05 February, 2010

Review: A Shadow in Summer, by Daniel Abraham

When reading blogs you will mention after a while that there are authors without much hype but always mentioned that they are worth to read. For me it seems Daniel Abraham is one of these authors. Since I read Keeping An Eye On... Daniel Abraham over at Stomping on Yeti I know the time has come to read A Shadow in Summer (2006) [US] [UK], which is the first book in the The Long Price Quartet series.
It seems I own an older copy of the book because my copy carries a blurb from George R.R. Martin on the front cover:
"A thoroughly engrossing debut novel from a major new fantasist."
I found this remarkable for a debut novel.
And now let's discover whether the book deserves this praise or not.

The Setup

The world of The Long Price Quartet series is called The World. Most parts of The World are controlled by The Cities of the Khaiem. They are like city states - think of the Hanseatic League. Saraykeht is one these city-states. A powerful center of economic and trade. The power depends on a captive spirit named Seedless. He is an Andat and bound to the poet-sorcerer Heshai - lifelong. As in our world power attracts begrudger. The city-stae of Galt and the Andat Seedless conspire together against Saraykeht. But it is nearly impossible to take in account all factors. Two students of the Dai-kvo poet school and an apprentice of a trading house don't behave like expected....

My Take in Brief

Do you know this feeling? You read a book and you really enjoyed it. And you want to share your joy with other people in form of a review. You take a pen and a white sheet of paper and ........ nothing happens. It seems someone is stealing every thought, every sentence, every word, every syllable, every letter, everything..........
Finally you stop and think tomorrow is another day. Next day it happens again. And next day again. All of a sudden only one day left to write the review. There is no pressure to do it but you want it. You know the words are somewhere in your mind - locked. Where is the key? First traces of desperation and frustration and then you listen to a song .......(Thank you Bona!)

I'm neither a poet nor an Andat. I don't live in Saraykeht but due to DanielAbraham's subtle and expressive depiction I felt as familiar and foreign at the same time as when I visit my favorite town London. I have been caught up by the mesmerizing atmosphere.

Mr Abraham is a terrific puppet master. He leads his characters with hidden strings. As familiar and foreign as the world are the characters. Each of the main characters has an own history and develops emotionally and sophisticated during the narration. The use of poses and gestures to emphasize the spoken word and/or to transmit secret or subliminal messages is a brilliant idea and fits perfect. And that is important because the story is driven by duels of intellect and word. That doesn't mean that there is an absence of violence.
Story wise we find love, loyalty, betrayal, revenge and a touch philosophy. It seems the story is simple. But like a flower it burgeons slowly but surely.

All in all it is a remarkable debut which doesn't look like a debut. A Shadow in Summer is a great example that fantasy can be so multifarious. A more subtle, sensitive, emotional novel which unperceived casts a spell over you. It is obviously not a book for everyone. I would not go as far as to say that it is fantasy for highbrows.
But if ink, pen and words are your preferred weapons.........

A Shadow in Summer is the second book I read in 2010. And believe it or not it is definitely a candidate for my top reads in 2010. That is eerie. How will this end? Anyway I need to read A Betrayal in Winter soon.
Highly recommended.

Bona Fide's Book Oracle

What is Bona Fide's Book Oracle? To keep it short. It is a palaver about the reviewed book held by ediFanoB and his alter ego Bona Fide. And I am the keeper of the minutes. Now read my minutes.

Bona: "All that we see or seem, Is but a dream within a dream." Fide: "Hey I know this." Bona: "Really?" Fide: "Yes, yes. It is from A Dream Within A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe [text]." Bona: "Do you remember the song by The Alan Parsons Project?" Fide: "Of course. And it fits perfectly to A Shadow in Summer." Bona: "That's why I chose it." Fide: "You saved Bona Fide's day! Then our work is done for today!" Bona: "Lazy bastard! Before you go tell me in one word what you think about A Shadow in Summer." Fide: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" Bona: "Whaaaaaat?" Fide: "I can try to repeat it. Superbcomplexsensitivegorgeousemotionalgracefulintriguingsubtlelyrical" Bona: "Are you having me on?" Fide:"No. Definitely no. I don't know any better word to describe A Shadow in Summer. But can you tell me who should read A Shadow in Summer?" Bona: "I'm sorry to say but it is not a book for every one. If you are looking for coarse language, vivid violence, licentious sex, epic battle scenes then you should .............................. DEFINITELY READ AN OTHER BOOK!!!" Fide: "I have nothing to add. Hey, keeper of the minutes. That's a tough nut to crack. Make the most of our onomatopoeia."

I'm the keeper of the minutes. A Shadow in Summer is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Superbcomplexsensitivegorgeousemotionalgracefulintriguingsubtlelyrical.

My Favorite Quote
"I don't want to do what I don't want to do!" [Itani, p. 70]

More Daniel Abraham

For more information about the author you can use following links: Daniel Abraham official website, Daniel Abraham LiveJournal,

More Long Price Quartet

A Shadow in Summer is the first book in the The Long Price Quartet series. The whole series consist of
A Shadow in Summer (2006) [US] [UK], A Betrayal in Winter (2007) [US] [UK],
An Autumn War (2008) [US] [UK], The Price of Spring (2009) [US] [UK]

In case you prefer less books you should take in account the two omnibus which each contain two novels:
Shadow and Betrayal (2008) [US] [UK], A Seasons of War (2010) [US] [UK],

Origin of the copy

I bought the copy of A Shadow in Summer which I read and used for this review.


Bryce L. said...

Good to hear you liked it. I'm a huge fan. I guess there's mixed reviews on the finale, The Price of Spring (see ubiquitous-absence).

ediFanoB said...

it was a great read. And you're right. There are really mixed reviews on the finale. Nevertheless I will definitley read A Betrayal in Winter, An Autumn War and The Price of Spring.

Bryce L. said...

True true, me too. You're just lucky Bona and Fide like it too. :D

ediFanoB said...

ediFanoB, Bona and Fide, the keeper of the minutes and myself - a lot of individuals sharing one brain :D

ediFanoB said...

do you know that Daniel Abraham is working on a new five book series?

New Series from Daniel Abraham!

Bryce L. said...

Yeah, I heard about that, but I didn't know it was 5 books or anything. Is it called The Dagger and the Coin or something?

Sounds good already, although I have no clue.

Kamagra said...

good review men, this book is awesome and the plot is totally unique, the author of this book real work in this book to write a real art work.

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