ISBN: 9780732281991 (0732281997)
Published: HarperCollinsAustralia, January 2007
Ligea Gayed has been lied to once too often. Now she has turned against her former employer, the secretive Brotherhood of the Tyrans Empire, and must evade Favonius and his Jackals while also recruiting others to fight with her.
Yet, despite her best efforts, a rebellion is hard to come by. Except within her own family, of course. Ligea’s son, Arrant, is prey to feelings of inadequacy, and is angry about his mother’s relationship with a man who is not his father. Unable to accept what is happening to him, he becomes susceptible to the blandishments of his mother’s enemies.
Worse still, in the middle of a war, he is a Magoroth unable to control or use his power in a constructive way. In seeking to punish Ligea for her relationship with Brand, Arrant and those around him might well lose everything…
[Heart of the Mirage was] immediately notable for fantasy world building that owed more to the Roman Empire and the Arabian Nights than to traditional medieval genre tropes. The follow-up The Shadow of Tyr … shifts the action to the heart of the Empire and replaces the Arabian elements with some shades of the American War of Independence.
Larke’s writing is breezy and refreshing, conveying some heavy themes with a light touch and a deft vocabulary; uniquely among fantasy authors, she knows the correct usage of ‘disinterested’. There’s also a lot of humour in the novel; a level of wit—rather than out-and-out comedy—that sets it apart from some of its more po-faced contemporaries, in a way a little bit reminiscent of Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar series.
Really strong and believable female leads like Ligea are all too rare in a genre where even exceptional writers, such as Robin Hobb, generally use men as their protagonists. The threat of Arrant taking the limelight from Ligea is worrying…
The Shadow of Tyr … stands up successfully as a story in its own right. It tells the tale of Ligea Gayed, a woman with powerful magical ability who is trying to end slavery and bring down an empire, and of her son Arrant, whoâ€™s born into the middle of a war and turmoil and who simply—and heartbreakingly—wants his parents to be parents and warriors or kings.
It’s this frustrated desire that provides the driving force of the climax of the book, and though the major plot points are war, rebellion, death and strategy, it’s the intense emotions of the main players that really shine through.
The Shadow of Tyr is not for those looking for bloody depictions of war, but for those more interested in the emotional costs of rebellions and politics, it’s a well-written and satisfying read.
I began to see just why Larke elicits the comments she does. Once I’d got embedded into the mindset and began to find my way in this world—which is closer to ancient Rome than the usual “mediaeval” setting chosen for fantasy stories—I did begin to care about the characters. In particular Arrant—the son who appears to be as flawed as Ligea feared he might be—and his interaction with the other that takes over his mind. By the end Larke had my emotional attention. Had I started at the beginning, as one should, I’d have enjoyed the whole much more … She can spin a battle-scene with the power of a mirage whirlwind, and capture the stunned silence in the aftermath of a massacre.
Her writing is smooth, easy to read and consistent in its excellence, as we expect of an established writer… Larke writes this sometimes tragic tale with great sensitivity. Many years and many locations have been shoe-horned into this volume: it is epic fantasy on the grand scale. The characters are well-drawn and differentiated and the tale sweeps us along with the grandeur of its purpose.
I imagined the sequel would mainly be about the revolution with victory (or a cliffhanger ending) in the final chapter. I could just imagine how the tale would unfold too—but how pleasant it is to be wrong! I don’t want to give too much away but the decisive moment comes before the middle of the book and then… things get more interesting, and more original. This impressed me, and although fantasy is invariably plot centered, this book is just as concerned with the interesting characters, especially that of Ligea who continues to fascinate. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the third book—great stuff.
ISBN: 9781841496085 (1841496081)
Published: Little, Brown Book Group, December 2007
ISBN: 9783442267972 (3442267978)
Published: Del Rey, February 2013
ISBN: 9783641084837 (3641084830)
Published: Del Rey, February 2013