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5.0 out of 5 stars Simak ... but different. An excellent tale.
I wasn't aware of the "other" line of Simak's work into the Fantasy genre. This is an excellent tale of the travels of a group brought together by various means in the work. The planet is earth, but a different earth, and one in which we can examine how we all respond to different situations. That said, it's a good story and I'm so glad that the publishers have...
Published 7 months ago by Simon Clifford

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Unexciting Quest
Simak was known for his enjoyable ‘simple’ rural characters and settings, which gave many of his stories a level of charm and believability regardless of how odd or unusual the situation was. Unfortunately, this work has none of this trademark.
The initial premise of the story is interesting: during the fourth century, when in our world the barbarian...
Published on 17 Mar. 2004 by Patrick Shepherd


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Unexciting Quest, 17 Mar. 2004
By 
Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat" (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Where the Evil Dwells (Paperback)
Simak was known for his enjoyable ‘simple’ rural characters and settings, which gave many of his stories a level of charm and believability regardless of how odd or unusual the situation was. Unfortunately, this work has none of this trademark.
The initial premise of the story is interesting: during the fourth century, when in our world the barbarian hordes were massing on Rome’s borders, in this world the area north of Rome was infested by the Evil, basically all the creatures of fantasy legend, harpies, dragons, even unicorns (who are not so nice in this book). The Evil effectively formed a buffer between Rome and the barbarians, allowing Rome to continue to exist to the present day. As a consequence, the world apparently never had a Renaissance, and is still stuck in a feudal social organization.
With this as background, the story details the adventures of a small band of beings, Harcourt, the Knurly Man (who is not quite human), an abbot, and an orphan girl with a talent for wood carving, as they attempt to retrieve a prism said to have the soul of a great saint captured inside and find Harcourt’s lady love, Eloise. This has possibilities, but I found many problems with the actual execution of this work.
First is the characterization. The abbot never comes across as more than a set piece to allow Simak to detail some religious viewpoints, rather bluntly satirizing the sometimes rather harsh dictums of the Catholic church. His constant whining and bickering with the Knurly Man (who apparently is more than a thousand years old, and does not follow any religious dictate) quickly becomes irritating. Harcourt is better developed, but his obsession with Eloise, whom he thinks is probably dead and hasn’t seen in seven years, is not made very believable. The most interesting character is the orphan girl, who has a very mysterious past and pops up with odd abilities at crucial junctures, but we never get to really see her as a person.
Second is the various encounters the band has with the Evil. As I read through this, I kept feeling that each incident was a stop meant to display another of the various denizens of the Evil – unicorn, harpy, ogre, troll – but there didn’t seem to be any unified cohesion to the incidents. The best section, and the only one that really seemed in evoke a sense of magic, was a dreamlike call to and struggle with the ‘Elder Ones’, clearly a small homage to Lovecraft. Overall, the Evil pretty much remains faceless, without a true element of magical danger that it should have evoked.
Third was the resolution to the mystery of why the Evil was so carefully guarding the prism. The provided answer just didn’t seem to be enough reason for the Evil’s continuing effort. In fact, the entire ending seemed weak and not fully satisfying
This book is just not on the same level as City or Way Station.
--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simak ... but different. An excellent tale., 11 July 2014
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I wasn't aware of the "other" line of Simak's work into the Fantasy genre. This is an excellent tale of the travels of a group brought together by various means in the work. The planet is earth, but a different earth, and one in which we can examine how we all respond to different situations. That said, it's a good story and I'm so glad that the publishers have decided to make the book available in Kindle format.
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5.0 out of 5 stars classic Simak, 7 Jan. 2013
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I must say im a fan of Simak and I have read this before it was an enjoyable novel his books are full of detail and the pace of his writing was good you will enjoy this but I would say that as I love nearly all his books, he can produce some clangers more so in the later period of writing, that said they are still enjoyable.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How Strange, 27 Dec. 2003
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I. Jones "icj" (Liverpool UK) - See all my reviews
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Clifford Simak has the knack of telling us the strange tales of how the world might have been if certain events had not happened or happened differently. In this book, set I presume in France, Christianity has a tenuous hold on the world. Outside the borders is a land empty of humans but inhabited by many varieties of non-humans such as elves and harpies. The story is centred around a quest for a holy relic in the wild lands whose inhabitants are hostile to say the least. This is one of Simak's best and a good introduction to his writings
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WHERE THE EVIL DWELLS
WHERE THE EVIL DWELLS by Clifford D. Simak (Mass Market Paperback - 12 Aug. 1983)
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