Shardik✭ [PDF] ✪ Shardik By Richard Adams ✺ – Shardik is a fantasy of tragic character centered on the long awaited reincarnation of the gigantic bear Shardik and his appearance among the half barbaric Ortelgan people Mighty ferocious and unpredi Shardik is a fantasy of tragic character centered on the long awaited reincarnation of the gigantic bear Shardik and his appearance among the half barbaric Ortelgan people Mighty ferocious and unpredictable Shardik changes the life of every person in the story His advent commences a momentous chain of events Kelderek the hunter who loves and trusts the great bear is swept on by destiny to become first devotee and then prophet then victorious soldier then ruler of an empire and priest king of Lord Shardik only to discover ever deeper layers of meaning implicit in his passionate belief in the bear's divinity. 255 Shardik is one of those books that don't age wellKelderek a young hunter with a soft heart and a simple nature witnesses an enormous bear fleeing a devastating fire that ravaged a forest near his home Convinced that this bear is nothing than the incarnation of the bear god Shardik Kelderek tries to convince the local Priests and Barons who in turn sedate and cage the bear But that doesn't last for long “And at once he went on with his burden as though afraid that he might already have said too much in this country where the past was sharp splinters embedded in men's minds and an ill judged word a false step in the dark” Richard Adams was talented no one can deny that Just like in Watership Down the vivid descriptions and carefully crafted allusions come in contrast with the intriguing plot and the well developed characters building a beautiful pattern and resulting in a compelling narration Unfortunately the positives of this book end here Weird and hard to pronounce names numerous and unnecessary similes lengthy metaphors and miscarried imagery come together to expand Shardik on excessive word count that will probably result in the reader casting the book aside All in all if you like old fashioned lengthy fantasy with philosophical and religion dilemmas then Shardik might be the book you are looking for If not perhaps you should leave it for another timeYou can find of my reviews over at 15I'll be honest the only reason I read this book was because of the reference to 'Shardik' in Stephen King's Dark Tower series If you are a DT fan like me and plan to read this one let me give you some advice; don't bother The book is long and boringend of review I knew the title from a Stephen King reference The Waste Lands and picked it up because of my interest in predator worship myths Shardik a great bear revered as the power of the divine is very much a Monster of God in the sense that David uammen writes of in his book by that title Unlike real bears who nosh whoever happens to get in their way Shardik never eats someone who doesn’t deserve it though I daresay he may have snacked on some innocent cattle The religion Adams creates is neither ancient a la Clan of the Cave Bear nor uite Christian but something of both God manifests himself in the chaos of nature replete with Old Testament style smitingsTaken on its own terms though the book has a lot to say – in particular about the folly of believing the desires of man to be the will of God There’s a disturbing poignancy in Adams’ imagery of the beast god caged and drugged senseless by people who claim to be his worshippers By ‘divine’ will and the pressure of an ambitious baron the hunter Kelderek helps overthrow a government rises to kingship and legalizes a slave trade to pay soldiers to further the conuests When a dissident frees Shardik Kelderek sets off to recapture him and plunges into a hell of his own making The Streels of Urtah in particular captured my attentionA few random things got in the way The names freuently struck me as odd particularly the city state Ortelga which to me sounded too much like that brand of canned pseudo Mexican food Adams of lapses into extended similes that not only detract from the story but often seem inappropriate for the world he’s created The weirdest device was Adams’ references to real world history and myths in his made up universe I suppose he intended to bring his own myth into parallel with those of our world – ‘yes this really happened’ with a wink But most of the time I just scratched my headJust the same critics called Shardik better than Watership Down I read Watership over ten years ago and can’t make a fair comparison But I am surprised that Shardik hasn’t had the staying power of Adams’ first novel Those front cover graphics are absolutely stunning but beyond that this book is a beautiful brutal and courageous fantasy novel with so many intriguing surprises I went into this book knowing very little about it other than the reference to Shardik the Bear in one of Stephen King's books in the Dark Tower series I did have some prior experience with Richard Adams having readenjoyedbeen impressed with Watership Down and The Plague Dogs In fact while reading Plague Dogs I noticed that Adams manages to keep me reading right on through something I cannot stand in most books lengthy description of setting particularly landscapes So much of The Plague Dogs is the setting and not only did I read all that stuff about the Lake District it actually made me want to find out about the area and even possibly to visit there one dayAnyway Shardik I didn't expect Shardik to be the exact type of fantasy novel I usually hate and refuse to finish or not so much refuse as just be physically unable to due to falling asleep Adams did a lot of very elaborate almost Tolkien uality world building for Shardik and this particular brand of detail usually turns me right off Give me a book that takes place in a world full of people and places with ridiculous sounding names Deelguy? Bel ka Trazet? Ta Kominion? General Zelda? BWAH HA HA HA HA and I will fling that book across the room before long However I did not fling this book The world Adams has created for the book coheres very well stupid names aside And once again the descriptions of settinglandscape which are so important to the story are so beautifully written they held my interest as they did in The Plague DogsSome reviews of this book complain about its preachy tone and I can sympathize The tone is oddly stiff and Adams sometimes spells things out too blatantly where he really could have afforded to trust the reader I didn't feel it was anywhere near as axe grindy as The Plague Dogs which I enjoyed if that word could be applied to such a book and the unfolding of the story was so engaging I felt the sometimes stilted tone took a back seat to the story I don't think anyone could call Richard Adams subtle he definitely has messages he wants to put across about large ideas But there's also no denying that his writing is powerful and moving Shardik is not a fast read It's epic and takes a bit of dedication but it's worth it Nearly every character undergoes a change of almost cataclysmic proportions Nearly everyone is redeemed The point of the book is that redemption where does it come from? Via whose actions? Is it always deserved?And then of course there's the uestion of the bear Is he the ursine embodiment of the Power of God? Or is he just a beast that's been made subject to human superstitions and human greed?I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys heavy duty fantasy or discussions of philosophyreligion Adams can dazzle you with beautiful writing one moment and make you uestion the way you live your life in the next moment Good stuff either way When I read a Richard Adams book it takes over my whole life Every event in my life mirrors what the characters are going through I stay up way too late reading so that I can see the characters through to the end of the scene His books are way too real to me DNF 40% This was somewhere between boring and like Okay maybe? Like it could have been good but it just wasn't grabbing me Ever since I've read Watership Down I've been a big Richard Adams fan This book makes for pretty heavy reading and I won't deny it took me a while to get through it The pacing could be uite slow at times but I think it is well worth sticking through Shardik is epic fantasy and nothing at all like what he created in Watership Down You could argue that the book isn't even about the bear but the events that surround it One thing I first noticed about the book was how original the storyline seemed Shardik tells the story of the giant eponymous bear that the Ortelgans a tribe of the Beklan empire believe to be the divine Power of God He's discovered by a simple hunter Kelderek later the priest king of Shardik who declares that Shardik was sent to lead the Ortelgans to greatness and reclaim the empire's seat at Bekla Unlike Adams's other books Watership Down and The Plague Dogs the bear's perspective is only seen in the initial two chapters and for the remainder of the story he is a powerful and often antagonistic force that merely serves to set the wheels turning in the story What I loved in particular about this book was the imagery Adams is able to come up with The first few paragraphs alone in chapter one has some of the most beautiful prose I've ever read He does a wonderful and very plausible job of building up this world There's something very ancient about Adams's world even prehistoric I recently learned that Shardik was the work Adams was most happy with and I think I understand why It's clear he's spent a lot of time creating his world along with its geography and its flora and fauna For the duration of the book I got the feeling that this world wasn't just some fantasy world but a world that might have been our own thousands of years agoWhile most of the characters are flawed and their actions evil you don't find it hard to retain a certain sense of sympathy for their plight even as the novel progresses and the reality of Kelderek's crimes are made clearer and clearer While the tone of the book can border along the preachy what I enjoyed most about the story was that it was never made clear if Shardik really were a divine personification of some higher power or if it was superstition and just a twist of fate Adams leaves us to decide ourselves as we like The story has strong themes of redemption suffering and mankind's spiritual search for God in the worldI would recommend Shardik to anyone who really loves Adams's previous works animal lovers or anyone who appreciates the details that come with epic high fantasy One star means I didn't like it overall not that it was terrible I loved Watership Down and The Plague Dogs I knew this one wasn't going to be a talking animal story That's fine with me Talking animals are not something I seek out in fiction anyway My biggest problem with Shardik was that I never connected with any of the characters Kelderek was especially flat He changes a lot over the course of the story but he always felt like a magicless marionette than a person to me Add to that the long complicated plot and sparse action and this book was a real slogI suspect that when Richard Adams called this his masterpiece he meant it was the book he worked hardest on There is some beautiful craftsmanship in the language and description Shardik himself was the most interesting thing in the book The uestion of his divinity pulled me along through the first half of the book But it was only stubbornness that made me finish Not sure how I missed this oneIn my much younger years I read Watership Down and loved it; I loved even Adams's The Plague Dogs which was even darker Somehow I missed the book that came in between those Shardik It seems to have slipped down the memory hole in general perhaps because while there is an animal at the center of the book the reader is only privy to its internal thoughts for a brief moment at the beginning the rest of the book being an epic fantasy that takes place among humans around the animalThe story is about an ancient civilization probably set in Central Asia though deliberately obscure A religious cult here worships a monotheistic God the God which comes ever so rarely in the body of a gigantic bear We meet this bear Shardik in the first chapter driven from the wildlands to north by a fire It confronts a man a hunter named Kelderek who is considered a simpleton by his people Ortelgans heir to the dynasty below centered in the city of Belkan but driven t a small island in a large river Kelderek brings the story to of the bear to the priestess who heads his cult and she tells him a prophecy the coming of Shardik means that two vessels a man and a woman will be annointed; they will be broken into pieces by the God and reformedThe rest of the story is the working out of this prophecy as Kelderek is convinced to join a political revolt against the wishes of the priestess who is imprisoned Seemingly with the help of Shardik the Ortelgans win a series of bruising battles and reclaim their empire at least in part the southern provinces continuing to withhold their allegiance Kelderek is made priest king Even as he battles with the breakaway regions he recognizes that the key to the empire's stability is trade which he insists upon A major part of the trading though is in slaves especially childrenEventually Kelderek is deposed by a man whose own son was taken into slavery by the worst of the traders Kelderek then flees the capitol to find Shardik who has also been kicked out He tries to have Shardik kill him but does not Instead they became enrolled int he mysteries of yet another cult which promises the glorious death of Shardik before ending up on the far frontier in a town overrun by criminals There he meets the priestess and her helper We hear the helper's tale and how she has endured horrors They fall in loveKelderek though is not done with his fate He is captured by a slave trader and sees its horrors up close; he meets the son of his usurper Seemingly he and the other children are saved by the bear Shardik which kills the slave trader just before it dies itselfIn the end Kelderek is forgiven his sins and becomes governor of the frontier town opening it to trade with the far world In the last chapter we see the horse riders of the distant northeast looking in on the empire and commenting on its strange ways and odd cult of the bearWhat Adams does here is deceptively hard So many fantasies fail on the fake language and invented hierarchies on oracular language that sounds pretentious His does not always work this is a decidedly pre feminist work with a perhaps unhealthy obsession with virginity but for the most part the language does work even as he opens chapters in grandilouent terms Even as he drops in terms and words from teh world that could seem silly or childish but instead retain a ragged integrityTo my mind the book suffers from length and too many stories within stories It is reminiscent of Tolkien in that way no surprise since Watership Down was in many ways a recreation of Tolkien's universe but with rabbits instead of hobbits Two characters come together and then there are a dozen pages of one of them telling the other the story of how they got there I understand that this is a personal preference though and others may be able to fully submit themselves to the world which is created in great detail but not so much detail as to be overwhelming and with just enough left undescribed to give it the mystery of a real placeThe book might be faulted too for how conveniently the various storylines come together wrapped in a nice little bow This seems the mark of an epic fantasy though a saga and so I cannot begrudge Adams the coincidences upon which he reliesBeyond the story though there seem to be two parables at work The first is perhaps a projection on my part; just as seemingly American literature cannot escape the uestion of race British literature cannot void the uestion of empire It seems of no little moment that Kelderek comes from a tiny island and conuers the known world at the behest of a God few others recognize or accept nor that his domination leads to great evils nor that the solution to the problem is euitable trade and tolerance of multiple religions and the end of slavery The book seems ver much to have been written in full knowledge of the then recent collapse of the British empire The second allegory is about the nature of God itself Kelderek and his cohorts though doubting sometimes ultimately accept Shardik as the Power of God made manifest And it is a very Christian kind of God sacrificing itself to free children from slavery This acceptance can lead to horrors enslaving children or the best of works at the end Kelderek's frontier region takes in the world's abandoned children and gives them a place to live and be valuedBut the book leaves open the uestion of whether Shardik is really a God or just a force of nature whose actions are interpreted as divine Adams is not subtle and he spells out all his many themes very clearly The end of the book is a disuisition on this point by a visitor from another country But just as key is one of the two epigraphs chosen for the book which does somewhat tip Adams's hand From Carl Jung Superstition and accident manifest the will of God

Shardik PDF ¼ Mass Market Paperback
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 620 pages
  • Shardik
  • Richard Adams
  • English
  • 01 August 2014
  • 9780380366651