The Shadowed Path

Rated 4.00/5 based on 7 reviews
The ancient, decadent empire of Prast crumbles. As it dies new and powerful nations clamour at its borders. War comes, but even that matters little as the great scourge of the Shadowland makes its presence felt. A blight upon creation, evil incarnate, it will annihilate all traces of civilisation. Only one man carries the key to stopping the Shadowland’s progress, and he doesn't even know it. More

Available formats: epub mobi lrf pdb html

First 6% Sample: epub mobi (Kindle) lrf more Online Reader
About Simon Stone

Hi, I’m Simon Stone, I was born in London, UK about the same time the original Star Wars movie was released to the world, but I spent most of my adolescent life growing up in North Wales, the land of sheep and dragons (the dragons cunningly masqueraded as my French and History teachers). After relocating back to London I got married (to a Colombian, just to make life interesting) and now I spend my time hovering somewhere between my twin loves of music and literature.

Reviews

Review by: Bookblogger on May 15, 2012 :
The Shadowed Path takes place in a Roman like world starting out with a gladiatorial scene that unveils the most unique race of the book, the inhumanii. This race specializes in guiding people through the horribly dark forest that separates the Parsian Empire from the rest of the world. The warriors are called waystalkers and they are completely unable to raise their arms against the empire ensuring their continuing slavery.

The story follows a group of merchants travelling through the forest in order to make their fortunes. When their inhumanii guides turn out to be fake the caravan gets attacked and almost wiped out. There are only three survivors who have bonded for life after making it through the trials in the forest.

I really enjoyed the book as the similarity to Roman times has always intrigued me. The characters were well done although towards the end I really didn't like the way that Tyacles started to act. The special armor that the waystalkers used was also a very cool idea that I would like to see some more info on as the series progresses. This is one that I will be following this series for certain.

Review copy provided by the author.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Jeffrey Poole on March 07, 2012 :
Awesome fantasy set in Roman times!

I don't think I've ever seen those two words in the same sentence before. Roman and fantasy. Yet it certainly applies to this book, the debut novel from author Simon Stone.

The author has a very easy-going writing style that gets you hooked from the start and won't let go, not even when you make it to the end. You know you've read a good book when you keep thinking about the story hours after you've finished and then start wondering what the sequel will hold.

This story is set in Roman times and follows several main characters, including a former rich boy who becomes stuck in unarguably the worst place to become stranded, the Shadowlands. He and several others eventually find their way out, but only after a few years. The spoiled rich boy is no more, and instead has adapted to become a cool lethal fighting machine. Then we have a young girl suffering the loss of a family who has fallen victim to creatures that typically reside in the Shadowlands. She has come, seeking revenge on those who let these terrible things happen to her loved ones. Also present are a race of humanoid creatures, the Waystalkers (or inhumanaii), forever slaves to their human masters. Dark, mysterious, and lethal, they are the only guides you'd want at your side if you have to travel the Shadowlands. They are sworn not to harm "redbloods". No inhumanii ever has, lest the poor Waystalker go mad with guilt and shame. Might some of the slaves have found a way to rebel against their masters?

There were so many things I liked about this book. I loved the Roman setting. The author did a tremendous job helping the reader to visualize everyday life in a Roman village. I loved the fantasy element, namely the Shadowlands separating the two great countries. I loved how the Shadowlands are home to unspeakable horrors and how it's inconceivable that someone could survive a few days in there, let alone four years. I loved seeing the changed world through Marcus' eyes after he and his two companions finally make it out of the Shadowlands and realize everything he had known is gone.

I'm sitting here, trying to remember if I really had any issues with the book, and the only things I can think of were a few typos, but as another reviewer mentioned, I simply didn't care. I eagerly look forward to the next in the series!!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Jeffrey Poole on March 07, 2012 :
Awesome fantasy set in Roman times!

I don't think I've ever seen those two words in the same sentence before. Roman and fantasy. Yet it certainly applies to this book, the debut novel from author Simon Stone.

The author has a very easy-going writing style that gets you hooked from the start and won't let go, not even when you make it to the end. You know you've read a good book when you keep thinking about the story hours after you've finished and then start wondering what the sequel will hold.

This story is set in Roman times and follows several main characters, including a former rich boy who becomes stuck in unarguably the worst place to become stranded, the Shadowlands. He and several others eventually find their way out, but only after a few years. The spoiled rich boy is no more, and instead has adapted to become a cool lethal fighting machine. Then we have a young girl suffering the loss of a family who has fallen victim to creatures that typically reside in the Shadowlands. She has come, seeking revenge on those who let these terrible things happen to her loved ones. Also present are a race of humanoid creatures, the Waystalkers (or inhumanaii), forever slaves to their human masters. Dark, mysterious, and lethal, they are the only guides you'd want at your side if you have to travel the Shadowlands. They are sworn not to harm "redbloods". No inhumanii ever has, lest the poor Waystalker go mad with guilt and shame. Might some of the slaves have found a way to rebel against their masters?

There were so many things I liked about this book. I loved the Roman setting. The author did a tremendous job helping the reader to visualize everyday life in a Roman village. I loved the fantasy element, namely the Shadowlands separating the two great countries. I loved how the Shadowlands are home to unspeakable horrors and how it's inconceivable that someone could survive a few days in there, let alone four years. I loved seeing the changed world through Marcus' eyes after he and his two companions finally make it out of the Shadowlands and realize everything he had known is gone.

I'm sitting here, trying to remember if I really had any issues with the book, and the only things I can think of were a few typos, but as another reviewer mentioned, I simply didn't care. I eagerly look forward to the next in the series!!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: ken magee on Jan. 10, 2012 :
The main story was fantastic, well worth reading. I did find that there were some characters who didn't contribute much to the plot... maybe they'll feature more in the sequels.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Timothy Reaves on Jan. 03, 2012 :
The author's skill does not match his ambition in this book. It starts off well enough, but by midway through the book, he starts to diverge from the main story to much. By the end of the book, he has introduced so many meaningless and ridicules secondary characters and plots, that all of the story lines suffer.

The character of Jinx reminds me of JarJar Binks; you could delete every line in the story regarding her, and a new reader would never notice. And the book would be better for it. Same for the warlord.

Finally, this is a very short book for the money being charged. Overall, a disappointment.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Infinity Dreamt on Oct. 24, 2011 :
The Shadowed Path is a book that quickly pulled me into a vivid Roman Empire-like world, immersed in dark fantasy elements. Two nations on the brink of war, and between them a place all its own; the Shadowland. Here it is the waystalkers, inhumanii connected to the earth, who are at one with its darkness. But on the outside of their world, they are slaves to humans who they cannot kill. The rules change when the enemy bends some of these lethal waystalkers to their advantage, and Marcus and his companions barely escape alive.

Marcus didn't want to get sent away from his comfortable, rich life to join a merchant caravan on a such a treacherous journey. On getting out of the Shadowland four years later, he finds nothing remaining of the life he left. When things begin to escalate violently in his search for answers, his quick-wits, calm demeanor and fighting skills gained from the Shadowland make him an awesome character to follow.

When Sheena joins the story, she goes from a woman in despair to one bent on vengeance. Her shattered mind due to the traumatic loss of her family gives her character an even more suspenseful edge, particularly when she aims her vengeance at Marcus.

I'm curious to see what happens next with Marcus and Sheena and how the waystalkers will further play out. A great deal of the four years in the Shadowland has yet to be revealed as well, as the imprints it has left on Marcus and his friends are significant. Great characters, story, and action, makes this a series I will be following closely.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Noor A Jahangir on Oct. 13, 2011 :
The Shadowed Path follows the attempts of a young man to put a traumatic experience behind him and get some answers as to why things went so badly wrong for him and his companions 4 years ago. The book is heroic fantasy in the vein of the late and great David Gemmell.
The book cover features a topless man standing with his back towards the reader holding what seems to be a chain, stretched between his hands, on a black background. Its not the most inspiring of covers and has little to do with the story itself. However, this isn’t really a major concern. The blurb gives a general idea of what the story is about, but again doesn’t really do it justice.
The story opens with a prologue, from the perspective of an official viewing a gladiatorial match whilst reflecting on his personal ambitions of rising to the position of a senator. I picked up a distinctively Roman flavour to the setting, although the opening scene is set in an Empire known as Prast. This is the only time that we see events through the official’s eyes and though he is important in an indirect way to the story, the book rarely touches on his story again. In fact, the whole purpose of the prologue was just to highlight that the Waystalkers, a non-human race of beings that serve the Prastian’s as slaves, are unable to take the life of a human, or any creature that has red blood in its veins. Whilst I understand why the author felt that this prologue was needed, I personally feel that he could have done with out it, as the point is driven home several times later on in the book. However, the prologue sets up what happens in the first chapter, when Marcus, a soft, rich boy and the main protagonist is caught in the Shadowland, a twisted jungle that is home to various monstrous creatures and predatory plant life, and then ambushed by Waystalkers who seem to be able to kill humans.
If this book had then gone on to chronicle how Marcus survived for four years in this living hell and became the fearless warrior he does then it probably would have been a story worthy of five-stars. But sadly, the book jumps the four most interesting years of Marcus’s life and rejoins him as his ship comes into Prast.
The remainder of the book follows Marcus’s attempts to learn what happened in the interim to his father and his mission to confront his step-mother for sending him into the Shadowland and stealing his heritage. Whilst this part of the story doesn’t lack in adventure and twists, the most interesting bits are when Marcus has flashbacks to his time in the jungle. In the end of this, the first volume in the Archwood series, we get an anti-climatic battle with an invading force of the Wur (a Viking like people) that has only a minimal build up before the final chapter sets the scene for the sequel.
The characters are likeable and come across as well-defined individuals. Even the roguish Lokan, the split-personality sociopath that is Jinx and the ambitious but fatherly Tycaleas show a balance of light and dark. Marcus seems emotionally detached and yet often rises above the dark memories of the Shadowland to help others. Lokan and Tycaleas seem to be interested primarily in power, riches and pleasures of the flesh, and yet would lay down their lives for Marcus and each other, bound together by their experiences in the Shadowland. Jinx/Sheena is a farm girl who witnessed the slaughter of her parents by creatures from the Shadowland, and through the inaction of soldiers and neighbours. She is also reviled because of the similarities in her appearance to the waystalkers. Now she wants revenge on the son of the man who ultimately is responsible, Marcus.
The world-building, despite borrowing terminology from the Romans is good, blending the familiar with the unfamiliar. The descriptions and conception of the Shadowland creatures are vivid and worthy of a Simon R Green story. The waystalkers have a unique culture and way of life, despite resonating in appearance to Navii, though this likeness was not intentional as they were conceptualized well before the Avatar movie was released.
The writing and vocabulary are solid, though there is a tendency of revision of sentences as if to drive home certain ideas. The fight scenes are what makes this book stand out and I would describe as Gemmellian in their awesomeness. Fans of heroic fantasy would certainly be pleased with them.
Despite the shortcomings in the plot, the world-building, characterization, creatures and fight scenes were enough to lift this book above other debut titles and kept me reading to the end. Would I buy the sequel? There are enough questions raised and left unanswered in this first volume to make me seriously consider reviewing the next one too. Based on the above reasons, I’m giving this book a solid 3 out of 5.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Print Edition

Report this book