Daw, Mar 2 010, $27.95
Southmarch Castle is eyed by two opposing groups while its rightful ruler King Olin Eddon is taken hostage by the ruler of Hierosol. Hendon Tolly has become de facto ruler of Shadowmarch, but he failed to trap Olin’s twin children Barrick and Briony The Autarch of Ixix kidnaps King Olin and they travel to Shadowmarch Castle for his own diabolical purposes.
Barrick is entranced by the fairy (Qar) Yasammez and goes behind The Shadow Line where the Qar live in perpetual twilight. He has a mission to perform for her but he has many obstacles to overcome and enemies to deal with as he travels across the fairylands. Briony travels to Syan where she is treated as a royal. She hopes to obtain enough support to return home with an army in order to dispose Tolly. Prince Enas is enchanted with Briony and she starts to have feelings for him which makes it impossible to use him and his army in to further her schemes.
The Qar surround Southmarch Castle until Yassammel orders the attack. Under the castle lies the city of Funderling Town populated by humanoid beings that are cousins to draws who live with and fight for the Qar. Briony is accused of treason, but escapes while the Autarch of Ixix reveals his plans for King Olin which if they come to fruitation will allow him to be a god but he must he triumphs over the Qar, the Funderlings and an unexpected army friendly to Shadowmarch. Several warring forces converge all claiming a kingdom as theirs.
The third Shadowmarch saga (see Shadowplay and Shadowmarch) continues where SHADOWPLAY leaves off so it behooves newcomers to peruse those tales first even with a strong synopsis to remind readers what previously happened. Tad Williams has created a great storyline that adds much to his enthralling epic fantasy as several rivals are going to Southmarch Castle. Yet with plenty of sprawling action, the characters, especially the twins, drive the story line forward to the cliffhanging ending to be continued in SHADOWHEART.