Sea of Shadows

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9780062071248: Sea of Shadows

Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times bestselling author, takes an exciting new direction with this big, breathtaking blend of fantasy, romance, horror, and pulse-pounding action, perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones.

Twin sisters Moria and Ashyn were marked at birth to become the Keeper and the Seeker of Edgewood, beginning with their sixteenth birthday. Trained in fighting and in the secret rites of the spirits, they lead an annual trip into the Forest of the Dead. There, the veil between the living world and the beyond is thinnest, and the girls pay respect to the spirits who have passed.

But this year, their trip goes dreadfully wrong.

With all the heart-stopping romance and action that have made her a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and set in an unforgettably rich and dangerous world, this first epic book in the Age of Legends trilogy will appeal to Kelley Armstrong's legions of fans around the world and win her many new ones.

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Review:

A NOTE FROM KELLEY ARMSTRONG

Speaking at a high school the other day, I was asked if there’s any genre I’d like to write but find too intimidating. The answer is absolutely—historical fiction. I love reading it, but I’ve never written more than a short story in the genre because it takes me forever even to do that. I’ll read several books for period research, then I’ll sample maybe a half-dozen more. After my story is written, I’ll scour it for words and phrases that might be too contemporary and check online to see when they entered our vocabulary. I’ll also check every item I reference to be sure it was available at the time. Finally, I’ll double-check all my historical references. That’s a lot of work for a ten-page story! And even then I’ll stress over it and worry that someone will come back and point out where I went wrong.

Sea of Shadows was the perfect “cheat” for a storyteller who loves history but is too chicken to write a historical novel.

Epic fantasy allows the writer to pick a time period, do the research, and weave in all those fascinating historical details, while not being confined by that history because it’s fantasy. The world is based on a period rather than actually being set in it. Sea of Shadows is based on medieval Japan. Well, that’s what I say, but technically it’s classical Japan, during the Heian period, right on the cusp of medieval Japan (which was actually feudal rather than imperial, as the shoguns took power and the emperors were reduced to figureheads). But when I say medieval Japan, people think “samurai” period, which is correct for my novel, so I stick to that.

Japanese culture permeates Sea of Shadows, but I suspect there will be readers who finish the book without ever realizing that was my inspiration.

There are a few reasons for that. One, because it is fantasy, I didn’t need to stick to my chosen period. If something from the Heian period didn’t work, I borrowed from another era. Or I borrowed from a different culture altogether. The clothing, for example, is a mix of East and West, because historical Japanese fashion reflected the climate, which I wasn’t using. Two, because I’m aiming at a largely Western market, I use mostly Westernized names and English words. So you get first names like Tyrus and Gavril, but Japanese clan names like Tatsu (dragon) and Kitsune (nine-tailed fox). You also get words like sword instead of katana, warrior instead of samurai, and warlord instead of shogun, while the underlying concept is Japanese—for example, the sword descriptions match a katana rather than a medieval European blade. If you’re looking for the Japanese influence in Sea of Shadows, you need to dig below the surface. The caste system is Japanese. The warrior code is samurai-based, as are the dual swords and the armor. The houses vary from place to place, some being more Western than Eastern, but you’ll notice my characters sleep on pallets instead of beds, sit on cushions instead of chairs, and eat rice instead of bread. You’ll also see the influence in the religious and spiritual side, which is largely based on Shintoism, though I mingled in a few others. The cultural emphasis on family, the ancestors, and filial piety is clearly Japanese. And anyone who has ever seen a Japanese horror movie will recognize the distinctive style of vengeful and angry spirits in Sea of Shadows. The research for Sea of Shadows was some of the most intense I’ve ever done, and yet I know that many readers may not even pick up on the Japanese influence. And that’s okay with me, because it tells me I’ve accomplished my mission, which is to play in a historical period and use it to tell a story without beating readers over the head with my research. But if you want to know more, just ask me. I’ll be more than happy to pull back the curtain and point out the inner workings of a world I love!


From the Back Cover:

They hear the spirits.
They must obey.

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire's worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters' journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they've ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong comes a captivating new series that blends elements of fantasy and horror with the pulse-pounding action and romance that have earned her a devoted readership worldwide.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times bestselling author, takes an exciting new direction with this big, breathtaking blend of fantasy, romance, horror, and pulse-pounding action, perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones. Twin sisters Moria and Ashyn were marked at birth to become the Keeper and the Seeker of Edgewood, beginning with their sixteenth birthday. Trained in fighting and in the secret rites of the spirits, they lead an annual trip into the Forest of the Dead. There, the veil between the living world and the beyond is thinnest, and the girls pay respect to the spirits who have passed. But this year, their trip goes dreadfully wrong. With all the heart-stopping romance and action that have made her a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and set in an unforgettably rich and dangerous world, this first epic book in the Age of Legends trilogy will appeal to Kelley Armstrong s legions of fans around the world and win her many new ones. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062071248

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