Back in 2013 I bought a hardcover copy of Shadow Prowler, the opening volume in Alexey Pehov’s epic fantasy trilogy Chronicles of Siala. An international bestseller in his home country of Russia and across Europe, Pehov has been called “the Russian George R.R. Martin.” Two more volumes in translation followed, Shadow Chaser and Shadow Bllizard, both from Tor.
In June 2014 Tor released Chasers of the Wind in hardcover, with an action-filled cover by Kekai Kotaki (above left). Set in the same world as Pehov’s previous trilogy, the cover proudly proclaimed this was the first book of The Cycle of Wind and Sparks, a four-volume series that had already appeared in Russia and Germany.
Eleven months later, in May 2015, Tor reprinted the book in mass market paperback (above right). There were the usual small tweaks in design and font for the paperback edition. But the biggest change was a little more subtle — all mention of The Cycle of Wind and Sparks had been scrubbed. For fans of the series, this was like running into a close friend and noticing her engagement ring was missing. I’m not sure if Tor was unable to secure English language reprint rights, the sales on the first series didn’t meet expectations, or there was some other reason, but Tor never released the next three volumes. They remain unavailable in English.
[Click the images for bigger versions.]
Here’s the first trilogy, with covers by Kekai Kotaki.
Here’s the book description for Shadow Prowler, which definitely has a Tolkienesque vibe.
After centuries of calm, the Nameless One is stirring.
By next spring, or perhaps sooner, the Nameless One and his forces will be at the walls of the great city of Avendoom. Unless Shadow Harold, master thief, can find some way to stop them.
But Harold isn’t alone. An Elfin princess, Miralissa, her entourage, ten Wild Hearts, the most experienced and dangerous fighters in their world, and the king’s court jester all join him in his quest. These companions will form a bond of friendship and honor that must carry them over a series of frightful obstacles before they can reach their goal: Hrad Spein, the mysterious Palaces of the Bones. Only there will they find the key to undoing the ancient curse that hangs over their world and ridding the land of the Nameless One forever.
Reminiscent of Moorcock’s Elric series, Shadow Prowler is the first work to be translated into English from Russian by the bestselling, new generation fantasy author Alexey Pehov.
I was enticed to try Shadow Prowler, first by this blurb from BG author and reviewer E.E. Knight, a man whose taste I trust implicitly:
Toothy, gritty, and relentless. Alexey Pehov sneaks up on you and fascinates with the wry voice of a young Moorcock. Clear space on your shelf — you’ll want the whole series.
And also this review by Rebecca Gerber at Booklist.
Shadow Prowler bears some similarities to Tolkien’s trilogy about great evil burgeoning to threaten the order of the world… Detailed description abounds as we follow master thief Harold, whose character develops during a great quest to save humanity. The world Pehov conjures is filled with other memorable characters, too, including the king’s court jester, Harold’s old thieving mentor (now a priest), and an elf who looks more like a vampire. Those who like fantasy novels offering ogres, elves, undead creatures, wizards, and the like joined in an epic quest will be delighted…
And for you completests in the audience, here’s the back covers for all four volumes.
Our previous articles in the Tale of Two Covers series include:
The Last Page by Anthony Huso
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
Ellen Kushner on Basilisk
Shadows and Tall Trees 7 edited by Michael Kelly
Alan Baxter’s Crow Shine and Sarah Remy’s The Bone Cave
Swords Against Darkness
Richard Adams’ Watership Down
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, and The Corroding Empire by Johan Kalsi
A Tale of Three Covers: Allen Steele Resurrects Captain Future
Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
Infinity Engine by Neal Asher