The Rise of the Red Shadow
by Joseph R. Lallo
Every story must begin somewhere. For the warrior who would come to be known as the fearsome Red Shadow, the story began in a forgotten glade deep in the land of Tressor. It was there that a pair of trackers, eager to retrieve a lost slave, instead found an orphaned malthrope. Had it been a human, it might have been treated with compassion, but in the eyes of human society a malthrope was a monster, a mix of fox and man believed to be a murderer and thief by its very nature. The beast was to be sold for a handful of silver, but fate intervened in the form of an old blind slave named Ben. Under the learned hand of the one human who believed in his potential, the young malthrope would instead be given the wisdom to take his first steps on the long journey to his destiny.
The Rise of the Red Shadow chronicles the early life of one of the most mysterious figures of the Book of Deacon trilogy, the creature called Lain. It tells of his years working and learning on a Tresson plantation until a dark day of vengeance and bloodshed finally set him free. From there you will follow as he finds his place in the world, learning what it is to be a malthrope, and turning to the purpose that will guide him for the rest of his days. It is a story of love, hate, and lessons hard-learned, revealing the painful choices one must make to become the hero the world needs.
For someone that read and really enjoyed "The Deacon Trilogy" it was like stumbling upon a treasure when I found this book. Leo, Lain, Red Shadow or what ever you want to call him was my favorite character in these books. I'll start with this, you don't have to read "The Deacon Trilogy" first to enjoy this book. But than again I'm pretty sure that is how prequel work anyway.
I have to admit that though I loved the trilogy, the main reason I keep reading was because of Lain. Something about him just caught my attention and just never let go. I will also say that I might be just a tad bias in this review. I just really love Lain, you don't come across a character like him very often.
I liked the way we were able to follow him literally from the very beginning of his life. How we are there from every single thing that happens. You see why he is the way he turned out to be in the Trilogy, how if maybe under different circumstances he would have been something completely different. If I had to pick one word to describe his life it would be sad, and than I would cheat and add very, very sad. I'll agree with another reviewer that said she would have liked to see Myranda through his eyes and to hear his thoughts about her.
The story itself was really amazing, being able to see how the legend was formed was great. I like how it would fold in on itself at times and bring back certain things. Since I had no clue of the depth of his history I wouldn't even begin to guess at what would have happened. On top of that I was still really surprised by the ending.
Now what I would like even more was more books with him being the main character, but that is just me being greedy cause I know its not something that could easily happen or really happen at all.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, read The Deacon Trilogy first or this one it doesn't matter, but this is one you really don't want to pass up.