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Shade of the Tree [Hardcover]

Piers Anthony


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Book Description

May 1986
The estate was Joshua Pinson's inheritance from his oddball uncle Elijah: isolated in the deep Florida woods, with a half-built solar house stocked with enough supplies to weather a siege. Josh decided it was time to take his two young children away from New York and the memories of their murdered mother. Time to make a new life in sunny Florida. There was just one thing that Josh hadn't counted on. The place was haunted.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Review

""Shade of the Tree" is set in Stephen king country...a fine and unpredictable tale."--"The New York Times Book Review""Standard trappings of horror fiction--haunted houses, ghosts, and chain-saws--undergo a new twist in a story that contains light humor and dark fantasy in an intriguing blend."--"Library Journal""Anthony's style is energetic and well paced...The plot captivates from the beginning. Nothing is wasted..."Shade of the Tree" promises to be a fine summer read."--"Best Sellers" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Piers Anthony is one of the world's most popular fantasy authors, and a "New York Times" bestseller twenty-one times over. His Xanth novels have been read and loved by millions of readers around the world, and he daily receives hundreds of letters from his devoted fans. In addition to the Xanth series, Anthony is the author of many other best-selling works. Piers Anthony lives in Inverness, Florida. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, if a bit campy 23 April 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Shade of the Tree / 0-812-53103-5

I enjoyed this book, as I do most of Anthony's stand-alone books. "Shade of the Tree" cleverly ties together all the essential elements for a proper horror story: bitterly cold weather, forebodingly sharp objects, hallucinations and nightmares, and an increasing sense of isolation and doom. I will also add that the two children in the novel are superbly written and manage to seem both realistically childish and yet reasonably mature without ever edging too far off either spectrum - that's often not easy to accomplish for an adult author, and I was definitely pleased and impressed in that regard.

Having said that, "Shade of the Tree" does have the usual issues that often accompany Anthony's novels. The main character of the father is poorly fleshed out and somewhat one-dimensional - the father's stubborn refusal to alter or adjust his family's lifestyle in the face of clear evidence of hostile supernatural forces is exceedingly jarring. He doesn't deny the existence of the ghosts that fade in and out of his sight by chalking them up to hallucinations (which would be a credible response for a normal human being faced with the supernatural), but rather he accepts them as real and as accepts them as a very real potential threat. However, this tacit acceptance is the complete end of his response - he doesn't take additional steps to actually deal with the existence of the ghosts (ideally, by moving out and taking his two children with him) or to try to minimize their effect on his family in any way.

Anthony also falls into the two major flaws he introduces into pretty much every other book he's written. The first flaw is that of the "Perfectly Pert Patty" character - Anthony never seems happy until he introduces an impossibly buxom barely-legal girl-woman who must be introduced as a flawless physical specimen every single time she enters the scene. No mere "Bonnie showed up at the doorstep," no, it must be "Bonnie showed up at the doorstep and everyone couldn't help but notice that she had brought her stunningly spectacular breasts with her." Yes, the story needed a maternal figure to step-mother the children, but I'm not certain that a 19-year-old Sophia Loren look-alike (literally!) was mandated and I haven't known too many impossibly gorgeous, gourmet cooking, local beauty queen 19-year-olds whose life ambition was to marry a widower twice her age and with two children half her own age. The seduction scene between the older widower and the young woman is rather skin-crawling, but this is pretty much a classic Anthony set-up so if you've read him before, you're used to it. I don't have to like it, though.

The other major flaw that Anthony can't help but reduce absolutely everything to a computer-analogy. At the risk of spoilers, a telepathic tree is not remotely like a computer, and trying to describe it as such (particularly in a novel otherwise completely devoid of any technology at all) is extremely jarring and inappropriate. The reader is left chortling over such gems as, "a telepathic being, even a tree, was easier to accept than the supernatural," leaving us with the impression that a 'telepathic' tree who summons mental ghosts and zombies to kill people is NOT 'supernatural' in Anthony's vocabulary. If that isn't super-natural, then what is, I wonder?

All told, "Shade of the Tree" is a fine book. I like it, it was worth the used price I paid, and I'll probably read it again someday. Just be aware that there are problems, but if you like Piers Anthony, these problems are ones you've dealt with before.

~ Ana Mardoll
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spooky 10 July 2006
By ~Efrat~ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I liked this book. This is a simple, typical horror book. The characters aren't very deep- Josh-A manly father who has lost his beloved wife, Sue- his daughter who's a little genius and Chris- his son who's hyperactive. There are numerous families in horror films/books with a very similar structure.

The Pinson family moves into a property in the countryside after the mysterious, bloody death of a relative who used to live there. Josh, who came from NYC, ignores the warnings of the neighbors about his land being haunted and settles in. He is ruled by rationalism. Soon enough, strange things begin to happen...deaths, near deaths, weird deseases, ghosts, animals going mad, walking sekeltons and everything you can imagine.

The big flaw of the book is the ending, which tries to make the book more than it really is. This is not a philosophical book. Inserting 10 pages of heavy philisophical ideas is just NO GOOD, especially when these 10 pages are the last pages of the book.

The book was spooky, easy and fun to read, if somewhat unsatisfying.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing read - GREAT twist to the ending!! 30 Mar 2006
By K. Sozaeva - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I can't remember now why I was randomly searching through Piers Anthony's books - I had mostly given up on him years ago when I realized that after the first couple of books in any given series (Xanth, Apprentice Adept), that series would devolve into repetitious silliness and idiocy. Maybe it was in hopes of finding another gem like Firefly (which is another amazing read, if you can find it). Well, I ran across this book and was immediately intrigued and set about to find it. I'm glad I did - I couldn't put it down. It starts out slow - setting a mood, slowly inserting more and more elements that just don't quite belong. Joshua Pinson, the new owner of the property, is a rational man - a computer programmer - and finds it harder and harder to explain away the occurrences, although he continues to attempt to do so, not wishing to give in to the superstitions of those who live in the area concerning his property, and especially the large tree under which shade his new house sits. Finally during an extended rainy period things seem to hit a sort of critical mass . . . but I don't want to ruin anything, so you'll just have to read it for yourselves. I highly recommend this book for those who like a good ghost story, a good mystery, a good scare, or just a well-written book. You won't be disappointed!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good Book! 6 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read it more than 10 years ago and still thinks this book is one of the better book written by Piers Anthony. I truly loved the story and advise you to buy the book and read it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have read most of his books, and by far this is the best! 16 Jun 1998
By Robbie Cunningham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'll admit, "Shade of the Tree" is a different genre, but this book is in a world of its own. The tree has its own personality. I love the fish, the ICK! and that whole storyline. Of all his books, I greatly enjoyed this and "Firefly". Not because they weren't Xanth, or Phaze, or any magical land, but because they were to me psychologically attractive. I am drawn to stories which are horrific not because it's realistic, but because it is possible on another psychological level. The idea that a tree could 'befriend' and protect a person such as in this book is possible. And in the end, it becomes apparent that this spirit has feelings too. Granted, I wouldn't hand it to my little brother, not even sure I'd let my mother read it, because it is an aquired taste. Overall though, it was the psychological realism and horror which won me over. But perhaps it is just me. Read it, and enjoy it, or read it and hate it, I assure you there's not much chance you'll read it and decide it's so/so.
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