Wolf in Shadow is the third book in the Stones of Power or Sipstrassi tales series by David Gemmell, and was also called The Jerusalem Man – for reasons that are obvious when you actually read the book.
Jon Shannow, The Jerusalem Man, is a wanderer and punisher of brigands. He searches for the fabled city of Jerusalem, as he lives in a world that is run by ruthlessness and bloodshed. A man of the Bible, he is named a danger to the Hellborn lord who calls himself Abbadon and wants to drown the world in blood. The Hellborn are hunting Shannow, but made one fatal mistake: they endangered the woman The Jerusalem man loved.
Because this is the third book in the series, I was expecting – I don’t know what I was expecting really – but something completely different from what I got. I thought that even though I knew only the first and second novels would be a re-imagining of the Arthurian Legend, the readers would still be greeted by their familiar world.
But what the readers got was completely different: it was a world after the great Fall. The fall of civilization, of OUR civilization. You get a few hints here and there that the old world was way more technologically advanced than the world Shannow lives in, but it isn’t until you reach the middle when it hits you. That fallen world was the world of today – well, of the days Gemmell lived in, as he’s been dead for years now – , but that’s still the world of 1987! It’s a mix of Heroic Fantasy and the post-apocalyptic.
There’s a lot that happens in the book – and there are a lot of characters – but the most time was devoted to The Jerusalem Man, as it should. He is such a tragic character and yet someone who can steal your heart. He’s a man of violence in a world of violence, but he uses his guns for good. To hunt brigands, to send them away. And yet he is always regarded as a cold-blooded killer, even by those he’s saved. You just want him to find his Jerusalem and find peace, but know in your heart that he probably won’t.