Cavern Black Ice Sword Shadows
A Cavern of Black Ice is the first novel in the Sword of Shadows series. This novel is set in the same world as The Book of the Word series, a few years later and further to the north of the four kingdoms. Bren is the only common point on the two maps.
In this novel, Penthero Iss, the surlord of Spire Vanis, has ambitious plans and his foster daughter, Asarhia March, is an integral part of them. Sixteen year ago, Ash had been found outside Vaingate within ten paces from the city wall by then Protector-General Iss. Since such foundlings were traditionally Protector's Trove, Iss brought her within his own household. Lately she has been troubled by bad dreams, even while awake.
Raif is the second son of Tem Sevrance. Raif has inherited an unusual talent: he can heart kill any living thing. Raif and his older brother Drey are hunting and contesting at archery when Raif feels a powerful shock that blurs his vision and spurts metallic-tasting saliva into his mouth. Fearing danger to those left behind in the camp, the two hurry back as fast as they can travel. Easing into the camp, they found none living and only twelve corpses, including the clan chief, Drago Blackhail, and their father Tem. The adopted son of the chief, Mace Blackhail, is missing.
Elsewhere, the Listener of the Ice Trappers dreams that the One with Reaching Arms has reached out to the darkness. Angus Lok is preparing for a supply run when a raven comes with a message that changes his plans. And deep under Spire Vanis lies the Bound One, suffering in the dark.
This novel begins a new quest in fulfillment of prophecies that the questers only discover little by little as they strive for unknown goals and are guided by hidden forces. Ash finds herself with powers that she doesn't understand and can't control. Raif discovers that he too has powers, but doesn't know how they are to be used.
This novel sets the stage, leaving much unexplained and introducing new factors at the very end. While this book is not as complex as Jordan's Wheel of Time series, it does have something of the same feel. The author writes vivid descriptions of some very bleak scenery and has a good touch with characterization. This series should be interesting.
Recommended for Jordan fans and anyone else who enjoys well plotted sword and sorcery adventures with strong characterization.
-Arthur W. Jordin