A Shadow in Summer

(Long Price Quartet, Bk. 1). 12 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 14½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781494506001. $44.99; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; digital download. F
The city-state of Saraykeht maintains its economic supremacy by virtue of the captive power of the andat, spirits bound to near-human form by the magic of the city's specially trained poet-wizards. Master poet Heshai has held control of the cunning at Seedless for decades, granting dominion over the lucrative cotton trade, but when one of the city's noble merchant houses is betrayed, the consequences prove likely to shake Saraykeht to its foundation. Four characters become entangled in the tide of events: Maati, Heshai's new apprentice; Amat, the accounting overseer of the betrayed house; Itani, a laborer with a secret and a connection to Maati's past; and Itani's lover Liat, Amat's young assistant. Reader Neil Shah does a remarkable job with tone, accent, and inflection to individualize the cast of characters.
VERDICT The Asian-influenced setting will appeal to readers wishing a change from the standard Tolkien/European-templated fantasy backdrop, and this first book in the "Long Price Quartet," originally published in 2006, is recommended for those who prefer a personal and political tale to a more epic one. ["The author's fresh approach to worldbuilding and his emergent storytelling talent make this a good addition to most fantasy collections," read the review of the Tor hc, LJ 2/15/06.]
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