Alexy Pehov, translated by Andrew Bromfield
Tor, 2010 (orig. 2002)
In Shadow Prowler, the first in a famed Russian fantasy series, the Master Thief Shadow Harold is tasked to find a means to stop the seemingly inexorable advance of the Unnamed One. Joined by a motley cast of characters he sets off on a quest that will save the world and, perhaps more importantly to our hero, make him a very rich man. While the jacket copy for Shadow Prowler, with its mention of the Unnamed One, and an elf princess, as well as it’s quest based nature appears to be a very traditional epic fantasy. Even Booklist’s review cites similarities to Tolkien’s work. Of course saying <insert epic fantasy series here> bears similarity to Tolkien’s work is kind of like saying water is wet. The jacket copy cites similarity to Moorcock’s Elric series which, while I haven’t read it yet (a travesty, I kn0w) hits a bit closer to the mark in placing Shadow Prowler closer to the sword and sorcery line of the fantasy world. Shadow Prowler reminded me most strongly of when I first read R. A. Salvatore’s The Halflings Gem,; especially give Pehov’s sense of action which as akin to Salvatore’s.