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The Conqueror's Shadow by [Marmell, Ari]
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The Conqueror's Shadow Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Length: 450 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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)
  • Publication Date: February 23, 2010
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4EKU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805,657 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Baskin on 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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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
It's easy to create a villain. It's easy to create a hero. Just give them a noble cause or selfish ambition...right?

Not really.

Corvis Rebaine was the Terror of the East. An unstoppable warlord in armor of black steel and polished bone, he wielded a demonic axe, was advised by a cannibalistic witch and gained power from an imprisoned demon who fed on unsuspecting souls. He ground a nation under his heel with an army of abhuman creatures and amoral mercenaries. The greedy guilds and corrupt nobility could not stand against him.

Then he quit.

He quit being a warlord, left his army behind, and took up farming. He married a pretty girl he just happened to kidnap during his daring escape, had a couple of kids and went about the serious business of not conquering the world.

Though the reader is given a small glimpse as to why Corvis had the sudden desire to change careers, the world he terrorized isn't. Seventeen years later, Corvis' legacy is felt as a new warlord uses Corvis' own lieutenants, weapons and strategies to follow in his footsteps and try to take over the world. Unfortunately, Corvis' daughter is caught in the wake of this new Warlord's campaign.

This was a mistake. To protect his family from Audriss, Corvis once again takes up the mantle and armor of the Terror of the East and goes on a quest to keep Audriss from doing what he tried to do.

Ari Marmell takes the reader on a fast-paced and dynamic journey through Corvis' own attempt to take over the world and his attempts to keep Audriss from doing the same. Skillfully alternating flashbacks with present-day story, Marmell weaves a very compelling story about a very complex and frightening cast of characters.
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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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