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Shadow Blizzard    by Alexey Pehov order for
Shadow Blizzard
by Alexey Pehov
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Shadow Blizzard follows Shadow Prowler and Shadow Chaser as the third episode in Alexey Pehov's action packed and entertaining Chronicles of Siala (translated from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield). The trilogy's appealing antihero is young master thief Shadow Harold, trained by Brother For, priest of Sagot, the god of thieves.

In Shadow Prowler, Harold was commissioned by canny King Stalkon in Avendoom to steal the Rainbow Horn (needed to stop the evil Nameless One) from the Palaces of Bone in Hrad Spein. He succeeded in acquiring plans of Hrad Spein, though harried by minions of a mysterious Master. Along the way he picked up archmagician Valder as a mental hitchhiker and was revealed to be the prophesied Dancer in the Shadows.

In Shadow Chaser, Harold journeyed towards Hrad Spein, along with elves, fighters (Wild Hearts), Count Alistan Markauz (captain of the king's guard), and irritating jester/prankster goblin Kli-Kli. There were attacks and betrayals, captures and escapes, and many of these bantering questors were lost along the way. As this second book ended, Harold and his reduced entourage made their way to the Forests of Zagraba.

Now, as Shadow Blizzard opens, the nine surviving questors get a news update from a flinny, that includes a warning of orcs nearby. There are further losses, and an encounter with the Order of the Gray Ones (guardians of equilibrium) before Harold descends alone into Hrad Spein, which the villains have already entered. The thief's underground adventures read like an exciting video game, filled with imaginative traps, puzzles and monsters.

After meeting the firstborn of the world and scraping through this underground horror show, Harold is returned to Zagraba, only to fall into the hands of orcs. He has help from a relative of Kli-Kli, who has a big surprise for the thief when they next meet. Soon a flinny brings news of widespread war. And Harold fulfills his quest, but faces a final shocking betrayal. If you like your fantasy fast, furious and rich in imagination, then try this series - it's great fun.

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