Sword of Shanara

   Coldfire Trilogy by C. S. Friedman
1   Black Sun Rising
2   When True Night Falls
3   Crown of Shadows

Amazon.com Spotlight Review:  

(Reviewer: A reader from Maine, USA )

Absolutely the BEST!

In my opinion C. S. Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy is tied with Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series as the best fantasy ever written! Tarrant is without question the most interesting character in any fantasy novel I have read. He isn't the flat "Big Bad Evil Guy Who's Going to Destroy the World" found in so many fantasy books, yet neither is he the "Poor Misguided Soul Who Just Has to Be Shown the Right Path." He's not some looming shadow who can be dismissed as the bad guy, labeled as evil and given no further consideration. He's a real, fully developed, character, one who is inclined toward cruelty. He sees "The Right Path" and is by no means sure he wants to take it. Likewise his companion, Damien, though he is a priest, hardly fits the traditional mold of that vocation. Damien begins the tale as a devout warrior priest to whom Tarrant and all he stands for are anathema. However, Damien's naive idealism and faith soon come under assault, and ever so slowly Damien comes to doubt himself and his beliefs. More and more he comes to find himself agreeing with Tarrant, and more and more the reader who identifies with Damien finds himself agreeing with Tarrant. It is much more chilling to be in the vampire's head, to understand him and maybe even agree with him, than it can ever be to be stalked by him. For anyone growing at all tired of trite conventional fantasy (unicorns, fairies, and little pet dragons) this series will be a thoroughly refreshing read.

The magic system devised by Friedman is deliciously original. The cover art is outstanding. This is one case where you CAN judge a book by its cover; if you like the cover you'll love the book. I have to see if I can get a poster sized copy and possibly frame it. :-) When you finish Crown of Shadows you will be stunned. The ending is like being hit by a train...4 or 5 times in rapid succession. While the body of the series has enough plot twists to utterly enthrall even the most inert reader, the ending puts it to shame as a candle before the rising sun. Without the slightest bit of hyperbole I can state that I had no idea how it would end until the last word of the last page was read. In sum the Coldfire Trilogy is a masterwork, the sort of gem that fantasy aficionados search for but only too rarely are privileged to find.

Lee's Review: 

Certain books have characters that you really like and this series has one of my favorites - Gerald Tarrant (the Hunter). This character is evil, arrogant, powerful and very cool. This is a dark fantasy with some horror elements to it. The hunter actually feeds on people’s fears and drinks their blood to sustain him and you actually end up feeling for this character and liking him. Damien is the main character in the story and he has a strong faith and belief in good. The interaction between the 2 characters throughout the book is part of what makes this series so good – the struggle the Damien goes through of needing the help of someone evil as it conflicts with his faith. This is a great series with a nice story and one of the coolest characters.

Veronica's Review: 

This was an exciting series.  I liked the “bad guy”.  I loved the mysticism of the hunter, Gerald Tarrant.  Evil is his life-force.  I liked his use of fear, manipulation, and theology to convince a priestly warrior to assist him.  The hunter’s constant struggle to keep one finger-hold on a semblance of humanity allows you to somewhat empathize with him.  Damien Vryce, the priestly warrior, fights the evil thoughts-come-to-life of the humans.  The Fey (the planet’s essence) makes reality out of nightmares.  This series is a combination of horror and fantasy.  As a horror book lover and a fantasy liker, this was a great mix.

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