In the province of Tlemia, where human shadows are powerful commodities, an apprentice shadow thief embarks on an extraordinary adventure.This stylish, episodic fantasy novel, in the mode of classic Jack Vance, follows the exploits of Falco, a young man from the country, who arrives in the port city of Tardocco with the ambition of becoming an apprentice to a master shadowIn the province of Tlemia, where human shadows are powerful commodities, an apprentice shadow thief embarks on an extraordinary adventure.This stylish, episodic fantasy novel, in the mode of classic Jack Vance, follows the exploits of Falco, a young man from the country, who arrives in the port city of Tardocco with the ambition of becoming an apprentice to a master shadow thief Maestro Astolfo, whose mysterious powers of observation would rival those of Sherlock Holmes, sees Falco s potential and puts him through a grueling series of physical lessons and intellectual tests.Falco s adventures coalesce into one overarching story of con men, monsters, ingenious detection, cats, and pirates A wry humor leavens this fantastical concoction, and the style is as rich and textured as one would hope for from Chappell, a distinguished poet as well as a World Fantasy Award winning fantasy writer.
A Shadow All of Light In the province of Tlemia where human shadows are powerful commodities an apprentice shadow thief embarks on an extraordinary adventure This stylish episodic fantasy novel in the mode of classic J
Maybe it's just that I read 'Ill Met in Lankhmar' just recently, but I don't think so. This book really brings Fritz Leiber and his ilk to mind, harking back intentionally to the swords and sorcery of an earlier era. The episodic structure and 'low fantasy' theme are similar to the Fafhrd and The Grey Mouser tales. The language that it's told in definitely references Jack Vance. (Think: a liberal sprinkling of archaic and 'ten-cent' words in the midst of an otherwise informal, chatty narrative.) [...]
Fred Chappell brings together various strands of his long and varied writing career in the richly textured novel-in-stories that is "A Shadow All of Light." A speculative work set in an alternate Renaissance Italy, it traces the arrival of a country bumpkin who has taken the name Falco, seeking to apprentice himself to the master of shadows, Astolfo. In a picaresque series of adventures, Falco is challenged, humiliated, threatened, chastised - in short, he matures and becomes an adept in the art [...]
A good stand alone fantasy novel. I liked the details of the "shadows" and how to capture them and use them. I enjoyed the hero's growth and learning about shadows.Mutano and the whole cat sub plot where he had to steal his voice back from a cat was pretty interesting. The focus is on the hero's learning to use shadows and fulfill commissions for his teacher, Astolfo. I took 1 star off because the language was a bit difficult to follow at times, weird vocabulary words and made up words.
See my other reviews at Never Enough BooksFalco is a young man from the country with high ambitions. He travels to the port city of Tardocco with the intention of becoming an apprentice to a master shadow thief. Almost immediately he meets Maestro Astolfo, the most well known of all shadow dealers, who sees a great deal of potential in Falco and agrees to take him on as an apprentice.Maestro Astolfo is a unique man. Secretive with a power of observation and intellect that would rival Sherlock Ho [...]
Unlike other reviewers, I loved this book largely due to the amazing mastery of English in the art of storytelling. While studying fabulous details of shadows that I never knew existed, I also learned amazing new but old words such as camelopard, fosse, tatterdemalion, and eremitic. These words are not inutile by any ell, but added sondes to the setting and characters of the story. This true fantasy used my left brain as well as my right.
I went in expecting something a little more put together -- something like Scott Lynch's Locke Lamora series. Instead, this essentially was an anthology of short stories stitched into a full book, in which a young student is taught by a master shadowthief ( literally dealing with the properties of shadow). Each that I read was pretty good and evocative on its own, but the stitching together failed to work for me.
While visiting Seattle I toured their new fabulous public library & received a live demo of their book recommendations service. I was initially fairly well knocked out by the reading knowledge of the library employee who conducted the seance. In this case, I told him of my great admiration for the novels of Wendell Berry & he in turn suggested that I should become familiar with Fred Chappell. So I expected & wanted to like this book. In fact, nothing but positive expectations fueled [...]
A Shadow All Of Light by Fred ChappellConceptually this should be an interesting book. It has a unique perspective that shadows embody human characteristics. It suggests that shadows can be captured and thusly impact the caster. The author created a scenario of mentor and apprentice. The apprentice earns a fair number of lumps as an apprentice. The mentor is widely regarded as having been the consummate shadow thief although he, Astolfo, denies this. Falco is the hapless apprentice that hopes to [...]
Fantasy novel with the intriguing idea that a person's shadow is a part of him / her and provides value, can be stolen and / or can have some type of problem that may be correctable. The beginning of the book seems like a series of related short stories or episodes. Later, a larger plot reveals itself and then comprises the remainder of the novel. The focus on shadows reminded me of summer days long ago, when I stood in the sun and pivoted around to try to make my shadow look as attractive as po [...]
It was just overly wordy for me. I have a pretty good vocabulary, but I don't really like feeling like I should look up a word a minute. I don't care for the writing style at all. There was one passage where he took at least 5 or 6 words, which was about half of sentence to describe castrati. Just using that word would have been sufficient. I slogged through about 1/3 of the book and I felt like there was no plot, other than "let's follow Falco around". Falco and his master weren't interesting e [...]
While Chappell has the language of Jack Vance down cold, his protagonist has none of the faults of a typical Vancian hero. I found that this made the story rather flat and I had to force myself to finish it. Matthew Hughes does a far better job with Vance's style as have some others.
As I stepped out of my car last night, my elongated shadow fell across the driveway. The setting sun gave it a solid edge which I never noticed before. I will never look at shadows in quite the same manner after reading this novel. Amazingly set. Amazingly thorough. Amazing is the best word I can use.
I was excited about the idea of shadows having magic properties and that element is clearly going to be cool. However, the writing style is quite stilted with older and convoluted sentence structure that will be a slog for readers accustomed to modern structure. Cool magic wasn't enough for me to keep going.
Fred Chappell was a professor of English for over forty years, and it shows in his writing. This is an extremely well-written fantasy novel for adults. I learned a lot of new words reading it. I just wish he had written more books.
Well, you can tell it was written by a poet.
The premise of the novel was promising, and the world seemed interesting enough but I did not find the writing style to be engaging or particularly enjoyable.