||ord Tophet is clearly only an installment in an ongoing series. I thought Shadowbridge + Lord Tophet was a complete
story, but when I finished reading this book it was clear that there was much more to the tale that still remains to be
told. However, a quick glanceat Frost's home webpage makes no mention of any additional Shadowbridge books.
Click here for Frost webpage.
There are a lot of nice elements to this novel. Frost does an excellent job of creating a
fantasy universe full of wonder and marvel, populated with some creepy characters. When Lord Tophet finally
appears, he appears to be a terrific bad guy. Frost describes some unique places, such as the inverted world called
Pons Asinorum that can occasionally be
glimpsed hanging upside above the bridge span Colemaigne. I also liked the main characters Diverus and Leodora. Just like in the
first volume, Frost includes some excellent stories within the main story that convey the culture and history of Shadowbridge
to the reader.
What I didn't like so much about Lord Tophet is the plot. Not only has the story not ended by the last page, but it seems
to me that there is entire level to this story that going on in the background that is only vaguely glimpsed by the reader. The
gods are active characters in this story, and Leodora and Diverus interact with them. Clearly someone is manipulating our
heroes - why else would Leodora happen to be transported to that prison? That the coral man has come into her possession is clearly
no accident. Leodora has a talking pendant that gives her clues of how the gods want her to act. Unfortunately, Frost does not explain
the gods actions, so seems as if they are acting arbitrarily, the gods appear to be mere a device to guide the plot along. It seems like Frost wants
to give us a tour of his inventive and interesting Shadowbridge, that the true story he wants to tell is the exploration of this marvelous fantasy
world, and the plot is a simply a device for moving the reader from one wonder to the next.
I was disappointed by Lord Tophet. Why is he so focused on Leodora and her puppets? The explanation seemed pretty weak.
Lord Tophet could have been a great opponent, full of cruelty and cunning. But once he actually gets his brief time upon the stage,
Lord Tophet hardly seems
menacing. Leodora handles him with surprising ease. Clearly Lord Tophet is only a secondary character in the as-yet-untold larger story.
I will be surprised if Lord Tophet truly is the last book in the Shadowbridge novels, it seems there is too
much of the tale left to be told, and Frost clearly likes exploring his bridge/water world and certainly will return with more story.
If there is another book, I will probably read it.