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    Review of THE SHADOW ROADS by Sean Russell


    EOS, October 2004

    For thousands of years, a powerful spell has kept 'Death' in his own realm, separating that land from the world of the living. But now that spell is coming unravelled. The ages-long war between the children of Wyrr (now magically joined with the river of the same name) is being joined again and Hafydd is willing to break the last spells that hold death in his place to achieve victory. Hafydd's siblings, together with local allies, have tried to defeat Hafydd before his destructiveness ends the entire world, but their efforts continually fall short--Hafydd is powerful and has powerful allies.

    The battle between the children of the river is mirrored by a war between two ancient families--the Wills and the Toren--a war incited by Hafydd to gain him power over human armies. Although Hafydd leaves on a quest to find and kill his father, the armies he gathered and controlled still threaten destruction and await for his return.

    Following the Shadow Roads, Wyrr's youngest son, Alaan, tries to catch up with his brother--but seems always too late. But Hafydd's plans have been a bit overly complex and Prince Michael, whose father Hafydd murdered to seize control of his armies, survives and hopes to regain control.

    If it all seems a bit complex, it is. THE SHADOW ROADS is the third and final volume of THE SWANS' WAR--a major and powerful epic. In the first two volumes, author Sean Russell (see more reviews of novels by Russell) developed his characters and made us care about their suffering and their survival. THE SHADOW ROADS starts with action and continues that way throughout. Chase and battle fill its pages as the children of Wyrr come together for an ultimate conflict.

    For me, THE SHADOW ROADS lacked some of the emotional depth of the earlier novels in the series, but it certainly delivers thrilling action and danger. Those who have read the first two books will definitely want to grab this one and they won't be disappointed. If you're a fan of epic fantasy and you haven't been introduced to the series, THE SHADOW ROAD is NOT the place to start, but this is an excellent series. Give it a try.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 12/25/04

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