A Shadow All of Light

Fred Chappell. Tor, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7912-2
Poet and novelist Chappell (Dagon) spins the delightful picaresque tale of Falco, apprentice to Maestro Astolfo in the shadow trade in the Italianate fantasy city of Tardocco. Here, shadows are stolen, bought, and sold, and a person can surrender their shadow and don a different one for a special purpose. Astolfo is a master of the business—equal parts thief, scholar, magician, and detective—and under his tutelage and that of his henchman, Mutano, Falco grows from “a bumpkin trying on the airs of a town bravo” to a shadow adept over the course of a series of episodic adventures. The lush world of Tardocco is full of imaginative details, such as plants that feed on shadows and a gifted dancer whose performance is enhanced by her shadowlessness. Chappell has a deft touch for comedy and for capers, and his witty, elegant prose shows a poet’s deep love for words: bruises are “black as onyx and purple as sunset” and a gathering of shadows is “a coterie of umbrae.” The only disappointment is the predominantly male cast, with few significant female characters. Agent: Jennie Dunham, Dunham Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/11/2016
Release date: 04/12/2016
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-1-4668-6613-3
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