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Lord Valentine's Castle (Pan fantasy) Paperback – 9 Oct 1981


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Paperback, 9 Oct 1981
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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; New edition edition (9 Oct. 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330264621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330264624
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 3.2 x 11.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,244,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Valentine, a wanderer who knows nothing except his name, finds himself on the fringes of a great city, and joins a troupe of jugglers and acrobats; gradually, he remembers that he is the Coronal Valentine, executive ruler of the vast world of Majipoor, and all its peoples, human and otherwise... Lord Valentine's Castle was the first of Robert Silverberg's novels about Majipoor, in which he has for two decades explored the question of responsibility and authority; much SF and fantasy plays with constructed dreams of feudalism, but Silverberg asks the important questions of how a ruler can be a good person, and how can the person who rules all be free themselves. Inventively, Valentine's learned skills as a juggler become a fruitful metaphor for much of what he needs to know as he campaigns to reclaim his throne from a usurping imposter: Silverberg explores the implications of what might have been a mere narrative cliché. His portrayal of a huge light world where technology and magic have blended, and where different species and cultures have engineered a diverse harmony, is not the least attractive of SF's utopias; the sheer scale of the canvas gives Valentine's wanderings their own wild poetry. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘Silverberg’s invention is prodigious… like a competent juggler, he maintains his rhythm and suspense to the end’
Times Literary Supplement

‘Spectacularly readable’
The Times

‘There are two things that abide: absolute awe at Silverberg’s capacity for creating images… and the compassion that colours every word’
Washington Post

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

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First Sentence
AND THEN, AFTER WALKING all day through a golden haze of humid warmth that gathered about him like fine wet fleece, Valentine came to a great ridge of outcropping white stone overlooking the city of Pidruid. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Piper Dawn on 9 July 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I started reading this book on a whim- I'd never read anything by Robert Silverberg before, and I was at a loose end one day. I was used to reading science fiction and fantasy, and thought I had seen most of the standard plots/styles by now. This was something quite fresh; the basic plot is very simple, which gives the author more space to create the world in which the characters live. But the way in which the tale progesses is somehow more involving and interesting than I had expected. Robert Silverberg's style really lends itself to the subject matter (understanding your place in the world,and striving towards a distant goal).

I find long, stodgy, expositions terribly irritating, and thankfully Mr Silverberg has mostly spared us this; instead the world is just described as the characters see it, as if everything is both strange (the main character has lost his memory at the start of the book) and entirely ordinary.

The characters themselves are pleasingly realistic (although, looking through the eyes of a 21st century culture, there is distinct evidence of racial stereotyping). They don't make arbitrary decisions to further the plot; nor are they 'good' or 'evil'. The dialogue is clean and colloquial.

The world is, weirdly, somewhere that you can really imagine yourself living. It seems somehow more real than most fantasy realms; maybe I was just in a particularly credulous mood when I first read it, but I could almost see the landscapes as they were described. If this were a real place being described, I'd want to visit; as it is, I find myself feeling almost homesick for an imaginary land!

I'd suggest that anyone who wants to read this book give themselves a good two hours to get stuck into the story; breaking off early on is likely to leave you confused when you come back to it. All in all, I would highly recommend Lord Valentine's Castle to anyone who has the stamina for a book of this length.
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Format: Hardcover
There is something weirdly fascinating about this book - it's not particularly good but somehow you keep turning the pages because you want to see how the inevitable conclusion will arrive. It's not great literature but it's straightforward, uncomplicated and an easy read. And the author has created a somewhat interesting fantasy world.

But...some of the plot becomes so contrived and ridiculous, and the escapes from impossible situations at some point became so fantastic that I stopped enjoying it. I know it's fantasy, but even fantasy worlds should have common sense. When you keep getting deus ex machina the story quickly becomes meaningless. That was my reason for giving it 2 stars instead of 3.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 May 2002
Format: Paperback
A real delight to read. Imaginative, rich, complex and epic. A rare breed of sci-fi/fantasy crossover set against a beautifully realised world full of contrasts and with a real narrative drive. Unlike most fantasy this book is also very well written, avoiding cliches and tired set pieces. This book should be rated alongside Dune.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By AnetteF on 21 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read his short stories in the 'Legends' anthologies, I thought that the Majipoor series by Silverberg sounded promising. Unfortunately, this first book in the series didn't live up to my expectations. You might like it if you are heavily into world descriptions but I think compared to what else is about these days, the story itself is bland.

Other points... the vastness of Majipoor... even in fantasy, the magic and fantastic stuff has to fit within the bounds of the world it is set in. Castel Mount is supposed to have a billion (and more) living on it and it is 30 miles high. Compare this with London which has about 7.7 million over 620 square miles and that is pretty large. The descriptions and storylines just didn't add up for me with the numbers of inhabitants and the actions that were taking place.

Main characters... same as someone else, I too found most of them pretty flat. Valentine himself starts off flat, mainly because of his memory loss and does liven up a little later on in the book. His relationship with Carabella though seems to be put in as an afterthought most of the time. She gets put in charge of a section of his forces at one point... she who up to that point has shown little leaning towards leadership or outstanding tactical prowess.

When the first two Skandars died, I thought 'aah, you should have known, never star as the minor characters on a star treck away team'.

Valentine spares some thought as to how his old friends will like his new ones... but no more. We never witness those meetings.

A large part of the story is driven by dreams. I found the way they were employed pretty un-inspiring and as the story progressed I started just skimming over them.
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