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Tracing the Shadow (Alchymist's Legacy, #1)
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Tracing the Shadow (Alchymist's Legacy #1)

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  298 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Sarah Ash’s acclaimed trilogy, the Tears of Artamon, was a stunning blend of sorcery and intrigue, politics and breathtaking imagery. Now this gifted storyteller returns with a tale of a siege between kingdoms, and a battle between heretics and believers—each with their own truths, their own lies, and their own soul-shattering discoveries waiting to be made.

Book One of the
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published January 29th 2008 by Spectra (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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May 21, 2008 Deb rated it it was ok
Recommended to Deb by: Sarah Elward
Shelves: fantasy-sf
Another failed-to-engage book. It has all the hallmarks of a typical fantasy plot, and I wanted to like it, but I wasn't sucked in after a handful of chapters. Life's too short to plod through books you don't really want to read.
Feb 22, 2017 Melanie rated it it was ok
I expect much better world-building in adult fantasy. I repeatedly checked to see if this wasn't YA. It's not often you can say a book would've been better with an additional 200-300 pages.

I thought it would intrigue me enough to hate-read the next book but the end was so...bad that I don't care to.

Would not recommend.
May 27, 2008 Alicia rated it really liked it
A Fantasy writer that I definitely recommend.
Tracing the Shadow, Sarah Ash's first book in the Alchymist's Legacy, is a fast-paced adventure with magic, romantic love (both unrequited and fulfilled), religious & political intrigue, and friendships that transcend familial ties. There are a number of main characters who stem from the world of Francia. My favorite among them is Jagu de Rustephan, a young musician turned warrior monk who is in love with the beautiful and talented soprano Celest
Forgotten Realms Queen
I had already read Sarah Ash's Tears of Artamon trilogy, so the second I saw this book i said to myself "mine!" and went home with it the same day expecting a wonderful start to a brand new series by an excellent author.

But I was wrong. This is not the wonderful start to a brand new series by an excellent author, but rather the wonderful start to the PREQUEL story line of the Tears of Artamon trilogy by an excellent author.

In the Tears of Artamon we are introduced to the Drakhoul 'daemons', a ma
Lucy Takeda
Jul 23, 2016 Lucy Takeda rated it really liked it
I was thinking three stars---until I hit the last chapters. I am a sucker for doomed romances, evidently.
This novel involves music, magic, inquisitions, political conflicts, and cults. There are numerous plots intertwined; a young girl, a goddess, a young man that gets involved with a magus, musical/ opera conflicts, royalty, assassinations. Oh, also several romances. I found the link between a person and a powerful hawk from another realm intriguing. I don't tend to like plots where folks can
Feb 26, 2010 Erik rated it really liked it
This is a pre-companion book to Ash's first trilogy "Tears of Artamon", where the second book in the duology will be a true companion novel (just different characters), and this first book setting that second one up. As is often true for Ash, her books take some time to get into, and the writing isn't necessarily fabulous... but the stories are pretty good. This book follows the same vein. It is the first of the duology, so it isn't surprising that there are still a handful of un-answered questi ...more
Nov 09, 2014 Dy rated it did not like it
Shelves: series, fantasy, dnf, 2014
I like sword and sorcery and have no issues with complex world building, but this was too hard to follow. The names of the two main male characters were so similar that every time she switched between them I had to stop and think, "Which one is he, again?"

Gave up at page 186 -- It wasn't interesting enough to grab me. The characters were hard to differentiate. The lack of a clear protagonist is realistic - there are two sides to every story - but makes for unsatisfying reading; I found myself n
May 06, 2013 Isana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book. This book!

This is one of the most frustrating books I've read in a long time. Don't get men wrong. The story is incredibly interesting and the characters are complex. However, it just around SO MUCH and the handling of time is terrible. The switching between character points of view so often made my head spin and at times I wanted to throw the book at a wall. Also, the romantic relationships in the book . . . Heartache for the reader is one thing but you don't even get to enjoy the re
Jan 17, 2011 Ithlilian marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: fantasy
I was reading Tracing the Shadow, going along just fine until page 200 or so. All of the sudden the main character turned from a whiny apprentice coward, to a magically powerful evil person. I couldn't stand to read pages and pages and pages about a little girl, and in the end that is why I stopped reading. This would have been better if there was more time spent on making consistent believable characters and less time switching viewpoints to cover events that barely even matter. Just tell us wh ...more
Jan 27, 2010 Rory rated it liked it
This is a solid fantasy novel. The author tries to create various countries and cultures to base the story around and in doing so never full develops any of them. She does a good job developing the main characters but there are so many secondary characters that at times I was confused as to which character was a part of which country. If the author has just spent more time at the beginning explaining the politics between the different countries, then the story would have flowed better.
Dec 28, 2009 Ingrid rated it really liked it
I just finished reading TTS. This book is set in the same world as the Tears of Artamon. One of the things I love about Sarah Ash is that she really explains the characters of her novels and thus explains the choices that they make. None of her characters are ever one dimensional, they all have depth and even as they make mistakes and suffer from various personal flaws there is a rational behind it all. And behind it all are the themes of religious freedom, politics and greed.
Aug 08, 2008 Brendan rated it really liked it
You definitely need to read the Tears of Artamon before picking up this book, but once you do it's a great addition to the series. It feels like Wicked does to The Wizard of Oz - you get to see another side of all of the events, learn more about a few of the characters, and meet some new ones. The book follows some very likable characters through some harrowing experiences, and it's fun to read about.
Jan 02, 2011 Kimberly rated it it was ok
It took so long for me to finish this book -- not because it was difficult, but because so many characters were given equal time and weight at the beginning, and it wasn't until I was halfway through that it seemed to have a path. The author's writing seemed to become better and more fluent towards the end, which is a shame. I don't know that I'd purchase the sequel.
Apr 26, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A real page-turner, especially if you're already a fan of the 'Tears of Artamon' series. Lovingly written in a world that takes on a life of it's own. I always enjoy delving into a book by Sarah Ash, I know it will never disappoint. It was great to see the background to some of the slightly minor characters in her original trilogy.
Aug 25, 2015 Galleane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Au final tout est trop survolé et l'histoire ne m'a pas intéressée. Je n'ai pas adhéré à la manière dont était racontée l'histoire, moi qui aime avoir plus de détails ici il en manque pas mal. Le résumé était alléchant mais l'histoire s'est révélée décevante.

Ma chronique complète :
Aug 10, 2011 Travis added it
I enjoyed reading the book and I'll keep an eye out for the next book in the series, but if I should happen to forget to pick it up any time soon I will not be too disappointed.

My recommendation would be to borrow the book.
Aug 29, 2014 Helen rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Once I got into it, I could barely put it down. I hope that the next book expands on the main characters, as it did feel sometimes that in order to introduce them all, they were left a bit thin. But the story has me hooked.
Jess Cullinan
Dec 17, 2011 Jess Cullinan rated it really liked it
Took awhile to get into, but once I did I couldn't put it down. Celestine/Klervie is such a great character, and I love the fact that the "villians" and "heroes" are rather ambiguous, rather than black and white. Looking forward to the next one.
May 27, 2009 Jeanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoyed this prequel to Tears and I loved getting to know Jagu and Celestine and their stories. I can't wait to continue with the next book. I also like how Sarah keeps you on your toes with her writing style, she gets better and better as she continues to write.
Apr 29, 2008 Leslie rated it liked it
Pretty good. But I've definitely OD'ed on fantasy for the time being, so I'm not sure I'm objective. I'll likely pick up her earlier books a little later this year....

Fans of Guy Gavriel Kay would like this, I think.
May 30, 2008 Claire rated it liked it
This book skipped around so much that I can't possibly give it a glowing review, but I think I will be getting the second in the series, just to see what happened. The plot was pretty original, though there was a lot of influence on the French Inquisition and medieval times.
Mar 01, 2008 Megan marked it as to-read
I think I would like this book, but I just didn't have time to finish it. Perhaps in the future...
May 11, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing
There's a lot of characters to keep straight, and I still get confused with all of the places, but I'm fascinated by the story lines of the three main characters.
Quantum Thief - Dark Puppet Angel 01
Oct 09, 2016 Dan rated it it was ok
The story drags too much
Jun 25, 2008 Chris rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2008
I thought this was going to be another mediocre cliche-ridden fantasy novel, but it turned out to be fairly interesting, though not brilliant.
Anthony Faber
Feb 02, 2017 Anthony Faber rated it really liked it
Book 1 of the Alchemist's Legacy . Pretty good, but I wish I had read this first and/or sooner after the second one.
N.A. Fedorak
Oct 26, 2016 N.A. Fedorak rated it really liked it
Good book series.
Apr 12, 2010 Aubrey rated it liked it
took a while to really get into the book because it switched back and forth so much in the beginning...enjoyed the second half once i could recognize characters and knew more of what was going on
May 23, 2010 Sara rated it it was ok
There were some characters that I just didn't care about and I almost quite reading three different times. I finally finished by just reading the one character's point of view that I did like.
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Sarah Ash was born and brought up in Bath. At university she trained as a musician, but is now a teacher and author of highly-praised novels, such as the Tears of Artamon Trilogy. Sarah Ash has recently moved back to Bath.
More about Sarah Ash...

Other Books in the Series

Alchymist's Legacy (2 books)
  • Flight into Darkness (Alchymist's Legacy, #2)

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