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Sea of Silver Light (Otherland #4) Hardcover – April 1, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews
Book 4 of 4 in the Otherland Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

With Sea of Silver Light, Tad Williams completes his massive Otherland quartet, one of SF's more intriguing explorations of the eroding boundaries of the human and the nonhuman, the living and the dead. Otherland is a sequence that contains many secrets, and Williams plays fair by unpacking all of them in the final book. A group of adventurers searching for a cure for comatose children find themselves trapped in a sequence of virtual worlds, the only opponents of a conspiracy of the rich to live forever in a dream. Now, they are forced to make an uneasy alliance with their only surviving former enemy against his treacherous sidekick Johnny Wulgaru, a serial killer with a chance to play God forever.

Williams manages a vast cast of emotionally involving characters with considerable panache, but the real strength of the book is its endlessly questing intelligence; it is, among other things, an enquiry into the nature of storytelling as a way for human beings to give structure to their perceptions of the universe around them. It is as story that Sea of Silver Light ultimately works so well--involving us in the grueling descent of a vast mountain, the siege of an underground fortress, gun battles in a nightmare Wild West. Williams never neglects to tell us how things feel. He efficiently ties up every plot strand and convincingly reveals every secret in this large, complex plot. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk

From Publishers Weekly

This stunning finale to the gigantic Otherland tetralogy (City of Golden Shadow, etc.), a brilliant fusion of quest fantasy and technological SF, is sure to please Williams's many fans. Otherland, a complete universe co-existent with the real world, incorporates elements of the Arabian Nights, the Alice and Oz books, the Neanderthal Age, the Trojan War, rewritten Roman history (Hannibal returns three centuries after his death to crush Rome, without elephants), as well as numerous nursery rhymes and fables. An enormous cast of courageous humans confronts monstrous insects, unimaginable dangers and all the appurtenances of fantastic adventure. At nearly 700 pages this is a mighty mouthful to swallow, but a well-crafted if convoluted plot sustains interest through the lengthy climax, which explains the inexplicable. Those scenes grounded in a recognizable world are the most compelling. Individuals may live in both worlds, despite Otherland being only made of "light and numbers." Characters dead in real life can still be alive in the virtual world, as in the poignant plight of a young woman, whose dress and manners are 18th century, who's in love with a young man snatched, apparently, from the trenches of WWI. Are they real or "sims" (simulations)? Generously, the author supplies two master villains: one for whom we may begrudge some respect; for the other, no mercy. The Otherland books are a major accomplishment. Agent, Matt Bialer. (Apr. 10)Forecast: Williams should enjoy another run up the genre bestseller lists with this strong concluding volume.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Otherland (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 922 pages
  • Publisher: DAW Hardcover; First Edition edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0886779774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0886779771
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on April 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A lot of times, you'll come to the end of a series, and you'll be let down. It's almost inevitable; series like Williams' "Otherland", are so detailed, and involve so many characters, any satisfying resolution seems to exceed the author's grasp. Not so in this case.

"Sea of Silver Light", wraps everything up nicely, but not hurriedly, and not without enough twists to keep you guessing right up until the end. In my case, a few of my pet hunches panned out, but many others were way off the mark, and in most instances, I didn't even hazard a guess. That's the beauty of this series, since Williams' operates outside of the world as we know it, the only constraint is his imagination, which is top notch. I would go on, but the risk of spoliers is just to great.

Furthermore, his writing has just gotten better and better as the series has progressed. His character development is light-years beyond where it was at the beginning of the series, let alone his earlier works; and it was pretty good then.

For those of you who have stumbled across this book, find "Otherland: City of Golden Shadow" and order it now! The whole series is predicated on a virtual reality network so realistic that it is seemless with the real world, to the point where if you die on the network, you die in real life. As you might guess, this network contains a near infinite number of "worlds", each populated by a host of bizarre, fun, frightening characters. Furthermore, William's pays tribute to many of his own literary influences by borrowing from Tolkien, Wells and Burroughs, to name a few.

At the same time, he carries on a subtle debate about what "life" really is. Not only is this a well written, original adventure, but it's also a serious consideration of where technology is taking us as a species.

Jake Mohlman
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Format: Hardcover
My, my...after 2100+ pages of virtual madness, we come at last to the final volume of Tad William's 'Otherland' epic. And, true to form, William has made the climatic/concluding volume a massive 900 page monster explicitly designed to devour time and oh yes lest I forget answer those hundred or so plot-threads and plot-questions introduced in the first three volumes.
Sigh.
To be perfectly honest, I enjoyed this book, frustrating experience though it was. Tad has a penchant for overstatement and he never met a simile he didn't love (or try to wriggle in an otherwise clean and stylish sentence), but he _is_ a talented author with an extremely fertile imagination. Some would say that is the best part about him, others claim it the worst. I straddle the fence on this one. One thing that cannot be disputed: as proven in his past series 'Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn,' Tad knows how to write a dramatic climax. _Sea of Silver Light_ cements this reputation--the last 400 pages are a marvel, and I read them all in two sittings, unable to put the text down.
There are some problems, however:
Character development. Expecting insight into the "lesser" POV's like Florimel and T4b? Sorry. These (and others) remain cardboard cutouts, used primarily for info-dump and emotional melodrama.
The first half of the book drags along rather slowly--you can *feel* the climax starting to coalese, but it takes 500 pages to initiate it! And like _MoBG_, parts of this book feel padded, with Williams creating situations simply to keep some of his characters busy while he struggles to bring it all together (Dodge City in particular evoked "been there, done that" feelings).
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Format: Hardcover
I had a terrific time reading SOSL, the last book in Tad Williams' "Otherland" fantasy epic! The last 100 pages of the third book -- Mountain of Black Glass -- were gripping and powerful, and I spent the last eighteen months waiting anxiously for the arrival of this book. When I started reading three weeks ago, I had my doubts on whether Williams could really come through with a conclusion that this series deserved, but he completely delivered on all levels.
The most telling sign of how much I liked this final book was the number of chapters in the last 250 pages for which I found myself stunned and surprised by new developments or sudden revelations. I also found myself smiling at the end of the 922-page epic, knowing that I'd read something that I would remember for a long time and recommend strongly to friends and family.
I agree with most of the other reviewers -- I was a little sad that I had finally reached the end because I wanted to know more about these characters and what will happen to them next. I also look forward to waiting a few years and then rereading this series from start to finish again. Those are the marks of a great writer and a great series.
I'll stop right here because I don't want to accidentally spoil anything. Just get yourself a copy of "City of Golden Shadow," the first book in the series, and belt yourself in for a long, great ride. You'll love it!
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Format: Hardcover
The Otherland series really amounts to about a 4,000 page novel and with Sea of Silver Light we out with a BANG! SoSL is a very satisfying and well written denouement. This is by far the best book of the series, as it should be given that it's the concluding volume.
SoSL is especially rewarding because we continue to learn more about all the characters' character. Williams has done an especially good job of fully exploring the motivations and personalities of all the major players and a few minor ones as well. And despite the over 900 pages of text, the story moves along at a brisk pace as it builds toward the reader's understanding of the /big picture/ which is the background of the novel. It does not suffer from long, meandering, somewhat meaningless wandering around in the plot as some of the previous volumes did (especially River of Blue Fire). In previous volumes Williams got a bit carried away at times with playing around in the little virtual worlds he creates. Here the writing is, for the most part, much tighter and engaging.
If you haven't read the previous novels DO NOT START here. The series is definitely worth wading through and much of the depth of SoSL relies on the groundwork laid before. And if you get through River of Blue Fire and feel disappointed -- don't stop! It's the weakest of the four books and suffers from the "middle book in a series." It also is the book that could have lost about 300 pages with no damage to the plot.
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