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Corbenic (Definitions) Paperback – 4 Jul 2002

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Red Fox; First Edition edition (4 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099438488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099438489
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 684,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Catherine Fisher is a writer of rare talent" (The Sunday Times)

"A terrific coming-of-age tale" (Daily Telegraph)

"An elaborate and intricate reworking of the Grail Legend . . . An absorbing story" (The Bookseller)

"Elegiac, mature modern fantasy" (Publishers Weekly)

Book Description

An intriguing reworking of the Grail legend.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Cal has spent an utterly miserable childhood in Bangor with his mother who is schizophrenic and an alcoholic. Since he was six he has looked after her and run the house. Now he is old enough to leave home and get a job, he is off like a shot and the story opens as he travels down to South Wales by train to live with and work for his uncle Trevor who runs an accountancy firm. On the way he falls asleep and gets of at the wrong station, Corbenic, where he is directed to the Castle Hotel. He is greeted by the wheelchair-bound host, Bron, and treated to a sumptuous banquet at the end of which he witnesses the Grail procession. He fails to ask the question, believing it all to be an hallucination and fearing he is losing his mind as his mother has. Next morning, he wakes in a ruin with only a sword that Bron has left him to indicate that his experiences have been real...
There are various versions of the Grail legend and Fisher has based her book on the Welsh versions (naturally) as well as those by Chrëtien de Troyes and Wolfram von Eschenbach. Hence Cal is Percival and not Gawain or Galahad who are the Grail Knights in other versions. Those who are interested in such things can trace the parallels, but it is not necessary for the appreciation of this powerful story.
As ever it is beautifully written with a terrific sense of place and although the characters have their roots in their legendary counterparts, they are real people with real flaws and problems.
Young readers, 12 plus I would say, (though as with Philip Pullman some mature 10 or 11 year olds too) will love it, but as the other reviewers have said it's for adults too. A great read!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very subtle novel. It tells the tale of a boy who has come loose from his roots and must find his way back through the story of the Grail. Catherine Fisher really knows her myths & legends and she weaves them into the story with breathtaking dexterity. I can guarantee you'll find this one hard to put down and I'm not the only adult to think that!
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Format: Paperback
I can beat your last reviewer - I read it in four hours, on a car journey, despite the fact that reading in cars makes me feel sick! I couldn't put it down. This didn't surprise me, having read her others. I'm an adult too and I don't think children should have all the good stuff to themselves! This is gripping, poetic, alive language, the sense of place is fantastic and I do like the way her heroes are not necessarily "nice" people - just human. There is a stunning twist in the middle of this which was well unexpected and which I don't think many writers for this age group would have ventured. I didn't think she could better The Margrave but she has.
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Format: Paperback
I just thought I'd add my voice to the reviews. I think this book is amazing, not just for being a great fantasy novel but also for the great emotional content, I had a lump in my throat at the end! Very, very good. The story is well paced and written well with some wonderful characters, definately a book for adults as well as children, read it!
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Format: Paperback
I was emotionally blown away by this book, which like others I read in a day - I thought Fisher's Darkhenge was good, but this beats it hands down. It rivals, and possibly surpasses, Garner's Red Shift and the Owl Service, and Cooper's the Grey King, which for me previously represented the pinnacle of YA "fantasy" stories.

But I'm not sure how much I would have got out of it as a teenager; I think I would have been too troubled by its subtlety, its refusal to differentiate Cal's internal and external worlds. Maybe that's just the kind of kid I was, but I think this book will be appreciated most by adults (those who don't think YA literature beneath them).

It's "YA", however, only because of its protagonist's age and its lack of sex and politics. And its length, I suppose, but since it's so well-written, demanding to be read with care, it feels longer than it actually is. The language is beautiful; every word and punctuation mark well-chosen. Cal is a complex character; Fisher has taken a risk by making him in some ways unlikeable, though my sympathy for him (or his mother, or pretty much anyone else in the story) never wavered. Fisher's refusal to make characters obviously "good" or "bad" is a relief after reading so many fantasy stories which trade lazily in medieval concepts of good/evil.
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