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A Shadow on the Glass Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Magic pathways from world to world were a curse, making possible invasion and enslavement, and long ago those paths were closed leaving three worlds and the void between them a hopeless jumble of what had been and what is now. Ian Irvine's A Shadow on the Glass, first volume of his fantasy quartet "The View from the Mirror", takes us to one of those worlds and to two adventurers, a scholar and a psychic, who find themselves dragged into the conflicts of the mighty and the ambitious. Karan is blackmailed into helping steal a magic mirror, and finds herself on the run from warlords and warlocks; all that Llian wanted to do was find a great story to tell, and clarify some minor ambiguities in the archives of the college of storytellers--but he finds himself expelled and ostracised, and accompanying Karan on her breakneck journeys on high barrens and treacherous rivers. What Irvine brings to the mix is a sense of irony and some intelligent observation of character: Llian and Karan are not your average squeaky clean hero and heroine, and their opponents are hardly villainous, just people acting out the planned treacheries that seemed like a good idea.―Roz Kaveney, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW

The complex cultures, detailed geography, and the palpable weight of history provide a solid background to an intense story that ... becomes increasingly compelling. This stands out as a worldbuilding labour of love with some truly original touches―

About the Author

Ian Irvine lives in the mountains of NSW, Australia. A SHADOW ON THE GLASS is his first novel.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Time Warner Books Uk; 0 edition (May 1, 2000)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 608 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1841490032
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1841490038
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.3 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 4.25 x 1.81 x 7.01 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 38 ratings

About the author

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Some readers have commented on the number of typos in the old ebook editions from my former publisher. These editions are no longer available, and now that I'm publishing the books myself I believed that I've corrected all the typos. But if you find one, please contact me via my website or social media and I'll make sure they're fixed.


I'm an Australian author of 34 novels and a short story collection, mainly fantasy. They include the bestselling Three Worlds epic fantasy sequence, which has sold over a million print copies and has been published in 11 countries. It comprises The View from the Mirror quartet, The Well of Echoes quartet and The Song of the Tears trilogy. I'm currently writing the last two books of The Gates Of Good and Evil quartet, the sequel to The View from the Mirror.


Funny thing is, I never wanted to be a writer. From an early age I wanted to be a scientist. I'm an expert in pollution and I've spent much of my working life studying it in far-flung places like Mauritius, Sumatra, Mongolia, South Korea, the Philippines, Papua-New Guinea and Western Samoa, as well as all over Australia. Often scuba diving to the bottom of festering harbours and hammering tubes deep into the polluted mud to collect samples for chemical analysis. Now that's living!

I was a small, quiet kid who devoured books from the moment I learned to read. When I was naughty, Mum wouldn't let me read anything for a week - talk about a cruel and unusual punishment.

I discovered fantasy in the early 70's, with The Lord of the Rings and the Earthsea trilogy, and was immediately hooked. But there wasn't much fantasy available in those days; within a couple of years I'd read everything available. I wanted more and bigger tales, on vaster canvases, but they didn't exist back then. That's why I had to become a writer - to write the kind of stories I wanted to read. Twenty-seven years later I still love being a storyteller. it's the best job of all.

I'm also fascinated by the art of storytelling and have spent a huge amount of time studying it and writing articles about various aspects of writing and publishing.


I've never wanted to write about superheroes or huge, reckless warriors who know no fear. I write epic fantasy about underdogs and ordinary people who, in pursuit of their goals, are put to the limit of human endurance. My characters aren't fantasy stereotypes, they're real people with believable motivations and unfortunate flaws. I'm well known for strong female characters who have as many adventures as the men, and frequently get them out of trouble (I have five sisters). My characters are often small or clumsy or inexperienced or handicapped in some way, yet they make up for it with cleverness, ingenuity or sheer, low cunning. My antagonists are real, complex people who do bad things for strong and deeply-held reasons - never 'just because they're evil'.

Though my characters suffer every kind of torment imaginable, at their lowest point they discover the truest form of courage - they keep fighting because the fate of the people they care for, and the world they love, depends on them never giving up.

If there's a message behind my work, it's about the triumph of the human spirit. When the great names of the world let us down, ordinary frail people must step up to fill the gap - and discover that, with selfless courage and utter determination, they can change the world.

I'm passionate about justice and I like to see it done. Most of my villains meet an ironically appropriate fate in the end, though their end can be a long time coming. My put-upon heroes generally achieve a kind of peace, and some of their goals, though they rarely get everything they ache for.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
38 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on December 6, 2015
Reviewed in the United States on February 11, 2003
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sets up the saga reasonably well
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 25, 2021
Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved re-reading this
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 26, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 10, 2020
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very hard going
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 5, 2013
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my fab fantasy worlds. Already owned the first 11 books but rebought on kindle to enjoy on the go.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 5, 2019
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