Damien Lawardorn reviews Shadows in the Stone in Aurealis #131:
Shadows in the Stone offers a wildly inventive take on Renaissance Italy. Jack Dann imagines a world entire, rewriting the Christian myths in a story that recalibrates the traditional lines between good and evil.
The story treks a path from the deserts of the Middle East to the cities of Florence and Venice, with an almost tangible portrayal of each setting. Dann ensures that each place is readily invoked in the reader’s mind by engaging all the senses in his descriptions. This keen attention to detail extends to the action scenes, where the tension is palpable.
The adventure’s hectic pace finds balance in Dann’s prose. The language is sometimes archaic, and the style prone to lengthy, complex sentences. These tendencies create an intricate command of English that reinforces the density of the narrative.
Dann colours his fantasy vision with elements of historical fact yet treats nothing as incidental. The events he incorporates all bear on the central plot and the overarching conflict of archangels and gnostic aeons, contribute to the sense of a rich, carefully constructed world.
The book is a fascinating work of epic historical fantasy. Shadows in the Stone is no simple read but it demands the reader to immerse themselves to fully plumb its depths.
Leave a Comment