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Lud-In-The-Mist [Paperback]

Hope Mirrlees
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

3 April 2008

The town of Lud is a prosperous, bustling little country port, situated at the confluence of two rivers: the Dawl and the Dapple. The latter, which has its source in the land of Faerie beyond the Elfin Marches and the Debatable Hills, is a source of great trial to Lud, which had long rejected such fanciful nonsense as fairies, elves and the like.

Then a perfect plague of faerie influences hits the town, penetrating even to Miss Primrose Crabapple's Establishment for Young Ladies, and it becomes apparent to even the stuffiest burgher that Steps Would Have To Be Taken. Fortunately for everyone, Master Nathaniel Chanticleer, Mayor of Lud, is a man with his head firmly in the clouds . . .

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (3 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857987675
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857987676
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

A classic fairy tale, acknowledged as an inspiration by Neil Gaiman, Mary Gentle and many others.

About the Author

Helen Hope Mirrlees (1887-1978) was a British author of novels and poems, whose three novels are Lud-in-the-Mist, Madeleine, and Counterplot, and a book of poetry, Moods and Tensions: Poems. She was one of the Bloomsbury Group and counted among her good friends T. S. Eliot, William Butler Yeats and Virginia Woolf.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic fought the law and magic won 30 July 2006
Lud-in-the-Mist is a small town nestled in a rural idyll, between the mountains and the sea. One of its two rivers, the Dapple, runs out of the Debatable Hills, the boundary between the normal, mundane world and Fairyland. Strange and exotic fruit occasionally floats down that river. The Ludites have assiduously avoided this fruit for centuries - ever since booting out the fairy-fruit eating Duke Aubrey and establishing a republic, thereby swapping a system of magical chaos for the rule of law. But the denizens of Faerie haven't given up on Lud. They have agents working to smuggle the fruit (which induces weird and disturbing mental aberrations in those who eat it) and feed it to the unsuspecting citizens of the republic. Mayor Chanticleer has a tricky job on his hands, finding the culprits and solving an old murder mystery. In the meantime, the promoters of magic are having some success and the law is fighting a losing battle.

About 30 years ago, when I was working in Spain for a few months, a friend lent me a couple of books from his fantasy collection. We couldn't easily get hold books in English so all we Brits passed round whatever we had, treated the books with great reverence and returned them promptly. These fantasy books were particular treasures and their owner lent them only very reluctantly. The other book was William Morris's "The Water of the Wondrous Isles". I've been looking for the books for years. It was hopeless. I couldn't remember the title or the Author of this book. I could remember the cover picture (red fruit floating on water) and I remembered two names from a little ditty that's haunted my mind since first reading it: "Before the cry of Chanticleer, Gibbers away Endomyion Leer".
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, richly textured fantasy 24 Sep 2001
By A Customer
It would be hard to find fault with this beautifully written book. Hope Mirrlees, an English scholar, uses language with flamboyant precision to produce a richly textured world full of vitality and wonder.
Larger than life characters inhabit Lud-In-The-Mist, a bustling town from which all influence of faerie has been banished long ago. The mere mention of anything magical is considered taboo and offensive, whilst the existence of the land of Faerie, just beyond the Debatable Hills, is pointedly ignored.
They are therefore ill-prepared when strange, fey behaviour starts to afflict even the most respectable of Luds citizens, beginning with the pupils at Miss Primrose Crabapple's Academy for Young Ladies...
Mayor Nathaniel Chanticleer, whose own family is affected by the crisis, finds his deepest fears becoming reality.
A truly magical work, the like of which we will probably never see again; made all the more remarkable because it was Ms. Mirrlees only ever fantasy novel.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The right edition of the right book 6 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Another fine book in the admirable line of Fantasy Masterworks - marred by the bizarre mis-ordering of the contents in its Dunsany omnibus, but that's another book. Even the introduction (by Neil Gaiman) is unusually intelligent, and far less self-indulgent than is now the norm for literary introductions.
Intelligent, spiky, witty, and with an extraordinary line in dislocating supernatural terror.
Very good, very odd, and even now quite unlike almost anything in English; just possibly slightly more like John Crowley's "Little, Big: or, the Fairies' Parliament" than it is like anything else, but that says more for its excellence than for its specific character. Buy, read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Mara Greenwood VINE VOICE
I've just finished this book, and found it absolutely delightful, charming and whimsical. It's left me with a real smile, inside and out - well worth buying and reading. The writing style is charming although a little hard to get into, but persevere with it and you will be richly rewarded.

Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Maciej TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I discovered this old and rare jewel recently and reading it was a quite unique experience. The beauty of this book is not so much in the action, but in the general atmosphere and in the masterly use of English language. After ending it I thirsted for more - but it was in vain, as Hope Mirrlees didn't write any more fantasy books.

Written in 1926 this book was for a longtime out of print and forgotten before being rediscovered in the 90s, to the greatest happiness of fantasy lovers. This element only adds to the aura of mystery surrounding Lud-in-the-mist, the imaginary town in an alternative world where most of the action takes place. I swallowed this book fast the first time and then I read it a second time, in a deliberately slower way, to enjoy it even more. I warmly recommend it to anybody who likes fantasy but also to a wider public, willing to discover an old, half forgotten treasure.

I must however add one - very limited - ounce of criticism. I didn't like the last three chapters (XXX to XXXII). I do not want to take off one star for that, but in my modest opinion this book would be perfect, if it have stopped at the last line of chapter XXIX. So if I can offer an advice, the first time you read this book, stop at that moment, then give yourself a couple of days to savour this experience, and only then read the last three chapters. If you like them, fine. And if you do not, well, you will have always the memory of your first impression...

This is an excellent book, a rare jewel - to buy, read, keep and pass to your children.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I hoped for...
Like many others I heard about this book via Neil Gaiman. but was worried it wouldn't meet my expectations. Don't know why I waited so long - I absolutely loved it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Firmin's Whiskers
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise the Lud
One of the best fantasy novels I've ever read. Not for the Sword and Sorcery brigade but for those who like a bit of camp in their coffee
Published 3 months ago by Southport psychobilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful stuff
This is one of those books that's so good it's hard to imagine why it's not number one on the fantasy list. Read more
Published 4 months ago by infrequent
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
This was one of the books referenced in Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn. I have quite honestly never read anything like it. This is a real one off. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Masha
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I was looking for
Specifically a pristine recent printing in hardback of a book I already own and have read and wanted to give as a gift to someone else. Prompt delivery and as new condition. Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2012 by M. J. Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pre-Tolkien fable
It really wasn't what I expected, not quite sure what I expected but I imagine my expectations were coloured by all the modern fantasy I read. Read more
Published on 12 Oct 2011 by Cathy Hill
3.0 out of 5 stars Old fashioned frolics in fairy
As a big fan of Neil Gaiman I bought this book on his recommendation. It tells the story of a small town struggling with a heritage of myth and magic whilst taking its first steps... Read more
Published on 27 Jun 2010 by S. Jary
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent stuff
A half-lost classic of British fantasy - I discovered it as part of the Fantasy Masterworks re-issues. Read more
Published on 27 Mar 2009 by Agent
5.0 out of 5 stars By my great aunt's rump
The oddness of this story can be detected just by checking out the main character. Most fantasy heroes are not round, stodgy, middle-aged men who are respected pillars of the... Read more
Published on 16 Jan 2009 by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars The book I've re-read most...
This is a really special book to me. I first read it nearly thirty years ago, and I've re-read it most years since then. Read more
Published on 23 April 2008 by G. M. Johnson
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