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LORD OF SNOW AND SHADOWS by Sarah Ash, Excerpt

LORD OF SNOW AND SHADOWS by Sarah Ash, Excerpt

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3.68

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Combining the best of fantasy traditions with her own unique vision, Sarah Ash brings to dazzling life a new saga filled with epic adventure and unforgettable characters. Far-reaching in scope and imagination, Lord of Snow and Shadows embarks on a journey like no other—into a shape-shifting world teeming with political intrigue, astonishing magic, and passions both dark and light.

Raised by his protective mother in the sunny clime of the south, Gavril Andar knows nothing of his father—or the ominous legacy that awaits him. But his innocence is about to be shattered. The man who ruled the wintry kingdom of Azhkendir, a man infused with the burning blood of the dragon-warrior known as Drakhaoul, has been murdered by his enemies. It is his fiery, chameleonlike blood that pulses through Gavril’s veins. The news is Gavril’s first taste of death—but it will not be his last. For blood is the liquid that seals his fate.

Expected by clan warriors from the north to avenge his father’s murder—and still his unquiet ghost—Gavril is kidnapped. He soon learns that becoming Drakhaon means not only ascending to the throne of Azhkendir but changing, in subtle ways at first, into a being of extraordinary power and might. A being that must be replenished with the blood of innocentsin order to survive. Ensconced in Kastel Drakhaon with no means of escape from the icebound kingdom, and carefully watched by neighboring rulers waiting to move against him, the untested Gavril must fight to retain his human heart and soul in the face of impending war—and the dark instincts that threaten to overpower him.

Man and beast, spymaster and insurgent, nature and the netherworld--all collide in phenomenal twists and turns. A masterwork of adventure fantasy, Lord of Snow and Shadows will leave you stunned—and longing for more.
Combining the best of fantasy traditions with her own unique vision, Sarah Ash brings to dazzling life a new saga filled with epic adventure and unforgettable characters. Far-reaching in scope and imagination, Lord of Snow and Shadows embarks on a journey like no other—into a shape-shifting world teeming with political intrigue, astonishing magic, and passions both dark and light.

Raised by his protective mother in the sunny clime of the south, Gavril Andar knows nothing of his father—or the ominous legacy that awaits him. But his innocence is about to be shattered. The man who ruled the wintry kingdom of Azhkendir, a man infused with the burning blood of the dragon-warrior known as Drakhaoul, has been murdered by his enemies. It is his fiery, chameleonlike blood that pulses through Gavril’s veins. The news is Gavril’s first taste of death—but it will not be his last. For blood is the liquid that seals his fate.

Expected by clan warriors from the north to avenge his father’s murder—and still his unquiet ghost—Gavril is kidnapped. He soon learns that becoming Drakhaon means not only ascending to the throne of Azhkendir but changing, in subtle ways at first, into a being of extraordinary power and might. A being that must be replenished with the blood of innocentsin order to survive. Ensconced in Kastel Drakhaon with no means of escape from the icebound kingdom, and carefully watched by neighboring rulers waiting to move against him, the untested Gavril must fight to retain his human heart and soul in the face of impending war—and the dark instincts that threaten to overpower him.

Man and beast, spymaster and insurgent, nature and the netherworld--all collide in phenomenal twists and turns. A masterwork of adventure fantasy, Lord of Snow and Shadows will leave you stunned—and longing for more.

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Publish date: Jun 29, 2004
Added to Scribd: Nov 04, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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08/31/2014

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wyvernfriend reviewed this
Rated 4/5
In a world that is vaguely Russian during the early 20th century, a young painter falls in love with a court beauty. However his plans are all derailed when some northern warriors arrive to inform him that his father is dead and that he is now the ruler of his father's lands. With the power comes a greater power, the drakhaon, who is going to change Gavril's life forever. Theres also some shamanism and some scary medical experimentation going on that will probably have serious repercussionsIt's a complex story and I enjoyed the read, I did feel it lagged occasionally but overall the different world was interesting, I'm looking forward to the next story and hope that it continues as good if not better.
bibliotropic reviewed this
Rated 5/5
The first book in the Tears of Artamon trilogy is definitely worth reading. Sarah Ash handles well the large cast, the numerous layers of politcal intruige, and weaves a deep and fascinating story without getting too bogged down in details. I've seen some authors try to write political intruige and have their book come off as dull and dry, and I'm happy to report that this is far from the case in Lord of Snow and Shadows.Ash's style is tight, with no words wasted or left out. In addition to this trilogy, she's written a few other books which I'm going to have to track down, since her style and storytelling ability alone will be enough to keep me coming back to her novels, even if at some point the story itself happens to be less than thrilling.I loved the fact that Ash took inspiration from Europe's history, cultures,and various aspects of mythology in her worldbuilding. The world is familiar and yet entirely new. The mix of magic and technology, the overlap, and various views held by different people in different cultures was also a treat to see, because the way she wrote even conflicting opinions was as if both sides were right. Some authors will try to pull this off by having magic be primitive and technology be vital, or by technology being overbearing and magic being the best way. While each character has their own opinion on sciences and magics in Lord of Snow and Shadows, the narrative voice offers no bias one way or the other, and we see the opinions purely through the eyes of the characters. My only comnplaints in regards to this novel are trivial and subjective, such as the fact that I found it hard to think of Kiukiu as an adult, or at least very close to one. The childish nickname of "Kiukiu", plus the fact people treated her as though she were a juvenile in the early stages of the book, constantly left me with the impression that she was prepubescent, which made some later scenes in the book just seem odd. I occasionally had to take a step back from the story to remind myself that no, she's not a little child no matter what my preconceptions were.But again, that's a subjective complaint. Other people may not have the same reaction.I did, however, adore the relationship between Eugene and Jaromir, or rather the lack of a relationship that made me want to yell at the two of them to just get a room already! The relationship between then was technically that of mentor and ward, but they both acted as though it had long ago toppled over into something much more intimate. Eugene calling him "my Jaro" and embracing him, the way Jaromir was constantly on Eugene's thoughts, and the way it seemed to him that all colour left the world when he believed Jaromir to be dead seemed a lot like Eugene felt something beyond a mentor's affection and an interest in seeing Jaromir rule Azhkendir.Really, I cheered for Eugene and Jaromir to get together more than I cheered for Gavril and Astasia, or Gavril and Kiukiu.I can't imagine myself disliking the rest of the series after such a promising start and an intruiging cliffhanger at the end, and as I said earlier, I'll probably read more of Ash's novels for the style alone even if the story isn't too great. I'm loving what I've seen of this series so far, and can't wait to start the second book.
connor16 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
A fanominal book where the hero isn't always the heroI finished the whole series in about a two weeks I was just that hooked.
lyrrael reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Gavril has no idea what he’s up against. In one day, he goes from being a talented, but commonly born peasant with little knowledge of his parentage painting (and falling in love with) the local nobleman’s daughter, to being kidnapped and told his father’s not only the king of a foreign country, but that he’s dead and Gavril’s the heir to a monstrous legacy. Not exactly a good day, but it gets worse from there.Lord of Snow and Shadows is really a book about being a victim of fate; not only being a victim, either, but railing against fate and trying to make the choices that aren’t easy, even when other people would give in considering the odds against them. It’s not only Gavril that faces these incredible circumstances, but also his mother, the nobleman’s daughter, and even a serving girl in Gavril’s castle. Most of these people live up to that challenge and come out the other side stronger and better people for it, despite the fact that easy exits are provided for them along the way and they are provided with every motivation to quit.I was really looking forward to this book for a couple of really foolish reasons – but every girl can be a little foolish once in a while without hurting anything. I really liked this cover. From the standpoint of looking at this cover, it just looked like an amazing book, and I was excited about it. The second reason is that this book is billed as epic fantasy, and honestly, I really don’t feel like it lives up to this standard; epic fantasy tends to have elaborate plots and sweeping story arcs, but this book was far too straightforward to fit into that category. I really think it was unfair to class this as epic fantasy. If it had been categorized as regular fantasy, just a normal story, I wouldn’t have had such a sour taste in my mouth at the end of it. I also feel like the plot was a little neglected at times, considering that it could have been so much better, in favor of rushing off to do one thing or another. Considering that I also think that the characters were neglected, I sort of want to blame an overzealous editor who wanted to keep the book small. This could have been done in a much better way.This is not to say that the book isn’t interesting. Having it in a Tsarist Russian setting was unique and gave it a flavor not unlike Paula Volsky’s A Wolf in Winter, a book I very much did enjoy and does indeed deserve to be categorized as epic fantasy, but with a writing style that is much more like Mercedes Lackey and Robin Hobb. All in all, I’m slightly disappointed. It was a good read and I enjoyed it for that, and I definitely enjoyed Ash’s approach toward her characters and their methods of dealing with the hands they were dealt, but I wouldn’t feel like I’d broken my heart if I sold the book to a used bookstore. I will definitely not be reading the follow-up novels.
saturnine13_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Gavril, a poor love-struck artist, is visited one night by a dream of a murdered man. He learns that he is the estranged son of a lord of a distant land, and that his father was the man murdered in his dreams. He has, however, inherited far more than a castle and an icy realm, for the secret to his family's long reign is a baleful spirit that offers unimaginable destructive powers, but at a ghastly price...The problem with this book is the pace. There's so many events crammed in that everything is rushed, and we jump from place to place, milestone to milestone, viewpoint to viewpoint, without any thoughtful pause for significant events. Travel seemed entirely too quick -- taking a couple of days to get from a sunny, tropical climate to an icy taiga doesn't seem feasible in an age of horse-drawn carriages. Abilities that supposedly take years to learn are mastered overnight. Profound relationships are formed between people who exchange scarcely a few sentences. Any other author, with this much material, would have written 3 books instead of 1.With so much happening, and with the viewpoint switching between at least half a dozen people, it was impossible to get attached to any of the (many) characters. They were all distinct, had clear motivations and salient characteristics, but I never felt like I actually got to know them, so I never cared about them. They needed more time to develop, to interact, to reveal themselves and stamp themselves as individuals, not custom-made cogs inserted into the plot machine.Despite all this, I rate the book highly because it is so competently written. Aside from a few gaffes like "fruitily alcoholic", the author's prose was clear, brisk, and full of detail, if a bit stiff. I liked the unusual setting inspired by Russia and featuring 18th century technology, like gunpowder and alchemy. It's nice to see a fantasy that isn't stuck in the Dark Ages. I was pleased by the presence of ghosts, and intrigued by the role of the guslyars. The Drakhaoul himself is an interesting idea. Several of the plot twists surprised even me, something that does not happen often.This book contains no references to sex, but it does contain violence, descriptions of charred corpses and such. While it would be scary for children, I doubt any parent could object to their teenagers reading it.
lewispike reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Start of a new series. This establishes the world with its quirks and twists and turns beautifully. The story is interesting in and of itself, with the various characters nicely rendered and given quirks of their own that remain consistent.What would you do if you could turn into a dragon at the risk of having to drink the blood of virgin girls... from the neck, draining their life? It might not be a dilemma we face every day, but it's an interesting one and well played.
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