Review by The Mole
After suffering the loss of friends Harold's reduced group of men, dwarves, dark elves and gnomes finally arrive at Hrad Spein and need to enter the underground complex and try beat the monsters, magical traps and other perils to collect the Rainbow Horn to protect the world from the nameless one. This is the 'commission' that was set Harold at the outset of the trilogy in Shadow Prowler.
The task sounds very simplistic but what Pehov has done is far more intriguing than that. Before he enters the complex Harold , the Shadow Dancer, is told that to remove the horn will destroy the entire world. This warning is repeated several times as we learn still more about Harold and who he really is. We also learn a lot more about the nature of Harold's world and how unimportant some people really believe it to be.
When we enter the complex of Hrad Spein, Pehov does a good job of introducing the reader to the dark and confined underground world and I found myself feeling the atmosphere throughout his time underground and if you don't like dark and enclosed spaces then have someone hold your hand while you read!
The entire story was intriguing and engaging and constantly reminded me that this was not a children's fantasy but very much aimed at the older reader wanting a challenging plot.
In the second book, Shadow Chaser, most readers felt that they couldn't remember all the nuances from the first book and it took a third to half the book to remind themselves. But in this one Pehov has Harold chatting to the reader as if in a bar and he's saying "You remember how... and then..." and so you are re-introduced to the earlier plot. I found this device to work very well indeed.
It is very difficult to fault this story but if I had to raise one minor criticism it would be that some of the fight/battle scenes could have been a little shorter - but this applies to just a couple of scenes and I am sure that other readers will disagree. It's a minor, personal point anyway.
This is one of those rare trilogies that starts well and each book is that little better than it's predecessor. Could there be more in the series? Well to me Harold's plots within the context of this epic are tied up nicely although other characters are not so neatly 'folded up' and if Harold were to make a return then it would be a new story.
An excellent climax to the trilogy and while it can, most certainly, be read in isolation, I would recommend you start at the beginning and work your way through in the right order - for maximum effect.
Highly recommended to fantasy lovers everywhere. ENJOY!
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Genre - Adult Fantasy
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