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1. Shadowheart: Volume Four of Shadowmarch
2. Shadowrise (Shadowmarch, Vol.
3. Shadowplay: Shadowmarch Volume
4. Shadowmarch: Shadowmarch: Volume
5. The Stone of Farewell (Memory,
6. To Green Angel Tower: Book Three
7. The Dragonbone Chair (Memory,
8. City of Golden Shadow (Otherland,
9. Mountain of Black Glass (Otherland,
10. To Green Angel Tower, Part 2 (Memory,
11. Otherland, Volume Two - River
12. Sea of Silver Light (Otherland
13. The Wood Boy - The Burning Man
14. The War Of The Flowers
15. River of Blue Fire (Otherland,
16. Tailchaser's Song
17. The Dragons of Ordinary Farm
18. The War of the Flowers
19. Tailchaser's Song
20. Caliban's Hour

1. Shadowheart: Volume Four of Shadowmarch
by Tad Williams
Hardcover: 672 Pages (2010-11-30)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756406404
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The long-awaited concluding novel in Tad Williams's thrilling epic Shadowmarch series.

Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defenders, Princess Briony and Prince Barrick, are both trapped far away from home and fighting for their lives.

And now, something is awakening underneath Southmarch Castle, something powerful and terrible that the world has not seen for thousands of years. Can Barrick and Briony, along with a tiny handful of allies, ordinary and extraordinary, find a way to save their world and prevent the rise of a terrible new age-an age of unending darkness? ... Read more

2. Shadowrise (Shadowmarch, Vol. 3)
by Tad Williams
Paperback: 592 Pages (2010-11-02)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756406412
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The penultimate volume in Tad Williams's first epic fantasy series since his bestselling Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.

With King Olin imprisoned and Prince Kendrick slain, the royal twins Barrick and Briony have been forced to flee their homeland. But both families and nations can hide dark and terrible secrets. Even if Barrick and Briony survive learning the astonishing truths at the heart of their own family and of Southmarch itself, they must find a way to reclaim their kingdom and rescue their home-from traitors, tyrants, a god-king, and even the angry gods themselves. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars Shadowrise: volume three of Shadowmarch
This is the third book in a four book series by Tad Williams. He is an amazing writer with incredible talent. The book itself is amazing, but I wouldn't recommend reading the series out of order. However I would recommend that anyone who enjoys a wonderful fantasy start this series from the beginning. Shadowmarch - Volume One

1-0 out of 5 stars potboiler
Tad Williams has been a man of many words, but in his "Sword of Truth" novels manage to contain the plot and keep his characters interesting and sympathetic. Unfortunately as far as the Shadowmarch series is concerned I find it disjointed and childish.It seems to me that his ideas are many but instead of writing two or three unconnected novels he has tried to place all his bright ideas into one story. The books do not work for me.He uses an old ployof "cliffhangering" each chapter, with different characters in each chapter, at the expenses of a coherent story. I don't like the characters either as I am an old Fantasy fan and like to have a fairly straight set of heroes and villians, and I am struggling with William's new cast.
I will finish the books with reluctance, all the while hoping that he may get some depth and true excitement into the story.

3-0 out of 5 stars slow-going
The book is sludgy and slow-going. I skimmed entire sections. We'd all have been better off if this were a true, well-edited trilogy rather than a bloated tetralogy. I care about the characters, but wish more had happened in this book so that I could have been more involved with them.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Series
I have read all three books in the series and it is consistently good. The end of this book has a great cliffhanger.
I highly recommend this and other books in the series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Volume 3.5
Shadowrise is a very enjoyable read, much superior to volume two in the series, which was almost completely a set-up for the conclusion. But as much as I liked the novel, I do resent having this trilogy series turn into four books -- a quadrilogy? Another reviewer wisely points out that Steven Erickson has amazingly long books published, so why can't good old Tad? Financial decision, I suppose, tho' would not accuse him, necessarily, of gouging his readers, as some other authors are/were famous for doing. Williams is creative, as always, and has avoided the crawling pace of those monumental 'computer' novels (have blocked the name, tho' did read them all) he produced some years ago. No, Shadowrise does not 'rise' to the level of the "Memory" series, but it's Tad's best effort since then. Recommended for all lovers of good fantasy (despite the familiar tropes), IF the series does indeed end with the next volume. So wait to buy the books, if you're not already hooked, until you can be sure everything is wrapped up in volume 3.9. If it isn't, all bets are off, and who knows how long the twins & co will be wandering, fleeing, crawling thru rock, sailing along, etc. ... Read more

3. Shadowplay: Shadowmarch Volume II
by Tad Williams
Mass Market Paperback: 752 Pages (2009-04-07)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$4.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756405440
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
With their father and brother taken from them, the royal Eddon twins Barrick and Briony have done their best to hold the kingdom together. But now Barrick has been captured in a failed war against the immortal Twilight People and Briony has been forced to flee the castle. Old magics are stirring beneath the ancient castle and behind the Shadowline, and the machinations of gods, fairies, and mortals threaten to spread devastation across the entire world. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (39)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Fleeing Survivors
Shadowplay (2007) is the second Fantasy novel in the Shadowmarch series, following Shadowmarch.In the previous volume, Briony discovered the true killer of Kendrick.She released Shaso from the stronghold.Then she barely escaped an attempt on her life.

Chert found Flint and returned home.Then he was summoned by Gil and they stopped the Qar invasion.Barrick fled toward the Shadowline and Vansen went with him.

In this novel, Olin Eddon is the King of Southmarch.But he has been taken hostage by the Protector of Hierosol and held for ransom.

Briony Eddon is Olin's daughter and twin to Barrick.She is fleeing the Tollys.

Barrick Eddon is Olin's son and twin to Briony.He is riding through the shadowlands under a compulsion.

Chaven was the Southmarch court physician and astrologer.Now he is hiding from the Tollys within Funderling Town.

Chert Blue Quartz is a Funderling.He is married to Opal.They are fostering Flint, a human boy previously held by the Qar.

Avin Brone was the Lord Constable of Southmarch.Now he is retired and trying to avoid close scrutiny by the Tollys.

Gailon Tolly was a lord of Southmarch, being the Duke of Summerfield.Now he is dead, killed by minions of his two brothers, Caradon and Hendon.

Shaso dan-Heza is a native of Tuan, but had been captured by King Olin.The dark skinned southerner had advanced through the years to become Southmarch master-at-arms.Now he is fleeing from the Tollys with Briony.

Ferras Vansen is Captain of the Guard within Southmarch Keep.He is now following Barrick through the shadowlands.

Gyir the Encauled is a Qar with no facial features other than eyes.He is carrying a message to the blind king of the Qar for Yasammez, the commander of the invasion forces.

Qinnitan is an acolyte of the Hive in Xis.She had fled Seclusion, the walled district within the Palace where the brides and prospective brides of the Autarch are housed.She and the young Favored -- eunuch -- Pigeon escaped on a ship owned by a childhood acquaintance of hers.

In this story, Briony and Shaso are being carried to safety in a boat rowed by the Skimmer girl Ena.Shaso is fading away from his injuries, starvation and exhaustion.Ena turns back from Marrinswalk and instead takes her passengers to the Eddon lodge on M'Helen's Rock.

They spend some time in the lodge while Shaso gets better.Briony is very anxious to leave before someone thinks to look for them there.She is also somewhat puzzled by the loss of food at the house, even though Ena tells her that the small folk take it.

After Shaso can walk on his own, Ena finally rows them to the Marrinswalk coast and leaves them there.Shaso makes Briony swear to obey his instructions and she reluctantly agrees.Then he first takes her to Kinemarket to buy food.

Then Shaso leads Briony to Landers Port and a Tuani household there.She stays in the women's quarters and learns something about Tuani culture from the inside.But she has to flee again -- without Shaso -- when they are betrayed by a member of the household.

In Southmarch, Chaven finds a place to hide besides Chert's house.Brone is scheming to restore Briony to the throne.And Hendon is replacing the former staff within the castle with his own cronies.

Meanwhile, Barrick and Ferras discover some bodies within the woods.One is not quite dead and attacks Vansen.They also find a dead horse and the barely alive rider.

Ferras only sees Gyir as an enemy, but Barrick will not let him kill the Qar.Gyir is an aide of Yasammez and the compulsion makes Barrick consider him as an ally.Vansen treats Gyir's wounds and the humans take him with them.

Further along, Vansen captures a talking raven named Skurn.Again, Barrick will not let Ferras kill the repulsive bird.Skurn is missing a few feathers, so cannot fly far or fast.Vansen has to let the bird ride on the withers of his horse.

In Hierosol, Qinnitan and Pigeon are living in the house of Dorza, the captain -- and now owner -- of the ship that brought them here.But she does not get along with the captain's son.Then Dorza learns that she is fleeing the Autarch and throws them out of the house with only a few coins.

Qinnitan finds a job in the Palace laundry.The supervisor speaks the language of Xis, so she has someone to help her learn the local tongue.She gets permission for Pigeon to live in the same dormitory and she even meets the captive King Olin.

But the Autarch sends someone after Qinnitan.He lands in Hierosol shortly after Dorza throws them out.The man is clever, ruthless and without scruples.

This tale exposes Briony to more inconvenient truths and teaches her brother that self-pity can be his death warrant.Vansen continues to guard Barrick and to love Briony from afar.The Autarch attacks Hierosol and the populace is terrified.

This volume carries the story further, but more is to come.The next installment is Shadowrise.Read and enjoy!

Recommended for Williams fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of epic fantasy, armed conflict, and interesting people.

-Arthur W. Jordin

3-0 out of 5 stars very good book, arrived great.
the book arrived way before it was suppose to. this was a great find at an even better price!!

4-0 out of 5 stars A grain of salt
As a Tad Williams fan, let me give some advice to newer Williams readers. To get the most enjoyment out of Tad's books, look for the trappings of irony. Tad is well familiar with the tropes of the genre, and he enjoys tweaking them in a respectful way. He is not opposed to taking a little side-journey if it gives him a chance to add a little twist to a familiar plotline. Read Tad as you might appreciate a Coltrane solo, it might seem a little repetitive at times, but trust in him to surprise when it comes to the turn-around.

In particular, Shadowplay is a bridge book, not as much happens here as happened before and will happen later, but the writing talent stays consistent.Williams has created a convincing world with enough variety to keep things interesting, but not so much that it becomes mind-numbing (yes, I'm talking about TWOT).

5-0 out of 5 stars Deep into shadow we go, hoping to find the light...
I have to say, with each page I read of his books I like Tad Williams better and better. I really enjoyed the first novel in his shadow series, "Shadowmarch", but this book, "Shadowplay" (with its excellent cover, which is so much better looking in person) really outdid itself.

"Shadowmarch" ended with the March kingdoms in chaos. King Olin is still a prisoner far to the south, all members of the ruling family except for an infant are either dead or missing or presumed dead, the Quar (fairy people) have taken over the mainland city of Southmarch-leaving the castle packed with people, running out of food and governed by ambitious upstarts. The presumed dead prince regent Barrick is really making his way through the twilight lands because of some great task laid on him by the leader of the Quar army, followed every step by Ferras Vansen, the Captain of the guard and his sister Briony is on the run with the old master at arms since her cousin tried to kill her and took control of the castle. Most of the mortal army is dead, a crazed god-king is coming from the south with his massive army for something-and the fragile peace that holds everyone in check is balanced upon the stability of a piece of glass....

This is really an excellent book. Not only does it keep all of the storylines from the first book going but a whole bunch of new ones. We get to see more of the continent of Eion, and a lot more of the land behind the Shadowline. "Shadowplay" is packed with just as much fighting, intrigue, magic and mystery as its predecessor-although it doesn't have the same occasional funny moments.

But something makes up for that. The author obviously spent a very long time creating a mythological system for this world (actually more like three of them-one for each viewpoint on the gods) and at the beginning of each chapter we get a little bit from one of several holy books that make up the world various religions. It does get a little tricky to understand, but it also foretells of something just massive that is to come...

I loved this book. I loved the one before it. I can't wait until the third book comes out so I can love that too. In the meantime, I'm going to read all the rest of Tad Williams books-and I'm so glad that after "The War of the Flowers" I gave him a second chance.

Five stars.

1-0 out of 5 stars What a long, overly drawn-out MESS of a book
I really enjoy Tad Williams' work and saw Shadowmarch at my local library.Enjoyed it and got the sequel, Shadowplay.Good gods, what a stinker of a book that was - very little plot movement, the characters were boring and whiny, and the author killed off one of the more interesting characters before we had a chance to learn more about him.I forced myself to finish the book by mostly skimming the pages and found myself thinking, "yeah, yeah, get on with it already."Frankly, I don't think I can stomach another book in the series if it's going to be that poorly crafted. ... Read more

4. Shadowmarch: Shadowmarch: Volume I
by Tad Williams
Mass Market Paperback: 816 Pages (2006-09-05)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$4.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756403596
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Now in mass market paperback-Tad Williams' triumphant return to high fantasy!Amazon.com Review
The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series established Tad Williams's preeminence in fantasy. Now, after an absence of more than a decade, the New York Times bestselling author has returned to high fantasy with his Shadowmarch trilogy. Exciting, ambitious, intricate, and insightful, Shadowmarch: Volume 1 demonstrates that Williams is still America's best high fantasist.

Shadowmarch: Volume 1 introduces a world conquered byhumans, who have driven the Qar, or fairy folk, into the far north. There, the Qar hide behind the "Shadowline," a mysterious veil of perpetual mist, which drives mad any human who dares enter it. Bordering that mist and named for it is Shadowmarch, the northernmost human kingdom.

Shadowmarch has lately fallen on hard times. Its king has been captured by a rival kingdom, the regent has been mysteriously slain, and the new regents are callow fifteen-year-olds. Moody, crippled Prince Barrick is uninterested in their responsibilities and haunted by eerie dreams. His twin, Princess Briony, takes their new duties seriously, but is hot-tempered and headstrong. How can they defeat the greatest threats in Shadowmarch history? Their nobles plot to overthrow them--and the plotters may include their pregnant stepmother, seeking the throne for her own child. The expanding empire of Xis has sent its agents into Shadowmarch. And, for the first time since it appeared centuries ago, the Shadowline has starting moving. As the maddening mist spreads south over Shadowmarch, it does not quite hide the powerful, uncanny, and vengeful Qar army of invasion... --Cynthia Ward ... Read more

Customer Reviews (109)

4-0 out of 5 stars Trouble in Shadowmarch
Shadowmarch (2004) is the first Fantasy novel in the Shadowmarch series.It is set in a world where the fey-like Qar preceded humanity.Then mankind pushed the Qar back into the north.When the Qar hordes returned, mankind pushed them back over the Shadowline, but retained only Southmarch among the four Shadowmarch kingdoms.The Shadowline held back humans, for anyone crossing into the mists was lost in mind or body.

Although the humans don't dwell on the matter, some Qar are still among them.The Funderlings dig into the ground and carve stone for them.The Skimmers catch fish for them.And Rooftoppers hide from them.

In this novel, Olin Eddon is the King of Southmarch.But he has been taken hostage by the Protector of Hierosol and held for ransom.

Kendrick Eddon is Olin's son and Prince-Regent in his father's stead.Kendrick is somewhat older than the twins.

Briony Eddon is Olin's daughter and twin to Barrick.She is the strong willed one.

Barrick Eddon is Olin's son and twin to Briony.He has a disabled arm and often feels sorry for himself.

Avin Brone is the Lord Constable of Southmarch.He is a very burly man.

Gailon Tolly is a lord of Southmarch, being the Duke of Summerfield.He is very ambitious, but is more trustworthy than his deceased father or his two brothers.

Shaso dan-Heza is a native of Tuan, but had been captured by King Olin.The dark skinned southerner advanced through the years to Southmarch master-at-arms.

Ferras Vansen is Captain of the Guard within Southmarch Keep.He is a farmer's son from a stead within sight of the Shadowline.

Chert Blue Quartz is a Funderling.He is married to Opal.Chert often gathers stones and other bric-a-brac from near the Shadowline.

Dawet dan-Faar is an envoy from the Protector of Hierosol.He is also a native of Tuan and has exceedingly dark skin.

In this story, Briony and Barrick are following the hunt for a wyvern, a creature from beyond the Shadowline.Briony almost runs down Chert and Opal, so she stops to apologize to the Funderlings.Barrick's arm is hurting, so he is rather churlish and rides off.

After Briony follows her twin, Opal mentions the identity of the twins and gushes over their meeting.Chert is impressed with the princess, but soon steers his wife away from the place.Later, Chert and Opal watch four Qar ride over the Shadowline and drop a bag outside the mists.

Chert notices that the Shadowline has moved slightly south.Opal notices that the contents of the bag are moving.They open the sack and find a human child.They take the boy home with them and soon name him Flint.

Meanwhile, the wyvern has taken shelter in a small copse and the dogs are keeping it pinned.Prince-Regent Kendrick takes up a boar spear and leads the attack on the creature.The wyvern crushes the legs of his horse and leaves them tangled on the ground.

Then the creature rushes out of the copse toward the twins.Barrick clumsily drops his spear and knocks Briony's out of line.The wyvern is almost upon them when Shaso shoots an arrow into its head.

After the death of the creature, the servants pull Kendrick out from under his horse.Although bloody, he is only bruised and little burned by the ichor.The servants give him another horse and the party rides back to the keep.

At the castle, they discover that a ship has come into the harbor.It carries Dawet with a letter from King Olin and an offer to Prince Kendrick.The Protector of Hierosol will lower the ransom from a hundred thousand gold dolphins to twenty thousand if they send Briony to be his wife.

Naturally, Briony vehemently rejects the whole idea and Barrick agrees with her.Shaso also objects, as does Gailon.But most of the council likes the idea of paying less for the ransom.Kendrick adjourns the council and says that he will give his decision the next day.

During the night, however, Kendrick and his two guards are slaughtered.Briony is very angry at Vansen for not protecting her brother.She slaps him and scratches his face.But then she notices the two dead guards.

Shaso is deemed to be the killer because of his knife.Briony and Barrick do not agree with such thinking, but are powerless to oppose the council.Brone protects the twins and has them named joint Regents for their father.His presence quells the rebellious council and drives Gailon back to his estates.

Information is brought to the council about a strange event in the harbor before the death of Kendrick. Then a survivor of an intrusion of mists from the Shadowline also appears before the council.Briony sends Vansen out to check the Shadowline incident.

This tale shows the Qar sending Flint across the Shadowline for some unknown purpose.Then the Qar form an army.War starts when the Qar invade Southmarch.

This story starts slowly and only gradually builds up interest and momentum.For weeks this book remained mostly untouched while others were read and reviewed.Yet it started drawing my interest about a third of the way into the story.

This volume lays the foundation.The next installment -- Shadowplay -- continues the suspense.Read and enjoy!

Recommended for Williams fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of armed conflict, subtle magic, and persevering maidens.

-Arthur W. Jordin

5-0 out of 5 stars Rich in details
This is an excellent book. It is rich in details and the plot is just as rich. I will say that at times it is a litte bit slow moving because of Williams' attention to details but this is what gives the book depth. His characters are so well created that i felt like they were real people. What i love most about this book is that you think you know where Williams' is going with the stroy line but then he blasts off in the other direction, and I loved that. I can' wait for volume 4 of the epic, Shadow Heart. I hope it comes out before November.

2-0 out of 5 stars Ruined by a character
I started Shadowmarch with high hopes.I've always enjoyed Tad William's work in the past and thought this would be another chance to delve into one of his richly detailed words.In that respect I wasn't disappointed, William's has a unique art for creating believable and fantastic worlds and Shadowmarch is no exception.

So why 2 stars you may be asking yourself.One word, Briony.I had to put this book down with 70 pages left because I could not bring myself to read another chapter through the snotty princesses' POV.Indecisive, annoying and terribly dull, one character ruined a perfectly decent book.

4-0 out of 5 stars It's worth reading.
Whether you're a fan of Tad Williams or simply enjoy reading well crafted Fantasy, you should enjoy this book.

He does a good job of setting up the story and introducing us to the characters and setting things in motion.There are multiple subplots running and different storylines to track, so you won't be bored.

What I really enjoy about Tad Williams' current (and past) stories, are how he can craft an intriguing mythos that essentially sets up the events that follow.There are snippets of info dropped casually throughout the book, that give us a glimpse into what is to come.

In general, it's a story about the Elder races coveting what's been taken from them by Mankind.The nations of Mankind intriguing against one another.Underneath all of this is a plethora of unspoken connections that may or may not be revealed in the next chapter or next volume.

Pick it up.It's well worth the read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Slow and painful.
I'm no expert Fantasy reader.I've never read Jordan or Brooks or any of the other hacks out there.I will admit to having loved Stephen R. Donaldson's first couple of series.. ya know the guy with the halfhand and the mirror girl.GRRM is a freaking genius.Black Company still makes me laugh and it moves briskly.I'm even into reading the Malazan Empire books by Erikson, even though many people find them long winded and meandering.

But Shadowmarch is the most long, tired, meandering mess I've ever read.It took roughly 130 pages for this book to get moving.Not a problem as these Fantasy series do sometimes take some time to wind up and gather momentum.The early middle of the book was not all bad.I liked the Capt Vansen storyline for a while and I somewhat enjoyed the dwarfish guy, Chert.I found the twins tedious and just couldn't stand the POV character Quintine... I'm not sure I understand what use she served.But then the book really grinds to a halt... at one point I also found myself skipping large sections of Chert's storyline as he wondered around lost in a tunnel for 40 or so pages.There was literally page after page after page of Chert thinking "hmm, it's dark in here... maybe I'll turn left.. or no...maybe I'll turn right.. I love rock.. I remember the first time I saw a rock.. boy, it's sure dark in here.Oh, it's getting warm in here.I wonder how far down the tunnel I am.I sure do love my wife.I hope she's not too worried about me.Is it getting brighter in here.NOpe, still dark."My head was ready to explode.What a snooze fest.I won't be reading the rest of the series.

Again, I don't mind long and complex and wordy or thoughtful....but at least be remotely interesting.Say what you want about Erikson and how he demands so damned much of his readers, like for instance.. total recall in remembering something on the 785th page of book 3 in order for something to make the tiniest bit of sense 4 novels and 3,000 pages later... at least with Erikson....I'm enjoying the ride and loving the crap out of his characters.Shadowmarch is sooooo one note and lacking just about everything you'd need to make it worth reading. ... Read more

5. The Stone of Farewell (Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Book 2)
by Tad Williams
Paperback: 576 Pages (2005-04-05)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756402972
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The second book in the trilogy that launched one of the most important fantasy writers of our time ... Read more

Customer Reviews (87)

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent series!
I have owned and read this series before, and was thrilled to pick up new copies.The series is excellent!

3-0 out of 5 stars Not the best I have read
I have read many fantasy series, more than I care to admit to over the past 25 or 30 years.While not the worst, this series is far from the best.The writing style seems extremely long winded and does not draw you in or compel you to devour chapter after chapter.I found my mind wandering through this series with just not enough imagery in the writing style to fully hold my attention.All in all I would rate this series as average, in spite of the many reviews here that would disagree with me on this.

4-0 out of 5 stars I'm not a teenager anymore but I still like these books
if there is a complaint I have with the creation Osten Ard it is that Williams inserted so many mundane aspects of medieval Europe into a world that contains actual immortal intelligent beings, dragons, giants, and other incredible creatures.I love the Sithi, who are basically Japanese Elves with some native americanism thrown in.In fact I love the Sithi and Tinukedaya too much and lose interest in the human characters.I certainly don't need to hear silly preaching about Jesus (Usires) in such a fantastic world and the inclusion of Rome (Nabban) and catholocism is just unnecessary.That being said the Sithi world is fantastically realized along with the troll society early in the book.The Wrannamen culture is also interesting.I'm looking forward to reading the third book again.Truth be told if I could spend the rest of my life among scantily clad immortal Sithi women in a city of summer, a future the character Simon was so unhappily facing at one point in the story, I think I could die a happy man.

5-0 out of 5 stars And now we really get moving...
As the second novel in Tad Williams four part trilogy, "memory, Sorrow and Thorn" "The Stone of Farewell" suffers from very few of the defects that made the first book, "The Dragonbone Chair" kind of hard to like-at least in it's first forth or so.

From page one this book is all action. Josua Lackhand, the high king's brother, stronghold has been broken by his brothers new and very deadly and evil allies the Norns-along with one of the red hand, the Storm king's undead five fellows. Josua himself escaped with a very small band of followers but in the falling of the castle not only men were lost-precious knowledge and the last remaining master of the league of the scroll are gone- leaving massive riddles to be untangled.

But nothing can be figured out if there is no safe haven for Josua's people. And so along the increasingly unsafe dream road and through wise women and men it is passed that they must go to the stone of farewell-an old Sithi gathering place where they can regroup. But first they must win their way through the oldest and deepest of Osten Ard's forests and across leagues held by unfriendly peoples.

Simon and his mixed bad of human, troll and Sithi seekers succeeded in their quest for the great sword Thorn in the frozen north but a high toll was taken by the minions of the Norn Queen and an ancient ice dragon. But their mission is by no means over-many things hinder the group in returning the sword to Josua.

Miriamele, the high king Elias' daughter, abandoned her father in favor of her uncle but is determined not to sit about and wait-so she took off for Nabban, the lands her mother hails from to try and gain support for Josua's cause-with only a corrupt and highly secretive monk Cadrach, who has an extremely mysterious past. Once again Miriamele travels as a black haired boy instead of a blond noblewoman- but even in disguise a princess may be recognized-and used as a powerful bargaining chip...

And in the swamp lands of Osten Ard-a place called the Wran-a man named Tiamak sends and receives small gray birds of the very kind used by the scroll league-but of the very little news he receives from the few members still answering him, all is troubling and indicates he may have to leave his enclosed society behind and seek out things he has only every dreamed of.

Filtered through the rest of the book are more questions-about the Sithi, about the three great swords and how to use them, about the Storm King-about the very nature of Osten Ard itself. And more then one battle-as nearly all free people in the nation have come under attack from Elias and those loyal to him.

Like I said this book moves at a breakneck pace. From crisis to crisis, fight to fight and flight to flight we follow the action of this wonderfully complicated story. The characterization remains very real (especially Simon's continued evolution from boy to man, mooncalf to, well, man) the detailed description of the landscape is almost unreal and the shivery nature of the threat faced is almost leaping off the pages.

It may have taken him a while but when William's got this story moving he really got it moving!

Five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great second part
In part two of the epic story, williams again tells a great story that you just don't want to put down.I'm glad i came onto these books after they were all published because i was able to do a marathon session cuz i never wanted to stop the story. ... Read more

6. To Green Angel Tower: Book Three of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn
by Tad Williams
Paperback: 1104 Pages (2005-05-03)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756402980
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Available in one volume for the first time since its hardcover publication over a decade ago-The FINAL book in the trilogy that launched one of the most important fantasy writers of our time ... Read more

Customer Reviews (98)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lengthy conclusion to an awesome tale
I'm still not through it. I bought the entire trilogy in June, spent 2 weeks reading for 4 hours a day back then, it's August 4th and I've not been able to finish it, I eventually got burnt out on the sheer volume of it.

It is an awesome story though, and you'll find yourself immersed in it for quite some time.

This is really another 2 3/4ths a book.

Oh? On the content?

He drags on and introduces too many new places/people too quickly. I'm 100 pages from the end and wondering how he's going to wrap it all up gracefully, am not sure he can. He has too many subplots open.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not the best I have read
I have read many fantasy series, more than I care to admit to over the past 25 or 30 years.While not the worst, this series is far from the best.The writing style seems extremely long winded and does not draw you in or compel you to devour chapter after chapter.I found my mind wandering through this series with just not enough imagery in the writing style to fully hold my attention.All in all I would rate this series as average, in spite of the many reviews here that would disagree with me on this.

4-0 out of 5 stars tacky summation of overly long self-indulgent review here
well I just finished the series for the 2nd time, or is it the third?at any rate I hadn't read it in probably ten years.I have to admit I'm more critical of it now than before but still think highly of it.for me maybe the main problem of the trilogy is that the main characters who have risen to prominence at the end of the series Simon and Miri are fairly dull whilst worthier figures have fallen along the way and characters who are fading into oblivion, the Sithi, are endlessly fascinating in comparison.now for some more indepth whining, yes these are spoilers... Simon and Miri running away from Josua is a pretty awful plot development because Simon has just been in a war and killed many people and therefore hopefully grown up at least a little and Miri has just been reunited with her uncle after being kidnapped, raped, nearly killed etc after running away from him the first time.what they did was inexcusable and Miri being "so" sure that telling her dear old dad that she knew all it really was about was reaching her dead mother was pretty silly.the first time she tried to tell Josua that she needed to talk to dad in private he should have reminded her that her father killed all but a handful of people at Naglimund and she would have been part of that if she hadn't already run away.dad was way past redemption at that point.Williams obviously wanted to get the two away from their elders so they could bond and feel like they were making grown-up decisions before he made them the rulers of the continent but this was a poor way of doing it.one of the most unfortunate consequences of this plot choice was Binabik being reigned in one last time to bail the idiot dishwasher out of another dumbass decision jeapordizing the peaceful future with Sisqi that he so richly deserved thousands of pages earlier.Binabik is nothing short of a saint in his treatment of the "heroes" of the series, though he was a deadly saint with his poison darts.and of course even his wolf was forced to save the main characters at least ten times.Yet what recognition does he get in the end, a visit from the great Seoman two years later maybe.King Binabik anyone?just to look at the development of Simon.He was a dishwasher/janitor of limited capability.He learned how to read and write at the age of 15, not very well.He got on his own and nearly starved.Binabik saved his ass.He managed to get Thorn up in front of a dragon that was going to crush Jiriki and Thorn cut the dragon's eye.He got lost in the forest and the Sithi rescued him from certain death.his nightly training from sludig and hastean somehow prepared him to fight off the best fighting men in the land the Erkynguard and mercenaries at the stone of farewell, maybe the most unbelievable part of his story, that he actually beat someone in a fair fight.He was made a night by a rogue political figure whose entire fighting force other than Deornoth was destroyed a few weeks earlier (desperate man).He deserted his Prince to be with an idiot princess determined to get herself killed.He nearly brought on the end of the world taking a great sword to pryrates at green angel tower. He became King of all the lands.Does this sound remotely natural or plausible to anyone?

By the end of the book, the moral seems to be that the shallow, simple, and short-lived shall inherit the earth.most of the interesting characters are killed off along the way.Morgenes who it is hinted has lived an unusually long life some how and definitely has magic ability is of course the first casualty.The learned hardy Jaurnaga died saving the survivors of Naglimund or so he thought.Apparently the norns would have let the handful go anyway although the reasoning for that was never really explained.Amerasu the loveliest deepest figure in the series was unceremoniously killed off along with the up till then invincible Jegger and his really big dog. The niskie dies after saving Miri and Cadrach (they should have forced her to come with them, and they should have killed Aspitis when they had the chance), Geloe who it is hinted has been alive longer than many Sithi dies.Geloe... was definitely one of the most enigmatic characters.when she died Aditu revealed that she was one of Ruyan's own, a Tinukedaya.this seems like a pretty interesting development but was it ever mentioned again?hell no, we needed to spend more time talking about tunnels, swords, and eating worms and moss to survive said tunnels.Leleth, who seemed to be the only person who didn't have to die to figure out that the messenger was false but couldn't tell anyone because she had been bitten by a dog and quit talking (couldn't she write it down?) finally succumbed to her misery after Geloe died but not before trying to enlighten the unenlightenable Simon, Maegwin died, which means Eolair might as well have been dead as we know he will never be happy, pretty depressing outcome for the only Hernystiri characters we get to know.the dwarrows, after saving Miri, Binabik, and Cadrach are cast aside as the plot devices they always were.Cadrach, the only mortal who knows how to use "the art" at that point, dies after saving our heroes.Killing off Isorn was certainly cruel after all he went through in the series, tortured by Skali, barely survived Naglimund, survived the stone of farewell, survived Naglimund again this time alongside the Sithi, and then unceremoniously killed by a flick of the wrist from the uber powerful Pryrates.speaking of pryrates he was easily killed by the newly formed elias/storm king with some sort of magic but then the newly formed creature was killed off by an arrow after pryrates had withstood such a wound himself only moments earlier, inconsistency?Camaris might as well be dead at the end, nobody knows what the heck happened to him. Utuk'Ku is apparently alive but somehow lost her power along with her people, and the Sithi?back hiding in the forest having their one or two births every 100 years surely fading into oblivion taking with them their magic powers and knowledge of arts and craftsmanship humans can not even begin to imagine.honestly, I'm not sure at the end it wouldn't have been better for Ineluki to triumph in erasing mankinds mastery of Osten Ard as it doesn't seem to be an improvement over the Sithi culture in any way shape or form.The sithi had a weakness to Iron or else it seems they would have had no trouble keeping homo-sapiens in check while maintaining their far advanced culture.in retrospect, the entire resistance to Elias reign including the reclaiming of Nabban by Camaris seems to have been in vain as the meeting of the swords was going to happen regardless and that was where the battle for osten ard was fought.In fact if Elias could have managed to be a half-way decent ruler whilst working out the bargain for immortality with the storm king instead of betraying Lluth, Isgrimnur, and Josua in his haste to alienate his entire kingdom he probably could have made it through his two or three year reign fairly secure with the people not blaming him for the damnably cold weather and whatnot.But of course that wasn't how it went.In summation, Sithi VERY GOOD, Geloe & Morgenes, very good, Binabik, great hero with much wisdom, Simon & Miri, not so much.Tad Williams series? worth the price of admission for the side characters alone

5-0 out of 5 stars As legends and fairy tales come to life the true battle for Osten Ard has begun...
I'll admit to being a little befuddled and pissed that the last volume in this series got split in two-not only because it makes no sense (why didn't they just make it four books long with four titles) and it costs more to buy it all but I really like really long books. Once I started reading this little hissy fit passed though.

"To Green Angle Tower: Part One" details the beginning of the true resistance against high king Elias' twisted reign over Osten Ard-and the increasing presence of the Storm Kings minions in the land.

We witness as Josua fights for the freedom of his slowly growing population atop the stone of Farwell, and watch as Simon is introduced to the glory of knighthood and horror of warfare. We watch Miriamele escape from one who would use her, face and fight untold horrors, and discover a legend thought to be dead. And slowly the league of the scroll pulls its few remaining members together to try and discover what the three great swords can do that would help them.

At the same time the Sithi-enraged with the slaying of the Storm King's mother upon her discovery of his plan-have come out of their last hidden places to fight the Norns in the open.

And as wars rage and creatures from fairy tales emerge, as legends return from the dead, as an ancient evil spins a web and the forces of good fight to understand even a small part of it everyone is moving back towards the Hayholt-the ancient castle which has beneath it the ruins of the Sithi's Asu'a-and above it the one standing Sithi building-the green angel tower.

The more I read this series the more I see common themes with the `Lord of The Rings"-but its nothing that goes so far as to be stealing or even heavy borrowing-just a lot of fantasy standards. Evil has a mountain stronghold, lots of creep looking allies...ect. So where William's "Otherland" series was heavy on character mystery I think this series is more straight forward-or at least the great mysteries have little to do with the personalities and motives of the characters themselves. But who really knows? William's has suprised me before and I'm sure it will happen at least once more before the series is finished. I'm off to the last book to find out.

Five stars.

3-0 out of 5 stars It's on Kindle!Now where are parts 1 and 2?!
I have been a huge fan of this series.The story gets 5 stars, easy.However, it drives me crazy when publishers release a series on the Kindle and don't release the entire series.Even more crazy is to release the last book first!

If the publishers (and Amazon) truly want e-books to become a viable market, please provide releases of the full series and, even more importantly, make sure it is a good quality translation.Nothing says you're being treated as a 2nd class citizen more than the feeling that the book was just pulled off the shelf, scanned (with numerous typos, no book cover or maps) and slapped onto the Kindle bookstore.
... Read more

7. The Dragonbone Chair (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Book 1)
by Tad Williams
Paperback: 672 Pages (2005-03-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756402697
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In the peaceful land of Osten Ard, the good king is dying-and a long-dreaded evil is about to be unleashed. Only Simon, a lowly castle scullion apprenticed to a secret order dedicated to halting the coming darkness, can solve the dangerous riddle that offers salvation to the land. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (292)

4-0 out of 5 stars Slow starter but I celebrate this entire series.
I'd say the first 100 pages of this book are not very characteristic of the rest of it.It starts off very slow and somewhat childish to the point I almost put it down.All I can say to someone is keep reading.This turned out to be one of my favorite series in general.Yes it certainly has similarities to Tolkien, but honestly as far as fantasy is concerned what doesn't?I thought the story blossomed into something really special.I thought the characters and fantasy elements in this book, while similar to fantasy elements in general, where unique enough to where this book was not a copy of anything else.The Sithi were not just elves with a new coat of paint.

Rarely do I re-read any book and I've read this entire series twice, that's how much I liked it.The main reason I don't give the opener 5-stars is because the beginning almost made me miss this wonderful series.

Both this book and the series in general are long and complex.I recommend it!

3-0 out of 5 stars Cliches...cliches...
I am pretty new to the whole fantasy scene, but I've been on a fantasy binge (well, 3 books in less than 2 weeks) lately and am an English major, so I think I have some right to my opinion. This book was the weakest of the 3 I have just read.

1. George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) was my favorite, and stands as an example in my mind of what fantasy is capable of. Magic plays a subtle to non-existent role, and the plot is quite unconventional. 5/5 stars.

2. Alexandre J. Wynne's A Murder of Crows has a slightly more conventional plot (I use conventional to mean 'similar to Lord of the Rings', for better or for worse). However, for every cliche it falls victim to, it wickedly twists readers around another cliche. It is far more creative and clever when it comes to cliches than this novel is. 4.5/5 stars.

3. 'The Dragonbone Chair' contains magic and non-human races galore. That, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. In fact, I am a huge fan of Harry Potter (then again, who isn't?). However, what I dislike about this book is that it doesn't really do anything to distinguish itself. I am not a huge fantasy connoisseur, and yet this book seemed a bit stale, even to me. 3/5 stars.

3-0 out of 5 stars Warning: This is not a piece of furniture or even a novel about furniture!
Being something of a furniture buff I was intrigued by the thought of a chair made out of dragons bones. I assumed the dragon was of the Komodo lizard variety.

Well, let me tell you, I was quite surprised to find out that not only is this a book and not a chair at all, the book itself is fictional!

In order to get SOMETHING out of my investment, I decided to read the darned thing, and here is what I think of The Dragonbone Chair (the novel):

This is the first book in a series and follows a somewhat tired formula of a young man coming to adulthood and learning he is "the chosen one", or has great gifts, or something similar and only he can defeat an ultimate evil.

Another thing that irks me is that the characters are so one-dimensional. The protagonists are angels and only do sweet things, while the bad guys are always evil to the core.

If you can get past these things, though, the book is somewhat pleasant to read and does make a couple feeble attempts to address racism and the white man's treatment of the Native Americans.

Overall, it's not bad, but not great, either...

4-0 out of 5 stars Great series but Kindle edition needs some love
This applies specifically to the Kindle edition.I have the same book in a very worn paperback, so I bought the Kindle edition.I have to say, I am a bit disappointed with the number of typos and spacing problems.This is by no means an isolated issue, I have seen it with other Kindle edition books, but it is very pronounced with this particular book. It is like they just poured the text into a converter and didn't proof it at all.Sad.

4-0 out of 5 stars Around page 150...
I must agree with those who say it started slow.If you can make it to around page 150 then it is a wonderful adventure from there on.

Like any classic, there needs to be some background info that needs to be covered before a hero can go on their first adventure.The initial character building is important so that we understand how the main characters will act in the future.

While reading this book, I found that the end of chapters always left you hanging for more (which can make for some late nights reading, especially through the adventerous sequences).This book is an excellent pick for Tolkien, or Hobb fans because of its characters, dialog, and action.If you are a slower reader like me i would encourage you to stick with this book, it will be well worth it! ... Read more

8. City of Golden Shadow (Otherland, Volume 1)
by Tad Williams
Paperback: 792 Pages (1998-01-01)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$4.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0886777631
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The first volume in this mesmerizing story takes readers to the near-future, when a global conspiracy threatens to sacrifice the Earth for the promise of a far more exclusive place--Otherland, a universe where any fantasy can be made real. BOMC alternate selection. Ads in "Locus".Amazon.com Review
Best-selling fantasy author Tad Williams (Tailchaser's Song, the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series) begins a far-reaching cyberpunk saga with Renie Sulaweyo, a teacher in the South Africa of tomorrow, realizing something is wrong on the network. Some of the younger kids, including her brother Stephen, have logged into the net, but they can't get back out. The clues point to a mysterious golden city called Otherland, but everyone who tries to find out what's going on ends up dead. Settle in for a long, enjoyable ride, because this 770-page monster is just the first of four projected novels. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (299)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book, but this cover doesn't exist!
This book is the beginning of a great masterwork by one of the finest writers in speculative fiction today. However, this is not the right cover! The actual cover is a match to the other three volumes, with inset art by Michael Whelan. The image that is shown here was never printed. Most peculiar!

1-0 out of 5 stars This book sucked!
First chapter was good. The rest of the book sucked. Annoying characters, boring filler, and an extremely unsatisfying ending. Why would I buy the second book to find out what happens if the first book was such crap. Waste your money if you are looking for a all around bad book. I just tore my copy to shreds. 770 paged of crap!

4-0 out of 5 stars Incredible and Unmatched, and Yet
I have never read a book quite like this.
Williams has created worlds and plots that are almost too vivid and vast in their scope and believability. For the first 400-500 pages, I couldn't stop reading, and was spellbound by Williams' futuristic world where the line between reality and virtual reality is no longer clear. His imagination is staggering, the outcomes of simulated technology are not only conceivable but entirely believable, and his frequent homages to literary classics convinced me that Williams knew where he was going with these 700+ pages of twists and turns.
This book remains with me long after I've closed its final pages, and I miss the characters in a way that surprises me. And yet, around page 600, I started not only to lose focus, but to feel the sense of disappointment that I wasn't going to get the answers I had put in so much time to find.
I was right - this book ends at a beginning. And I am not sure that I have the patience to pick up another three volumes of this magnitude.
I am glad, glad, glad I picked up Otherland. It will remain on my "favorite books of all-time" list. And yet, my only critique is that I may never know the end of the story.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good book and introduction
I picked this book having read a lot of sci-fi/fantasy in my life.I really liked this book, I found the themes quite interesting and the characters sympathetic and believable.As a software engineer sometimes I had a hard time with the technical aspects of the book.This is a very very very very long book, over 700 pages.Overall it's very well paced and the action/exposition are done superbly so that the plot unfolds with the action and you learn things as the characters do.You feel yourself getting drawn into the world of Otherland and the mysteries it presents to our heroes.However because this is the first part of a 4 book series there are some plot points and characters that are introduced especially later in the book that don't become very important until much later in the series.This muddies the overall plot of this book but helps improve the overall plot of the series.The ending is a cliffhanger from hell and departs from the excellence of the book.Williams steals already well worn plot elements from other well known series and resorts to a bit of Dues Ex Machine and a lot of exposition that is jarringly out of place.Overall a good book and a good first part of a great 4 part series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Every game needs some rules. Meet the Otherland Rule Book.
Picture an imaginary chess board. Half black squares, half white squares-only instead of clearly defined pieces like pawns, castles, knights, bishops, kings and queens you have plain, uniform, rectangular blocks. Gray blocks, so not only can you not tell what piece plays what role but what side of the board it plays for.

It would be confusing right? Because you can't play any kind of game without knowing what the rules are, who the players are. That's why games come with instructions.

A lot of the reviews for "Otherland: City of Golden Shadow" complain that there is too much unnecessary background-that there are whole sections of the book that could have been cut out and still achieved the same goal in the end. I respectfully disagree. This novel is not only background for the massive undertaking that follows, but the instructions the reader will need in order to recognize the players for what they are.

Because, this is a complicated book. Not only are their multiple characters and points of view-the characters themselves are often shadowy and ambiguous, leaving the reader to guess what team-if any-they are really playing for.

This Otherland saga that Tad Williams has come up with is a massive and complicated undertaking, encompassing highly advanced technology, a host of old cultural myths from around the globe and highly secretive politics. It is endlessly complicated, a series of riddles within riddles. And I don't see how anyone who thought that the first book in the Magnus opus was a waste of paper could ever hope to understand the series as a whole.

Explaining the whole plot of this novel would take too long and give away way too much info to the potential reader so I'll try to keep this brief. It's the late 21st century and the internet has evolved into an interactive virtual reality world called the net. Just like the real world (RL) wealth determines much of what you can do on the net.

Renie Sulaweyo is a professor of virtual reality. Living in post apartheid South Africa she's just barely managing to hold what's left of her family-an alcoholic old world father and a younger net obsessed brother-together when a strange tragedy strikes Stephen and he is left in a coma-with no apparent cause. More strange and violent occurrences happen around Renie the more she investigates the cause of her brothers illness with the help of a Bushman student named !Xabbu and it soon becomes apparent that not only were more children stricken in the same way but that something huge beyond imagining is going on...

At the same time a sick fourteen year old boy in California is following a strange trail across the net that leads towards a golden city unlike anything he has every seen-a golden city that is haunting his dreams.

Somewhere on an American military base a very old man is pulling strings for some larger purpose, with only the help of a young girl. But are his intentions helpful or harmful?

In an Egypt that's more mythological than historical a god king orders minions around and affects the real world through his god of death-a strange sociopath killer named Dread who has terrible ambitions.

And last of all, apparently floating adrift in time and space is Paul Jonas- a man with no memory aside from the vague recollection of a winged woman. He is the key to something-and a source of fear to some of the most powerful men in the world. Men who have a plan-a plan they named the Grail...

I don't know why there are any negative reviews for this book. It is amazing and complex like a perfect maze or puzzle with not one boring page. Yes there is a lot of information in the book that could have been simplified down and made shorter but if Tad Williams had gone that way then the reader's chances of figuring out the who's, what's and how's of the virtual chess board would have been much, much worse. And then none of the other books would make sense because the rues of the game wouldn't be apparent. And all the fun of the book, the guessing of plots, would have been taken out of it.

Aside from the actual plot reading this book was such a pleasure because Tad Williams is such a wonderful writer. He doesn't seem to know how to string a dull sentence together. Excitement, adventure, action, some romance and the occasional funny oddness that Williams seems to always work into his books keep every paragraph captivating.

The first book of Williams I read ("The War of The Flowers") I'll admit to not liking very much. But after reading this book I am prepared to make a vow. Tad Williams, I will read every book you have written. I will follow you wherever your typewriter/ word processor takes you. I will re-read "The War of the Flowers" because I am now positive I missed something that I would now see. And of course, I will speed through the remaining three Otherland novels as though my life depended on it.

Last but not least, if you are daunted but the seemingly sci-fi nature of this work (as opposed to fantasy) worry not. The genera's are blurred enough in this book to make fans of both specialties very happy.

Five stars.
... Read more

9. Mountain of Black Glass (Otherland, Volume 3)
by Tad Williams
Mass Market Paperback: 784 Pages (2000-09-01)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$4.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0886779065
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
New York Times bestselling author Tad Williams presents...

The hardcover edition of Volume Three...

First time in print!

"A powerful, near-future cyberthriller."--Booklist

"Williams proves himself as adept at writing science fiction as he is writing fantasy....Fascinating." --Publishers Weekly

"An exciting addition to the growing virtual reality literature."--Library Journal

* A bestselling author--New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, London Times, Publishers WeeklyAmazon.com Review
Otherland, the quartet of which Mountain of Black Glassis the powerful third part, combines some terrifying speculation onthe future of virtual reality with adventures no less terrifyingbecause they are technologized dreaming. These are dreams theadventurers cannot awaken from and in which, if they die, they arereally dead.

An epidemic of comatose children has led Renie and herSan friend !Xabbu into the net and to a series of dream worlds createdas palaces by the corrupt aspiring immortals, the GrailBrotherhood. Two of those children, Orlando and Fredericks, havebecome adventurers in their own right, while their parents' lawyerRamsey follows real-world money and lesbian cop Calliope tracks aserial killer with serious ambitions to become an angry god. In thisvolume, adventures take place in a mythic ancient Egypt and a ramblingGormenghastlike house before all the virtual adventurers meet wherethey were always destined to, before the walls of Troy.

"All around, death. It was not a quiet presence during the long day--not a pale-faced maiden bringing surcease from pain, not a skillful reaper with a scalpel-sharp blade.... Death on the Trojan plain was a crazed beast that roared and clawed and smashed, which was everywhere at once, and which in its unending fury showed that even armored men were terribly frail things."

Tad Williams takes the gameworld and turns it on its head, passionately; how do we know that what bleeds does not feel pain? He writes a classic of cyberspace adventure that has a sorrowful heart. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

Customer Reviews (94)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read
I really enjoyed this series.After the first suspension of disbelief, the story is logical, the cast of characters well developed and plausible. The premise that personhood (soul) can be transfered and continued through mechanical means is enticing to us older hippies.The promise of technology is exhilarating to tech junkies. And the vision of fairy tale worlds brought to life through these means is fascinating.
A very good read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ghosts in the machine
When we last left off in the massive 3300+ page novel that is "Otherland" none of our travelers where in a good state. Renie, !Xabbu, Martine, Florimel, T4b and the mysterious and childlike perhaps puppet (virtually created person) Emily were left stranded in an incredibly strange sim world when the psycho Dread finally revealed himself and took off with the precious lighter that may have enabled the group to travel to specific destinations instead of just following the river from one world to the next. And the world that this group is stuck in is not a good one-for one thing it seems to be unfinished. There are things that could be sky or hills or trees but none of them are those things. With everyone traumatized by Dread's deception and the eeriness of the world they currently have no way out of the group makes the decision to be open and honest with each other about their life stories and what brought them to this strange quest.

Meanwhile Orlando and Sam Fredericks are smack dab in the middle of a mythological Egypt-(the leader of the grail brotherhoods favorite world) and have unwittingly fallen in withsome members of thedeeply mysterious circle movement-who's motivation to bring down the Otherland network fits perfectly with our pairs own goals. The groups form a short lived common cause and through a circle member learn a great deal more about how the gates (points of travel between one world and the next) work. But a terrible uprising of god against god has made this Egypt a dangerous place to be-and Orlando and Sam need to get out as soon as possible-while the dying Orlando can still muster the strength to make a difference in this quest.

Paul Jonas-who's foggy memory is getting clearer and is now aware that he's in a simulation-washed up in Trojan War Greece, cast as the role of Odysseus but apparenty playing the part backward-he needs to get to the war from his Island kingdom, not the other way around. And there are many trials to impede his progress.

As the unfinished land that the larger group is stuck in becomes odder and more unstable Martine and !Xabbu figure out a way to open a gateway that Dread used to run from them and find themselves in an endless house that is seemingly the whole of the universe. The environment is complex and strange enough but when one of their own is taken by Dread and a house with no end must be searched the group begins to fray emotionally.

In the real world former actress on an extremely popular children's show Olga Pirofsky is hearing the voices of children-thousands of children crying out to her for help when she is semi-connected to the net. She doesn't know if she's going crazy-or if her connection to the show and the manifestation of a net related illness is showing her things no one else can know about.

Mr. Sellers makes a break for real freedom-and takes a huge risk-when he reaches out to the father of his childhood helper Christabel Sorensen-the man tasked for security on an army base that may have had the sole purpose of guarding the old man- for help with the situation now that he has lost contact with the travelers he led to the network and the group, with Cho-Cho, a street boy who's also been assisting Sellers take off to meet up with another contact of Sellers, the attorney named Catur Ramsey who is representing Sam and Orlando's family's and has been busily tracing the pairs net activity looking for clues to their sudden illness.

Dread continues his murderous ways in the real world as well, working to gain total control of his much hated employer, Felix Jongleur, the oldest and most powerful man in the world who is also the head of TGB. At his side is Dulcie Anwin, super tech, who knows nothing of his real nature but finds herself both scared of and drawn to him.

At the same time two Australian detectives stay on an old murder case that has ties to aboriginal mythology-and a boy who called himself Dread, but they find themselves railroaded at every turn-as though someone erased his existence.

And in the old mountain bunker where Renie and !Xabbu's bodies wait as they roam trapped in the Otherland is coming under attack. Sellers is trying to help but its only three men with no weapons against an army that will eventually get in.

Though our characters are spread across the map (real and virtual) through their contact with Sellers, with people of the circle and Paul's mysterious angle bird woman they have been given a goal-to find an endless black mountain. And to find it soon. But though our intrepid travelers may be learning about the network and accomplishing minor goals they are starting to realize what they're really up against-the richest, most powerful men and women in the world. And as dedicated as those who followed the trail to the golden city are to their cause, in truth they are little more than ghosts flitting about in a massive machine.

It's clear that they'll need al the help they can get-from mysterious bird angels andmulti-religious organizations, from old shadowy men, from outdated net gadgets and from outsiders in the real world. But the most help may come from the unlikeliest source of all...

As you can probably tell from my ridiculously long review this book is no less complicated then the ones before it-in fact more and more layers of complexity and cloak and dagger play are added in each book. I'm more than a little stunned that Williams manages to keep all his story lines straight (huge thanks to the publishers for including the mini synopsis of the last book in the beginning of the next book by the way) and keep the massive number of characters unique and totally original.

The writing of this book is just as good as the last. Action and adventure in spades, bravery, tragedy, and that special bit of Tad Williams humor which still gets me just as much. It's so subtle but so incredibly funny.

Essentially this book is just as good as the first two. And while reading it I had a thought-writing a series like this gives Williams total freedom to include every little fantasy and sci-fi world he wanted to write about but couldn't make work. It's the perfect environment for ideas that writers truly liked but couldn't really make go anywhere. I could be totally off base but some of these worlds feel so well developed that they almost deserve their own novels.

Five stars and on to the next book. What am I going to do when I finish this series? I have all of Williams other works but in spite of how much I need to know what happens next I'm going to miss all these people-and the many worlds they travel through-when its all over.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good Follow up. Few true flaws.
Mountain of Black Glass (Otherland, Volume 3) is a true follow up of its predecessors, but it has some flaws that take it down a notch from what it could have been.

It is the same vivid and powerful descriptions and imagination that made the other books so good, and the suspense and foreshadowing. But the books should have ended by here. He may have made it 4 books so he could flesh out the emotional endings or the characters experiences, but it could have definitely ended in a trilogy, and probably should have. Even I got impatient after 3 books of excellent description. The story slows down a lot in this book and there is much less forward movement. I have no complaints about the characters. This was still VERY enjoyable and I would say it is worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmirizing
Wonderful series.I felt like I have just emerged from a VR tank after having read the entire series this past week.It was that good.I could not put it down. It was made even more intriging by the use of Bushman folklore and wisdom.Action packed and full of interesting ideas about our civilization and where it's headed with the vampire data trap. I thoroughly enjoyed the complex characters that lived in this mesmirizing story questioning the meaning of reality.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Mythological allegories abound. The Grail Brotherhood, the immortality
seeking wealthy bunch of near-dead in the real word are set up as
Egyptian gods in one virtual realm, and squabble. The adventurers,
quite literally of the heroic fantasy warrior type, for a couple of
them, must survive this, and other weird worlds to get to a
confrontation in a virtual representation of ancient Troy.

... Read more

10. To Green Angel Tower, Part 2 (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Book 3)
by Tad Williams
Paperback: 816 Pages (1994-07-01)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$3.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0886776066
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Miriaamele and Simon embark on a perilous quest through war- and magic-torn lands as they and the valiant followers of Josua Lackhand struggle to make a stand against the Storm King's seemingly unstoppable evil forces. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (48)

4-0 out of 5 stars good but not great
This is the second half of 'To Green Angel Tower' (being split into two for paperback), sometimes subtitled as 'Storm', and the conclusion of the 'Memory, Sorrow and Thorn' series by Tad Williams. Overall it was probably the best of the series and brings the plot to a satisfying conclusion. Overall the series was good, but not great, and really I think would have been better served if it was about a third shorter. Overall it was enjoyable but not memorable, although they were flashes of potential.

3-0 out of 5 stars I hate to say it, but this was just not a good ending to a very promising series
This is the second full series of Tad William's that I've finished. And after the first (the "Otherland" series) I was super excited for this one. And now, after finishing it, I'm having trouble reconciling all of my feelings about this. Once thing I keep reminding myself of is that authors evolve and improve over time. And the Otherland series was written after "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn."

If you've gotten this far in the series then you already know all this, but I feel the need for a quick recap anyway. This is a very complicated series with about eight different points of view, about five different humanoid species, multiple countries and religions and a great deal of history. This volume in particular ("To Green Angel Tower: Part Two") involves in the final battle between brothers Elias and Josua, the two sons of high king and legend Prester John, the final confrontation between the Sithi and the Norn, the end of a five century plan woven by the Norn Queen and the Storm King and Princess Miriamele and Simon's (now Sir Snowlock) venture towards the Hayholt for a mysterious mission. And all the time ancient prophecies hang over head involving stars and false messengers-and there's still the scene from "Dragonbone Chair" about Simon's birth to be explained.

So, like the others, this book has a lot going on. And as the last novel in the series it has a lot of questions of to answer-and a lot of weird mysteries to resolve before it's all over.

And it does do that, I guess. In the end there aren't really any plot lines that aren't tied up, to storyline left hanging. It's more the way that they're wound up.

See the ending of this book, this series, the way it's all resolved-it's kind of...young. A lot of overwhelmingly huge storylines come down to some real simple stuff-the kind of this I would have expected to find in a fantasy written for pre-teens maybe-where authors still feel that everything has to have some kind of morally good ending for their audience to benefit from. And it's not just that-huge emotional conflicts characters have-things that defined them in the series-seem to vanish overnight.

It's not so much that the ending is bad because it's not really bad. It's just it doesn't really fit with the rest of the series. Williams is a complicated author-the kind who has plots within plots and secrets within secrets. His Otherland series is a great example of this-when I was reading it I always imagined he'd need flow charts to keep the whole thing straight in his head. And parts of this series are the same. But the way it all ends-it's like a totally different author was swapped in for the last hundred pages or so. Either that or the entire series was entirely planned out-except the ending-and when he got to the end he just didn't know what to do.

I love the way William's writes so it really pains me to say this but this book is no more than three stars-and that's generous. And the entire series-well, knowing how it all ends up I'm not sure I can advise potential readers putting the time and effort into it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Page-turner with a so-so ending
This review is for the series, which is definitely not 3 stand-alone books. I think Williams is an amazing writer, and his powers of description are some of the best I've run across. I could not put down any of these books (except to rest my hand a bit-- this last book was over 1000 pages-- heavy!) and read late into the night.

I finished them a few weeks ago, and I'd have to say that the characters and elements of the books I remember best are not the protagonist, or the ending (I re-read it several times, and still couldn't quite sort out the peroration), but some of the side-characters like Binabik the troll, and the vision of the evil villainess Williams creates. The lead character, Simon, never really wormed his way into my heart. What I DID like about him, is that he didn't stumble into the annoying habit of keeping important information to himself, because of the way he might have acquired it. That has to be one of the most irritating writing devices around. Young Simon was a bit thick, but at least he was smart enough to turn to others for help and information. I wish he had been a character I could care more about, but he never really came to life for me.

All that said, I am glad I read these books, and I immediately bought another Williams book-- The War of the Flowers-- because I enjoy his writing style so much. He has an amazing way with words and I will have visuals of his worlds in my head for a long time.

5-0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable ending.Definite 5-stars.
This final book of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is by far the best of the series.In fact, it is the best Tad Williams book I've ever read, being the only one that didn't suffer from an excess of overly-descriptive writing and lack of a critical editor.Wrapping up this epic story in a single book was something I had doubts that Williams could accomplish after seeing how much was left unexplained following Part 1, but I have to say that Williams exceeded my expectations and finished off the story in a highly pleasing way that left very little to mystery.This is one of the most breathtaking and heart-pounding endings for an epic fantasy that I've ever had the pleasure of reading.Without it, I wouldn't recommend the series, but after reading this conclusion, I'd include MS&T to be high up on my "Must Read" list.

TO GREEN ANGEL TOWER, PART II brings the slow-paced story of MS&T thus far into a hectic and fast-paced rush to a truly excellent climax.At the beginning of the book, the story doesn't seem to be anywhere near an ending, with Josua and Camaris heading to Nabban to begin their takeover, Miriamele and Simon traveling to an unknown fate at the Hayholt, and Eolair and the Sithi riding to assault the Norns at Naglimund.A scant 500 pages later has them all arriving at Asu'a for the final confrontation in Green Angel Tower.In between, you get all the usual Williams fare of plot build-up involving all the main characters.The stories of Camaris' terrible secret, Eolair's lost love, and especially the tormenting confusion of Simon and Miriamele's blossoming relationship, are all a joy to read.But by far the best part of the whole series is the ending.Highly emotional scenes with characters you've come to love, and unpredictable plot twists make this ending unforgettable.

The best Williams book I've ever read.Very highly recommended!

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
After those on the side of good, e.g. not the Storm King and his
servants work out the whole deal with the three powerful swords, there
must come a final reckoning, especially after so many pages already.

Guess what though, this does have princesses, as well as the
dragon. Here, one needs rescuing, and one is crazy, there is still a
war to be won and nonhumans to deal with.

... Read more

11. Otherland, Volume Two - River Of Blue Fire
by Tad Williams
 Hardcover: Pages (1998)
-- used & new: US$24.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B001AYNU2U
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12. Sea of Silver Light (Otherland #4)
by Tad Williams
Paperback: 1072 Pages (2002-03)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$4.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756400309
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Few science fiction sagas have achieved the level of critical acclaim-and best-selling popularity-as Tad Williams's Otherland novels. A brilliant blend of SF, fantasy, and technothriller, it is a rich, multilayered epic of future possibilities.

"The Otherland series concludes triumphantly...The real and virtual plots all come to a spectacular climax...a surprisingly satisfying conclusion to such a fantastic adventure." (Locus)Amazon.com Review
With Sea of Silver Light, Tad Williams completes his massive Otherland quartet, one of SF's more intriguing explorations of theeroding boundaries of the human and the nonhuman, the living and the dead.Otherland is a sequence that contains many secrets, and Williams plays fair by unpacking all of them in the final book. A group of adventurers searching for a cure for comatose children find themselves trapped in a sequence of virtual worlds, the only opponents of a conspiracy of the rich to live forever in a dream. Now, they are forced to make an uneasy alliance with their only survivingformer enemy against his treacherous sidekick Johnny Wulgaru, a serialkiller with a chance to play God forever.

Williams manages a vast cast of emotionally involving characters withconsiderable panache, but the real strength of the book is its endlesslyquesting intelligence; it is, among other things, an enquiry into thenature of storytelling as a way for human beings to give structure to theirperceptions of the universe around them. It is as story that Sea ofSilver Light ultimately works so well--involving us in the grueling descent of a vast mountain, the siege of an underground fortress, gun battles in a nightmare Wild West. Williams never neglects to tell us how things feel. He efficiently ties up every plot strand and convincingly reveals every secret in this large, complex plot. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

Customer Reviews (92)

5-0 out of 5 stars An under-appreciated gem (review of the series)
I have read this series three times and each time find something new and interesting.This series is pretty amazing and seems under appreciated to me.The amount of detail and complexity make it quite a feat for the author.Unlike a lot of series I really feel that the characters had depth and substance.I highly recommend this series.

5-0 out of 5 stars fast and amazing
The shipping was done with great speed, this was an international order so I was very surprised with the speed. The book came in excellent condition. Great seller!

2-0 out of 5 stars Please Stop the Insanity
Tad, Tad, Tad. Tedious. Repetitive. Arduous to read. How can I express what many people have already said? I give the series, not just book 4, two stars because of the fantastic concept behind the story, being trapped in... the Matrix, essentially, but of varying types of worlds. This story had so much potential that was completely wasted on over-descriptiveness and lack of character development (really, most of the characters in the end changed little to not at all from the onset). By the fourth book, with the characters being constant barraged and beset by danger, it grew tiresome without any seeming respite for them, and the climax and resolution were quite the let downs as well. The only reason I subjected myself to this torment was because of needing to know how it all came together. I am saddened to say that it was a complete waste of my time.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good book, a good series
It's hard to separate a review of this single book from an overall review of this entire series.Sea of silver light takes us back to the style first found in volume 1 of Otherland and that is a good thing.The myriad of plot points are tied up and unlike a Stephen King book there is an ending.

It takes another 400 pages or so but the rest of the book is a very exciting conclusion to the entire series.Some of the revelations I had suspected the others were just so out of the blue I found them hard to believe.I know this is science fiction but I found myself unable to believe things that sounded so far fetched.So while I give him an A for excitement and plot I have to give him a D+ for character development.You still know what you knew 2 books ago about most of the main characters and the sub characters.I honestly don't even know why Floriment and Javier(T4b) were even in the books.I think they existed simply for some kind of outlet for the "main" characters.And the two worst characters ever Long Joseph Sulaweyo and Jeremiah Dako just didn't need to be involved that much.I understand the need for the physical facility Reenie and !Xabu were in held some importance but way too much time was spent on these worthless characters.Félix Jongleur and Dread were both highly interesting and I felt some of the better characters in the book.There is also quite a bit of exposition at the end of the book.I know there was a lot to cover here but if more had been revealed during the previous 2 books entire chapters of characters talking wouldn't have been required here.

This brings me into my feelings of the entire series.Overall this is a good series.I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to other people who enjoy sci-fi/fantasy.Some of the characters are quite interesting and the ideas presented are fun to read and think about.However it's far too long for what is going on.The 2nd and 3rd books should have been condensed into one book.A vigorous editing would turn this series into an instant classic.Character development is good for certain characters but decidedly lackluster for many others.My only other complaint is about what the characters do in the book.They all go into the system for a reason but then they seem to spend the rest of the series well just hoping from VR world to VR world.Some of them in the end actually stand up and fight and do important things but most of them are just along for the ride.The reason so many people love Frodo Baggins is this little 4 ft hobbit stands up and says I will take this incredible burden when people twice his size and power were too afraid.

I'm afraid this review may construe the entire book/series as bad but they're not.They're not perfect but they are very good and worth the read.It's very long (2100+ pages) so be prepared for it but it's worth it in the end.

5-0 out of 5 stars Our band of Otherland explorers enter the belly of the beast...
The last volume in a book series you've really invested your time in (I've been reading "Otherland" exclusively for a month) can end up to be a huge disappointment-and that always sucks. Or it can be totally weird like the author isn't even the same person and hasn't read the first books. I just want to take this paragraph to assure readers that, like the first three volumes in the series, "Sea of Silver Light" is an amazing novel that brilliantly concludes the series. (Not that I would mind more `Otherland books" if Tad Williams in his infinite wisdom decides to write more-please?)

This novel begins in chaos. The Grail Brotherhood has attempted their immortality ceremony and something went horribly wrong. The problem is not only with the mysterious operating system that is the Other but with John Dread-who has used his special tech "twisting" abilities to gain control of the network. Barring one or two people most of TGB has been killed off.

Having just fought the brotherhood and the Other to some extent our band of travelers aren't in a very good place either-metaphorically or in the Otherland. Orlando Gardner finally gave out his life long struggle with progeria in a battle with the brotherhood and is physically dead-but something is odd about his abandoned sim body. Renie, Sam Fredericks and !Xabbu are trapped on top of a seemingly endless black glass mountain with apparently the only successful grail experiment-a South American black market organ dealer who appears to have been mentally damaged in the process and Felix Jongleur, the richest and oldest man in the world and head of the brotherhood. He's also the only person who really seems to know anything about the Other. Though he is responsible for countless amounts of death and destruction the group is forced to make common cause with him in order to have any chance of getting out of the situation alive.

As an additional bit of mystery all of the real people on the network are now appearing as their real physical selves (expect for Jongleur who seems to be physically as he was in his 50's or 60's.)

Somehow Paul Jonas, Martine, Javier (T4B) and Florimel end up in the riddle speaking Kunohara's bug study world-only now even the owners of the super sim worlds are losing control of them thanks to Dread-making the proportionally giant insects of the world much more dangerous.

Things are no more stable back in the real world. Sellers try's desperately to unwind the secrets of the network while Olga infiltrates Jongleur's corporate headquarters and home, trying to find precious data that will aid Sellers. In South Africa the old military base that Renie and !Xabbu's bodies are in is under serious attack. Sellers does what he can to help the three conscious men in the base-but he is getting awfully busy.

Meanwhile Dulcie Anwin continues to investigate Jongleur's person files for Dread. But a cyber terrorist of her caliber gets board quickly-and soon she's starting to hack into Dread's personal files. At the same time one of the Australian detectives looking for John Dread gets a tip that someone else is looking into his background-and that someone isn't that far away.

In the Otherland things are changing. While Paul and Martine's group make their way through increasingly Dread-perverted situations, Renie is separated from her group as they end up in a nearly feature less sea of silver light. Eventually the land yields inhabitants and scenery and our travelers begin to realize that they are not just on the network anymore-they are inside the operating system itself. But it's all very strange and childish-and all of it's odd and child like inhabitants are convinced that something called "the ending" is coming...

Still unable to get offline the answer to the groups survival-and that of the many children all over the world who have been affected in some way by the Other- may lie in a life changing incident in Martine's past and a terrible tragedy in Olga's. Sellers too is far more than he seems to be and the mystery of Paul Jonas's past and the reason he is so important to Jongleur is revealed.

But with being inside the mind of a system that is breaking down and fighting off a sociopathic invader at the same time our Otherland explorers don't have much time to unravel the numerous mysteries surrounding the network-they just want a way to get their lost children back. And as the many universes that is the Otherland starts to end it may all come down to the children the system has always been drawn to save our explorers and the multitude of worlds and massive technology that is the Otherland.

I'm normally really good at predicting endings. I don't want this to sound like bragging but there is rarely a movie or television show that I can't figure out at least halfway through. But I could never, ever, have figured out the mysteries in this series-much less how it would all end. It is wonderful in its complexity and more than enjoyably shocking. There is nothing at all typical about the way this series was written, and nothing at all typical in how it resolves its major mysteries and ends.

In fact, the absolute, only issue I had with this book was that it seemed like some stuff was just tacked on at the end that had no real build up to it at all in the rest of the books. Considering how well the other story lines were always followed it was a little strange. But not enough of a big deal to affect how I feel about this book.

It's beyond excellent. It's amazing, it's fantastic. It's every praise driven word combination you can come up with and more. And like its predecessors it has everything you could want in a sci-fi novel-tons of action, lots of high tech stuff, mysterious people, places and things, the occasional bit of romance and every now and then a little bit of very high quality dark humor.

I loved this book. I loved this series. I love this writer. I can't urge you enough, amazon review reader, to read this series. It's long, it's complex and even though it's pretty far out sci-fi, it's amazingly realistic when it comes to the characters. It's the kind of book you hate to put down when you're done. And that means only one thing.

Five stars.
... Read more

13. The Wood Boy - The Burning Man
by Raymond E. Feist, Tad Williams, Sean J. Jordan, Robin Gillespie, Mat Broome, Brett Booth
Paperback: 144 Pages (2006-01-04)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0976401118
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Wood Boy is an adaptation of the short story by fantasy master Raymond E. Feist that first appeared in the Legends anthology (edited by Robert Silverberg) and offers a unique side story to the events depicted in his beloved book, Magician. The Wood Boy is an exciting story that offers readers an excellent introduction to Feist's Riftwar Saga. The Burning Man was written by world-renowned science fiction and fantasy author Tad Williams (Otherland) and originally appeared as a short story in the anthology Legends as well. A ghostly coming of age tale rendered in a beautiful, ethereal style by popular comic book artist Brett Booth (Thundercats: Dogs of War), The Burning Man is an exciting and thought-provoking story about life and death, love and fear, and innocence and betrayal. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Graphic novel and not novel
Purchased this thinking it was a novel with two stories, but to my surprise it was graphic novel. Interesting to see Feist's stories drawn out. And this story was the reason for the purchase. Other story ok, but I would not have read it on its own.

2-0 out of 5 stars 50% good art, 25% good storytelling
As a long-time fan of all sorts of literature--from sci-fi/fantasy and graphic novels to literary fiction and contemporary poetry--I came to this book with high expectations and a definite willingness to suspend disbelief.Also, the raw elements of these two storylines--betrayal, love, and doubt--SHOULD have appealed to me... but they didn't.Really, it's impossible to review this book without breaking it down into four parts.

"The Wood Boy", story: Without spoiling the "twist" ending, I have to say that I was shocked by how cliche-filled and unrealistic this story was!For example, the story opens with a heartbroken, half-starved young peasant speaking in long, lordly sentences!Talk about unrealistic!And the "twist" of the ending is extremely predictable, at best.

"The Wood Boy", artwork: To call this artwork mediocre would be a compliment.The characters look extremely goofy and unrealistic, with poorly disproportioned poses and badly exaggerated facial expressions.For example, there's a scene wherein the main female character (who is supposed to be beautiful, but looks more like a box with breasts) charges someone in a fit of rage.But her face and flailing arms are so badly drawn that I burst out laughing--which drew a strange look from the person sitting next to me on the plane.

"The Burning Man", story: OK, this is hard to write, because I really liked every inch of this story... until the very end, which is frankly insulting and awful.Why?BECAUSE THE AUTHOR FORGOT HIS OWN STORY!!Beware any author who has no respect for his own audience.At the risk of spoiling this, suffice to say that the story revolves around a grieving, exiled warlord who summons a kind of demon to answer a metaphysical question inspired by the warlord's tragic losses and spiritual doubts... a question that the entire story has built up to... which the author then forgets!!This story makes not even the slightest attempt at closure.The demon simply disappears.Did he answer the question or not?If so, what was his answer?If not, why--and when--did he disappear?We don't know these crucial details, because the author just decided not to tell us.Furthermore, the narrator--who up until then was giving detailed descriptions of the entire story--doesn't appear to wonder about this, either!That's such a huge breech of trust between author and audience that the guy who wrote this had better hope he never meets me in a dark alley.I like stories in which the author allows the reader to fill in some gaps, but this author apparently decided to just leave out the whole last chapter!

"The Burning Man", artwork: fantastic!Seriously, the artwork of "The Burning Man" is the ONLY reason to pick up this book!It easily runs circles around EVERY other element of this book, both stories combined!

5-0 out of 5 stars amazing illustration
I was not aware that I was buying an Illustrated or Graphic novel when I purchased this. I was greatly pleased at the illustration to go along with the story. I had read The Wood Boy in the Legends Series but to add the illustrations made it come to live. As for the Burning Man, reading this graphic novel urged me to read more of Tad Williams also. I would highly recommend this.

1-0 out of 5 stars Falls apart, horrible production value
This book is half good.Half of the Wood Boy story is really well illustrated, then the second half is drawn by some amateur.Same thing with the second story, the first half looks like the artist took his time to craft a lovely visual, then the second half it looks super-rushed, and half-assed.

Then the production value, filler pages flood the middle of the book advertising another series.ADVERTISTING.In a GRAPHIC NOVEL.Then at the end of the book you get a bunch of low resolution sketches that look like they were taken off a website at 72dpi.

Whoever ran the production and editing on this book should be kicked out of the comic book world until they have a clue how to put a decent book together.

5-0 out of 5 stars WonderfulAdaptation of Two Novellas
This graphic novel combines two stories that were adapted from two stories that originally appeared in Robert Silverberg's mammoth anthology LEGENDS in 1998.

This graphic novel collects:
Raymond E. Feist's THE WOOD BOY (a Midkemia story) and Tad Williams's THE BURNING MAN (a Memory, Sorrow and Thorn story).

I think that the WOOD BOY actually improves the story, because it adds visual depth to an otherwise rather lame tale. I have not read the story in a long time, but I remember that it was rather average. But the adaptation was very good and I am looking forward to MAGICIAN.

I think BURNING MAN must have been much more diffcult to adapt because it does not have a lot of outward action, but rather a lot of introspection. A lot hinges on atmosphere rather than plot. But I enjoyed the adaption quite a bit. It was very faithful to the text, but also added a couple of lines of dialogue here and there to make the story livelier. I think that worked rather well.

One little caveat though. When Sulis finally asks the Burning Man his question that he so desires to ask, the answer of the Burning Man is left out and the action resumes with the attack of Tellarin. Is that the point where the other two artists took over from Brett Booth? That was an odd moment, and I think that something is missing there.

But it is a nice book. The characters looked "right" enough to me and I would definitely like to see more of them.

Unfortunately, the Dabel Brothers have currently no other Tad Williams projects in the works (as far as I know), but I hope that that will change soon.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to MAGICIAN, RED PROPHET and THE SWORN SWORD. ... Read more

14. The War Of The Flowers
by Tad Williams
Paperback: 832 Pages (2004-05-04)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$3.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 075640181X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A fascinating stand-alone novel by the New York Times bestselling author of the Otherland series

Theo Vilmos' life is about to take a real turn for the worse.

He is drawn from his home in Northern California into the parallel world of Faerie, for, unknown to him, he is a pivotal figure in a war between certain of Faerie's powerful lords and the rest of the strange creatures who live in this exotic realm. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (102)

5-0 out of 5 stars Immersive, satisfying, fantasy adventure.
The plot may seem hackneyed. For the first hundred pages the hero makes his living as a part-time deliveryman, part-time singer in contemporary San Francisco. He is transported to a fairyland, and for the next five-hundred pages he meets strange beings, has strange adventures, and gets caught up ina war. All ends well.

Nevertheless, as a veteran reader I believe this novel deserves five stars and the time it takes to read it.

Regarding the writing style: It is straightforward and plain, which is a good thing. Except for referrals to my dictionary of flowers, I did not use a dictionary, much. The narrative is moderately descriptive; lighter than the first page of Dickens' "Bleak House," heavier than a Star Trek novel. After a sequence involving a cataclysm that resembled that of the World Trade Center, I felt that Williams was devoting an unnecessary number of pages to his hero's escape. When I finished the book, though, I did not begrudge my memory of this description. It helped my conceptual framework of the world. If the book was too descriptive, it was not enough so for me to lower the rating.

Much was interesting, but the War didn't start until a little past the midpoint of the story. Once the story accelerated I was ascended to an agreeable climax, followed by a solid denouement.

As in the other work of Tad Williams that I have read--the "Otherland" series--"The War of the Flowers" has a good crop of tasty characters, especially once you get into Faery. And Faery has two other praiseworthy qualities: its socio-political environment and its technology.

If you are lucky enough to read this book, be advised that it has a glossary-appendix. (I didn't notice that until I had finished.)

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid and typical Williams
The War of the Flowers is typical Tad Williams: long, good characters, long, an epic fight between an uninitiated hero and a mysterious big bad, long, did I say long? My experience with Williams has been, "If it can be written in one 800 page book, why not stretch it to four 800 page books?!" And, though TWotF is actually a stand-alone book, it could have easily shed 100 or so pages, at least.

In the first 88 pages Theo, our hero, gets kicked out of his band, his girlfriend has a miscarriage and then dumps him, his mother dies, and he's basically hit rock bottom. While wallowing, Theo finds a book written by his mysterious uncle telling all about the world of Faerie. As Theo reads, suddenly a decaying monster beats on his door and tries to get Theo. Don't worry, he's saved by the fortuitous appearance of, guess what? A faerie! She brings him through into the world of Faerie and then the adventure begins. Don't worry though, I didn't give anything away. Everything I just wrote was summed up on the dust jacket flaps, but then expanded to 88 pages to make up Part I, which could have easily been pruned to, oh say 20, 25 pages max and I don't think anything would have been lost.

But, despite his penchant for overwriting, I do enjoy Williams' books, and TWotF was no exception. Theo was a likable main character (even if he was a bit whiny and helpless for most of the book), and the supporting cast of characters were all similarly enjoyable. The bad guys could have been fleshed out a bit more (which really is funny considering), but they were sufficiently evil and the monster from Part I was nicely creepy.

The story was mostly predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. If a reader liked Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, then I don't see how they wouldn't enjoy TWotF. Think of it as a shorter high-fantasy book with a slightly urban fantasy twist.

4-0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars, one of his best books
I had no clue what to expect from The War of the Flowers.I new it was a stand alone book by one of the best contemporary fantasy authors, and that was pretty much it.I've read William's Memory, Sorrow, Thorn and the three Shadowmarch books so far released.

This book is very different in tone and style from William's other work.In many ways it is an easier read, and quicker.There is a lot of action and a ton of suspense.Also, in keeping with his other books, the culture and characterization are superb...After reading "War" I think these elves/fairies are his best conceived; the most nuanced, the most developed and the most approachable.(some of this may be due largely to the fact that their society is greatly based on our own)

"War" surprised me, and I enjoyed it as much if not more than Tad William's other books I've read.I found one major detriment for me reading, which accounts for the 4.5 rating in place of 5 stars.There are many moments and ideas in this book that are blatantly anti-Christian and anti-religion...which come awfully close to being offensive.I can give some leeway since these are another race, another world, and another culture, and it was not a main plot point or pervasive element of the story.But I still found it bothersome.

Other than that an excellent book, that anyone who's read his other books is sure to enjoy.And it isprobably the best way for any "newbies" to William's writing to start!

3-0 out of 5 stars Filled with amazing stuff, but tepid overall
Urban fairy tales make up a significant portion of all fantasy novels. And most of the time I ignore them because as a historical fiction fan, historical fantasy (or fantisoricals) always appealed to me more. But in my on going quest to find single volume fantasy novels I cam across "The War of The Flowers"-and wasn't exactly thrilled. After reading and loving Tad Williams' "Otherland" series I decided to go back and see if I missed anything.

And unfortunately I didn't. This wasn't a book that was better the second time around.

"The War of the Flowers" is about a 30ish slacker wanna be rock star (lead singer only) named Theo Vilmos who's life is literally turned upside down when he is attacked by an undead thing and a six inch person with wings fights it off with a corkscrew while helping him escape to another world. Fairy.

It turns out Theo is wanted in Fairy for various reasons. None of which are explained to him. And the fairy land that Theo lands in is nothing like that of old stories-it is in every way a modern society with class structure (upper class fairies look more human and have no wings) urban development (one great big city that is just called the city) and technology-all of which would be considered magic in Theo's world. Theo is confused, scared and totally lost in this world-with only Appelcore the sprite who saved him in the mortal world on his side to explain things. And she thinks he's just about the stupidest thing she's ever met.

It doesn't help that the political structure in Fairy is about to blow sky high kicking off yet another war of the flowers (the seven leading houses since the king and queen vanished.) And Theo-for reasons that no one seems to be quite sure of and even if they were they wouldn't tell him-is smack dab in the middle of it. And he's not the only one-various fairy lords' dark forces and terrible monsters dredged up from ages past all have a part to play.

This book is pretty cool with the major word building that obviously went on-and there is no doubt that the various species customs, well pretty much everything about fairy is fascinating. But Theo's part of the story (which is about 90% third person) comes off with such a lack of emotion that even when major events happen its hard to become emotionally attached to them.

This novel also boasts an extremely complicated multi part plot-some of which never get any attention and just sort of drift off. The way this book is written would really suit something that was shorter more simplified. Because while it may be riddled with cool stuff, "The War of The Flowers" comes off overall as slightly tepid. I think the "Otherland" series remains my favorite of Williams' work.

Three stars

5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Tad Williams Novel!
I'm surprised to see so many negative or partially negative reviews of this book. If you like Tad Williams' writing (and he is clearly the best fantasy writer today) but don't want to spend months reading a 2,500 page multi-volume novel, then this book is for you!

Frankly, Tad is a great writer and I've read them all, but his other novels are a serious burden to read! Most of us lead busy lives and sitting down to read a 2,500 page novel in four volumes is asking rather a lot. My sister is a personal friend of Tad's and I gave her the Otherland novels as presents, but she's never found the time to read them all. And the Shadowmarch series (which you should read!) will be a similar length.

The War of the Flowers on the other hand is a novel completed in ONE volume of 680 pages!

I've liked those other novels, but if you are like most of us and don't have a LOT of free time to plow through thousands of pages and want to start a book that WON'T take you months of dedicated reading to finish then try War of the Flowers.

This novel is quite an ingenious concept: What would the world be like if magic were the "science" rather than our technology?

Industrial slums, power generation stations where magic serves the function of electricity and a feudal faerie aristocracy welded onto the modern industrial age. It's a strange and entrancing world that is unlike any other fantasy novel I've ever read. Definitely not Swords and Dragons and the usual medieval setting.

Definitely worth the price of admission! ... Read more

15. River of Blue Fire (Otherland, Volume 2)
by Tad Williams
Paperback: 704 Pages (1999-09-01)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$3.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0886778441
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
New York Times bestselling author Tad Williams presents...

The mass market edition of Volume Two...

"A powerful, near-future cyberthriller."--Booklist

"Williams proves himself as adept at writing science fiction as he is writing fantasy....Fascinating." --Publishers Weekly

"An exciting addition to the growing virtual reality literature."--Library Journal

* A bestselling author--New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, London Times, Publishers WeeklyAmazon.com Review
Tad Williams began his Otherland series with the massive City of GoldenShadow and continues it with the equally hefty Riverof Blue Fire. Williams says it will require four (big) books to tellhis complex, multithreaded tale, and at the rate that the plot of this secondnovel moves, readers will see what he means. Not that the book is a slowread; in fact, River is as much a suspenseful page-turner as thefirst book.

As River opens, we join up again with the ragtag bunch of searcherstrapped in an astoundingly detailed and frightfully dangerous virtualworld known as Otherland. Lurking in disguise among the group is thebrutally vicious serial killer Dread, trying to find information that willhelp him overthrow his Grail Brotherhood masters. The group follows aubiquitous river through world after world, unable to go offline, andsubject to the increasingly terrifying certainty that things in thissupposedly virtual place are all too real. Meanwhile, Paul Jonas, anamnesic (but somehow pivotal) character fleeing from two sinister beings,finds more and more of his memory as he does his own Huck Finn river trip.As in the first novel, each new world that the characters enter, fromPaleolithic Ice Age to something suspiciously like Oz, is fully realizedand completely unpredictable.

Williams is a master at parceling out information to the reader in dribsand drabs, which is frustrating yet tantalizing, like a particularly good computergame. When the group is split up and the adventure divides further, thereader senses the author as a puppet master, following some incrediblycomplex flows of information. The best course is just to hang on and enjoyWilliams's deft characterizations, lush descriptions, and wildly divergentplot. If you've ever been white-water rafting, you'll recognize thefeeling. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Customer Reviews (106)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but not as good as the first
Well it seems a lot of people didn't like the latest installment of the otherland series, River of Blue Fire.I'll try and keep this succinct and to the point without too many spoilers.After the cliffhanger ending from Hell our heroes find themselves stranded in Otherland and unable to leave.And for some reason other people in the simulation can't leave but others can.A mystery not resolved until another book in the series.This book centers on their initial adventures in Otherland as they struggle against the Brotherhood.

I was disappointed with this book.It lost a lot of the good qualities of the previous book and became more of a fantasy book than a sci-fi book.Almost nothing new was learned about the overall plot of the series.It was 600 pages of our heroes jumping from world to world and not much else.Some of the worlds they are jumping around to were very interesting but the first novel created a huge buildup to the Brotherhood and they they get virtually ignored in this book.Also is gone the seamless exposition combined with plot.In between world jumping the characters are subjected to long speeches and Dues Ex Machina from the people they meet in the simulation.So you get long stretches of action followed by long stretches of talking.And none of the talking really adds anything new.You as the reader already knew 99.99% of what was being told to the characters.

I will say the characters in this book hooked me.The strongest being I found myself several times being pissed at our heroine Renie.When she threatened the Romany gypsy they were on the boat with and when she gave away the lighter to save some simulated life-form.It speaks well to the writing of the characters that I would get so involved with them and react so much to their actions.

So overall it's a decent book, not as good as the first but it does have it's interesting points.

5-0 out of 5 stars Follow the River
With the massive introduction and explanation of the world the Otherland novels taken care of in "City of Golden Shadow" it's time to get down to some serious business (and the actual action part of the plot) with the second volume in the series, "River of Blue Fire."

Where we last left them Renie (the virtual reality professor)!Xabbu (her one time student who happens to be one of the last surviving bushmen), Orlando (a dying fourteen year old boy), Fredericks (Orlando's best friend, just revealed as a girl), Martine (a French virtual expert who is blind and processes data in a whole new way) T4b (an apparent adolescent in gaming body armor), Sweet William (a gothic clown with a chip on his shoulder) Florimel (a mysterious supposed woman who doesn't want to share information) and Quan Li (the grandmother of a child affected by the same mysterious unknown illness striking down child net users all around the world-including Renie's brother Stephen) had just managed to follow the bread crumbs that the seemingly benevolent Mr. Sellers left to the Otherland network-only to be abandoned as an attack in the real world left them stranded in the virtual land-where things may not be real but can kill them just the same.

Our group of adventures doesn't stay together for long though. First Renie and !Xabbu and then Orlando and Fredericks are separated from the larger group and left to fend for themselves in increasingly bizarre simulations ranging for a twisted OZ to a cartoon kitchen. And there's a larger problem. None of the group or others who are the normal inhabitants of the Otherland can get offline. Making the dangers that would normally just bounce you offline now probable fatalities.

Before they lost connection with Sellers the whole group was told to follow the river that makes its way in some way or another through all of the simulations-and to find a man named Paul Jonas- who it seems Sellers himself helped escape from the Grail Brotherhood and represents something of great importance to those in power-especially the leader of the TGB.

Jonas himself is still being bounced around, though he has regained much of his early memory he still has no idea what's happening to him or why the era he's in keep changing. Pursued through multiple simulations by programs designed to catch him and detain him he finally starts to catch on to the fact that some of the places he's been visiting are fictional.

And at the same time, unknown to the rest of the virtual party, the insane serial killer who calls himself Dread and normally works for the head of the brotherhood has discovered the network by accident and taken over one of the traveling parties Sims for his own sick purposes-an impediment that can only make the all important task the travelers must accomplish that much harder.

To top it all off the Otherland network is experiencing odd failures-and the oh-so mysterious operating system that runs it (which only one man seems to know anything about) is degrading and warping the virtual environment in weird and dangerous ways.

And a strange winged woman in multiple forms is appearing to our travelers to give cryptic advice in almost every simulation.

Meanwhile in the real world one of the actors who plays the all popular Uncle Jingle on the Net is suffering debilitating headaches-which only occur when she's doing her job. Things take a more drastic turn when an attorney hired to represent Fredericks' and Orlando's parents seeks her out for information on what could have possibly happened to the teens.

And a pair of detectives in Australia are tracking down an old cold case-a case that leads them to a boy who supposedly died years ago-a boy who called himself Dread...

Like its predecessor this book has a ton going on. There is far more immediate action in this novel because most of the background has been covered already. But the way Williams writes is so beautiful-so very true to what people would feel like in such a situation. Instead of taking our brave group of explorers and making them constantly optimistic and fairly powerful, the author does an excellent job illustrating how hopeless these few little people feel coming up against the most sophisticated piece of technology in the world that happens to be owned by the richest and most powerful people in the world.

Every bit as excellent as the first I recommend that if you even slightly liked reading "City of Golden Shadow" that you go on to this book. And if like me, you are non-tech savvy enough to routinely forget which of the four buttons on your Ipod turns it off, then have no fear. The tech in this is simplified enough for a luddite and the frequent funny moments make up for anything hard to understand.

Five stars. I'm on to the next book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect! Excellent for the Imaginative!
River of Blue Fire (Otherland, Volume 2) is an excellent follow up to A City of Golden Shadow. This book absorbs you into a new world with its own culture and people. Tad Williams does not disappoint when it comes to description or world building. The book takes virtual reality and fantasy and makes them believable.

The book follows the characters and the plot is derived from them, who are many and varied. Characters are well thought out and perfectly made. You won't be wondering why the made stupid decisions or thinking stupid things. The book goes at a slow pace and fast pace, all when necessary, but generally, you will be mystified about what will happen next, and where things are heading. Some people find the vagueness infuriating, but the suspense is strong and you will be totally absorbed by the storytelling.

Tad does not lack for imagination. The main concept of the book's virtual reality is common, but his implementation of it and description of its use is downright believable and perfect. You will follow the characters through so many difficulties and experiences, it will feel like a mental roller coaster. This book will feed your imaginative side, if you have the patience.

Many people could find this book boring, and read it skeptically. The book is much less enjoyable when read this way. You really need to be able to fall into the character's experiences to fully enjoy the book, and some people read books with a detached attitude. Readers like this or who crave action-action-action will not find the book enjoyable. I recommend this book to anyone with an imaginative side that needs feeding. This story will not dissapoint.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
After our intrepid group of investigators get deeper into the
conspiracy, they discover the vast, artificial computer network that is
involved. When they dive in, from their various locations, they find a
serious problem. They are not able to disconnect from their
environment, and are now on a quest to stay alive.

They meet more people on the way, but they do not know that a
psychopathic assassin is among them, with more control of the
environment, and an affinity for machines.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty bad compared to the others
As a person who is in the middle of reading book three I can say that this is the weakest of them. This may sound strange, but I really recommend to only skim over any chapter that involves Orlando and Fredricks on the river with the Chief (trying to keep it vague to prevent spoilers). It's 4 or 5 chapters worth of absolutely boring content. I can't really even remember what it was about. All of it but the last chapter of the story line you should skip because it's a lot like Huckleberry Finn, but they never leave the boat and nothing interesting happens.

I almost lost hope and almost never went onto number three. I'd give the other books 5/5. This one really gets a three and a half, but there's no option. ... Read more

16. Tailchaser's Song
by Tad Williams
Paperback: 400 Pages (2000-12-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0886779537
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Fifteen years ago, a young author surprised and enchanted readers with his first novel-the story of Fritti Tailchaser, a courageous tom cat in a world of whiskery heroes and villains, of feline gods and strange, furless creatures called M'an.

The book was Tailchaser's Song, the author was Tad Williams.

The legend was born. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (138)

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved this book and have read it two times or more.
This has to be one of my favorite books. I love the character Fritti Tailchaser. I read it twice over. From the start to beginning it was hard to put down. I liked the bad guy, the way the author describes the evil cat god as being blind and fat from eating live wounded animals.. it horrified me and made me feel a bit ill. I liked it really and it had me wondering what happened next. I wish I knew.. did he go back to the wall? Did he go back to Roofshadow? I couldnt help but wonder what next for our feline?

Anyways I read this one before I read the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. I love both equally.. I have always adored cats and wondered what my own little calico is doing outside all the time.. she loves being outside and I still dont have a clue where she goes.. so it makes me wonder what is she doing?..

4-0 out of 5 stars Not what you're used to from Williams, but a great take on cats
Tad Williams' first published novel (1985) has done a fairly good job of standing up to the test of time.Somewhat reminiscent of THE HOBBITT, with an unassuming protagonist taking on what seems like an impossible journey to destinations unknown, and facing dangers that seem insurmountable, TAILCHASER'S SONG fits a classic mold.It is also an interesting exercise for fans of Williams to see how his storytelling has improved over the past 20-something years.TAILCHASER'S SONG is very different than his huge multi-volume epics Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn and Otherland, standing on its own as a self-contained and rather simple story.It does have an epic fantasy-like feel, as long journeys are undertaken and world-changing events take place, but you'll be able to read it in just a week or so.Williams' take on the society and behaviour of cats is very amusing, making this story worth reading and giving it the needed edge to gain a favorable rating.Memorable and well-developed, this is a story that should please most readers.

Compared to Williams' more recent products, the writing in TAILCHASER'S SONG does seem a little less refined.While there are certainly gleams of greatness, he isn't as able to touch the reader's heart-strings like he so effortlessly does now.His descriptions are more repetitive and don't quite inspire the imagination like they do in his newer work, and the characters, while interesting, aren't as compelling as they could be.One thing that Williams STILL has a problem with is being overly long-winded, describing some scenes in way too much needless detail, to the point that the reader starts to lose interest.In some ways, this problem may have only gotten worse with his more recent works, as I didn't notice it as much reading this one as I have in the past.Still, there are areas of this one that could have used the input of a more critical editor.

Probably the most interesting aspect of this book is Williams' take on cat society, cat behaviour, cat lore, and cat thought processes.Throughout the book you'll be able to picture your own cats in Tailchaser's (or another character's) place, and get a good laugh.The scene where Tailchaser meets the queen of cats, whose hing leg happens to be sticking straight up in the air as she casually cleans herself, is absolutely great.I know his interpretations of how cats think holds true to what I see in the expressions and behaviours of my cats.

Recommended for fans of Williams and for cat-lovers.

The 15th anniversary edition (pictured here on Amazon) includes a forward from Tad Williams that is hilarious.His description of what he was thinking and where he was during the time he penned TAILCHASER'S SONG is sure to make you laugh and helps you relate to this great author of fantasy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cat World!
This is one of my all time favorite books. Tailchaser goes to nightmarish depths to rescue his lady love. The cats are realistically portrayed and the storyline is as good as "Watership Down".

4-0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly surprised by this story
I have had this book on my shelf for a number of years. After reading other books by Tad Williams and enjoying them immensely, this title seemed like a good purchase. I just couldn't bring myself to read it, as there was always something new that seemed more exciting. A book about cats? How am I going to enjoy that?

On a flight across the Pacific, I finally opened this book and started reading. I couldn't stop, it was such a well written story. I found myself identifying with the characters even though they were cats. The description of how cat's view history and their relationship with humans was humorous. Otherwise it is a typical story about the youngster who goes out to save the world, and succeeds.

If you feel like something a little different, I recommend this book. You really can't go wrong with Tad Williams.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great
I received Tailchasers Song as a gift because I love Tad Williams work, I put it on my wish list. While I am glad I read the book, you can tell this is his first work and the whole book is not as complex and riveting as a lot of his later work.

The whole theme of cats and how that affects the story is cute. The cats have slightly different motivation than humans but it is still along the line is the typical human or humanoid groups that you would run into - the people who want security, those who want to live life wild and free, those who stick to their specific code of conduct etc. etc.

I enjoyed the story, it was well done but I always got the feeling that I knew what was going to happen next, and it usually did.A good effort, there is nothing wrong with the story; it simply needs some more depth which comes through in later works.
... Read more

17. The Dragons of Ordinary Farm
by Tad Williams, Deborah Beale
Hardcover: 416 Pages (2009-06-01)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$6.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061543454
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Tyler and Lucinda have to spend summer vacation with their ancient uncle Gideon, a farmer. They think they're in for six weeks of cows, sheep, horses, and pigs. But when they arrive in deserted Standard Valley, California, they discover that Ordinary Farm is, well, no ordinary farm.

The bellowing in the barn comes not from a cow but from a dragon. The thundering herd in the valley? Unicorns. Uncle Gideon's sprawling farmhouse never looks the same twice. Plus, there's a flying monkey, a demon squirrel, and a barnload of unlikely farmhands with strange accents and even stranger powers.

At first, the whole place seems like a crazy adventure. But when darker secrets begin to surface and Uncle Gideon and his fabulous creatures are threatened, Lucinda and Tyler have to pull together to take action. Will two ordinary kids be able to save the dragons, the farm—and themselves?

Expert storytellers Tad Williams and Deborah Beale take readers on an extraordinary adventure in their first book about Ordinary Farm.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Dragons of Ordinary Farm
Fast moving young adult story although I found it a good read because I am a fan of Tad Williams and his hand was visiable. The ending left me with the desire to see a sequel.

3-0 out of 5 stars OK - Will probably buy a sequel if there is one.
This book was OK.I liked the premise of the "Ordinary" farm which had extraordinary animals and
farm hands.Like all fantasy, you had to pretty much buy into the explanation of why there were
extraordinary inhabitents without necessarily really understanding it.But thats OK.The only
thing that bothered me, paticularly in these enlightened times is that the main characters, a brother
and sister, are typically old-school American cliches.The boy is inventive, curious and brave while
his sister is emotional, cries a lot and is pretty cowardly.I didn't have a problem with the way the
boy was written at all, but why was the girl portrayed in such a largely negative manner?By the way,
if it matters, I am a male.

4-0 out of 5 stars My Opinion on Dragons
Dragons of Ordinary Farm, the

As an adult I quite enjoyed this book but found it difficult to judge which age group it would appeal to. I loved the concept but was not always in sympathy with the main characters - their behaviour seemed inconsistent with their ages and backgrounds.
Still I look forward to more adventures at some time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it, and so did my students!
I read this book to a class of 4th-6th graders, and they loved it.It's perfect for that age group, and I enjoyed it immensely, too.Can't wait for the next one!

4-0 out of 5 stars From boring to fun
It started slow, and boring...but it become better with the pages. I liked it at the end. ... Read more

18. The War of the Flowers
by Tad Williams
Paperback: 768 Pages (2004-04-22)
list price: US$16.50 -- used & new: US$8.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1841491896
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A masterpiece of the imagination, THE WAR OF THE FLOWERS is a truly epic novel that once again pushes the boundaries of fantasy fiction into new and unexplored territory. In the great city, in the dimly lit office of an impossibly tall building, two creatures meet. Gold changes hands, and the master of the House of Hellebore gives an order: 'War is coming. The child must die.' In our own world, a young man discovers a manuscript written by his great uncle. It seems to be a novel - a strange fairytale of fantastic creatures and magical realms. But it is written as a diary ...as if the events were real ...as if his uncle had journeyed to another world. For the young man, the fantasy is about to become reality. Find out more about this title and others at www.orbitbooks.co.uk ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fairiely Modern
Ok judging from the fact that there are no reviews about this book, I'm assuming it wasn't very popular. I really enjoyed this modernized telling of a modern fairy world. It starts off a little slow but like many of Tad's books there is an endless chase you just can't wait to read through. It was exciting and I highly recommend this book. I also am hoping that one of Tad's book will be made into a movie. I'm dieing to see how Hollywood would interpret his books. ... Read more

19. Tailchaser's Song
by Tad Williams
Paperback: 304 Pages (1999)

Isbn: 185723846X
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20. Caliban's Hour
by Tad Williams
 Paperback: Pages (1995-11)
list price: US$4.99 -- used & new: US$19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061054135
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Discovering the beautiful Miranda, the daughter of Prospero, Caliban the Beast has a single evening in which to tell her the most compelling stories she has ever heard. By the author of Tailchaser's Song. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars Different, but Good!
Caliban's Hour by Tad Williams is a small, dark, interesting tale.It is not necessary to read Shakespeare's The Tempest to understand or enjoy it.Caliban is born on an island to a banished witch. After she dies he is alone for many years then a magician and his young daughter are banished to the island.From them he learns about civilized life, but then fate turns on him and he is abandoned to live alone again.Now he knows what life and love can be his island is no longer his paradise and the pain of it sends him on a mission of revenge.It was a good read and I loved the ending.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ron Perlman REeads so beautifully
Caliban's Hour was a great story, and I could I could listen to Ron Pearlman read forever. If you want to know what the stroy is about you will just have to listen for yourself, I don't like to give things away ;).

4-0 out of 5 stars For all fans of Caliban, a rare gem
If you've read or seen The Tempest, and been intrigued by Caliban, this book is for you.If you've wondered about his youth, his perspectives on the story, his appearance--in short, who this complex and mysterious character IS--this is probably the fullest answer you'll ever find.If you want him for yourself (it happens), you may be left grumpy, but will still enjoy reading it.

Most of the book describes Caliban's pre-"stage" life at a leisurely pace, in vivid and beautiful detail.Scholars of Shakespeare would call it unsubstantiated fantasy, but it meshes smoothly with the few references given by the original play.Prospero and Miranda, when they enter midway through, are portrayed in believable contrast to their familiar selves.

The last two chapters are much weaker and more rushed.One sums up the "on-stage" events of The Tempest in about six pages, and blatantly contradicts it to an unnecessary extent (though I'm sensitive about that, having acted in the play).The other ties up the tale with an ending which would have been delicious had it not been so forced.But for fans of Caliban, this tale is still a very worthwhile read.

5-0 out of 5 stars The other side of the Tempest
A world apart from Williams' more popular epic sagas (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn and Otherland) CALIBAN'S HOUR is a short and focused story that you could actually read in a single sitting.Still, the power and vividness of Williams' writing comes through here to create a great book.Dramatic and intense, this story will please fans of his other work as well as fans of Shakespeare's play THE TEMPEST.Remarkably, even with a book this short, Williams has no trouble being his usual wordy self.A common theme in all of his books that I've read, this one could have used a bit more critical editing, but it doesn't distract from the story and shouldn't bother most readers.

CALIBAN'S HOUR presents a strikingly altered view of Shakespeare's villain as a misunderstood and ill-treated man that never knowingly committed any wrong.While the crux of the story is one of revenge, most of the book is actually taken up by Caliban himself describing his early life in a very sympathetic way that casts the story of THE TEMPEST in a wholly different light.Prospero and Ariel were apparently the real 'bad guys', while innocent Caliban was simply the victim of discrimination, cruelty, and neglect.A very interesting and in many ways brilliant take on the classic tale, this book brings new life and possibilities to a popular play.Highly recommended.

One thing before you read this one.If you're not already familiar with THE TEMPEST, or you haven't been exposed to it for a long time, I'd suggest taking a look at it.Alternatively, visit the Wikipedia page for a quick but adequate synopsis that will help you place this book into the proper context.

5-0 out of 5 stars Impressive Sequel to 'The Tempest'
Williams is best known for sprawling multi-volume SF and Fantasy sagas, but here has written a very brief work of only 200 pages that is quite successful.(It's amusing that even at this brief length, Williams still feels a bit wordy.This very short book has a few passages that could have been cut with no real loss.)Caliban has, many years later, finally found his way off the island where Prospero left him and, cheated of revenge by Prospero's death, has instead sought out Miranda to tell his story to, after which he intends to kill her.

From this device, Williams gives another perspective on the events of 'The Tempest', as well as the earlier story of Caliban and Sycorax arriving on the island, Caliban's life alone after the death of Sycorax, and Caliban's early encounters with Prospero and Miranda.The story is nicely told, with language that feels appropriate to the character.This is a Caliban who does indeed know how to curse, but also how to explain why his curses are justified by what he sees as betrayal from both Prospero and Miranda.

The ending is a bit weak, with a clever, but not really persuasive, device used to prevent the promised final and fatal confrontation.The book is still, overall, a genuine pleasure to read. ... Read more

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