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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff
This is tremendous fun, quite unputdownable. A young Hungarian in 1930s London is invited to an isolated castle by a mysterious aristocrat and becomes caught up in murderous conspiracies, spooky goings-on and the search for the secrets of the Rosicrucians.

It's both thriller and comedy, and by turns genuinely funny and genuinely gripping and eerie. A lot of the...
Published on 8 Dec 2008 by AJ-99

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard going
Normally finish books quickly couple of days,this one is hard going.I don't know if i can stand another reading any more.
Published 14 months ago by TIM EGAN


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff, 8 Dec 2008
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This review is from: The Pendragon Legend (Paperback)
This is tremendous fun, quite unputdownable. A young Hungarian in 1930s London is invited to an isolated castle by a mysterious aristocrat and becomes caught up in murderous conspiracies, spooky goings-on and the search for the secrets of the Rosicrucians.

It's both thriller and comedy, and by turns genuinely funny and genuinely gripping and eerie. A lot of the fun comes from the narrator's bemused but affectionate Mitteleuropean take on the English types he encounters. The characters are lively and there's an agreeable sense of the author being a sophisticated mind on holiday.

I hate to sound moronic but someone should probably turn this into a film; or better, tone down the somewhat gruesome ending and make it into a BBC Christmas drama. Hugely enjoyable.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pendragon Legend, 19 Jan 2011
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pendragon Legend (Paperback)
This book is simply a wonderful read. We follow Hungarian scholar, Janos Bakty, from his studies at the Reading Room of the British Museum to the family seat of the reclusive Earl of Gwynedd. Apparently, this novel was based on a year that the author spent in England and his bemused reaction, and affection, for the country shines through. The real story begins with the hero meeting the Earl and being invited to study the rare volumes in his library. After this introduction Bakty meets, he thinks by chance, a fellow traveller to the castle and is also warned by telephone not to go. He is concerned about this warning, but also feels ashamed when he admits as much to a friend, who considers such considerations less than manly. Things become more and more bizarre as the book continues - for the Earl is in danger. There is a great cast of characters in this novel, which manages to be serious and also mocking at the same time. Every time Bakty steps into danger we want to stop him, but the twists and turns of the plot are so delightful that you also never want it to end. Bakty is based on the author and his gentle nature and the ironic humour aimed at his own failings make you delight in his company. It also makes it more tragic that this man, who created such joyous and intelligent literature, was killed in a Nazi labour camp. His work means he will never be forgotten and I am certainly grateful that I have discovered his books.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gothic mystery with tones of occult and comedy, 15 May 2008
By 
Mikko Saari (Tampere, Finland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pendragon Legend (Paperback)
The Pendragon Legend is an Hungarian novel from 1930s, but the story isn't particularly Hungarian. A Hungarian researcher and bibliophile János Bátky is introduced to the Earl of Pendragon and is invited to study the books in his exquisite library. Bátky soon learns that getting involved with the Pendragons can be dangerous: he is threatened by mysterious forces and many strange events happen at the Pendragon manor. Antihero Bátky is an outsider who gets drawn into quite a mess.

The story is a strange mixture of gothic horror story and light comedy. The Earl Pendragon is a gloomy old gentleman and the history of the family features legendary characters. Rosicrucianism plays an important role in the story. The Finnish publisher advertises the book as Da Vinci Code published 60 years before Dan Brown's novel. This is advertising, of course, but the books belong in the same genre.

The Pendragon Legend is a charming story. It's not high literature, but the plot is clever, Bátky is a lovely lead character and the story has a good vibe to it. I also enjoyed the old-fashioned atmosphere of the 1930's England, and the translator did a good job capturing that in the language used. The Pendragon Legend is a tasty mystery with flavours of horror and occult. (Review based on the Finnish translation.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, 17 Feb 2010
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M. Rumble "frogdiamond" (Hampshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pendragon Legend (Paperback)
If you can imagine PG Wodehouse with a gothic twist, this gives you an idea of this book. Great 3-dimensional characters, evocative descriptions of Welsh countryside, and some gems in terms of the writing/translation. Quite an unusual book but enjoyable to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars charming, 28 Aug 2011
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H. T. James (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pendragon Legend (Paperback)
It was a true delight find this author - in an age where unlikeable heroes and villains abound the undulating charm of the characters was a true pleasure. Similarly, the obvious love affair between the translator and his subject has created a wonderfully fluid read. One of the tragically lost masters of the 20th century? HIghly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Meet Antal Szerb - One Of The Best!, 12 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Pendragon Legend (Paperback)
A real gem - superb writing - very intelligent and sympathetic author - excellent translation - this was written in 1937, so it is living confirmation of Keats' famous thought - "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever". This book may well be an even greater joy today than when it was first published. Well done everybody - Antal Szerb, Len Rix, Pushkin Press - and Amazon! One of the truly great reads and - for English language readers - a fortunate first step - (regrettably, well hidden until now) - towards the many great reads to be found in the Hungarian language.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent goth occult mystery, 26 Jan 2014
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A well woven tale drawn in atmospheric mists and mysteries from secret societies and legends of a land's history. Delicious.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully daft, 7 Nov 2013
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A. W. Macfarlane (Anglesey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pendragon Legend (Paperback)
This is an engagingly daft story, delightfully told. The Hungarian author seems to have fully absorbed his pre-war London and North Wales experiences, and in this gleeful send up of gothic horror and whodunit genres uses them to conjure up a 1930s Britain that is ridiculous, a plot that is farcical and a host of characters that is totally preposterous. As well as Ealing comedy baddies there are murders, red herrings, creepy ruins, mad-cap chases, 'Allo 'Allo disguises, Wodehousian breakfasts and a slightly deranged aristocrat descended from a Rosicrucian. Don't even try to fathom the bit about the lunatic gnome. The translation seems impeccable though my copy had a repeated typo whereby it was uncertain whether we were talking about "Llanvygan" or "Llangyvan". Recommended for anyone who likes improbable plots, black and white comedy films d'un certain age, or just wants to see how a talented author could turn his hand to well-crafted slapstick.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 24 Sep 2013
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Dave (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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When I read this book, I had assumed that it was by a modern, (that is, written within the last 30 years), author. This book was written before the last war, but the story is fresh, interesting, and full of interesting twists. I was surprised at how well the Hungarian author Antal Szerb has understood the English character, and his grasp of our complex history, myth, and legend. Several previous reviewers have commented that the plot was both Gothic and full of eccentric comedy - one in particular wrote, "If you can imagine PG Wodehouse with a gothic twist, this gives you an idea of this book." I couldn't have summed it up any better, so I have pinched their quote! (Thank you, M Rumble!). This is an excellent book, and a lively read - Buy it! The only downside I can find is the terrible fact that this brilliant young author died in a Nazi labour camp. Read his book, remember him, and mourn his loss, and the loss of all the books he never got to write.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Poor, 22 Sep 2013
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Very gothic in nature. Stilted with an unassuming story line that is too unbelievable to be true, but with no hint of fantasy fiction to make it palatable.
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The Pendragon Legend
The Pendragon Legend by Len Rix (translator) (Paperback - 30 Jun 2006)
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