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Shadowland Mass Market Paperback – March 4, 2003

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (March 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425188221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425188224
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

First setting: an all-male prep school in Arizona, where two sensitive freshmen form a bond based on their interest in magic tricks. Second setting: the labyrinthine house of a weird magician uncle in New England, where the two boys spend a memorable summer being trained in the art of illusion. Or is it real magic? Third setting: an alternate world where dark forces are at play--forces that first show up at the school, but intensify their power the summer. Shadowland is a superb, under-recognized, early novel from a master of literary terror. Get it while it's back in print! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Gripping.”—The Memphis Commercial Appeal
“Savor the novel to the fullest.”—Dayton Daily News
“Eerily effective.”—BusinessWeek
“You will be transported.”—Houston Chronicle
“A masterpiece.”—Richmond News-Leader
“A blend of…the old horrors that crouch in the dark corners of the adult mind.”—John Lutz, author of Jericho Man
“I thought it was creepy from page one. I loved it.”—Stephen King

More About the Author

Peter Straub is the author of seventeen novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. They include Ghost Story, Koko, Mr. X, In the Night Room, and two collaborations with Stephen King, The Talisman and Black House. He has written two volumes of poetry and two collections of short fiction, and he edited the Library of America's edition of H. P. Lovecraft's Tales and the forthcoming Library of America's 2-volume anthology, American Fantastic Tales. He has won the British Fantasy Award, eight Bram Stoker Awards, two International Horror Guild Awards, and three World Fantasy Awards. In 1998, he was named Grand Master at the World Horror Convention. In 2006, he was given the HWA's Life Achievement Award. In 2008, he was given the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award by Poets & Writers. At the World Fantasy Convention in 2010, he was given the WFC's Life Achievement Award.

Customer Reviews

Read this book about thirty years ago more or less.
Jeffery Glenn Hampton
The mysterious and lovely Rose is another fascinating character, whose introduction into the story adds a major wrinkle to the plot.
Straub's writing, which has a definite British bent, despite the story being set in the United States, is very literary and rich.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 26, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Shadowland, by Peter Straub, is a piece of really excellent high-end horror. The book begins in a private prep school for boys. In this school, Del and Tom, two freshmen boys fascinated by magic, find each other and form a strong friendship. Together, they learn card tricks, try to figure out why the whole school is having nightmares, dodge the crazy headmaster of the school, and do the sort of pal-around that only boys of a certain age can do. Their school year culminates with a big talent show in which Del and Tom plan to perform a magical exhibition. Circumstances in the story keep this from happening and the boys retire for the summer to the estate of Del's uncle, Shadowland.
Del's uncle is a half-crazy, alcoholic, retired magician. He sets about teaching the boys magic. His magic, though, consists of more than tricking the eye with a slight of hand. At Shadowland, nothing is as it seems. An hour can feel like all day. The sun can set at 11am. You can find yourself suddenly half-way across a continent, just to find that you haven't moved from your spot at all. There are others living at Shadowland that are unseen, and whose existence is denied. There are rules that are made in the hopes of being broken. As Del's uncle spends the summer recounting his life, in all it's horror, to the boys Tom realizes that the horror is only starting. As he sees things that can't be real, but are, and he sees the immediate horrors being committed at Shadowland, Tom realizes that he has to leave, and Del must come with him. Unfortunately, for Tom and Del, Uncle Collins has realized something about Tom that even Tom doesn't yet know - and he wants it for himself.
In Shadowland, Peter Straub has written a brilliant piece of fiction. There are plots, subplots, and subplots within those.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Cannon on September 29, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Straub burst into fame with his previous book "Ghost Story" but this book has always been my favorite. It has stories within stories, details in one part that take on ominous meanings later in the story, and a weird meshing of magic and Grimm fairy tales. What is real and what is not is a constant question and never fully answered. It does lead to a very stunning though violent ending. It is also a coming of age book but so different from many others of that type. Truly unique which may be why it confused people at first because it fit no clear cut category. With its stunning deatil and visual images, I am amazed no one ever made this book into a movie.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Terry Dactil on November 18, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read this in 1984 at a christian youthcamp 'retreat' with compulsory 'outdoor activities' in subzero weather. It was there that I got hooked on quote marks and phonics. It was there that I began to see that adults could be as clueless as children.

I return to this book at Christmas when the weather looks bleak. As a coming of age novel, it speaks more clearly to me than some classics I could name.

One caution

The first pages confuse. Mr. Straub likes to spin you around before telling you a story. It breaks you out of your world and preps you for his. I'm lucky to find such a great story teller.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Rux on May 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tom Flanagan and his more affluent friend, Del Nightingale, receive an invitation from Del's uncle, Coleman Collins, to spend the summer with him. Collins is perhaps the greatest stage magician in the world, and both of the boys love magic. Collins promises to teach them both some new tricks. In fact, he promises to pass all his secrets on to the worthier of the two, which couldn't please Del more, since he wants to be the greatest living magician. Of course, one should always be careful what one wishes for...
This is an extraordinary book, something that might come from Walt Disney, if Disney was capable of coming up with anything either adult or horrific. It is best described as a nightmarish fairy-tale, full of magic - but mostly from the dark side.
As is typical of Straub, the story is constructed in convoluted and highly complicated form, all of which builds nicely to the conclusion of the main story at hand. The action begins in an Arizona boys' prep school, moves to an isolated mansion in Vermont, and includes numerous stories of Collins' highly checkered past throughout war-torn Europe, each tale of which increasingly fuels a mounting sense of dread - for Coleman Collins is much more than he seems; much more, and much worse.
I'm amazed no one ever attempted to make a movie of Shadowland, for it is highly cinematic in style. It isn't as good as Straub's preceding masterpiece, Ghost Story, but is still a worthy successor and a great, involving read. The characters are well-realized, the action intriguing, and the atmosphere and actual magic of the piece are striking.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jason M. Mecchi on December 8, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a classic book by Straub, one of his best! The structure is great breaking the book up into sensible categories and the voice of the book is outstanding.

The best parts of the book is the stories within the stories. I particularly love the times in the book when the "now" adults are reunited and the times spent at Carson. But the greatest parts are the fables told. Straub really flexes his creative muscle during these parts of the book.

Why 4 stars? Because the book almost fell apart near the end. I think the novel may have been written about 100 pages too long. But the whole time I read this book I was very curious to how it really ends.
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