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The Questing Road Mass Market Paperback – 31 Jan 2012

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (31 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765361922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765361929
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.4 x 17.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,498,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lyn McConchie is an author from New Zealand, who writes in a range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, humour, mystery, and westerns.

Lyn was crippled in an accident in 1977 and forced to take medical retirement in 1988. She now owns and runs a small farm in New Zealand, where she breeds coloured sheep and tends her free range geese and hens.

Born April 3rd 1946, Lyn is a long-time member of NZ SF fandom. She became a professional writer in 1991 with sales in that year to USA markets MZB's Fantasy Magazine and Strange Plasma. Since then she has had a vast number of short stories published in at least six countries, in both print and electronic magazines; 23 books have appeared and others have been sold; and several books are being translated and republished in other languages.

Lyn has won New Zealand's Sir Julius Vogel award for Best SF/F novel four times: for Beast Master's Ark in 2002, Beast Master's Circus in 2004, The Duke's Ballad in 2005, and The Questing Road in 2011. In 2011 she also won the Vogel award for Best YA novel, for Summer of Dreaming. For a list of Lyn's other awards, a full bibliography of her books and short stories, and her blog, see her website, http://lynmcconchie.com/

Lyn continues to write and her credits include poetry and articles published in several countries, in addition to the books and short stories.

Lyn is a cat lover and the associate of Thunder, an ocicat who shares her home and life along with her personal library of some 6,000 volumes.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not the Usual Story 7 Jun. 2011
By Sharman Horwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In The Questing Road, Lyn McConchie draws on her great experience of working with Andre Norton to create a world that transcends the usual boundaries. It is what I call a "gate" novel, in that two groups of travelers find themselves crossing into a different, alien world, and learning to survive there.

One group is there to rescue a tariling, an unusual creature with special abilities. The other travelers, Sirado and Eilish, join Yorros and Kyrryl and their warrior niece, Ashara, in looking for the tariling cub. Finding it, however, isn't easy and their journey is fraught with difficult magic as well as unexpected alien creatures. This book tells the story of their adventures together.

What delights me in this novel is the detailed groundwork that I hope is setting the stage for a sequel. While I'm not enamored of the "goddess" who gives Sirado and Eilish the power of the world's language (I often find that gods and goddesses in science fiction and fantasy are more what I would call superheroes rather than supernatural beings), it does create a workable link between the two sets of companions. This also means that the story doesn't have to be dragged out through prolonged scenes where they get to know each other. In other words, it doesn't get bogged down with unrealistic situations that sometimes riddle many other books, used more often as "information dumps" than to tell the story. Instead, this novel is about discovering this new world, and the commitment Yorros and Kyrryl feel towards the tariling cub.

This is a fast-paced novel, with interesting characters and the right kind of action to intrigue many a reader. Ms. McConchie brings her own unique point of view to this book, thinking "outside of the box," as she often does, and creating a new and vital world that is her own.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Flat characters, weak writing 7 Aug. 2010
By Stefan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
New Zealand author Lyn McConchie has written several novels with Andre Norton in that author's WITCH WORLD and BEAST MASTER universes, so I was surprised that The Questing Road, though officially McConchie's first solo fantasy novel, actually reads much like a debut novel. While there are a few moments of charm and sparkle, the characters are so flat, and the writing so uneven, that I would have easily believed this to be someone's first attempt at a novel.

The story starts with two separate groups of travelers who, unwittingly, step through a portal into a different world. The first group was attempting to rescue a captured tariling (a young "felinoid" or cat-shaped sentient); the second just wandered into the portal while out on a stroll, nominally to search for their cat's sire.

My very first inkling that The Questing Road wouldn't work for me came when neither group really seemed to panic, or even worry overmuch, at suddenly finding themselves in an alternate dimension (despite the fact that, later in the novel, we learn that such portals are extremely rare). Aside from worrying whether the local food is edible, they basically just shrug and decide to get on with business, even when a bit later they are visited by a goddess and granted the power to understand the local language. This gift handily allows them to sneak up on some travelers' camps to listen in on their conversations and so find out about the new land's history and layout. See how easy it can be to survive in an alternate dimension?

Eventually the two groups meet up and decide to work together with a couple of local traders, especially when it becomes clear that the captured tariling may be used as a sacrifice to summon the kalthi, horrible monsters from yet another dimension but tied into the land's history...

The main issues with The Questing Road are both the quantity and quality of the characters. In terms of quantity -- well, there are a lot of them. In the first few chapters we meet the captured tariling's parents (who confusingly don't make another appearance later on), then the first group of travelers (a couple and their niece), the second group (another couple, one of their family members, their master-of-arms, and two servants), the two traders, and two slavers (plus two of their staff members). That's well over 15 people, which in itself wouldn't be a problem (it's actually low compared to some epic fantasies), except that here they're being introduced too quickly and without sufficient detail to make them real and recognizable to the reader. They all have some dialog, and after a few chapters you'll remember who's who without having to page back and refresh your memory, but unfortunately none of them ever attain the level of detail you'd expect of main characters, and instead they all appear as flat as side-characters throughout the novel.

Another distraction is the quality of the writing, which is filled with run-on sentences and generally choppy prose. The dialog is occasionally entertaining, but often feels bland and uninspired, as if the (already one-dimensional) characters are just going through the motions. There are frequent p.o.v. shifts, not just from chapter to chapter (which is perfectly fine) but also within the same chapter, e.g. you may be reading about one of the traveling groups setting up camp and then suddenly, almost in mid-sentence, switch to the perspective of the bandits who are preparing an attack on the camp (explaining their tactics), then back to the travelers who have noticed the impending attack and are preparing defences. As a result, all the tension is sucked from the scene, because the reader knows more or less everything that's about to happen. Another scene has one of the couples worrying that they should have left their younger niece at home because of the dangerous circumstances, then switches abruptly to the niece realizing she'd have to watch out for the older folks. These clumsy shifts in perspective spell out everything for the reader and give The Questing Road a cartoon-like style.

On the positive side, the history and political set-up of the land, while not entirely original, is interesting and more sophisticated than you'd expect, based on the rest of the novel. The story is told at an easy-going pace, and despite a few slow-downs there aren't many boring moments. And finally, this review would be remiss if it didn't point out the striking cover illustration by Dan Dos Santos, which is sure to catch some eyes in the bookstore.

In general though, I couldn't get over The Questing Road's weaknesses and had trouble staying motivated enough to finish the novel. When the ending turned out to be as uninspired as the rest of the novel, I found myself wishing I'd given up earlier.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Terrific Quest 14 Sept. 2010
By Joseph Baneth Allen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lyn McConchie's newest novel, "The Questing Road," is an enjoyable book that springs from the fine lineage of fantasy novels penned by Andre Norton and Lin Carter. While the ultimate outcome is never in doubt, the many twists and turns make the reader sad the final page is turned, though Ms. McConchie does set up the possiblity for a sequel or two.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good fast-moving fantasy 25 Aug. 2010
By April - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The cover caught my eye and the blurb appealed, and I got what I expected - a fast paced fantasy story that I liked. The story grabbed and held my attention from beginning to end. It had a good start, a unifying middle where the three story threads join and a satisfying end.

Having read nearly all of Ms. McConchie's novels that were set in the Witch World I had a good idea of what to expect and was not disappointed. If you enjoyed the Witch World novels that were co-written with Andre Norton then you should like this book, although this is for a more mature reading audience.

I liked the world building that went into it, the political intrigue that was the motive behind the story, and the fact that it was not wallowing in details about every character and everything else creating a book twice its size. If you like lots of detail, then this book is not for you, but it had enough detail about the characters and the situation to suit my tastes.

Curiously enough, there was not a main character. There were a lot of characters and a few were more prominent than others but it read like an ensemble cast. I think the nearest thing to main characters would be the two local traders, Kaitlen and Anatiah, both older females. These two have a long history together both personally and professionally, past events that are briefly mentioned giving substance to their current actions, resulting in connections that tie the story together.

The book comes with a map. This is a practical requirement of all questing stories as I found myself referring to it especially during the latter half of the book. Nearly the whole book is set "on the road" and covers a lot of ground. With three city-states, two sentient races and a unifying religion, this world has a lot to offer a reader. I am looking forward to other stories set in this world.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
intriguing quest fantasy 5 Aug. 2010
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kyrryl, her husband Yoros and his niece Ashara seek to rescue the kidnapped child Ashara. The brave trio follows a path, but initially is unaware that the trail leads them though a portal opened by a desperate wizard from another world to their realm.

At about the same time that Kyrryl and her companions cross over, brothers Sirado and Eilish, and companion Trasso are enjoying a ride together when they unknowingly cross through a portal to the same world that the rescue party traversed. A cat goddess endows the six travelers with the ability to speak the local language. When the two groups meet, they agree to unite on their respective journeys. The sextet soon encounters local merchants Anatiah and Kaitlen. The latter pair hides escaped slave Aycharna. Now a party of nine, they seek the missing Ashara, unaware that a wizard took her as an animal sacrifice, and hope to return Aycharna to her home before returning to their various homes.

This is an intriguing quest fantasy due to the kidnapper unaware the beast he snatched from the other world to use as a sacrifice has loving sentient family members wanting her home safe and sound. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the trek begins and never slows down as the teams unite in a common cause of helping two young females. Although feline-like deities making the key decisions for the travelers detracts from their expedition, as they have no difficult cultural-ethical differences between the groups from two worlds or choices to make, fans will enjoy the entertaining rescue missions.

Harriet Klausner
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