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Vale of the Vole (Xanth Novels) Mass Market Paperback – Mar 2000


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (Mar. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812574966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812574968
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.1 x 17.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,429,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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It wasn't always easy, being the son of an ogre and a nymph. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Vale of the Vole" is the tenth of Piers Anthony's "Xanth" comic fantasy stories and began the fourth loose trilogy in the sequence which began with "A Spell for Chameleon" in 1977. The series was a huge hit with fans and publishers - Piers Anthony is supposed to have said that the reason he is still writing Xanth books is to keep his publishers happy as the series is the only thing they ever pestered him for. Xanth is still going strong thirty-seven years of Earth time, as many books, and millions of copies after the 1977 debut.

This tenth book has three central characters: Esk, the son of Smash the Ogre and Tandy the Nymph, Chex, a winged centaur girl whocan almost but not quite fly, and Volney the Vole, a cute human-sized burrowing rodent whose home, the Vale of the Vole, is threatened by demons.

At the start of the book Esk, Chex and Volney are all making their separate ways to the good magician's castle to ask him how to deal with their respective problems. They have to help each other get in because the magic challenges are not working properly.and when they arrive, Good Magician Humphrey is nowhere to be found.

In the absence of help from the Good magician, Esk and Chex resolve to help Volney who has the most urgent problem: the demons who have invaded the Vale of the Vole have turned the friendly Kiss-me River into the unfriendly Kill-me river which is harming not just the Voles but that whole area of the magical land of Xanth. They agree to ask Esk's relatives, the Ogres and Curse-fiends, and Chex's, the centaurs and winged creatures, to help, and also enlist the aid of creatures from the magical night world of the Gourd, home of dreams, including a brass girl called Bria Brassie and an animated skeleton called Marrow Bones.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Dec. 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is wonderful with all the usual elements of an Anthony-Xanth fantasy. However, to my disapointment, the Good Magician has disappeared! The challenges are easily overcome and there are dragons on the magic path. The Good Magician himself is gone. So the group have to solve the problem on their own, which they do. The problem is that the demons have straightened the 's's in the Kiss-Me river, making it the Kill-Me. The voles of the Vale of the Vole surrounding the river have sent an emmisionary, who encounters a winged centaur and a nymph-ogre-human crossbreed. The written style is light and the book is an enjoyable read. Altogether a wonderful book, with some interesting developments on past plots!
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By E.L. Wicker on 23 July 2014
Format: Paperback
This is such a wonderful book that stretches your imagination beyond the boundaries. I first read this book when I was a child, twenty years ago. That's how long this book has stuck with me. I have read it several times since. I won't go into the plot as other reviews show that but I will say that this book deserves a read. Whether you are an adult or a child, you will find it highly enjoyable.
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By Eric Gildea on 6 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent - thanks
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 32 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This Book Is A Fantastic Journey! 26 July 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
5 stars!! This book has all the magic of Xanth and then some! Join 3 interesting characters on their amazing quests in the punny, exciting, and wonderful land! Travel into the realm of the gourd and encounter an amazing animated skeleton, head underground and explore the different kinds of creatures who reside there and see how they can help poor Volney who is looking to fix the Vale, find out how Cherie reacts to Chem and Xap's daughter, and much, much, more! If you are a Xanth reader, this is obviously a must-have, and if you are not then this will get you hooked! Remember to look for the other great Piers Anthony novels to suit your taste and quench your thirst for adventure- they're out there waiting for you to order, read, and enjoy them! As a more than satisfied fan of Xanth I truly suggest you do just that with this book....What are you waiting for?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Punny! 28 Dec. 2011
By M. Chirich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Yet another great addition to the Xanth series:
1 A Spell for Chameleon (1977) by Piers Anthony
2 The Source of Magic (1979) by Piers Anthony
3 Castle Roogna (1979) by Piers Anthony
4 Centaur Aisle (1982) by Piers Anthony
5 Ogre, Ogre (1982) by Piers Anthony
6 Night Mare (1983) by Piers Anthony
7 Dragon on a Pedestal (1983) by Piers Anthony
8 Crewel Lye: A Caustic Yarn (1985) by Piers Anthony
9 Golem in the Gears (1986) by Piers Anthony
10 Vale of the Vole (1987) by Piers Anthony (this book)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Utterly wonderful and forgotten gem 6 Nov. 2012
By SimonCityRoyal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been on a quest to read all of the Xanth titles in a row and it has been a truly fantastic experience. I've neglected to write reviews for some of them because so few people are reading the series these days. Which is a shame as there really is nothing out there in fantasy that compares...
As for Vale of the Vole this is as good as it gets. The underground chases are so vivid and intelligently written that I really felt like I was down there! And the amorous trap scene rings true in mundania as well. ie. Should I stay or should I go? :) This title is my favorite so far and who cares if I feel this way after every Xanth novel? Piers Anthony FOREVER!!!
Tenth in the Xanth comic fantasy series, in which demons turn the Kiss-me river into the Kill-me river ... 28 Feb. 2014
By Marshall Lord - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Vale of the Vole" is the tenth of Piers Anthony's "Xanth" comic fantasy series which began with "A Spell for Chameleon" in 1977. The series was a huge hit with fans and publishers - Piers Anthony is supposed to have said that the reason he is still writing Xanth books is to keep his publishers happy as the series is the only thing they ever pestered him for. Xanth is still going strong thirty-seven years of Earth time, as many books, and millions of copies after the 1977 debut.

This tenth book has three central characters: Esk, the son of Smash the Ogre and Tandy the Nymph, Chex, a winged centaur girl whocan almost but not quite fly, and Volney the Vole, a cute human-sized burrowing rodent whose home, the Vale of the Vole, is threatened by demons.

At the start of the book Esk, Chex and Volney are all making their separate ways to the good magician's castle to ask him how to deal with their respective problems. They have to help each other get in because the magic challenges are not working properly.and when they arrive, Good Magician Humphrey is nowhere to be found.

In the absence of help from the Good Magician, Esk and Chex resolve to help Volney who has the most urgent problem: the demons who have invaded the Vale of the Vole have turned the friendly Kiss-me River into the unfriendly Kill-me river which is harming not just the Voles but that whole area of the magical land of Xanth. They agree to ask Esk's relatives, the Ogres and Curse-fiends, and Chex's, the centaurs and winged creatures, to help, and also enlist the aid of creatures from the magical night world of the Gourd, home of dreams, including a brass girl called Bria Brassie and an animated skeleton called Marrow Bones. The quest will lead them through all sorts of dangers, challenges and dreadful puns throughout the land of Xanth ...

"Vale of the Vole" and all the other books in the series are set in a magical land called Xanth, a peninsular which usually looks a bit like Florida but can sometimes appear like other peninsulars such as Italy or Korea. All the human residents of Xanth have a magic talent, which may vary from trivial to immensely powerful and from extremely useful to being a downright liability. The fauna, flora and geography of the land are based on a combination of legends and puns.

The series as published and planned in February 2014 is as follows:

1 "A Spell for Chameleon" (1977), link A Spell for Chameleon
2 "The Source of Magic" (1979), link Source of Magic: Xanth Series, Book 2
3 "Castle Roogna" (1979), link Castle Roogna
4 "Centaur Aisle" (1982)
5 "Ogre, Ogre" (1982)
6 "Night Mare" (1983)
7 "Dragon on a Pedestal" (1983)
8 "Crewel Lye" (1984)
9 "Golem in the Gears"
10 This book, "Vale of the Vole" (1987)
11 "Heaven Cent" (1988)
12 "Man from Mundania" (1989)
13 "Isle of View" (1990)
14 "Question Quest" (1991)
15 "The Color of Her Panties" (1992)
16 "Demons Don't Dream" (1992)
17 "Harpy Thyme" (1993)
18 "Geis of the Gargoyle" (1994)
19 Roc and a Hard Place (1995)
20 Yon Ill Wind (1996)
21 Faun & Games (1997)
22 Zombie Lover (1998)
23 Xone of Contention (1999)
24 The Dastard (2000)
25 Swell Foop (2001)
26 Up In A Heaval (2002)
27 Cube Route (2003)
28 Currant Events (2004)
29 Pet Peeve (2005)
30 Stork Naked (2006)
31 Air Apparent (2007)
32 Two to the Fifth (2008)
33 Jumper Cable (2009)
34 Knot Gneiss (2010)
35 Well-Tempered Clavicle (2011)
36 Luck of the Draw (2012)
37 Esrever Doom (2013)
38 Board Stiff (2014)
39 Five Portals (being written at Feb 2014)

There is also a companion volume, "Piers Anthony's Visual Guide to Xanth" and the co-author of that book, Jody Lynn Nye, has written the adventure book "Ghost of a Chance (Crossroads Adventure : in the World of Pier Anthony's Xanth).

The plot of the sixteenth book, "Demons don't dream" relates to a computer game about Xanth, and Legend Entertainment were licenced to bring out a real computer game shortly afterwards which was almost identical to the game in the book (just different enough that having read the book doesn't spoil all the puzzles in the game) and has the same name, "Companions of Xanth." This game was designed to run under DOS and although now very long in the tooth, can still be ordered from Amazon.com or downloaded as abandonware if you have a working computer old enough or flexible enough to run games designed for the specs and operating systems in place twenty years ago.

If you have the right sort of sense of humour, particularly a love of dreadful puns, this book and most of its' successors can be quite amusing. These books are not meant to be taken seriously.

Be warned that if you did take this book and quite a few of the other Xanth books seriously, they can come over as rather sexist even by the standards of 1987, let alone those of today. However, at least some of the accusations of sexism against Piers Anthony over the Xanth books are based on taking out of context, and assuming that the author is endorsing, views which in their proper context are clearly presented for the specific purpose of disproving them.

In several Xanth stories the bad guys make bad mistakes by underestimating the female characters and the heroines often find that they can achieve far more than their initial low expectations of themselves. In context many of the antedeluvian attitudes to women attributed to characters in the Xanth books contribute to the failures suffered by those characters or are a sign that they are on the wrong side, and similar sexist perspectives attributed to heroes and heroines are usually there so that the characters concerned can grow by overcoming them.

As you work through the Xanth series new characters and themes are gradually introduced and old ones fade away, so it it not essential to read this series in sequence, though I personally prefer to do so.

Worth a try if you enjoy fantasy and puns, are reasonably broad-minded, and able to avoid taking things too seriously or literally.
When you can't find your quest-giver, make it a quest to find him! 25 July 2014
By Swank Ivy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book's protagonist is Esk. He's the son of a previous protagonist: Smash Ogre. He's got kind of weird ancestry--a quarter nymph, a quarter ogre, and half human. I guess this kinda helps him sympathize with the girl he meets on his manufactured quest: while he's on his way to ask the Good Magician Humfrey how to get rid of a threatening demoness, he meets Chex, who's a winged centaur and can't fly because her wings can't bear her weight. (She's part hippogryph.) Of course, Humfrey, answer to all things in the world, is randomly missing, so there's the quest. I always like the bits with the hypnogourds--that's where bad dreams come from--and these guys end up in there and find this woman made of brass named Bria. A Xanth book wouldn't be complete without a male protagonist falling in love with someone, so Esk falls for Bria. They also meet a vole who talks extremely obnoxiously in a speech impediment that makes no sense. (S's become V's. Which suggests the name of the book is secretly "Sale of the Sole.") Volney the vole has a problem related to demons too, because they wrecked his river. This book is different from others in the series because it's the first of a sort-of trilogy; the problems aren't all solved by the end.
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