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Conqueror's Moon: Part One of the Boreal Moon Tale [Paperback]

Julian May
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 May 2004 Boreal Moon Tale

A major new epic fantasy from the worldwide bestselling author Julian May.

Conrig Wincantor, Prince Heritor of Cathra, has a vision: to unite the whole island of High Blenholme under Cathran sovereignty.

He has so far been thwarted in this ambition by his cautious, aging father, King Olmigon, who, though weak with illness, still clings firmly to the reigns of the government.

Now Conrig has hit upon a scheme that will convince the Lords that his plan can succeed. He has formed an alliance with Ullanoth, princess of the remote northern province of Moss and a fearsome sorceress. With her help his army will have the advantage it needs to subdue the only domain refusing to sign his Edict of Sovereignty.

But before Olmigon will give his consent he insists on making a pilgrimage to the Oracle of Emperor Bazekoy, there to ask the one question permitted to a dying monarch, which the Emperor must answer truthfully.

Meanwhile, Ullanoth tends her own schemes. Posessing the talent to call on the unearthly powers of the Beaconfolk, mysterious otherworldy beings who appear as lights in the sky, her power is undeniable. But the Lights are fickle, and their interference in human affairs unpredictable. If Ullanoth calls on them to help Conrig, they are likely to extract an unforeseeable price.

Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager; New edition edition (4 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007123191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007123193
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,371,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Inventive use of magic and a well-conceived plot will sweep readers along. ("Publishers Weekly") An outstanding world-builder. ("Booklist") Skillful world-building and keenly developed characters. ("Library Journal") --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Magic always has its price.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
Conrig wincontos, prince Heritor of Cathra, Earl of Brent, and Lord Constable of the Realm, ate without much of an appetite, picking at the cold roast beef, eel pie, and fine white wastelbread. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not outstanding 20 April 2004
Julian May, famous for science fiction series like The Saga of the Exilesand The Galactic Milieu, starts a new series, The Boreal Moon Tale, withConqueror's Moon. This time May has chosen to write a classic fantasystory, set in a medieval world where magic is real, and mythical creaturescan still be found lurking not far from the human settlements.
Ash from volcanic eruptions has been raining down on the island of HighBlenholme for three years, causing the worst famine in memory, as well asa serious disruption in trade. While some of the rulers in the fourkingdoms struggle to fill their treasuries and feed their subjects, othersare seeing an opportunity to increase their influence. Young DeveronAustrey, born with a wild magical talent, becomes the trusted companion ofprince Conrig of Cathra, a man with bigger dreams than anyone else. Hisgoal is to bring the whole island under his own control.
This is more than a tale of Deveron and Conrig though. True to her styleMay lets us know the minds of Conrig's allies and enemies as well, and yousoon realize that this is a story without knights in shining armour, andwith no sorcerers aspiring to become the next evil overlord. The latteris neatly avoided by a magical system that requires payment in pain foreach item of magic you master. The more powerful object, the more painyou have to endure. I really liked that approach.
With a fairly standard fantasy setup as far as world-building goes, thisbook relies heavily on the characters for enjoyment. May has a talent formaking you sympathize with (or at least understand) the character you arecurrently reading about, which is essential for a story based on politicalintrigue. The plot, centred on a secret military strike, is well paced.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just ok 12 Mar 2007
This book feels like all the elements of a decent story are present, but they never quite come together. The characters are interesting, especially Conrig who walks a fine line between good and evil, and Ullanoth, the ambitious princess. Unfortunately, the book never delivers on its promise, and I found it difficult to warm to any of them. I think this may be because there is so little of the characters interacting with each other - just having a conversation or telling a joke. Every sentence seems contrived to move the plot forward, and this leads to some very stilted dialogue, especially when it comes to cramming in back story.

Also, I found that while I was interested in the story, I certainly wasn't gripped by it. Somehow, it never takes off and moves from being an ok book into a good one. I have read the other two in the series (I bought them as a set!) and the same problems continue throughout. Not a bad read, but don't expect anything too special.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just what is going in with Julian May!!? 6 Sep 2004
I got into Julian May's work when 'The Many Coloured Land' was first released in paperback - that's way back in the 1980s, guys. I loved the Saga of the Exiles and the associated Galactic Mileau series, I re-read them all frequently and still rate them amongst my favourite novels, full of fresh ideas, fascinating characters, rich narrative and clever plotting.

That said, you can imagine that I've always responded to new Julian May publications with eager anticipation. And I've always been left disappointed... Conqueror's Moon is no exception. This is substandard generic fantasy fare at best, with cliched plotting, two dimensional characters and an almost pulp fiction feel. It really pains me to say this; I take no pleasure in denigrating someone's work, and especially one of my one-time favourite authors, but I've been let down too often by Julian May.

Has the real Julian May been kidnapped and replaced by a pale imitator? Or has she just become cynical and complacent enough to churn out occasional by-the-numbers potboilers to keep the coffers from emptying?
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me 27 Dec 2012
By lhs42
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved Julian May's Pilocene Exile series so bought this to see if the magic continued. So far, I've struggled with it. I'll come back to it to try again but so far, no love.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read 31 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was surprised at some of the reviews I enjoyed reading this book
I have read earlier Julian May books and they were outstanding.
This trilogy is different but very well written and a great read.
I would recommend these books they are excellent storytelling and are well worth exploring.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Poor fantasy, weak structure, no depth. 15 Feb 2012
These are some of the weakest fantasy novels I have ever read. The first book is the most well written, but there is a sharp fall in the level of quality and storytelling in the subsequent books. I found the characters lacking in any depth and the storyline very predictable and linear.

I would not recommend these books to anyone who reads a good deal of fantasy - there are many superior titles available.
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