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Tracing the Shadow (Alchymist's Legacy) Hardcover – January 29, 2008

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite a rocky start, Ash's new series, set in the world of her Tears of Artamon trilogy (Lord of Snow and Shadows, etc.), promises to grow into a compelling saga. When Alois Visant, Francia's head Inquisitor, accuses the entire College of Thaumaturgy of practicing magic, only two survive the purge: Linnaius, King Gobain's trusted alchymist, and his apprentice, Rieuk Mordiern. Rieuk joins a secret band of mages, only to find their leader, Arkhan, intends to turn him into a weapon to drive the Francians out of neighboring Ondhessar by stealing or discharging the four superpowerful aethyr crystals known as the Angelstones. Meanwhile, Linnaius takes the Vox Aethyria, a radiolike invention that uses magical crystals to transmit voices, to rival nation Tielen. With the multitude of characters now in place, Ash may be able to pull things together for the next installment, but the complex plot and political setting will leave some readers struggling. (Feb.)
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Homeless denizens of Seattle’s Pioneer Square are turning up dead and sometimes mutilated, but the police have no sense of urgency, given the victims’ status. Which leaves PI Harper Blaine to investigate. Having returned from the dead, she isn’t quite as human as she once was. She’s a Greywalker, with a foot on both sides of an invisible line separating the normal and paranormal worlds. She sees energy auras as easily as she does the zombies now appearing in the Underground, the city beneath the raised roads and sidewalks of modern Seattle. Even the area vampires want no part of Harper’s inquiries into an ancient Native American monster that might be reawakening during such disasters as earthquakes, fires, and the city’s subsequent reconstructions. Part Indian folklore, part detailed urban history, part PI procedural, part monster-from-the-depths horror story, the third Greywalker caper (after Greywalker, 2006, and Poltergeist, 2007) proceeds gorily and occasionally slowly through various plot twists to an inevitable showdown when forces of the past invade the present. --Whitney Scott

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Product Details

  • Series: Alchymist's Legacy
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553805193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553805192
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,226,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on May 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The inquisitors have nearly eliminated the magi, but in doing so, they've created powerful enemies and paid a high price. Apprentice alchymist Rieuk is tempted by the spirits of the void, then blackmailed into becoming an agent for the unregulated magi. Jagu loses his friend to a soul stealer, and vows to join the fight against the magi--setting aside both his musical talent and swearing a vow of celibacy. Klervie, daughter of an alchymist, becomes homeless and orphaned when the inquisition sweeps up her father--but manages to keep a magical book containing a spirit with goals of its own. Each, seeking justice, salvation for their friends, or simple survival, becomes caught up in a greater adventure--an adventure they can see only a part of, and that sets them at odds with one another.

Klervie (later Celestine) is only six at the beginning of the story, and a large part of the novel consists of her growing up in a convent where she learns to sing. Gifted with exceptional talent by the spirit within her book, Celestine eventually is invited to the capital where she works with, and falls in love with, the nation's foremost composer. With this story serving as the main narrative thread, the wars, assassinations and political intrigues become undertones, largely hidden, but giving the novel structure.

Author Sara Ash does an intriguing job making Rieuk and Celestine both sympathetic. Although Rieuk is forced to commit horrible crimes, he does so under duress, and honestly tries to prevent the worst from happening (unfortunately, he's often frustrated in these attempts).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on August 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Tracing the Shadow (2006) is the first fantasy novel in the Alchymist's Legacy series. It is set in the same milieu as the Tears of Artamon series and includes some of the same characters and events. Still, it shows different viewpoints and other events during that period.

In this novel, Ruaud de Lamvaux is a Captain of Guerriers in the Francian Commanderie. He is bloody and exhausted from the final assault on the fabled citadel of Ondhessar, but he has his men raise the standard from the highest tower to show that the Commanderie is here to stay.

Lieutenant Konan finds one of the Erihirrans still alive. He asks permission to put the man out of his misery, but Ruaud stays his hand. They give the young warrior some water and he curses them for taking the fortress. Then he dies.

Konan discovers some kind of tribal marking on the corpse. Every body has the same marking on the left hand and the forehead. It appears to be the letter "A" in Old Enhirran script. Maybe it stands for Azilia, the Eternal Singer.

A trespasser enters the citadel and steals a jewel from the hand of the statue within the shrine to Saint Azilia. He is seen fleeing the shrine with the aethyr crystal and pursued by the Guerriers. But he reaches his craft and flies away from the pursuers.

Rieuk Mordiern is the apprentice of Magister Kaspar Linnaius. In his master's absence, Rieuk is cleaning the laboratory. He is intrigued by the Vox Aethyr being developed by his master and Herve de Maunoir, another achemist. He studies the quartz crystals in a tray by the device and notes a trace of resonance in the stones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By April on April 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A series of events affecting kingdoms and individuals and god-like beings fall into place when the kingdom of Francia invades Enhirre and captures an ancient fortress that is sacred to Azilis, or Saint Azilia to the Francians. Captain Ruaud de Lanvaux, young and devoted officer of the Francian Commanderie is there when King Gobain's Alchemist, Linnaius, sneaks in to steal a crystal held by the statue of St. Azilia for the alchemical Vox Aethyria he's developing. Magister Linnaius's crystal is brought back to the College of Thaumaturgy at Karantec in Francia where alchemists hope the success of the Vox Aethyria, able to send and hear voices over distances, will ingratiate them with the King. Rieuk, Linnaius's much put-upon apprentice, has a way with crystals and thinks he can make the mysterious crystal work in the Vox Aethyria--unfortunately there is a strong spirit trapped in the crystal that he releases but cannot control. A young teacher at the college, Herve de Manoir, steps in and binds the spirit in a grimoire--a book given, in disguise, to his young daughter when the Inquisition comes to arrest everyone at the College. Only Linnaius escapes--to the Court of Francia's enemies in Tielen--who embrace the technology of the Vox Aethyria, and Rieuk the apprentice who was out on an errand and eventually falls into the company of a mysterious mage from Enhirre who promises to teach him how to use his powers.

The spirit of Azilis is with the young daughter of the collegian who was taken and burned to death by the Inquisition... Much of the story concerns her plight as her mother dies, leaving her to the streets, only to be rescued by the young Captain Ruaud and taken to a convent to be raised.
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