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Shardfall: The Shardheld Saga (Volume 1) Paperback – June 7, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Shardheld Saga Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul E. Horsman is a Dutch fantasy author, born on June 22 1952 in Bussum, The Netherlands. He served his country as a soldier in Surinam and was a scoutmaster for over 30 years. After many years in business, he worked from 1995 to 2012 in education. Since 2012 he is a professional writer. SF and Fantasy fascinated him since High School, but only in 2007 he took the first steps in what ultimately would become the fantasy world of the kingdom of Rhidauna. The first three books of his series The Shadow of the Revenaunt were published in The Netherlands in 2012 and 2013. Especially for the international market, Horsman writes a new series, The Shardheld Saga, of which book #1, Shardfall, appeared in June 2013.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Shardheld Saga
  • Paperback: 142 pages
  • Publisher: Red Rune Books; 1 edition (June 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9491730037
  • ISBN-13: 978-9491730030
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,496,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Shardfall is the first book of the Shardheld Saga, written by Paul E. Horsman. In this book the cast of characters is assembled and the great quest is outlined. I immediately felt compassion for Muus and disliked how Kjelle treated him. But since Muus is the main character in the book, and Shardheld, the tables soon turn and the "thrall" or slave becomes empowered. I have to hope there will be some redemption for Kjelle, maybe in the upcoming books, since he is just such an un-likable character. I like how Horsman developed his characters throughout this first book and little by little showed us the past of each character and the motivations that made them who they are in our present story.

I appreciate that the story was not just steeped in testosterone. I was pleasantly surprised to see a female character, Birthe, holding her own in the story. And with a young babe, no less.

Overall I enjoyed reading Shardfall. There was a lot of names and background to become familiar with in this book, but I expect to devour the next ones and just continue on with the story where Shardfall left off.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is the Author's debut novel, and the first in The Shardheld Sage series.

The saga is set back in history during the time of the Norsemen, and is very well researched. As the reader progresses through the pages they receive a glimpse of life as it was, not only for the Norsemen themselves, but also for the poor souls they captured and used as slaves. But don't think that this is just a historical novel, as it's not; it is so much more than that.

As this is the first in the series, the character development takes it time and no one character takes the foreground as being the main lead throughout this book. Each comes into focus, and then drops back for a while to give the other a chance at the limelight. I felt this worked well as it served as a `hook' into the rest of the series. It made me feel as if I want to read the rest of the saga to find out where the development of the characters would lead, and who would come out on top. The part of the chattel, and again I can't go into too much detail without revealing spoilers, is written beautifully and you can feel the anger and resentment that this person has for their master as well as others he interacts with who try to show some kindness. His bitterness, and also loss of self, engulf his every moment in this novel and, I was sure when I started reading that he would be the main lead. His master also features strongly in this first book, and is not the stereotypical Norse Man of history. He is weak, self-centred and, I have to say this, a downright coward; the kind of person who you just want to shake. However, the Author explains the reasoning why he is like this, rather than leaving us guessing and hoping it would all be explained in later books.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this as a free Kindle download. The book grabbed me from the beginning and I am looking forward to the sequels. Well written, and well edited (my pet peeve among digital books is poor spelling and grammar).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading Shardfall. It’s a short tale but filled with adventure. It has an authentic Scandinavian/Viking feel to it, beyond the names. The author lives in the Netherlands, so that only makes sense, but I mention this as the feel of the characters, culture, and actions with a keen interest in such a setting will appreciate it.

The combination of myth and magic bumped this up from an average quest-type story, and the difficult relationship between the thrall, Muus and master, Kjelle and how it developed by necessity kept it interesting.
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By L. Elmer on March 20, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'll confess I didn't read the entire book -- only up to the point where Kjelle fell in the hole, was rescued by Muus and they continued onward. I didn't understand why Muus would even rescue Kjelle except for a plot device for the book (and why not just leave him behind unconscious in the snow, frankly). He obviously hate Kjelle and their "banter" is just childish insults at each other (they're both 16-year-olds and behave like it). Two immature characters I didn't want to hang around with. Even the other adults, the freemen, were also immature in their behavior and the writing style was okay, so nothing to keep me reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition
In Shardfall, something mysterious falls from the sky. The village chief sends his son, Kjelle, and the son’s slave, Muus, to retrieve it. But it is the slave, not the chief’s son, who, it turns out, is the shardheld, for whom the stone brings a bit of magic and a change in destiny. The story is filled with Norse names and mythology, and it works quite well. There’s a glossary at the back for the unfamiliar words, but I didn’t have any trouble sussing out what was what while reading.

The world is vividly evoked and the characters have strong, individual personalities. The mystery of Muus’s forgotten past is a good one, and the unveiling of his history is handled well. Kjelle’s growth as a character rings true. (Thank goodness, because he starts off as a stupid jerk.) The story is fast paced and interesting, and will hold the attention of most readers from middle grade to adult, but will likely be of most interest to a younger audience. There are some nice, sense-driven descriptions of places. The magic systems are fun and well done. Although this is the first book in a series, the author does a good job of wrapping up the story while leaving the reader primed for more.

On the ‘not so positive’ side: there is a lot of internal dialog, especially in the early chapters, that neither gives us new information nor a deeper sense of the characters. I wish the author had cut them. There are a few odd phrases: stomachs that growl like pigs—pigs growl? Fear that stinks of sweat—fear itself has no scent. A few misplaced quote marks and missing commas, etc. caught my eye, but not enough to spoil the reader’s enjoyment of the story.

This is a fun book, especially for younger readers. 3.5 stars rounded up to four.

I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.
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