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An Ambush of Shadows is the fifth book in the classic series of postapocalyptic novels about the people of Pelbar. Despite the tentative peace established in the eleven hundred years since the destruction of the United States, the Tantal tribe remains ready for battle. After their disastrous defeat by the Pelbar tribes at Northwall, the slaveholding Tantal have kept their distance. But since the Pelbar forces began moving northward to colonize the shores of the Bitter Sea, the Tantal forces have been on the attack.
Then one day, a roving tribe of Tantal warriors kidnaps a young girl during a raid on Pelbar explorers. The child is Raydi, daughter of Stel Westrun, Pelbar master craftsman, reinventor of the steamboat, and son of the leader of the Pelbar city-state Pelbarigan. Stel vows to reclaim his daughter and seek revenge, becoming the single-minded foe of all things Tantal.