Sara Ash's Lord of Snow and Shadows is the promising opener to the Tears of Artamon series. The novel sets the stage in grand fashion as Ash deftly introduces the principal players in her well-realized fantasy realm. She begins with Gavril, a carefree portrait painter basking in the sunny climes of an irrelevant island republic. He soon discovers he is heir to a great and terrible legacy in the snowy wasteland of Azhkendir. Kidnapped by his murdered father's personal guard, he is both captive and the Drakhoan--ruler of Azhkendir. His inheritance turns out to be more than just a crown, however. A dark force of immeasurable power is growing inside him while he finds his realm under siege from within and without. Ash masterfully avoids most of the usual fantasy memes--except, of course, the reluctant hero, Gavril--and imports a vast menagerie of technologies and culturally resonant magics into her world. Her conflicting armies wield magic, muskets, and heavy cannon alongside darker forces that are too delicious to mention here. Apart from a few niggling inconsistencies (Gavril's transformation from foppish artist to deft statesman, for one), Ash's novel is a frosty infusion of new air into a genre overrun with the usual maidens-with-broadswords clichés. -Jeremy Pugh --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.