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The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy [Kindle Edition]

Mervyn Peake , China Mieville
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)

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Book Description

'Peake's books are actual additions to life; they give, like certain rare dreams, sensations we never had before, and enlarge our conception of the range of possible experience' C.S. Lewis

Enter the world of Gormenghast. The vast crumbling castle to which the seventy-seventh Earl, Titus Groan, is Lord and heir. Titus is expected to rule this Gothic labyrinth of turrets and dungeons, cloisters and corridors as well as the eccentric and wayward subject. Things are changing in the castle and Titus must contend with a kingdom about to implode beneath the weight of centuries of intrigue, treachery, manipulation and murder.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy has grown out of its reputation as a cult classic and into the mainstream of fantasy, as a book no reader interested in Gothic dare to miss. It is one of the most distinctive, absorbing and wonderfully strange books ever written. The story concerns Titus, heir to and afterwards 77th Earl of Groan and his adventures in the sprawling, crumbling castle of Gormenghast. Gormenghast is an entire world and Titus comes to grips with his prime antagonist, the sinister kitchenboy Steerpike, amongst a brilliant profusion of characters and vivid detail. Peake's work is rarely compared with that other great fantasy trilogy to come out of the immediately post-war years, Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings but in ways the two works do go together. Although Tolkien is plain and expansive where Peake is elaborate, poetic and inward-looking, both authors nonetheless use a detailed imaginative escapism in order to talk about the concerns of their day--specifically the passing of the old certainties of traditional England and the coming of something new. "'Equality is the great thing', said the sinister Steerpike, pulling the legs off a stag beetle and preparing to take on the whole hierarchy of Gormenghast, 'equality is everything'." This is why the short, surreal oddity of Titus Alone, the third novel, is the best: finally leaving his castle home Titus finds the larger world stranger even than his birthplace.

The new television series, with which this edition ties in, promises great things but the best part of Mervyn Peake is to be found in his ornate, poetic writing; his grasp of the Dickensian oddities of character and the utterly unique atmosphere of the books. --Adam Roberts


His novels, said Burgess, are 'aggressively three-dimensional... showing the poet as well as the draughtsman. It is difficult in post-war English fiction to get away with big rhetorical gestures. Peake manages it because, with him, grandiloquence never means diffuseness' there is no musical emptiness in the most romantic of his descriptions. He is always exact. . [Titus Groan] remains essentially a work of the closed imagination, in which a world parallel to our own is presented in almost paranoiac denseness of detail. But the madness is illusory, and control never falters. It is, if you like, a rich wine of fancy chilled by the intellect to just the right temperature. There is no really close relative to it in all our prose literature. It is uniquely brilliant.' Anthony Burgess Dark, dense, baroque and hauntingly beautiful. Peake's lush prose and imagery are a pleasure to any lover of the beauty of the written word. A word of warning, however: this one takes its time. Most readers are used to more watery offerings - this is thick, creamy and extra-rich -- Carlos Ruiz-Zafron Guardian A master of the macabre and a traveller through the deeper and darker chasms of the imagination The Times I discovered it at 15 and have been rediscovering it ever since. It's a profoundly enchanting world, but there are no elves or spells the magic is purely in the writing Joanne Harris I started reading it and did not stop.The images conjured up the most weird visions. Images that I had not encountered since absorbing my first introduction to the world of William Blake. It is a fantastic, almost surrealistic flow of vision -- Ronald Searle

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3647 KB
  • Print Length: 962 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0099288893
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (23 Jun. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0056GJI5Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,035 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the few square centimetres inside your head 1 Nov. 2003
Reading this book is like being fully immersed in an utterly fantastic world. The way of life is described in microscopic detail until the existance of a world outside gormenghast becomes unreal. When Titus ventures out of the castle, the world (and indeed our world) by comparison is a pale, washed out image of reality. This is a book with which I have become far more emotionally involved than anything I have read before or since. Every reading feels like a homecoming. Peake's imagery is beautifully, indulgently rich, and the prose has been written with constant precision I defy you to find one single line which does not read like poetry.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Fantasy 4 Sept. 2003
I have never read anything like this before. I am a huge fan of fantasy, but Mervyn Peake's style is truly unique. The trilogy is epic in proportion even though the first two books are set almost exclusively within the confines of Ghormenghast Castle. The characters are fascinating, complex and mad as badgers, every one. I loved these people. Peake writes with such descriptive love that you care about the characters and what happens to them. He creates such sympathy between you and the characters that you care despite their many flaws. My favourite character was Steerpike, and in anyone elses hands this character would have been odious, but I found myself on his side! The last book is perhaps the weakest, mainly because it is the claustrophobic atmosphere of the Castle that creates alot of the tension and atmosphere in the book, and having moved to pastures new in the last the tension is somewhat lacking. That said still a great read.
A deep, dark enthralling story which will keep you turning pages, and leave you with a slight aching sadness when you finish it.
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140 of 146 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed! 22 Jun. 2011
I had pre-ordered this and having recently seen a stunning exhibition of Peake's drawings, was eagerly looking forward to its publication. I have to say that I am sadly disappointed though. The paper quality feels cheap and horrible and does not do the illustrations justice. I was also expecting the pictures to be more central to the volume but I do not feel they have been made the focus as I would expect in an "Illustrated" version. The prints seem pale against the page. Many are quite small and even the full page plates lack any impact at all. Such a shame.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STUNNING AND UNIQUE 1 Sept. 2001
When I stumbled across the Gormenghast Trilogy at a second-hand bookshop I had never heard of Mervyn Peake or his books. It must have been fate that I picked it up on a whim and bought it, because I found it to be one of the most gorgeous and fascinating books I have ever read. It is completely unique. Some readers who like genre fantasy have trouble with these books because they do not fit into the established fantasy mode. However, readers with open minds who love enchanting images, delightful weirdness and vivid, poetic language will be entranced. The descriptions gleam in your memory long after you have finished reading. Oh, and if you're wondering why the third book is so disjointed, it is because the author was close to dying and suffering from Parkinson's disease at the time. I still think that he did better than most writers do in the best of health. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the BBC drama series worked. Of course it fell short of the books - what movie adaptations don't - but it was a fantastic effort. Neve Macintosh was perfect as my all-time favourite character Fuchsia.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Why is this book not given the recognition it deserves? Those who have read it cannot fail to be impressed by its power; Anthony Burgess hailed it as one of the best books of the century, and deservedly so. Peake has a virtuosic imagination. He is one of those few, remarkable writers who write with such sensual clarity that the reader reads 'through' the words on the page into an eidetic experience of the depicted world: that phenomenon uniquely capable in great literature in which writing is magically transparent to experience. He is arguably the best descriptive writer in literature, which makes his achievement all the more remarkable for being a work of pure imagination. For instance, to arbitrarily pick one example out of a book in which every scene is so imagined, the battle between Flay and Swelter in the spiderweb filled attic is a masterpiece of an imaginatively observed reality, rendered with such intense immediacy that one is there, observing every step, every parry, every iota of anxiety and tension moment to moment. And all in grand and beautiful language. (Truly gorgeous language. It may sound ridiculous, but I don't think I exaggerate when I say Peake's use of language is to 20th century english what Gibbon's was to the 18th: grand, sublime, precise, graceful, hypnotic, in love with words and language.) And though his characters are largely grotesques, he writes of them with such sympathy and with such spot-on characterization that he makes them credible living breathing entities. But his skill is not limited to description or characterization. He is able to capture complex and subtle relationships with surgical precision. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A genre classic.
As a fan of quality fiction of all kinds I was very keen to read this classic. I was not disappointed. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Brian Hamilton
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Only problem - can't see illustrations clearly on my kindle
Published 1 month ago by janette payne
5.0 out of 5 stars Gormenghast.. a must for any reader
this is quig a good edition with someof Peake's original sketches. literally a gothic read.
Published 2 months ago by Mr. James F. Mcdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars A firm favourite !
I first read the trilogy when aged 19 and found it completely intoxicating. I am now 54 and reading it for the third time and enjoying it every bit as much. Read more
Published 3 months ago by T. I. Charlesworth
5.0 out of 5 stars They have no redeeming characteristics (although some do emerge later...
Years ago I saw the tv adaption of this and have wanted the book ever since. Most of the characters are rather unlikeable really. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Debb
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best ever!!!
The best fantasy trilogy EVER!!!!! BUY BUY BUY.
Published 4 months ago by Captain Murder
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
as advertised
Published 4 months ago by Mel_Lee
4.0 out of 5 stars Some statues in a place with some peeps or some ...
Some statues in a place with some peeps or some s**t. A small step for story telling, a giant leap for IDGAF
Published 4 months ago by Anon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
this book is brilliant
Published 5 months ago by super squirrel
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
Bought as a gift, but the recipient was very happy with it!
Published 5 months ago by Bish
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