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The Compleat Enchanter (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 12 Oct 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; Omnibus ed edition (12 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857987578
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857987577
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 284,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

What is the world but our way of looking at it? Psychologist Harold Shea and his colleagues guess that all you have to do to travel to worlds of myth and legend is rewire your personal logic so that it suits better --to the world of the Norse gods, say, or that of Spenser's "The Faerie Queen". Once there, of course, he discovers that handy gadgets like flashlights and rubber boots no longer work, but that magic does--and that a 20th-century man with the insights of folklore and a fair knowledge of poetry can make himself a fairly decent wizard in any reality he ends up in... The three books which make up The Compleat Enchanter are fantasy classics from the American pulps--L. de Camp and Fletcher Pratt were genteel scholarly men with a wicked sense of fun and Harold Shea is an entertainingly fallible hero with an eye to the main chance. Adventures with Odin and Loki, or the enchanters of Spenser and Ariosto, or the heroes of Finnish and Irish legend, all culminate in well-imagined hairsbreadth escapes and marvellously entertaining moments of sheer comedy. --Roz Kaveney

Book Description

Playful and enduring fantasy from one of the most prodigious writers of the genre in the 20th century.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
...I first read them (the three volumes that make them up) around 20 years ago and on rereading I found them still fresh and still funny. The books are meant to be funny, incidentally, something that people should bear in mind. The scene where Shea has to recite a poem as ransom to a monster that collects poetry and can only remember "The Ballad of Eskimo Nell"...well, I guess you'd have to know Eskimo Nell to find it funny (go and look it up on the internet.) But it's hilarious if you do.
One thing that struck me this time round was the attention to detail. The adventures are set in the worlds of Norse, Finnish and Irish mythology, and also in the worlds of Spenser's "Faerie Queen" and Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso" The first time round I'd only read some Norse mythology and knew almost nothing about the others. This time I knew more and was struck by how much research the authors had done. It inspired me to read them 20 years ago and maybe it will have a similar effect on others today.
In summary, these stories are well written, funny and original, even after 50 years. Buy this book
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Format: Paperback
All three of the Harold Shea books have one thing in common - some very well realised 'sight-gags', plus a whole lot of what can only be described as 40's dialogue - funny, snappy, not suggestive, and relevant to the plot in hand, whether chatting up warrior girls, throttling sorcerers or confusing the stupidest talking beast since Daffy Duck. Stir in girls made of snow, interludes in Xanadu, grass-eating dragons that go 'meep', impossibly noble knights and their ladies, creepy magicians, thick gods and paranoid trolls with image issues and the result is truly unmissable.
All three books stay true to their internal logic, while having fun with ours, and the results are magical (in more ways than one!). Loads of snappy dialogue, no long, turgid descriptive passages, and phrasing that can only be described as Pratt at his best. The three books play out in the worlds of Norse myth, the 'Furioso' of Orlando (a sort of plagiarized bottom shelf version of Spenser's 'Faerie Queene'), and the Kalevala saga of Finland respectively, with De Camp and Pratt displaying both their own intimacy with all three milieu, and their willingness to do a gleeful 'Marx Brothers' hatchet job on three story worlds that take themselves far too seriously. Buy them! Read them!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are better books in the Masterworks series, like Anubis Gates, and that feeling could be due to the books age but it is still a fantastic read and I was able to enjoy rereading it.

Each story follows the researchers from an experimental psychology institute when they discover first a means by which they can transport themselves into realms of fantasy, including norse myth and the world of the Faeire Queen, then seek to work out scientifically the workings of magic in each world, which follow a set of laws like natural, physical laws.

The reasoning behind that is a little convoluted and uninteresting but the adventure roles along fantastically, there are a number of different dialects introduced with each world, a different cultural back drop and scene set.

It should interest students or psychologists the ways in which theory and action are contrasted between the main protagonists and their personalities and how it results in them being fitted to or out of step with their environments.

It's not high fantasy like Tolkein but its great fun without a doubt.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read many Sprague de Camp books , and others where he collaborated with other Fantasy authors. I have been looking for an omnibus edition for years. This book is great fon and good value for money
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