One of the fantasy titles I had been keeping my eye on in recent months was Alexey Pehov’s Shadow Prowler, which beyond the hype it has received, may owe something to the fact that earlier in the decade I had the rare opportunity of enjoying a 6-week stay in Vladivostok, Russia and have yearned somewhat for samplings of what the country had to offer in terms of their literature (in all form of genre) ever since. Well, thanks to the translation efforts of Andrew Bromfield we now have the opportunity to read what appears to a great fantasy epic by a celebrated Russian author and I’m grateful for the opportunity to enjoy it on this side of the pond.
Swapping in and out of rotation with Brando Sanderson’s Elantris, I’ll be listening to the audio version of Shadow Prowler as narrated by MacLeod Andrews (who appears a very capable narrator and a great fit for the book). In fact, as of this morning I’m 3-chapters into the story and have found myself rather hooked. Certainly Shadow Prowler wears the elements of traditional fantasy on its sleeve, and it does so proudly thus far in a manner that is wholly captivating (don’t assume the trappings). As the book opens, we’re immediately introduced (in the first person) to master thief Shadow Harold as he attempts to pocket a valuable item from a prominent Duke in the country, only to find himself entangled in something far bigger than he might have expected — as you may have guessed. I’ve already laughed out loud a couple of times so there’s plenty of humor to be had (something to the effect of having no need to make one’s grandmother ‘suck eggs’ quickly comes to mind), there’s also plenty of mystery afoot so I”m more than a little intrigued to find out what happens next. Which is exactly where I should be 2-3 chapters in.
I reckon this is going to be fun.
Here’s the synopsis for any that may have missed it:
An army is gathering; thousands of giants, ogres, and other creatures are joining forces from all across the Desolate Lands, united, for the first time in history, under one, black banner. By the spring, or perhaps sooner, the Nameless One and his forces will be at the walls of the great city of Avendoom.
Unless Shadow Harold, master thief, can find some way to stop them.
Epic fantasy at its best, Shadow Prowler is the first in a trilogy that follows Shadow Harold, the legendary thief of Siala, on his quest for a magic Horn that will restore peace to the Kingdom of Siala. Harold will be accompanied on his quest by an elfin princess, Miralissa, her elfin escort and ten Wild Hearts, the most experienced and dangerous fighters in their world…and by the king’s court jester (who may be more than he seems…or less).