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Midsummer Tempest (Orbit Books) Paperback – 12 Sep 1975

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Paperback, 12 Sep 1975
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Futura Publications; 1st Paperback Edition edition (12 Sep 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860078574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860078579
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,243,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Essef - Suppose every event in history had at least two causes. And led to and from a separate universe in space and time.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lark TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The blurb on the back of this book includes a recommendation from something called "The Alien Critic" suggesting its one "Worth buying for your permanent collection" and I think it sure is. A high accolade from me since I'm always thinking of ways I can dispose of my books to make space for more.

This is a book not unlike Anderson's Three Hearts & Three Lions (Fantasy Masterworks) which is based upon Carolingian myths whereas this book is based upon Shakespeare, the hero from Three Hearts is briefly featured in the course of this book when this is made clear with the wonderful literary tool of a magical "flying inn" which comes to the aid of unfortunates for one night only.

A complete masterpiece of fantasy literature Anderson reproduces some olde english and other dialects brilliantly in the course of creating a tale of Cavaliers vs. Roundheads playing out very differently when our hero Rupert is assisted by Faerie (who are not as malicious as portrayed in other works by Anderson), even King Arthur and the whole of the Wild Hunt, in forestalling industrial and political revolution, even the onset of the modern age itself. It sounds crazy and unconvincing but read the book and you couldnt be disappointed, on another level this is also a romance, between two star crossed lovers, the noble royalist and the puritans daughter, and of an age of "mystery and merriment".

Recommended highly, particularly to fans of Poul Anderson's Three Hearts & Three Lions (Fantasy Masterworks) or Tim Power'sThe Drawing Of The Dark (Fantasy Masterworks).
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By S. McHugh on 30 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Poul Anderson always had a tendency to write lush, wordy descriptions. Here he goes so far overboard it gets wearisome.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lucilla on 21 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
Captivating retelling of shakespeare's midsummer's dream, one of the most brilliant rendering of parallel universes I've ever read
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A tour de force 2 Jun 2001
By Bob Remund - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This story is truly one-of-a-kind; a labor of love (being dedicated to the author's wife) as well as a tour de force. It can be savored on four levels: first as "simply" a fine and original fantasy novel; second as a clever and "natural" (that is, unforced) interweaving of characters and locales from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest, with a light seasoning of Arthurian themes; thirdly as a masterful adaptation of the language rhythms of a Shakespeare play (with the chapters/acts divided into "scenes"); and finally as an extraordinary, subtle (that is, unobtrusive) integration of poetry (again a la Shakespeare) into prose narative. For example, chapters or "scenes" occasionally end with a rhymed couplet, but that is only the most obvious of the many Excellencies. All four levels are seamlessly incorporated in a most extraordinary manner. The first time I read this book - in 1974 - I was halfway through before I began to realize what the author had achieved. Thus lovers of fantasy can thoroughly enjoy the story, while connoisseurs of the English language will find additional reasons to rejoice. This book is a gem - a masterpiece. I have treasured my paperback copy for 27 years. I assume it is reprinted regularly, but I have never seen it again in bookstores. It deserves a fine hardcover "limited" edition with illuminated script highlights and four-color illustrations by a top artist sympathetic to the genre. I plan to commission one as soon as I win the power ball.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A classic that any fan of Anderson or Shakespeare will love 6 July 2001
By "wellsoul@zdnetonebox.com" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of those books you want to keep and read again over the years. It's a historical what if? story. What if there was a world where Shakespeare's stories were history rather than fiction and in this world railroads were built 200 years early? It's a wonderful story with all the elements of fantasy of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" combined with the battle between Royalists and Roundheads in a world of premature steam industry. The only thing that would be more wonderful would be if it were twice as long! This is a book you can read today and it is still as great as when it was written.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely superb! Deserves more than 5 stars!!!!!! 28 Oct 1999
By Hal Colebatch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am sometimes sorry I cannot give less than one star to some books I have read (I read hundreds of books professionally). On this occasion I am sorry I cannot give more than five stars.
It is absolutely superb, a perfect jewel of a book which I had never heard of and discovered only by chance. The heroic scale and width of concept, and I say this with all seriousness, can be called Shakespearean. Splendid descriptive writing, action and characters, with resonances at the very centre of great mytho-poetry. I knew Poul Anderson was a great writer, but this took my breath away! The best novel I have discovered in years!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An engaging, literate swashbuckler fantasy 5 Sep 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is one of my two or three favorite Poul Anderson books and one of my top 20 favorite novels, period. It's a combination alternate history-swashbuckler-magical fantasy set in the era of the war between Cavaliers and Roundheads, but with a difference: they have railroads already. Well plotted, well paced, inventive, suspenseful, great descriptions. Not too deep, though--just great fun. Characters: Traditional but not stereotypical hero, heroine, sidekick, villain, a few historical figures, some familiar literary non-humans and a guest cameo appearance by a character from one of my other favorite stories of his. This story makes one really appreciate how well grounded in history and literature Anderson is. He also displays that all-too-rare ability to use the English language of the past with complete accuracy, a skill the lack of which can easily break the spell of an effort which might have otherwise succeeded. Attention English majors: There's one other feature I won't completely give away so as not to spoil your fun of discovery, but I will say--pay close attention to the dialog
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Where Shakespeare is *THE* Historian 18 Feb 2010
By Chrijeff - Published on Amazon.com
Imagine a world where Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Falstaff, Othello, Romeo and Juliet actually lived. Where cannon existed in Hamlet's time and striking clocks in Julius Caesar's. Where Richard III was a hunchbacked monster, Bohemia once had a seacoast, and witchcraft works. Where fairies and elves exist. Where "English folk...in character and speech...[existed] before the walls of Troy, in Theseus' Athens, in Rome and later Italy, in Denmark...[having] spread out north from some old southern land..." And where the chronicle of that spread is told by a man called The Historian--William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon. Such is the world imagined by Poul Anderson in this splendid, magical, swashbuckling tale. The scene is England, and the Cromwellian revolt against King Charles I (or, as the Puritans claim, his bad councillors) is raging. Among the best cavalry commanders in the Royalist force is Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the King's nephew--until he's captured at the Battle of Marston Moor and taken to the home of a Puritan knight, Sir Malachi Shelgrave. There he meets his captor's niece, Jennifer Alayne, and there he is delivered from captivity by her and his loyal Somersetshire sergeant, Will Fairweather. For in a world where locomotives and smoking factories already blight the face of England, King Oberon and Queen Titania of the Faerie realm have a job for him to do, a task that will not only determine which cause triumphs but may mean the continued existence of all that is supernatural.

Anderson is best known as a writer of sf, often set on distant planets inhabited by splendidly imaged alien races (read his Fire Time for a prime example); his fantasies are few (this one, HROLF KRAKI'S SAGA - Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series, and The Broken Sword (Fantasy Masterworks) are the chief ones), but coming as he did from the bardic tradition of Scandinavia, his gift was natural and is plainly marked here. The basic premise is intriguing and well worked out, the characters are distinctive and delightful (from gangly Will Fairweather to the "airy sprite" Ariel to the "maundering" Puritans and the loyal, loving Jennifer), and if you try reading some of the dialogue out loud to yourself, you'll realize that a good deal of it is written in blank verse! (And after all, if you think about it, if Shakespeare was reporting both events and speech exactly as they occurred, how else *would* people speak in his world?) There's even a brief appearance by that famous Gascon, D'Artagnan, of Dumas's The Three Musketeers (Signet Classics), very possibly with Queen Anne's diamond studs in his pocket. I've loved Anderson's work since I first discovered it in the early '70's, and this is among my favorites of his novels. If you're looking for a very different kind of alternate-world fantasy filled with intrigue, action, singing language, and unforgettable characters, this is a book you mustn't neglect to read.
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