The Charwoman’s Shadow by Lord Dunsany
Taken from the back of the book: “An old woman who spends her days scrubbing the floors might be an unlikely damsel in distress… [but this] is a beautiful tale of a sorcerer’s apprentice (Ramon Alonzo) who discovers his master’s nefarious usage of stolen shadows, and vows to save the charwoman from her slavery.”
Of course, Ramon Alonzo’s quest isn’t so cut and dry in its execution, and he soon finds his own shadow in danger. The symbolism of the shadow in this story reminds me of A Wizard of Earthsea (Le Guin), my all time favorite Fantasy book. This, too, is a coming-of-age story. But the antiquity of Dunsany’s writing style lends a lyrical, almost fairytale-like quality to the text that makes it a joy to read.
Lord Dunsany is all but forgotten these days, but he was writing Fantasy way back in 1926. Thanks to Del Rey’s Impact imprint, you can now get quality trade paperbacks of a few of his works.