"[A] rather stunning new fantasy novel....[Shadowbridge
] achieves a kind of Florentine grace and balance rare in modern fantasy, interpolating tales within tales, playing ingenious games with point of view, and offering more than a few passages of surpassingly lovely prose. It's a far more important novel than its almost generic-sounding title would suggest....For all its painterly beauty, Shadowbridge
is a tough-minded novel that confronts some disturbing issues, and that is remarkably efficient in the telling; even though it's only the first half of a duology to be completed next spring, it gets as much done in barely over 250 pages as many other fantasies do in big-brown-bag trilogies...[Frost has] a lot of explaining to do, and it's not likely that anyone who reads this compelling and original novel will fail to follow it into the second volume. Frost could be on his way toward a masterpiece."
is a labyrinthine web of causeways, spiraling out across a vast shallow sea, whose cultures are blends of our own history and mythology. Frost's considerable powers of imagination and description ground the disparate locales and societies of his world through story
- those lived, told to and by young Leodora in her journey of self-discovery. Beautifully written and realized."
--Jeffrey Ford, author of THE EMPIRE OF ICE CREAM
"Orphaned 16-year-old Leodora, a talented puppeteer and storyteller, is forced to hide her identity and gender as she travels the spans and tunnels of the ocean-crossing Shadowbridge in Frost's exciting first of a diptych. Stubborn and god-touched, Leodora feels nearly friendless until she meets a youth with similar gifts. Diverus, an enslaved simpleton, is endowed with intelligence and uncanny musical abilities when an unpredictable deity visits his span. When Diverus plays and Leodora performs, their synergy creates magic and brings them instant fame. Only Leodora's mentor, the perpetually drunken Soter, realizes that their brilliance attracts dangerous chaos energy, and he must protect the young pair while keeping long-held secrets about the deaths of Leodora's parents and the dangers of her talent. Frost (Fitcher's Brides
) draws richly detailed human characters and embellishes his multilayered stories with intriguing creatures-benevolent sea dragons, trickster foxes, death-eating snakes and capricious gods-that make this fantasy a sparkling gem of mythic invention and wonder."-Publishers Weekly
"Shadowbridge is a world constructed on the spans of bridges, so vast that no one can cross every bridge, in which occasionally gods walk the earth and drop their gifts into the hands of the unsuspecting. Leodora is a traveling puppeteer storyteller known as Jax to protect her identity. Hers is a story of events that began with her speaking to a god. As in conversations with gods in many other stories, the most important thing is left unsaid. From walking the spans to collecting the strange tales of every place she visits to picking up a god-touched musician for her act, Leodora's journey is filled with the brilliant details of Frost's masterful world building. The tale starts taking on tension as Leodora's fame grows and she begins attracting dangerous attention, the kind last attracted by her predecessor, the legendary Bardsham. Leodora's traveling companion and manager, Soter, traveled with Bardsham, too, and clearly knows more of his fate than he's telling. He drops hints sometimes, when distracted, but never quite tells Leodora the whole story. Frost has created a world containing all manner of fantastic story and the promise of a fascinating history as Leodora moves into her destiny and the unknown future."-Booklist
"One of fantasy's most challenging thinkers, who also knows how to tell a top-notch story."
-Karen Traviss, New York Times bestselling author of City of Pearl
Sprung from a timeless dream, Shadowbridge is a world of linked spans arching high above glittering seas. It is a world of parading ghosts, inscrutable gods, and dangerous magic. Most of all, it is a world of stories.
No one knows those stories better than Leodora, a young shadow-puppeteer who travels Shadowbridge collecting the intertwining tales and myths of each place she passes through, then retells them in performances whose genius has begun to attract fame . . . and less welcome attention.
For Leodora is fleeing a violent past, as are her two companions: her manager, Soter, an elderly drunkard who also served Ledora's father, the legendary puppeteer Bardsham; and Diverus, her musical accompanist, a young man who has been blessed, and perhaps cursed, by the touch of a nameless god.
Now, as the strands of a destiny she did not choose begin to tighten around her, Leodora is about to cross the most perilous bridge of all-the one leading from the past to the future.
Shadowbridge is the first novel in a two-book adventure.
Praise for Gregory Frost
"Frost demonstrates his mastery of the short story form in what will surely rank as one of the best fantasy collections of the year."
-Publishers Weekly (starred review), on Attack of the Jazz Giants and Other Stories
"Suspenseful . . . hard to put down . . . will stay with the reader for a long time."
-BookPage, on Fitcher's Brides