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Bookmarks Issue: 
36-Sept-Oct-2008
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A-An Autumn WarThis is the third novel in Daniel Abraham’s fantasy series, The Long Price Quartet (we reviewed the first, A Shadow in Summer 4 of 5 Stars Selection July/Aug 2006; A Betrayal in Winter [2007] is the second). Though a relative newcomer, Abraham collaborated with SF heavyweights George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois on the recent Hunter’s Run ( 4 of 5 Stars May/June 2008).

The Story: In the first two novels of The Long Price Quartet, Abraham sketched the subtle balances of power in two societies: the Khalem, a group of wealthy city-states filled with poets that depend on enslaved genie-like creatures, the andats, to maintain their power, and the Galts, plucky barbarians who envy their wealthy neighbors and scheme over their demise. In this volume, a sudden and unexpected power shift provides the Galts with their chance to strike, giving Abraham the chance to show how characters that readers had previously known only through personal dramas and courtly intrigues react to events that could change their entire world.
Tor. 368 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 0765313421

Locus 4.5 of 5 Stars
"With its third installment, An Autumn War, Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet moves from relatively quiet patterns of intrigue to large-scale violence, and the power of the series, considerable before, becomes quite formidable. … Yet Abraham, one of the most gifted newer fantasists, keeps his material under tight control, and by this cool restraint if anything magnifies the tension of his narrative." Nick Gevers

Dondammassa.com 4 of 5 Stars
"[O]ne of the most impressive debut series in fantasy in quite some time. … The story itself is sufficiently novel to be interesting but the real treat for me is the prose and the characters. The people in the book seem at times ready to leap off the page and, despite the fantastic setting, their struggles are surprisingly engrossing." Don D’Ammassa

Sci Fi Weekly 4 of 5 Stars
"Three-quarters of the way through The Long Price Quartet … Daniel Abraham tosses a spanner into his carefully and lovingly contrived subcreation which ensures that readers will be perched on the edges of their seats for an unfathomable resolution in next year’s The Price of Spring. … [A] fine, alluring, exhilarating story with characters you can really believe." Paul Di Filippo

Critical Summary

Much of the praise that SF critics offer for An Autumn War sounds like a review of a more-mainstream literary novel, with observations on Abraham’s complex and engaging characters, the multiple layers of power throughout his plot, and the excellent writing. "Rarely does the penultimate volume in a series carry such a charge of its own," notes Locus. But the reviewers return to full geek mode to gawk over the game-changing plot twist and ensuing cliff-hanger. Subtle plot development and engaging characters are great, they seem to say—but, just to show how compelling this series really is, what they really want is the next (and last) book, The Price of Spring (2009).