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The Conqueror's Shadow [Kindle Edition]

Ari Marmell
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
You Save: $2.00 (25%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

They called him the Terror of the East. Hidden beneath a suit of enchanted black armor and wielding a demon-forged axe, Corvis Rebaine carved a bloody path through Imphallion, compelled by a desire to see the land governed with some degree of honesty. Yet just when victory was in his grasp, Rebaine faltered, then vanished, taking a single hostage—a young noblewoman named Tyannon—to guarantee his escape.

Seventeen years later, Rebaine and Tyannon are married and raising their children. Rebaine has given up his dreams of conquest. Not even news of the upstart warlord Audriss can stir the retired warrior to action—until his daughter is assaulted by Audriss’s goons. Now, to rescue the country he once tried to conquer, Rebaine once more dons the armor of the Terror of the East. But does he dare reawaken the part of him that gloried in destruction? With the safety of his family at stake, can he dare not to?


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gaming industry veteran Marmell (Planeswalker: Agents of Artifice) offers a breezy adventure starring retired evil overlord Corvis Rebaine. When Corvis decided love was more important than world domination, a shadowy figure known as Audriss took over his plans, which now endanger Corvis's family. Middle-aged Corvis must strap on his dusty and ill-fitting armor, gather his old allies both mortal and demonic, and save a realm that remembers him only as a malevolent would-be world conqueror. Marmell's prose is competent, and though his characters seem at times more motivated by the needs of the plot than internal consistency, Corvis is charmingly cunning. The result is an amusing adventure pitting an only somewhat amoral sociopath and his legion of morally compromised friends against an army set on conquest and a genuinely evil villain whose ambitions threaten the world itself. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

After numerous role-playing-game novels, Marmell makes his original story debut with a dark sword-and-sorcery novel. Corvis Rebaine once conquered half of Imphallion with brutal efficiency, thereby earning the epithet Terror of the East. The invasion camouflaged his true purpose—locating a powerful spellbook—and when that failed, he abandoned his army. Seventeen years later, he lives anonymously in a quiet backwater with his wife and children. When would-be conqueror Audriss threatens his peaceful life, Corvis revives his Terror of the East persona and uses blackmail, deception, and fear to recruit reluctant comrades. While opposing Audriss, Corvis learns that Audriss is also after the spellbook, and Corvis trusts no one with the book’s power but himself. This action-packed, morally gray fantasy has an intriguingly twisty plot, full of magic and political intrigue. While all the characters are bitingly witty, none are particularly likable, including Corvis, whose self-professed good intentions are overshadowed by unscrupulous, Machiavellian behavior. Still, after an ending worthy of a heist film, Marmell leaves us eager for a sequel. --Krista Hutley

Product Details

  • File Size: 1106 KB
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; 1 edition (February 12, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4EKU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,438 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(25)
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Conqueror's Shadow March 7, 2010
Format:Hardcover
When I first picked up The Conqueror's Shadow, I thought it sounded interesting but not that original. Now after reading it I have to say, boy was I wrong. I loved The Conqueror's Shadow! From the fast paced action to the witty and endearing characters The Conqueror's Shadow has it all.

My initial thought that the book would be unoriginal and overly filled with war details was completely wrong. The book is instead filled with strong supporting characters that are both endearing and comical, a strong and fast paced plot, and an ending filled with twists to delight even the most jaded reader.

But what impressed me most about The Conqueror's Shadow, were the flashback sequences interspersed throughout the book and the level of writing Marmell uses to transform Corvis, the Terror of the East into a peaceful and happy husband and father.

I've read a number of fantasy books that have tried to use this same flashback technique, but often it comes across as dull and unnecessary. This is not the case for The Conqueror's Shadow, instead these flashbacks complete the character development necessary to make an evil warlord likable to the reader, as well as show the sequence of events that brought us to the present. These flashbacks round out the protagonist and ultimately giving this book a step up on the majority of books in this genre.

As for Marmell's writing, never before have I read a book that the author is able to so aptly paint the protagonist in such a morally grey area. Corvis is truly a monster of a man, he killed thousands in his war, unleashed the gnomes and other terrifying creatures on the world, and had his demon, Khanda, eat the souls of hundreds of innocent men, women, and children.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and Compelling February 2, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is seldom that a novel in the fantasy genre strikes me as truly original. The Conqueror's Shadow (by Ari Marmell) grabbed my interest upfront and kept it throughout. I was impressed enough with the book that I felt I needed to read it twice before moving on to another novel if I were to do it justice in recommending it to my friends.

I won't ruin the story by revealing too much of the plot, but I will mention some elements that made it hard for me to put down. The main character is man who was driven to conquer the Kingdom of Imphallion. At least a part of his motivation was a desire to see a strong and just rule for the nation. In his quest he enlists the aid of dark powers and engages in atrocities that chill the bone. In the end, his quest hinged on being able to acquire a magical tome that could overwhelm his enemies. When he failed in this endeavor, he walked away.

What was truly original in this tale was that Corvis Rebaine's attempt to conquer a kingdom took place in the past and is revealed slowly through flashback. We get a chance to sympathize with the character before finding out the full extent of his dark deeds. In the present, another would-be conqueror is following in Rebaine's footsteps, using many of the same allies and methods. Rebaine, who has been living in hiding for seventeen years, comes out of retirement when his family is threatened. Only this time he must find a way to stop the conqueror and save the kingdom.

Much like the character of William Munny in the film Unforgiven, Corvis Rebaine is compelled to take up his old life in order to save his new life.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The hero that wasn't August 27, 2010
By Vanessa
Format:Hardcover
Ari Marmell has been writing freelance for years, including short stories, co-authored shared-world fiction, and RPG manuals for Wizards of the Coast. THE CONQUEROR'S SHADOW is his first solo novel, and he attempts to shake things up, with a twist on the standard sword and sorcery.

Corvis Rebaine is happily married to a loving and clever wife, Tyannon. He's got two rascally kids. He's living a simple life among small-town villagers. Everything's all peachy keen.

But his sordid past catches up to him when bandits attempt to assault his daughter. However, this is no random attack, its very deliberateness to bring Corvis out of hiding, because he has something everyone would kill to get.

You see, almost twenty years ago Corvis built himself an army of witches, humans, ogres, goblins, et al, with the purpose of conquering Imphallion. But in order to actually succeed he needed a book of spells, hidden deep within the catacombs of one of Imphallion's largest cities. He assaults the city, barely able to hold it while his enemies gather to dig him out, his entire plan hinging on finding that book and using it to conquer Imphallion for good. He finds the book...but he can't use it. All his plans turn to ruin, so he takes a hostage, young noblewoman Tyannon (yep, the one he eventually marries), and escapes, only to abandon his army and any dreams of conquest.

Now, nearly twenty years later, a copycat warlord is tracing Corvis' steps, using his old plans to start a new campaign of destruction, and find the spell book for his own use. So Corvis does the only thing a former evil warlord can do when someone steals his plans and threatens his family: remake his own army and fight back.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful
Second time I've read this. Worth the second read and the money paid. Cannot wait to read the next installment.
Published 12 months ago by Steven Jones
3.0 out of 5 stars good read
Enjoyable book. Fast moving action some confusion on sequences since they seemed disjointed. But one of the better books in this genre
Published 12 months ago by lakshmi sunder
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid epic fantasy novel
In Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent remarks that “…you either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Gamma Mouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
I really enjoyed both of these books (two that I know of in the series). I made the mistake of reading the second book first, but is was still an excellent adventure. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jack M. Fairweather
3.0 out of 5 stars A Decent Read!
I read another book by Ari Marmell and I was hooked from beginning to the end. The characters where interesting, the story was solid, and the dialogue almost brought me to tears... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Bleh
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Great book excellent plot twists. Highly suggest it for any fans of fantasy novels.

Can't wait to read the sequel.
Published 22 months ago by Michael Hulsey
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a must read. Great story but could of been better.
I gotta say i love the romance but it could of been better. Great story about to read the sequel, i hope it's better
Published 23 months ago by Teh Unkown Kid
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun blast of a fantasy novel!
This delightful fantasy adventure starts out with the cruel conqueror Corvis Rebaine laying siege to yet another city in his bloody quest to rule all the land. Read more
Published 24 months ago by MonsterZeroNJ
3.0 out of 5 stars Some wit amidst the gore
Ari Marmell's "The Conqueror's Shadow" (Ballantine, $26, 432 pages) has a lot going for it, but it still didn't leave me completely satisfied. Read more
Published on May 7, 2013 by Clay Kallam
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly fun take on familiar themes
As others have written, it's hard to be totally original when you're writing a book about an evil warlord trying to conquer the empire. Read more
Published on July 18, 2011 by J. Seidman
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More About the Author

On March 22, 1974, Ari Marmell was hatched out of an egg laid by a rooster on the night of the full moon. Due a mix-up, he wound up in the infant ward at a hospital in New York, where he was claimed as a (relatively) normal human and taken home. He and his family fled New York barely a year later, either because his father received a job offer in Houston, or because they were chased by angry mobs with pitchforks; reports are unclear.

For the next 27 years, Ari lived in Houston. His father told him bedtime stories when he was in preschool and kindergarten, stories without which he might never have become a writer. He received his first roleplaying game--the red Dungeons & Dragons boxed set--at age 9, and the AD&D Players Handbook followed less than a year later. He spent very little time on class work or studies for the next, oh, 13 years, instead spending his efforts on far more important things like fighting orcs, riding dragons, and rescuing extremely beautiful princesses.

Ari went to college at the University of Houston. He began in the Psychology program, but quickly changed his major to Creative Writing. It was in the first week of class that he met his wife-to-be, who goes by the name of George. (No, it's not short for Georgia, Georgette, Georgiana, or anything else that could possibly make sense.) It was also in college that he wrote his first novel, one that he is now determined will never see the light of day, and charitably calls a "learning experience."

In short, Ari graduated in late '96, married George in March of 1997, honeymooned in New Orleans, worked several jobs he hated for the next several years, and quit the last of them in 2000 due to ongoing health issues. During this time, he wrote four more novels, two of which are actually pretty decent. It was also during this time that he managed to break into the roleplaying industry, having attracted the attention of Justin Achilli (developer of Vampire: The Masquerade) with a project submission inspired by his trip to New Orleans.

He and George moved to Austin in mid-2001 so George could attend graduate school while Ari continued to work as a freelance writer. They live there today, along with a large orange cat named Leloo and a smaller gray cat named Pippin who seems unable to grasp the notion that strings, ribbons, and plastic bags do not make up a viable part of the food chain. His first published novel, Gehenna: The Final Night, appeared on shelves in January of 2004.

Today, Ari is shifting his focus from freelancing to more fiction and novel-writing. His second novel, Agents of Artifice, was released by Wizards of the Coast in February of '09. His third novel, The Conqueror's Shadow, was released by Spectra in February 2010. (This was his first published non-tie-in novel.)

Ari's forthcoming novels include The Warlord's Legacy (Spectra, early 2011), the Goblin Corps (Pyr Books mid- to late 2011), and Household Gods (Pyr Books, 2012). You can learn more about him, and keep up with his news and release schedule, at www.mouseferatu.com.

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