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Otherland: River Of Blue Fire: River of Blue Fire Bk. 2 [Hardcover]

Tad Williams
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 July 1998 Otherland (Book 2)

Otherland, an incredibly complex and detailed virtual reality, has appeared. Surrounded by secrecy, it is home to the wildest dreams and darkest nightmares of its users and its creators. Vast amounts of money have been lavished on it. The best minds of two generations have laboured to build it. And somehow, bit by bit, it is claiming the Earth's most valuable resource - its children.

The story begun in OTHERLAND continues in this, the second volume of an astonishing series which is destined to become a landmark in imaginative fiction.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; First Edition edition (2 July 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857235991
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857235999
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 105,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Former singer, shoe-seller and radio show host, Tad Williams is now a full-time writer. His Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series established him as one of the most internationally popular fantasy authors of recent years.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Tad Williams began his Otherland series with the massive City of Golden Shadow and continues it with the equally hefty River of Blue Fire. Williams says it will require four (big) books to tell his complex, multifaceted tale, and at the rate that the plot of this second novel moves, readers will see what he means. Not that the book is a slow read; in fact, River of Blue Fire is as much a suspenseful page-turner as the first book.

As it opens, we join up again with the ragtag bunch of searchers trapped in an astoundingly detailed and frightfully dangerous virtual world known as Otherland. Lurking in disguise among the group is the brutally vicious serial killer Dread, trying to find information that will help him overthrow his Grail Brotherhood masters. The group follows a ubiquitous river through world after world, unable to go offline, and subject to the increasingly terrifying certainty that things in this supposedly virtual place are all too real. Meanwhile, Paul Jonas, an amnesiac (but somehow pivotal) character fleeing from two sinister beings, finds more and more of his memory as he does his own Huck Finn river trip. As in the first novel, each new world that the characters enter, from Palaeolithic Ice Age to something suspiciously like Oz, is fully realized and completely unpredictable.

Williams is a master at parcelling out information to the reader in dribs and drabs, which is frustrating yet tantalizing, like a particularly good computer game. When the group is split up and the adventure divides further, the reader senses the author as a puppet master, following some incredibly complex flows of information. The best course is just to hang on and enjoy Williams's deft characterizations, lush descriptions and wildly divergent plot. If you've ever been white-water rafting, you'll recognize the feeling. --Therese Littleton


True speculative grandeur (Time Out)

A big colorful novel full of real-world conspiracy and virtual reality wonders, with characters worth caring about (LOCUS)

Tad Williams proves himself as adept at writing science fiction as he is at writing fantasy. Best of all, however, are Williams's well-drawn sympathetic characters . . . (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)

Tad Williams made his name in fantasy with the immense "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn" trilogy (1988-93). His "Otherland" quartet, opening with City of Golden Shadow (1996), is mid-21st-century SF set in an ultra-sophisticated software universe containing cou (David Langford, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without a doubt... 5 July 1998
By A Customer
Tad Williams is, simply, one of the greatest (if not the greatest) among the writers currently toiling in the genre of fantasy/science fiction. In fact, I am hesitant to even think of the OTHERLAND books as part of the genre; in no way can it be compared to the usual tripe: Eddings, Goodkind, or the run of the mill Dragonlance filler. Having this opinion, I approached River of Blue Fire with some hesitancy, remembering what I disliked most about his previous series Memory, Sorrow and Thorn--while the first volumn was captivating, the pace and structural backbone of the following two books slowed to a crawl and became, at times, needlessly complicated. Happily, the second volumn of OTHERLAND does not suffer these (small) fallicies; in fact, though enormous and complex, the above review by Kirkus is astonishing. I found my time and attention consumed by this book--at times I forgoed sustience and rest to explore deeper the bewitching qualities and hidden beauties burried within. One scene I will use for an example is where Dread finds the 'dreamtime.' Though the actions are horrific, Tad portrays the charicters psyche so well that I found myself in collaberation with this sick serial killer, lusting, feeling, tingling with the rush of ardrenilene... This book is a marvel, full of vivid imagination and clever prose. On the surface River of Blue Fire is a deliciously overwhelming adventure that is threaded with the subtle themes of humankind, of how we interact with the world around us and winthin us; themes interwoven in any great novel. At completion I wondered how Tad planed to finish this monster in simply four books...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Sci-fi delight from Tad Williams 22 May 1999
By A Customer
Part two of many books turns out to be the best of the 2 published so far. The way in which Tad makes each of his characters stand out from all that's happening in the scenes (which are more and more bazaar as the story progresses. I was never a fan of this genre of books until I picked up Tad Williams'
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ontologically scintillating 20 Nov 1998
By A Customer
There are few authors in the SF/Fantasy genres who do more than entertain. Jordan, Feist et al may churn out volume after volume of harmless entertainment, but they scarcely can be accused of making you think. Williams is one of the few who trigger some cognitive activity in his readers. Along with David Zindell, Greg Bear and Damien Broderick, he is one of the few who will rank next to luminaries such as Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlen, Philip K. Dick and William Gibson as an author who changed the way we look at the world. Forget the innumerable plotlines and characters, forget the fact that each tome is one quarter of a complete work, and even forget the lyrical style of his writing. Williams poses some very serious questions in the guise of fiction. What are the ethical considerations of AI? Does virtual reality become reality? What is perception? What is the nature of good and evil? What is a life worth? His observation of group dynamics would do a Tavistockian proud. He reaches into the realms of anthropology, archeology, ontology, psychology, cybernetics, AI and existentialism to create a world horrifyingly like our own, and yet beyond ours. It may be a bit of a slog, but every page is worth it, and invites you to go elsewhere and increase your own knowledge of these fields. It may well be classed as a classic one day, at least a classic of the genre (let's face it, mainstream literature is incapable of seeing that Science fiction and fantasy have moved beyond Conan and the Lensman series). This series deserves a place on every serious SF reader's book shelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably good!!! 15 July 1998
By A Customer
I may have had to wait two years for this book, but it was certainly worth it. I have never been disappointed by a Tad Williams book yet (with the exception of the ending of To Green Angel Tower). It mayhave taken awhile for me to get into it but once there I was utterly hooked by this books complexity and charm. The entire futuristic world that he has created seems so realistic it is scary. I find myself wishing that I could live in that time sometimes.
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By A Customer
All sci-fi/Fantasy fans should read this series!!! I'm impressed with this series; Willians seems to be doing his homework! The story is on the epic-scale, and no detail is missed. I enjoy the characters, the story is among the best original plots I've ever read, and the writing style of Tad Williams reads like a well-oiled machine. (is that an appropriate allegory?)
My only peeves are: 1. it's taking a long time for these books to get written! But I would much rather wait, and get 100% quality, then something done lickety-split with lots of holes. TWO: The main character, Renie, gets awfully whiney, exasperated, and self-punishing. Her loser-attitude gets annoying after a while. But fortunately, there are other characters and sub-plots as well so it comes in small doses.
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By A Customer
This book held me spellbound like few others have in recent years. After devouring the first book (and waiting very impatiently for this one) I was afraid there would be a let-down. Instead, this book continues the author's penchant for imagination and intense drama. The characters and their interactions are so real you can truly relate to them. The look, feel and potential problems of the author's future internet is all too plausible and eye-opening. I can't think of a book that I would recommend more enthusiastically. Those who enjoyed a look at a possible future for the "net" will love this book, and should read Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great series
I really enjoyed this series of books by Tad Williams. I have the entire series now and would certainly get more books by him.
Published 14 months ago by Sas thompson
4.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a Classic
I read this book first and read the first, third and fourth in the series afterwards. This is my favourite. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Digital-Finger
3.0 out of 5 stars Otherland: Again
I was so excited waiting for the second book in this series to be published. The first one was compelling, intricate, fantastic but had a great sense of place - both RL and... Read more
Published on 25 Jun 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning! Tas Williams has done an amazing job.
Tad Williams, Continuing the Otherland series masterfully, has painted a picture that leads readers to feel caught up in the reading. A real page turner. Five Stars.
Published on 23 Mar 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars blows all the other cyber space books away
I am a great fan of Tad's and have all of the books he has written, I have tried to get as many as I can in hardback to keep as a collection. Read more
Published on 19 Mar 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars The saga continues...
The Otherland epic continues quite nicely with this volume. Williams has upped the stakes with several of the numerous plotlines and manages to tie up one or two of them. Read more
Published on 27 Nov 1998
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent continuation of the 'Otherland' series.
An excellent read. Many plot twists and turns, lots of innovative ideas. The storyline is strong and the characterisation gets you involved. Read more
Published on 21 Nov 1998
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