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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  223 ratings  ·  79 reviews
We grow up with the Legend of King Arthur... But where did he come from? Who was Merlin? What part did the Druids play in bringing Arthur to his round table? This is the story that came before, when Britain was just a Shadowland.

Shadowland is a story of historical fantasy set in Dark Ages Britain.

`I have lived more years than I can remember, probably more than the sum of a...more
Kindle Edition, 217 pages
Published February 3rd 2012 by C.M. Gray (first published June 26th 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Flora Bateman
I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

This was an wonderful tale. It is a story told within a story by an old storyteller by a fireside. Two old men relive their lives in a time long past. Usher Vance tells the story of Uther Pendragon, father of King Author. As he relives his past in the telling of the story we are transported to a time long in the past. The characters and the story is wonderfully brought to life in a way that keeps you interested from start to finish.

I was...more
Helen Baggott
I began reading Shadowland with no knowledge of the plot – I’d avoided reading the synopsis – I knew I would be in safe hands.

As the story developed from boyhood adventure to a battle for Britain, I was carried along on a tale of spirits and mystical powers where legend and history are so closely intertwined it’s impossible to separate them.

The tale is told from the perspective of a master storyteller and his audience listen with both rapture and scepticism. As I read of childhood friends Cal an...more
Feb 05, 2013 carol rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All ages
Recommended to carol by: C.M. Gray
Shadowland is an excellent novel and in my opinion suitable for all ages, though intentionally aimed more for younger readers. Its author, C.M.Gray, combines a lot of well researched and accurate factual history, social and political, beautifully melded with the enduring legends of Britain in it's Dark Ages. A time when the Romans with their organised, controlling administration left Britain without notice to remaining Britons, tribal peoples such as the Iceni, to govern themselves and where war...more
Shambhawi P.
When you read some books they make you feel like they were written specifically for you.

Shadowland was THE book for me.

If you ask me why I feel so, I have no specific answer. I loved the writing, I loved the characters, I loved the story - but I've said all these things already about the books that I have read before. But there was something almost magical, almost too hypnotic about this book that has kept me engrossed still.

The story begins on a Midwinter's eve - an old storyteller sitting on...more
Oct 08, 2012 Tom rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy readers - Camelot fans
Recommended to Tom by: Chris Gray
A captivating story precedes the legend – Shadowland by C.M. Gray; an Amazon average rating of 4.1 stars and 4.0 stars on goodreads.

Some Thoughts on Shadowland:

Call this the prequel to some of the best tales surrounding King Arthur and the mythical Camelot. Step back in time to a dark age a generation before the famed Knights of the Round Table when a Saxon horde, treacherous Britons, and savage Picts relentlessly scour the countryside for the true heir to the British throne. Caught up in the fr...more
A wonder of Arthurian legend is the variety which authors draw from it. It is, as Professor Tolkien designed in his lecture "On Fairy", like a big soup pot from which elements are drawn and fashioned into a tale. And, while the elements may be true--or not--the tale is assuredly a fabrication. And neither are the worst for it.

Mr. Gray has constructed this tale from the well-known elements of the "historical" Arthurian and sub-Roman Britain. It was entertaining and well done. I prefer these tales...more
Colleen Bratley
This is a tale that wraps around your mind and keeps you embraced, engaged and entertained. It's an historical fiction fantasy, written to school, but really completely entertain

I love stories of medieval times and fantasy so it had a lot going for it from the start. The writing though was what took you into the era hook line and sinker. You saw, felt and heard what the characters did from page 1 through to the end, and lived in that time. It truly was wonderfully written. I read some other revi...more
Lex Allen
C.M. Gray's "Shadowland" was truly an educating and entertaining read. I learned a lot from Mr. Gray's description of the various U.K.tribes. I'd previously never heard of the Iceni or the Picts. I also learned that the early Britons fought with chariots!

I'm a story guy and this was an excellent story, well told. The author's method of using a present day storyteller to relate the ancient events was very well done. The ending was carefully hidden throughout and took me by surprise. I love storie...more
Deb Novack
This story is full of druids, mystery,magic and tense battles. This book is a great journey into the fantastic dark ages of Great Britain, Merlin and the Celts. This was a well-written attention grabbing story of fantasy. Bravo to the author.
Usher Vance and his best friend, Calvador, return to their village from an afternoon swim only to be trapped in a tree by a pack of wolves. While they wait for the wolves to leave, they are forced to watch in horror as their village is wiped out by a group of Picts led by a man in black. As they set off hoping to rescue Cal's sister and the other children that have been taken, both boys realize their lives will never be the same. Fortunately, the end up with an old warrior named Meryn who takes...more
Rosa (Bajan Rosa Books)
This Review was originally posted at my blog

My actual rating 3.5

This is a story, about a story. A fantastical retelling of a great adventure of two friends who leave home after a devastating attack. A historical tale that will draw you in and entice you to read more. If you love stories about King Arthur, Saxons Knights and everything medieval with a flare of magic, tales of druids and serious battle then this is the book for you.

C.M Gray's Shadowland is not...more
While I have a love of the the dark ages of Britian, especially the legend of King Arthur, I am sometimes disappointed in an author’s particular telling of the story. I was far from disappointed when reading Shadowland.

C.M. Gray paints a wonderful story with an attention to detail when it comes to both characterization and setting the scenes. I really enjoyed the particular manner in which he chooses to tell the story, as if the reader is sitting in on a group listening to an old storyteller pre...more
Aliaa El-Nashar
This book was actually an interesting read for me to be honest. The writing, the names, the style, they were all very gripping - I am honestly upset the cover didn't show some of the greatness in the book, so it didn't appeal to my cover-lust side. I should mention I am a huge fan of British spellings and more often than not prefer them to American ones, si

Though I am usually into historical books, I am more into England in the 1800's not Arthurian times so the book wasn't in a genre I am fond o...more
Kenneth A. Mugi

Shadowland is a historical fantasy that explores the origins of King Arthur and how the tribes in England were united during the Romans departure.

I received this novel for free as part of the ARR program in early June 2012.

Available here:


C.M Gray chooses to tell the narrative in an interesting way. He starts the tale in a tavern with an old story teller entertaining a full pub of local residents with some fantastical yarns of yesteryear. Suddenl...more
Rachael Woohoo
Disclaimer: The fact that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review has not affected my rating.

Just based off the time period and genre itself, Shadowland already stands out as a unique book. It further distinguishes itself by telling not the story of Arthur, who we all know from "The Sword and The Stone" and other stories, but Usher (whose identity I will keep hidden for the sake of the story).

Simply put, Shadowland is well written, exciting, adventurous, and a good r...more
Jisha Mishra
All of us have grown up listening to stories; bedtime stories, stories by the fireside, building up scenes in our mind as the narration goes on. There is an indescribable joy in listening to a master storyteller's yarns... that's the joy I felt while reading Shadowland...

The story begins on midwinter's eve in a warm village pub, with the old storyteller Usher Vance. And the old man narrates a story that takes you centuries back. A tale about how a group of enemy soldiers burned down a village of...more
These are dark times. The Romans are leaving the island of Briton, and the Saxons are taking their place, invading the land of the tribes. A false king sits on the throne, demanding allegiance. And all of that seems very far away to Cal and Usher, two boys living in a remote village. That all changes one dark night, when everything they knew and loved is destroyed. Forced to run, Cal and Usher cross a land that is in turmoil, unaware that each of them has a vital destiny to fulfil. Close behind...more
Shadowland by C.M. Gray is a self published novel released in February 2012.

People have gathered together on a Winter's Eve to hear a fantastical tale woven by an old man adept at story telling. Before he can get started, a visitor arrives and sets the old man on a different course, telling a true story instead of a made up story.

Two teenage boys, Usher and Cal, witness the burning of their village and countless deaths. Vowing revenge, they meet up with Merlyn and the battle begins that will lea...more
Melanie Cusick-Jones
Shadowland is a well-written, action-packed adventure story, set during the period of unrest in Britain that gave rise to the legends of King Arthur. Although I’d not read any fiction from this setting previously, it is happily familiar from film and history lessons; the writing style is very absorbing and you quickly find yourself wrapped up in the story.

At the heart of Shadowland is a buddy/road-trip tale of two young friends, who travel far from their homes and previous lives after their vill...more
Cheryl M-M
The start was promising. The actual introduction of the characters as they start to tell the reader where it all began. After the boys meet Meryn it began to spiral downwards. I think the flow of the story could do with a good edit.
I found it went from one scenario to the next in such a speed that the plot became incredulous.
The two young boys are suddenly fighting machines within a short period of time for instance. A lot of well known mythical details seemed to fixed around the storyline to su...more
Usher and Cal are simple boys from the village… Until someone kills their families and friends one night. They don’t want to run away… They want revenge.

I’m not one of the people who grew up on King Arthur tales, but I still enjoyed Shadowland.

The author used an unique way to tell this tale. You may thing “It’s boring as I already know how it ends!”. To be honest, I thought that too, but it changed with the first page. A lot of magic and amazing battle scenes – that’s it.

One thing I didn’t lik...more
I totally loved this book, wasn't too sure about it at first but by the end of it I loved it. It wasn't a book I could sit down and read in one sitting, honestly it took me three days of a few hours to finally finish it. But that being said, the story was good, it developed nicely, gave enough details for me to picture clearly, the characters themselves were very believeable and on more than once I was over here sniffling while reading. The only thing that was alittle annoying was the jumping ba...more
Jessica Andersen
I really enjoyed this book. We have been watching BBC's Merlin on Netflix, and that Uther Pendragon is such an unlikable character. It was nice to come at Uther from a different perspective.

Shadowland is kind of a story within a story, reminding me a little of Frankenstein. The book was nicely paced and the reveals along the way were fun. I almost hate to say much about the story because I don't want to ruin all the reveals along the way. This is basically the story of how Uther Pendragon becam...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
For those who love anything "King Arthurish" - this is a great read with a different take on the legends, starting from their youth! The characters were completely alive and believable, the settings were so vivid, I felt I was there! There was a strong sense of mystery and magic with great twists to the story!
It took 24 hours to write a review because I wanted to reflect on what I just experienced. This was a book I actually ended up was quite unexpected. I mean the premise was intriguing. An old man telling a story to the village people about the founding of the Britons, the fighting with the Saxons. Its like historical fiction told like a camp fire story. The intro of the characters was fantastic. You have Usher, his BFF Cal, Cal's little sister Clarisse and the unexpected ally Meryn al...more
Cal and his friend Usher were enjoying themselves in the late days of summer for the final time that year and knowing that the water was getting colder as winter grew near. They had lingered too long and darkness was approaching. Hurrying toward their village, They saw a hungry pack of wolves and turned to flee up a tree just as one wolf caught Usher by the leg and would have tugged him down if not for Cal pulling him up. The wolves howled their displeasure at not getting their meal and lingered...more
Debdatta D. Sahay (b00k r3vi3ws)
I had finished reading this book quite some time back. But for some reason when it came to writing the review, I kept on procrastinating.

The story is narrated by Usher Vance. Prompted by his friend, Usher, the master story-teller begins to tell the tale of his childhood. The tale starts as a normal story of two teenagers, Usher and his friend Calvador, enjoying their lives but soon takes a dark turn as they are attacked. They somehow manage to survive a pack of wolves and an army of ruthless wa...more
Ruty  B
When you mix history, magic, and two great characters you probably will get Shadowland.

A story about two friends, which have to follow the path of the Saxons that destroyed their village. A journey that will guide them among stranger territories where they’ll find interesting characters while discover some secrets about their lives.

Shadowland is a great story about a very interesting time in history, the author takes real facts but also has the ability of introduces us in magical territories. I...more
Shadowland was definitely a book that I struggled to put down. The intelligent way it is written to be almost a retelling of the old classic story of King Arthur kept me entranced through to the very end.

There is some great character development throughout this book and to see how the main characters grow and change as the story progresses makes you feel like you are an intimate part of their world.

This is one of those novels that builds up slowly but once once it hits its steady rhythm it stay...more
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Okay, I’ll tell you a little of my journey so far. I was born in England and spent most of my youth growing up in the Essex countryside. It’s a beautiful part of England, up near the Suffolk border, but I was born with a heavy dose of 'travel lust' so as soon as I could get a passport and adventure the world, I packed a rucksack and went exploring!
It was a bit of a risk and my parents weren’t too...more
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