The Long Price Quartet

I just finished reading The
Price of Spring
, the last novel in Daniel Abraham’s
Long Price Quartet.

The four books are separate novels in the sense that there’s a
conclusion at the end of each of them, but it doesn’t really
make sense to not read them all in chronological order:

  1. A
    shadow in Summer
  2. An
    Autumn War
  3. A
    Betrayal in Winter
  4. The
    Price of Spring

Other reviewers have pointed out that the books get better as
they go along, which is true, but I don’t think you would
understand the way the characters interact if you hadn’t started
at the beginning. Even when they’re both old and dying at the end
of the last book, the way
Otah and Maati first met in the first chapter of the first book is important to understanding the story.

And even in the first book, the writing conveys weather, and
odors, and architecture, and furniture, and clothing, and the pains of
aging vividly. Here’s
a sample paragraph from near the beginning of A Shadow in Summer.

THE RAIN had ended and the night candle burned to just
past the halfway mark when Heshai-kvo returned. Maati, having
fallen asleep on a reading couch, woke when the door slammed
open. Blinking away half-formed dreams, he stood and took a pose
of welcome. Heshai snorted, but made no other reply. Instead, he
took a candle and touched it to the night candle’s flame, then
walked heavily around the rooms lighting every lantern and
candle. When the house was bright as morning and thick with the
scent of hot wax, the teacher returned the dripping candle to its
place and dragged a chair across the floor. Maati sat on the couch
as Heshai, groaning under his breath, lowered himself into the

I really enjoyed this series; while I was looking for a
paragraph to quote you, I started thinking about rereading it
again already, although it’s been less than a year since I read
the first volume. (The last volume has only just come out.)

I was first attracted by the vivid descriptions, but the depth
of character and the moral compass of the work as a whole are also

I would say that if you enjoy world-building fantasy, you
shouldn’t miss reading this book. Note that while the
world-building fantasy most of us know best is the Tolkein Lord
of the Rings
, I did not say to read this because it’s
anything like LOTR. It is, in the sense of having constructed a
world, but the world and the characters and the moral dilemmas are
completely different, and I can easily imagine someone liking
either one but not the other.

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