Not all books that I’ve read can I pick up and immediately become engrossed in the story again and again. Many books can take a couple paragraphs or even pages to figure out what is going on or where I’m at. That was not the case in reading A Shadow in Summer. This book sucked me in almost from the very beginning and I can’t wait to read the next in the series, A Betrayal in Winter.
The story begins with Otah Machi, a student at a school that is anything but what it seems. Everything is a test for the students and studying letters and numbers is only a useless exercise; the real purpose of the school is to begin the training of poets to handle the andats. Andats are powers made flesh and poets are the men who can control them, forcing them to do their bidding in the name of the empire of the Khaiem.
Book 1 in The Long Price Quartet
Mmpb – 356 pages
Publisher – Tor
Publication Date - 2006
Abraham does a wonderful job creating a world ruled by the Khaiem through the use of the andats, both recognizable and foreign. The world becomes that much more its own through the culture of the Khaiem, which is governed by poses and movements that each person uses to express feelings such as gratitude, sorrow, or even greeting. If you’ve learned or speak a foreign language, the nuances of respect and affection that are added to names will also feel similar while forming a realistic, yet believable world all its own.
This is not a novel that is full of swords and fighting, but spins a tale of political intrigue that keeps a fast and engaging pace. While tackling adult material such as whorehouses and slavery, I was impressed that Abraham can express a scene with deep emotional impact while refraining from going into graphic detail or foul language.
Who should read this?
This is recommended to anyone and everyone. If you are in the mood for a fully-realized world full of rich characters that are flawed as much as you and me, but who are ready to make the tough decisions, you are in for a treat. Amazingly, this is Daniel Abraham’s first published novel and quite impressive at that.
4.5/5 Stars for the Cover Art