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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Borneo sorcerer in colonial times, 11 May 2013
This review is from: Wyvern (Paperback)
"Wyvern" is an amazing blend of historical fiction with some elements of the fantasy genre.
Starting in Borneo in the 17th Century, a time when European colonisation has only just taken foot in Asia, the Spanish and the Dutch wars cast their shadow over the area and British and Pirate ships are making the seas a dangerous place.
In the middle of all this are the tribes of Borneo and their own struggles with each other and the intruders. Attracted by alcohol and other imports trade is booming and affecting the standards of life.
In an attempt to secure his leadership over other tribes Batuh allows his wife to seduce a Dutchman to gain advantage and Jaki/ Batu is born out of this unlikely Union. Batuh owes a life to sorcerer Jabalwa who claims Jaki/ Batu and has him work for him as soul catcher.
Growing up with sorcery and traditional tribal customs and healing Jaki comes of age in the volatile world, becomes a sorcerer himself and carries on in the epic journey that is his life; meeting his new Duitch 'father', leading him to love and further travels.

This book seems immaculately researched, a labour of love and written wonderfully with care, thought and attention to detail. For my personal liking the amount of detail and description got at few occasions in the way of the flow, but maybe I am just an impatient reader. (I have said the same about C.J.Sansom, so A. A. Attanasio is in good company). I certainly feel I learned a lot of history and was reminded of aspects of colonial and 17th century history that I had forgotten, which made this a very enjoyable and engaging read.

I loved the description of tribal mythology and customs, it felt very authentic and I am amazed how such an ambitious project about a location and time that surely must be difficult to research location and time could be portrayed so well.

The fantasy and sorcery aspect of the novel worked well for me, I am not a huge fan of it but it served well to contrast the modern world and the ancient belief systems, laying interesting doubt over the arrogance of the modern over the old and traditional, as Europeans meet the ancient tribes.

The narrative at the beginning of the novel seemed a little jumpy and for me did not work well. However, the story soon set steady on its curse and reached a satisfactory if somewhat open ending.

A winning combination if you don't mind your fantasy to have some serious aspect to it, or your history to have an element of fantasy. A certain must read for anyone who would like to learn more about the place and times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Epic, 5 May 2013
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This review is from: Wyvern (Kindle Edition)
At less than 2 this book is an absolute bargain.

Written about 25 years ago and difficult to find in hard copy, this is a true epic. It ranges from the primitive jungle tribes of Borneo, through Dutch colonialism in the East, the Moghul empire of the sub-continent to the early days of Central and North America. Along the way it includes piracy, love, hate, jealousy, redemption and mysticism.

The language is a delight - always thoughtful and rich, but never getting in the way of the story.

The tone is descriptive and reflective. The author avoids the usual cliches of judging the behaviour of historical figures by modern moral standards. He just lays out the facts and the characters' motivations.

I really enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars epic saga, 28 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Wyvern (Kindle Edition)
Almost worth buying the kindle for this book alone.

It is a epic masterpiece, a book which i have read and re-read many times over the years.

long since out of print, and now available at a unbelievable price on the kindle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book, 12 Dec 2012
This review is from: Wyvern (Paperback)
I don't often review things, but at under 2.00 this is an absolute steal - this is a great read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous adventure!, 24 Dec 2005
By 
finna (LONDON, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wyvern (Hardcover)
An incredible epic adventure, involving cultural clash, piracy and buccaneering, mysticism and fantastic journeys into the psyche. Words are hard to find to descibe this book adequately. Undoubtedly one of the greatest adventures ever written with a horde of brilliant and fascinating characters, locations and storylines to enhance the novel's beautiful complexities. It's a crime that this book is out of print, someone should really sort that out!
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Wyvern
Wyvern by A. A. Attanasio
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