Shadowmarch (Shadowmarch Series #1)

Shadowmarch (Shadowmarch Series #1)

by Tad Williams

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Overview

Shadowmarch begins Tad Williams' first epic fantasy trilogy since his best-selling Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Rich with detail and exotic culture, and filled with a cast of characters both diverse and three-dimensional, Shadowmarch is a true fantasy achievement, an epic of storytelling by a master of the genre.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780756403591
Publisher: DAW
Publication date: 09/05/2006
Series: Shadowmarch Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 816
Sales rank: 141,947
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.75(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Tad Williams has held more jobs than any sane person should admit to—singing in a band, selling shoes, managing a financial institution, throwing newspapers, and designing military manuals, to name just a few. He also hosted a syndicated radio show for ten years, worked in theater and television production, taught both grade-school and college classes, and worked in multimedia for a major computer firm. He is cofounder of an interactive television company, and is currently writing comic books and film and television scripts as well. Tad and his family live in London and the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find Tad Williams at tadwilliams.com. 

Interviews

Explorations Interview with Tad Williams

Paul Goat Allen: For those who don't know how your Shadowmarch saga got started, can you elaborate a little bit about what motivated you to write an episodic fantasy online?

Tad Williams: We had tried Shadowmarch with some TV people, and it got to a certain point in management and then hit the confusion zone -- they didn't really get fantasy. So, since I really liked the story, I was anxious to find another way to do it. At the time I was in the middle of the Otherland books, so I began to think about doing it in some other way. The idea of a serial novel online seemed very exciting.

PGA: As a longtime fan of your work, one of the things that particularly stood out in Shadowmarch: Volume One was the extraordinarily diverse cast of characters. I can't think of another novel that has so many -- for lack of a better word -- cool characters! The crippled and tormented prince Barrick and his headstrong sister, Briony; the terrifying Qar warrior Yasammez; Ynnir the Blind King; Qinnitan the ill-fated acolyte; the courageous Rooftopper Beetledown; the dutiful Funderling Chert Blue Quartz and his foster son, Flint; the enigmatic potboy Gil; the completely misunderstood Shaso dan-Heza...the list goes on and on. How much fun was it to write this story with so many compelling characters to work with?

TW: One of the things that I like best about big books is the chance to create complex worlds. One of the ways that a writer can give depth to a world is to view it through the eyes of many different characters. Having so many characters is also a bit like making a lot of new friends (and enemies) -- you don't always know what's coming next, you meet someone, you don't know how important they'll be to you, then after a while it turns out you're going to be living with them as much as your family. It's strange and interesting.

PGA: The Shadowmarch web site (www.shadowmarch.com) is impressive to say the least -- the detailed history of the Shadowmarch realm, the tremendous collections of artwork, extensive message boards, etc. I've read in past interviews that you wanted to create an online community based in part around Shadowmarch. Did you accomplish what you set out to do with the web site?

TW: Certainly one mark of how true that proved to be is that we stopped putting the book installments online over a year ago, and the community continues to exist. I'm looking forward to a new round of discussion when the novel comes out as well, and I hope that new people will find their way to the site, and especially the bulletin board, which is a very energetic and welcoming community.

PGA: I've heard that the site has gotten almost half a million posts. Is that true?

TW: I have no idea. But I do know that it's become my home on the Net: It's the one place on the Internet I visit every day. (Well, there are also the hard-core giraffe bondage sites…)

PGA: It seems to me that with such a vast and fertile landscape to play in, the Shadowmarch saga could go on for several volumes. Is this fantasy sequence a work in progress or have you already plotted out roughly the number of volumes that you're going to write?

TW: This will be three volumes. I have a good (although not absolute) idea of what's going to happen in the rest of the story, but I like to leave room to make discoveries along the way.

PGA: What books initially got you interested in science fiction/fantasy? Any favorite authors and/or series while growing up?

TW: Tolkien is the most obvious, but I was also very influenced by Ray Bradbury, especially The Martian Chronicles, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, Ursula Le Guin, Theodore Sturgeon, and Philip K. Dick.

PGA: What books are on your reading list at the moment?

TW: I'm reading one of Steven Brust's faux-Dumas books, The Paths of the Dead, which is lovely; and I just finished an Iain Rankin Inspector Rebus novel -- I really like the grit of his Inspector Rebus -- and I've gone through a bout of Irvine Welsh. At the moment, I'm having trouble shedding a Scottish dialect. As always, there are another half-dozen books on the go, but I can't think of them right now.

Customer Reviews

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Shadowmarch 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
cormacru999 More than 1 year ago
Let me start by saying I have a very biased opinion when it comes to Tad Williams. He is my favorite male author. Period. To review this book, Shadowmarch, I say first that the only problem I had with the Memory, Sorrow & Thorn series, was the sluggish beginning. Since then, as he continued to write brilliant books, he has refined his craft, becoming better at introducing his detailed & complex stories. His characters are all well-rounded & all equally interesting in the depth & complexity. Not since Tolkien has a writer organized his world so carefully. You can learn new days of the week, names of months, new holidays, & 4 separate, distinct but connected religions. Tad also doesn't create a world then franchise it; he creates anew, each time, a new world with as much depth as our own. This is the story of royal twins, Briony & Barrick, she attempting to prove her worth alongside any man while their kingdom is surrounded by hungry forces. Barrick, eventually on his own adventure, is plagued by a possible hereditary curse passed down by their imprisoned father. Ferras Vansen, Captain of the Royal Guard, who loves the princess more than he should, also struggles to prove himself after a horrific failure. Chaven, normally a sage man, also immersed in his addictions to a powerful unknown force he doesn't fully understand. Chert Blue Quartz, a diminutive earth shaper (but don't call them dwarves!), caught up in the whirlwind events after adopting Flint, a mysterious lost boy who comes from beyond the Shadowline, but may have some connection to the royal family. Yasammez, Scourge of the Shivering Plain, a warrior of the Qul-na-Qar, the lords of the otherworldly faery races, leads her inhuman army to attack the world of man. Shaso, the disgraced warrior who tries to guide the royal children in the only way he knows how. Qinnitan, a lowly caste girl, selected by the powerful Autarch, the ruler of the entire Southern continent, who hungers for more, leaving the twins trapped between his forces & the Qar. These are just the main characters of the beginning story. I don't need to go into depth about the different castles, landscapes & empires where there are many other people living within this strange but familiar world. I cannot recommend this book enough. It's tad's finest work to date.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not normally drawn to this genre, but had the book given to me which was fortuitous, as I absolutely loved the book, and spent a few late nights reading through it. The first in a trilogy of the rulers of the mythical March Kingdom, the book is full of well-rounded complex characters, deeply detailed and entertaining historical backgrounds, and personal struggles. Wonderfully entertaining, I enjoyed it very much, and will be counting the days until Volume 2 is released!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful and engrossing! Brilliant and suspenseful, Williams tells us enough but not too much. It is full of the unexpected yet it's all there: the foreshadowing; the hints; the well-developed plot; action; and life-like characters, young and old, with personally relevant inner struggles. They 'reveal' themselves through their 'lives' and choices. Their complex motives are drawn from very human tendencies and the paradoxes of power and of love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another great book by Williams. I think this series will prove to be on par with Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. I'm impatiently waiting for volume II.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutly amazing, the characters are so real and detailed. I cant wait for the next volume! my advise to buyers is to read this book, you wont regret it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this book and was debating buying it till I read the cover. I loved reading his Otherland Series and The War of the Flowers but I have to say his best series previously written was Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy. This book was intriguing from word go and has a deep plot that will keep his wonderfully rich characters busy as well as his readers absorbed into the series to come.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With his MEMORY, SORROW & THORN series Tad Williams has written one of the modern classics of the fantasy genre which helped breathing new life into many old and tired tropes. Now, 11 years after the publication of 'To Green Angel Tower' Williams returns with the first volume of a brand-new fantasy trilogy. And 'Shadowmarch' has everything you could ask for in an epic fantasy novel. An interesting cast of characters (the royal twins Briony and Barrick are particularly well done), a strong and mysterious plot that moves along quite nicely, and detailed world-building. However, with two more volumes to come this is just the beginning of the story. Anyway, I am sure this will become yet another winner for Tad!
Guest More than 1 year ago
First, let me say I loved Memory, Sorry, and Thorn and have re-read them many times. Tailchaser's Song was fun, and I liked The War of the Roses as well. I slogged through the Otherland series and enjoyed parts of it. Shadowmarch is disappointing to the extreme. I honestly would have stopped reading it if I had had another new book to read. The characters and plot are boring and predictable, the attempt at intrigue and political manuever clumsy, and the development of the various cultures lacks compelling realism. I'll finish this one eventually, but unless the story picks up in the second half I'll leave the rest on the shelf.
randalrh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The thing about Tad Williams is, he just keeps writing. The thing about me is, I'll just keep reading. When Williams is in his element, i.e. has an entire universe and centuries to work with, he can go pretty much anywhere and I'll follow. This review is written through three of the Shadow____ series.
alcc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing first book by Tad Williams to a series that I wish would never end. It starts off as if in a normal court life at Shadowmarch Castle, where the twins of the king Briony and Barrick Eddon live. Ferras Vansen the guard captain, Chert and Opal the Funderlings, Chaven the court physician, and more will be met. Then questions arise as Kendrick is killed, and as a human boy from beyond the Shadowline is dumped onto Southmarch lands, and the Shadowline itself seems to be moving where the Qar beyond lives. And that¿s just the very beginning.I have seen other reviews that say this book moves slow, but the pace is what I expected from a high fantasy novel. You won't immediately be caught up in such a strong flow you can hardly keep up. No, first Tad Williams introduces the characters and the world, bit by bit. Once in a while hints will be dropped--pay attention! Don't be lulled into complacency. Williams composes a subtle song: the rhythm is first begun by bringing to life the ordinary, then it weaves in intrigue, the melody sings murder, mystery, betrayal. And then you get a glimpse of the harmony; there are things here that go together. I never get tired of his writing.As the book moves along, there will be things you forgot that suddenly comes back up. As surprising as they are, now whole parts begin making sense. But then more questions spring up because Williams isn't done yet, not by far. And it keeps going. You KNOW there's something significant about Barrick and his fever-dreams, you KNOW Chaven's secret will play some sort of role, you KNOW there's something special about the Autarch (the ruler in the south) choosing Qinnitan as one of his wives, but you never know enough. It makes you keep reading, wanting more of this world and seeing how everything relates.It's not just the questions I want answered, or to see how it all plays out--it's also the characters themselves that make this novel compelling. Briony, forced to take over the court and make decisions for the whole of Southmarch while her father is imprisoned, her elder brother dead, and her twin brother suffering in his own world, but at the same time struggling because she's looked down on (being female) and fighting against what people think is sociably acceptable but what she dislikes. She has to be strong, and hard, but she is also kind-hearted and tries her best to be fair. Vansen, angsting (but not in as a self-absorbed way as Barrick) over his forbidden love for Briony (I know, it sounds cheesy and done before, yet the way Williams writes him makes him one of my favorite characters). It forces him to go places and do things he¿s never done before (nor many people have for that matter). Qinnitan¿who seems so separate from the others that surround her because she is down-to-earth while everyone else around her is mad, murderously cruel, or dangerously in love. I could go on and on about every character¿ but I¿ll let you read it for yourself.I would highly recommend picking up this book and giving it a chance. The plot is intricate and I see it being continued in the following books. The characters are easy to get attached to. So far there¿s nothing too different between this novel and other fantasy novels, but it is nonetheless a fantastic read. The second book builds on this one and gets even better.
Featherfire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The action in this book is a little slow...things happen more gradually, and it's honestly a little slow and drags in places. For a long time I really wasn't sure whether I liked it or not. The characters are engaging, though...and while it's not my favorite of Tad Williams' books, I still plan to finish the series.
Ilirwen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read other books by Tad williams that I liked more, so I expected more from this book and now I'm a little disappointed. The story just failed to grip me fully. It's just too 'ordinary' to me. Maybe it isn't the book's fault, maybe it's me. I have found myself preferring urban fantasy and other 'different' fantasy, in the past couple of years. None of the characters are really likable. I can't identify with or fall in love with anyone. The only character I sort of like is the young Captain who's fallen in love with the princess, though I really can't see why. This may sound as if I don't like the book at all, and that's not quite true. Some parts of it are actually quite interesting and exciting. It just doesn't feel very unique. Having said that, I'm still looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy (?).
aleahmarie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the world of Shadowmarch humans and the supernatural Qar have lived in a sort of tense stalemate. Humans continue to thrive in the sunshine lands of the south while the Qar hold their own in the eternal twilight of the northern lands. These territories are fiercely protected by a the Qar's magical fence, which is known only as the Shadowline. Shadowmarch is the northernmost of the Human lands, and is the closest to the Qar. The Eddons have ruled peaceably in Southmarch for generations. Peace has existed for so long, in fact, that the story of the Qar folk has faded to superstition. But then the Shadowline begins to move and young Princess Briony Eddon's world starts to fall apart. Another scrumptious fantasy novel from the esteemed Tad Williams. Highly recommended for fans of the epic fantasy genre.
worldsedge on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rather bloated book 1 of yet another fantasy series. Though I haven't read Memory, Sorrow and Thorn in years, I was immediately struck with some correspondences: castle built by elf equivalents, elves chased out, treachery in the royal family. Do like the Shadowline idea, the pixie-like rooftoppers and the Funderlings, who appear to be a dwarf/hobbit cross.I'm candidly also already dreading the budding romance between Briony and Vansen, poor but upright captain of the guard. Stereotype alert. Yuck. But read the next installment I shall.
Karlstar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a complex, interesting book which feels somewhat similiar to his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series. The human kingdoms are all involved in various wars, and for some reason, the royal family of Shadowmarch is bearing the brunt of the assault. At the same time, the forces of faerie that were forced out of the human lands centuries ago are on the attack again. This is obviously destined to be a multivolume series, which at times is a bit frustrating, because pages go by with little or nothing happening, though you can tell we are being setup for future events. It would be better if a few of those future events happened in this book, but they don't. This is a good book and a good start to the series, though sometimes it feels like it is just like other fantasy epic series - though not quite. Its not as original as War of the Flowers or the Otherland series, though still very good.
Nikkles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The characters in this book are great. Everyone is so different, which is very engaging. The plot really holds your attention and makes you try to figure out what all is happening. A really good fantasy. If you love Tad Williams other fantasy novels you'll love this one too.
DirtPriest on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The start of yet another long, lengthy, wordy, long, in-depth, lengthy and very long Tad Williams series. He seems to be good at it. By that I mean that it's not puffy and flowery overdone descriptions like Robert Jordan, but a well told lengthy fantasy tale. There aren't any overly excessive parts, the length comes from several separate stories that are all well told, which may or may not intersect later. My only regret about his series' is the length of time it takes to read them which leads to, not boredom per se, but a restlessness to move on to something else. His Otherland series (great blend of scifi with a few fantasy elements) took me over a month to read, and I can put in some serious time on a per day basis. I thoroughly enjoy it though.In a nutshell, back in the past, the people of Eion conquered the whole of their continent away from the Twilight People, the fairies, or as they call themselves, the Qul-na-Qar (or something like it). The Twilight People have hidden behind a misty barrier for centuries and now it has begun to encroach on the realm of Southmarch. In the excellently fortified island-city of Southmarch, their King has been kidnapped and held in a southern city. His children are forced to run the realm in his absence and, of course, things take a turn for the worse with the invasion of the fairyfolk, treacherous politics (isn't it always) and a spot of murder. There is an Egyptian styled continent to the South where the tale is told of Qinnillian, the newest of the hundreds of wives of the Autarch, and also the introduction of some interesting races, namely the dwarven-like Funderlings, the diminutive Rooftoppers and the Skimmers, a seafaring people. Lots going on, hence that length that many readers are turned off by.
cequillo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think the most disappointing aspect of this book for me was the fact that I didn't realize going in that it was the first in a series, which means I have to wait until next year to continue the story. Other than that, at almost 700 pages, Tad Williams has created a truly great fantasy here. Excellent characterization, battles, betrayal, court intrigue, all abound between the pages and written out in a world which while familiar to fantasy realms, is also unique in many ways. The Shadowlands is a world teeming with unnatural and inhuman inhabitants, who after hundreds of years of isolation in the world to which they were driven, they've risen together and come for battle to reclaim their lands. Those lands which they seek are now inhabited by humans and a number of other not so human dwellers, now forced to face an enemy they don't understand. There are lots of elements to keep you turning the pages here, I highly recommend this one. A good winter read to curl up by the fire with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reviewing the whole series, other than the whininess that is characteristic of at least one of his characters in his books. This is the best Tad Williams series I have read. Wonderful, I would love to know what happened next. Can we have a book 5?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading Mr. Williams Otherland (which i liked) series and Dirty Streets of Heaven, I figured since I've been longing to read a good fantasy series (after reading Lord Of the Rings as a teenager) I would give this series a try...Unfortunately I struggled to get to page 75 before I gave up. Mr. Williams does get long winded at times but bearable enough for me to continue. The characters for the most part were depressing, dysfunctional, and forgettable. They walked around having conversations about nothing that seemed important to the story. Maybe I am impatient but I was truly bored to death.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kfcnhc More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this. In the beginning it felt a little slow to catch my attention. As I read on it got better as more of the picture came together. Just ordered the 3 other books in the series.