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Sean Russell

Sean Russell fantasy author(1952- )
Sean Russell is a Candian author. Besides these fantasy epics, he has also co-written the mystery series Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner with Ian Dennis under the pseudonym T.F. Banks. You can read Sean Russell’s thoughts about his books at his website.

The Initiate Brother: Eastern-flavored fantasy full of political intrigue

The Initiate Brother by Sean Russell

War and plague have recently swept across the kingdom of Wa, leaving a new emperor feeling insecure on his throne. He feels threatened by the ancient houses of Wa, and most especially by the revered Lord Shonto, an intelligent and highly competent man. When the emperor appoints Shonto as governor of the northern province of Seh, Shonto isn’t sure if this is an honor, or a trap.

Both men have some excellent allies. Shonto has adopted the lovely and gifted Lady Nishima, the last heir of the former empire, and has recently secured as his spiritual advisor the Botahist monk Shuyun who is recognized by his brothers as the most promising monk in ages. He has also befriended a minor lord from the North who has little influence in that region, but seems to see things more clearly than his elders do. The emperor’s staff includes handsome and clever General Jaku Katta, the famous kickboxer, and Jaku... Read More

Gatherer of Clouds: Elegant and thought-provoking

Gatherer of Clouds by Sean Russell

Gatherer of Clouds is the sequel to Sean Russell’s The Initiate Brother, a story which is not so much about the Initiate Brother Shuyun, spiritual advisor to Lord Shonto, as it is about the entire Shonto household — a household that is seen as a threat by an insecure emperor. And with good reason, for Lord Shonto is an honorable, intelligent, and insightful man who has raised his children to be his equals and who has surrounded himself with a competent and loyal staff and several clever allies.

As the story opens, Shonto, governor of the northern province of She, is preparing for a massive barbarian invasion that the emperor refuses to believe in (since he only paid for a small invasion in order to get rid of Shonto). Should Shonto stay in the north, as ordered, and be wiped out by the barbarian horde? Or should he let his province fall and ... Read More

The Swans’ War: I never knew what was at stake

THE SWANS' WAR by Sean Russell

I struggled through these books and I only read them because Stephen Donaldson and Robin Hobb gave them high praise.

What I did like is that the characters were unique, with the exception of Tam and Prince Michael — they seemed to be the same character. All other characters seemed to be woven from a fresh cloak — they were different people who came from different backgrounds but learned to live together.

What I didn't like was that there was a distinct lack of urgency. Sean Russell was building to a crescendo, but when the crescendo was revealed, in the third book, I nearly threw the book to the floor. I had no idea — and the author never gave me the idea — that the crescendo was legitimate. He introduced factors slowly, most of them in the... Read More

The Shadow Roads: Decent but anticlimactic close to trilogy

The Shadow Roads by Sean Russell

The Shadow Roads brings The Swans' War to a somewhat satisfying close, but its many weaknesses lessen the impact it might have had. The strength is the backstory — the sense of myth surrounding the three children of Wyrr, Death walled away into his own world, stories of loss and transformation. When Sean Russell spends time in this area, whether in detail or just tangentially, it lends a sad sense of grandeur and depth to the work as a whole. Unfortunately, this strength is negated by too many weaknesses.

One is that the characters become more pallid as we come to the end of the story, rather than more intense as should be the case after having spent three books' worth of time with them. The Shadow Roads follows the by-now-familiar multi-stranded structure of most ... Read More

More books by Sean Russell

Moontide Magic Rise — (1995-1996) Publisher: At the dawn of a new era — an age of reason, science, and exploration — a promising young naturalist is drawn into the heart of a political struggle which threatens the foundations of his civilization.

Sean Russell Moontide Magic Rise World Without End, Sea Without a ShoreSean Russell Moontide Magic Rise World Without End, Sea Without a Shore

River into Darkness — (1997-1998) Publisher: The last of the world’s great mages, the enigmatic Lord Eldrich has dedicated his life to eradicating all remaining vestiges of magic in the world. But the fanatical Tellerites — followers of a long-dead mage-apprentice — oppose Eldrich, desiring the hidden knowledge of the magical arts and with it the coveted key to immortality. Drawn into this conflict against his will is Erasmus Flattery, who as a boy dwelt with Eldrich, and is still haunted by the memories of what transpired during his stay with the mage. Now Erasmus must lead as expedition to search for a secret taht has remained hidden since the time of the first Mages!

River into Darkness: Beneath the Vaulted Hills, Compass of the SoulRiver into Darkness: Beneath the Vaulted Hills, Compass of the Soul

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