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Gentlemen of the Road [Kindle Edition]

Michael Chabon
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description


Every page holds a twist, while the prose is rich, but perfect in its control, and its calibration between the poetic and the exotic . . . readers might feel that they have reached the book equivalent of the Promised Land. (The Times)

It's been a while since I had such fun reading a book . . . It's like dipping into a leather-bound chronicle full of exciting legends and reminded me of the fathomless pleasure with which I used to read as a child. I was rapt. (Daily Telegraph)

From the opening sentence of this rip-roaring, swashbuckling yarn, you know you're in the hands of a master . . . That level of brio, invention and panache continues at breakneck pace throughout . . . smart, clever and stylish (Scotland on Sunday)

A rip-roaring ride of a novel (Independent on Sunday)

Intricate and exuberant . . . It's hard to resist its gathering momentum, not to mention the sheer headlong pleasure of Chabon's language. (New York Times Book Review)

a celebration of male friendship (Sunday Telegraph)

great fun (Sunday Times )

Book Description

A spellbinding yarn set a thousand years ago along the ancient Silk Road, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 182 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (11 Dec. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002V091B6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #122,136 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of seven novels - including The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and The Yiddish Policemen's Union - two collections of short stories, and one other work of non-fiction. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On the road 1 Jun. 2008
Award-winner Michael Chabon usually focuses on the disaffected of the present, or at least the near past.

But he goes over a thousand years into the past for "Gentlemen of the Road," an old-fashioned adventure story with some gloriously offbeat heroes. It's a fun, quirky read (the original, fitting title was "Jews With Swords"), with lots of unique twists but the prose gets a bit purple at times.

In caravans and on the road, the giant Abyssian Amram and gawky Frank Zelikman make money however they can -- even staging mock fights. After their ruse is found out by a weary mahout, he offers to take them on as bodyguards to a sullen young prince, Filaq. Then the mahout is murdered, and the two "Gentlemen of the Road" find themselves babysitting a snotty teen with a tendency to run away.

Unfortunately, the fortress they're heading for has been destroyed, and a gang of hired thugs kidnap Filaq. For no reason they can explain, Amram and Zelikman find themselves racing to rescue the kid, and beginning a quest full of checkered pasts, civil wars, ancient elephants... and the discovery that Filaq isn't quite who he seems to be.

There's something very classic about the flavour of "Gentlemen of the Road." Maybe it's because it was actually serialized in the New York Times Magazine, or maybe because Chabon apparently soaked up the works of Moorcock, Alexandre Dumas and Fritz Lieber. Think a Jewish version of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

"Gentlemen of the Road" does have one flaw -- Chabon's prose gets dense and purple at times, which sent me spinning right off the narrative.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious! 14 Feb. 2008
By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The subtitle to "Gentlemen of the road" is 'a tale of adventure' which is exactly what it is, and it's dedicated to Michael Moorcock, which is very telling too. Fabled lands of ancient history (where you can never really that what is fact and what is fiction), a pair of very different but both extremely likeable heroes and a host of colourful other characters, cities under siege and relentless pursuits on horseback... it's all there and very well done too. The language is at times difficult but ultimately shows how rich the English language is and to what great effect it can be used.

This book made me feel like I was twelve again and discovering for the first time Ivanhoe, Tarzan, or Verne's novels, reading them entranced and feeling, for the duration of the novel, how grand it must be to live a adventurer's life ;-)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Homage to Classic Adventure 29 April 2008
This book should come with a big warning wrapper: "Michael Chabon's latest book is unlike his previous work, it is an homage to classic adventure writing -- your results may vary." That's because it's a book whose enjoyment depends heavily on the reader's expectations, and a number of reviewers seem to find fault with it because of this. If you're a fan of Chabon, be warned that it's miles away from his early work like Wonder Boys or The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, and while it shares certain themes with more recent work like Kavalier & Clay, The Final Solution, and The Yiddish Policeman's Union, it's a large stylistic departure and really an experiment unto itself.

Originally written in serial chapters published in the New York Times Magazine, the story follows the stylistic and narrative conventions of the old time pulp serials. And if you've never read any old adventure classics like H. Rider Haggard's Allan Quartermain stories, Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories, or Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar stories, then the heavily stylized form may throw you. Indeed, some reviewers have complained that the story is confusing and hard to follow, which frankly, baffles me. Like its literary ancestors, the plot is such that a 10-year-old could follow and recount it, so the conclusion I draw is that the genre itself is defeating some readers. Sure there are leaps of setting and time, a constant stream of new characters, and plot twists aplenty -- but it's hardly daunting stuff. Similarly, a lot of people seem put off by Chabon's use of archaic and obscure words, but that's exactly how a lot of those old adventure stories were written, and the gist of the meanings can be inferred from context in almost every case.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read 16 Feb. 2008
And delightful to hold. An old-fashioned story, with princes, cutthroats, barbarians, and swords (no sorcery, just a bit of medicine). A doctor and an old soldier set to reconquer an old empire. '"What a pair of swindlers", an enemy said admirinly' The book yields what you expect from it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Past is Just as Strange as the Future 3 Sept. 2009
The first sentence of this book will tell you that you are in for a fun romp, literary style, as Chabon's prose immediately grabs your attention with its lush vocabulary and idiosyncratic long sentence construction. The scene he paints with those words is just as eye-catching, detailing an inn in 10th century Caucasus mountains, at the beginning of fight between a very odd pair, one a giant African, the other a razor thin Jew.

These are the gentlemen of Chabon's road (and what's left of the Spice Road), traveling together, finding employment in whatever strikes their fancy, mixing some odd philosophy with bamboozling others, sometimes spending time repairing some of the damage that violent era imposed on too many bodies, becoming involved (not totally voluntarily) in the politics of the day.

There are clear echoes of other famous adventurous pairs such a Fafhrd and Gray Mouser, here in a setting of time and place that for most readers will probably seem just as odd and unknown as that pair's fantasy world even though it's well grounded in actual history. As Chabon himself mentions in the afterword, the entire idea of a Jew as a swash-buckling warrior strikes a note of discord, as this is simply not the image most people have of those who follow that religion.

There are places where Chabon's prose runs away from him a little bit, with some vocabulary choices that will probably have you scrambling for your dictionary. Perhaps a more serious problem is the place and people names, as most of these are so strange that I, at least, had a problem folding my head around them, leading to some confusion about who was who or what was happening where.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good read, brilliant storytelling
Really good read, brilliant storytelling. Only problem was it ended too soon, I wanted it to go on longer!
Published 13 days ago by Jon Ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Carlos
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet - with pictures
A fun adventure story for children from 8 to 80 and of all possible genders. It combines Chabon's great style and sense of pleasure in the sheer act of writing with a tale of the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Davey
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Escape
This was so enjoyable: great action filled plot full of humour and interest. Set in the Caucasus mountains in 950 AD it is sufficiently far away in time and place to make the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by jd
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful use of language and metaphor
I read it just to enjoy Chabon's artfully crafted wording. I wasn't mad about the plot but the language more than made up for it.
Published 18 months ago by F
5.0 out of 5 stars chuckles all the way
Michael Chabon seems to have discovered a rich vein of gentle humour. The story is set a 1000 years ago ("once upon a time") in a far, far away place (bearing some resemblance to... Read more
Published on 14 Sept. 2012 by judith
4.0 out of 5 stars Jews with Swords
Michael Chabon is a writer with serious literary pretentions, yet his works have a certain pop-culture geekiness to them. Read more
Published on 13 Aug. 2012 by Quicksilver
5.0 out of 5 stars review
Fine - the book arrivedon time so i could give as a present - Fine - the book arrivedon time so i could give as a present-Fine - the book arrivedon time so i could give as a... Read more
Published on 29 July 2012 by Tony
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent adventure story
I have read several Michael Chabon books in the past, which were mostly set in the USA or somewhere almost like it, and in the almost present day. Read more
Published on 7 Feb. 2011 by jan
3.0 out of 5 stars Gentlemen Of The Road
Gentlemen Of The Road is about the adventures of two travellers as they make their way in lands around the Caspian Sea; the history of these lands as told during the two... Read more
Published on 23 May 2010 by A. Addis
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