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Book Review

Book Cover

The Chronicles of Siala
Book 2 - Shadow Chaser


Author: Alexey Pehov
Simon & Schuster
RRP: £7.99
ISBN: 978 1 84739 672 3
Available 23 February 2012

Shadow Harold, really should think before taking commissions from kings, although in this case he had very little choice about the matter. The nameless one is abroad and disturbing the king’s peace and only the legendary Lost Horn hold out any hope of curtailing his rampage. Shadow might well be a master thief, but even he balks at the idea of travelling to Hrad Spein, reported resting place of the horn, invested as it is with Orcs and many other manners of evil...

Shadow Chaser by Alexey Pehov is the second book in the Chronicles of Siala as translated from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield, who had previously done an impressive job in translating Sergei Lukyanenko’s Night Watch books.

The book directly follows Shadow Prowler, the first in the series, and explains my initial reaction. The story opens with Shadow and his numerous friends arriving at the city of Ranneng. The reader is thrown straight into the part, so given their numbers, it felt a bit like an information overload. I know, always read the back of the book.

Even though having discovered that this was the second in a series, presumably most readers would have picked up the first book and be more familiar with the characters, it still presented as a disorientating experience. If you interested in the series, I wouldn’t recommend starting with the second novel. That said, Pehov, introduces enough information for the reader to ascertain that the group have a history together and snippets of information are liberally scattered amongst the text for you to get an idea of their relationships, one with another.

When we finally wade through the initial preamble, there is a lot of information in the first few pages before things get very sedate, in pace, for quite a while; in fact the pace remains uneven and often ponderous for most of the novel.

What we have is a well written, though not particularly original, quest story. The characters are likeable enough, each taking a role of hero, comic, light relief, gruff warrior, the normal motley cast for a fantasy novel. Fans of the series, and in his native Russia there are many, will want to pick up the second volume, anyone else should consider reading Shadow Prowler first.


Charles Packer

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