story of the Arthurian legend? Sure, why not. Especially a new and fresh take such as this one. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Larry Moskowitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique addition to Arthurian Legend
Just finished reading Shadowland by Chris Gray. I tend to gravitate to the more romantic versions of Arhturian literature rather than to the more historical versions. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Cheryl Carpinello, author of MG Arthurian Tales and others. See my Amazon Author Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story
I thoroughly enjoyed Shadowland. I think I have read every Arthurian tale written and I found this one intriguing and different. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jen Lylan
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Topic From this Discussion
Shadowland series
Shadowland was actually written as a stand alone book, however, I am currently working on a sequel as Shadowland has received such a huge following. I hope 'In the Shadow of a King' will be available end of 2014.

Shadowland has 158 reviews with an average... Read More
Feb 3, 2014 by Gecko129 |  See all 2 posts
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