Shadow Lord Rising garnered a 4.2 out of 5 from Indie Reader, a professional reviewing service.
Verdict: Readers who enjoy fantasy stories and don't mind biblical comparisons will find much to like in THE CHRONICLES OF ALTARAN (Book 1: Shadow Lord Rising), an engaging tale of good and evil featuring interesting and compelling characters in a strange, often brutal, world.
4.2 out of 5
THE CHRONICLES OF ALTARAN (Book 1: Shadow Lord Rising) tells the story of Ransom Cross, a young man kidnapped by assassins from Gehring’s Crossing, his hometown in the world of Altaran. The hired guns want to take the blond, blue-eyed boy to their master, Shaitan, also known as the Shadow Lord. They are intercepted by Ghorrin, giant lizard/dinosaur creatures who make up one of the four races of Altaran. Ghorrin are intelligent beings with the ability to speak, and they save Ransom from his attackers. An aspiring healer, Ransom initially functions as a prisoner in the Ghorrin caves before saving Yc-rem, one of the younglings who suffered a broken leg. Yc-rem repays Ransom by accompanying him on his return home, a reward for his good deed. Yet the boy finds his hometown in ashes and his parents murdered, which sets off a chain of events that includes adventures with pirates and assorted fantastical creatures who want to do Ransom, Yc-rem, Brother Andrew (a local priest) and Hunter (Ransom’s assigned bodyguard) plenty of harm.
The first of a four book series which undoubtedly features Ransom discovering why the Shadow Lord wants him and what his true destiny is, THE CHRONICLES OF ALTARAN draws clear biblical comparisons. Shaitan, the monster who speaks in the first few pages and is only briefly mentioned throughout the rest of the book, is an obvious characterization of Satan. Like the devil, Shaitan was among the “good” gods of Altaran, but fell from grace. His mad desire for power split the world in two: those who follow the Shadow Lord and those who adhere to the teachings of Makir, an obvious interpretation of the Christian god. Makir’s word is written in The Chronicles of Altaran, or the fantasy world’s bible.
Clear biblical references aside, THE CHRONICLES OF ALTARAN is an engaging tale of good and evil, another story of the hero’s journey. Much like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, Ransom Cross is a relatively ordinary young man thrust into a life of adventure following the demise of his parents (or in Luke’s case, his aunt and uncle). He makes numerous discoveries about the world he lives in and himself as he attempts to find his place. And while the book features several typos, the characters are compelling enough to keep the reader interested. Perhaps one of the most loveable characters is Yc-rem, the youngling Ghorrin whose earnestness, bravery, and sweet temperament more than make up for his intimidating appearance.
~Kent Page McGroarty for IndieReader
Reviews of the Chronicles of Altaran:Shadow Lord Rising
Posted on Amazon.com
Welcome to the Brave New World of Altaran
By Lon Bennett Glenn on July 4, 2015
A remarkable fantasy adventure, by Mark Swirsky, that will make a great read-aloud for kids 12 and up. Younger children will probably have a tough time with both the vocabulary and some of the violence. Of particular note: there are the scary creatures and setting created by the author. Our hero, 17-year-old Ransom's life is in almost constant danger. There are sword fights and Ransom is taken hostage, but he uses these and other challenges as learning experiences, trying to overcome long odds of survival. The powerful Ghorrim roam and pirate's swords fly in gory detail causing sad deaths and heroic redemption. Come along for a fantasy ride into the brave new world of Altaran.
Great Story with good characters
By Carter Berlin on June 27, 2015
A great concept and world building with some small lake of scale and pacing but far superior to the majority of the new genre launches.
Simply an enjoyable and quality read.
Looking forward to sequels!
Contant Action in an Interesting New World
By Karen Potts on August 23, 2015
Ransom Cross is a young man who aspires to be a healer. Suddenly he is assaulted on all sides and cannot figure out why the Shadow Lord seems to be pursuing him with assassins. He has multiple adventures in Altaran and meets many interesting people along the way. Underlying the adventures are symbolic characters who represent God and Satan. Ransom discovers that he must make a decision to serve one or the other. His adventures will continue in two more books, where readers will discover what his decision is and why the Shadow Lord is pursuing him.
By Rangerkern "rangerkern" on July 26, 2015
This was a completely random buy for me. It was on my list of recommended books. Now I am waiting for the next one to see what happens. What I like is the character still does not know what is so special about himself. He makes mistakes usually not the same one twice but still. It is just a good book. I can't wait till the one.
MG, YA, Fantasy
By Mom of three on July 14, 2015
Exciting fantasy! The great characters jump off the page with their uniqueness and pathos. The story is told with great ease and carries multiple plots concurrently to make for a great beginning to the series. The bad guys are real bad and the good guys are ever so sweet. Great read for anyone. MG, YA, and Fantasy readers should take a look.
By Mark B Heironimus on July 5, 2015
I enjoyed reading The Chronicles of Altaran. It held my attention from the first page until the end. I can't wait for the next book! Hopefully that will be soon!
By Travis Vandaveer on August 14, 2015
First couple pages a little slow, but then I couldn't put it down! I'm excited to read the rest of the series.
Edgar Delacruz2702 January 29, 2019
5.0 out of 5 starsAmazing series all the way through!
Outstanding story all the way through, I strongly advise to read the whole series it's definitely a unique story that is well worth your time. The thrill from the story is indescribable and just plain awesome. Can't wait for his next release.