A Shadow on the Glass

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A Shadow on the Glass
First edition cover
Author Ian Irvine
Cover artist Mark Sofilas
Country Australia
Language English
Series The View from the Mirror
Genre Fantasy novel
Published 11 February 1998 Orbit Books, Penguin Books
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 608 pp (paperback edition)
ISBN 1-84149-003-2 (paperback edition)
OCLC 43069409
Followed by The Tower on the Rift

A Shadow on the Glass is the first novel in The View from the Mirror quartet. The author is Ian Irvine, an Australian writer of fantasy and eco-thriller novels.

The series follows the characters Llian, a brilliant chronicler from the College of Histories in Chanthed, and Karan, a young woman who owns the humble lands of Gothryme. A Shadow on the Glass was published in 1998 by Penguin Books.

Plot summary[edit]

"A Shadow on the Glass" starts with the chronicler Llian telling the greatest of all the Great Tales—the Tale of the Forbidding—in a surprising and dangerous new fashion, revealing previously unknown claims. The Master of the College of the Histories, Wistan, quickly understands the ramifications of the telling and makes it his goal to suppress all knowledge of the tale and get rid of Llian so as to protect the College and preserve the commonly accepted version of history. His opportunity comes when Mendark, Magister of the High Council of Santhenar asks for someone to go out and find a woman named Karan, who had stolen a relic (The Mirror of Aachan) from his nemesis Yggur the mancer.

Karan had helped Maigraith, a powerful but troubled mancer, into Yggur's fortress of Fiz Gorgo using her talent as a sensitive. This was done on behalf of Maigraith's liege, Faelamor, leader of the Faellem. Karan and Maigraith succeeded in gaining entry and even in finding the evil Mirror. Yggur barges in and Maigraith uses her Art to hold him off, but eventually is overpowered and imprisoned. Karan escapes and eventually meets up with Tallia (Mendark's chief lieutenant) but is frightened of her and runs away to eventually meet up with Llian, who had been saved from Yggur's Whelm by Shand.

Faelamor, using her unmatched powers, rescues Maigraith from Yggur and they soon set out to retrieve the Mirror.

Karan and Llian venture to the hidden Aachim city of Shazmak, and Karan is overjoyed to meet up with her old friend Rael. She is relieved to see that his father—the leader of the Aachim, Tensor—is away. Tensor returns, however, having learnt from Mendark that Karan had the Mirror. His arrival and subsequent questioning of Karan regarding her possession of the Mirror (which is in fact hidden inside a plaster cast on her broken arm) forces her to undergo a trial, in which she links with Llian in order to deceive the Syndics (judges). Tensor persuades the syndics to allow stronger questioning of Karan, which forces her to flee Shazmak with Llian. Rael is killed in the process. Karan and Llian (intermittently separated and together) journey to Sith and on to Thurkad, pursued part of the way by Tensor and by Whelm.

Karan is captured by Thyllan when she arrives in the capital city of Thurkad, and all of the great powers merge in a Great Conclave, to decide who should get the Mirror. Tensor, believing he and the Aachim should have the Mirror (as it was theirs of old), yet seeing that this will not happen, as the conclave—blinded by the will to save Thurkad—gives the Mirror to Thyllian, cracks and uses a forbidden potency spell that lays the whole Conclave low. Tensor escapes with the Mirror and Llian, who alone of all the people gathered was unaffected by the potency. The book ends with the reader unsure as to whether Karan, Maigraith or Faelamor survived the potency.