Night Mare (Xanth Novels (Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – 12 Dec 1987
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From the Inside Flap
Although the Nextwave of barbarian warriors was invading Xanth, Mare Imbrium discovered that ever since she had gained the half soul, the night mare had begun to mishandle her job of delivering bad dreams. Exiled to the day world with a message for King Trent, Mare met the relentless, unforgiving Horseman. For the night mare, it began to be all a horrible nightmare!
About the Author
Piers Anthony, sometimes called Pier Xanthony, is the pseudonym of a Mundane character who was born in England in 1934, came to America in 1940, was naturalized in 1958, and moved to Xanth in 1977. His first story was published in 1963, and his first novel, Chthon, in 1967. His first Xanth novel, A Spell for Chameleon, won the August Derleth Fantasy Award as the best novel for 1977, and his fantasy novels began placing on the New York Times bestseller list with Ogre, Ogre. He shifted from writing in pencil to writing on the computer, and Golem in the Gears was his first novel created on the machine; naturally, the computer found its way into Xanth.
Top customer reviews
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A fantastice read first and every time. The twist in the tale was a little predictable but still great reading. If you love Pier's work you'll love this, and if you're new to him, please do as I did and keep reading even if the first few pages put you off at first - it all makes sense very quickly.
"Night Mare" was the sixth book in the series, rounding off a second loose trilogy set between fifteen and twenty-five years after the first book. "Night Mare" is also the second of many books in the series to be told from the perspective of a most unlikely hero or heroine - in this case Imbri the Night mare, who was introduced at the start of book five ("Ogre, Ogre") when she was caught and ridden by a nymph called Tandy. Of the subsequent books - the series is still going strong thirty-seven years, as many books, and millions of copies after the start - others have been told from the viewpoint of a goblin, golem, spider, harpy, wicked queen, demoness, and even the Demon Xanth himself.
"Night Mare" and all the other books in the series are set in a magical land called Xanth, a peninsular which usually looks a bit like Florida but as is shown in the map at the start of this book, can sometimes appear like other peninsulars such as Italy or Korea. All the human residents of Xanth have a magic talent, which may vary from trivial to immensely powerful and from extremely useful to being a downright liability. The fauna, flora and geography of the land are based on a combination of legends and puns.
The story begins as the Night Mare Imbri is trying to bring a bad dream to a naughty goblin, and not making a particularly good job of it. Apparently the half-soul she acquired in the previous book is causing her to lose her cruel edge. Then imbri is summoned to meet the Night Stallion who rules the world of the night in Xanth, and sends the night mares to give dreams. He is concerned that the "next wave" of invaders from the mundane world of Earth have arrived in Xanth and are wreaking havoc. The Night Stallion sends Imbria to warn King Trent about the invasion and gives her a particular message - "Beware the Horseman."
This advice is all too necessary but nobody understands what it really means until it is nearly too late - and the defenders of Xanth are warned that they will have gone through ten Kings before the crisis is over. Can a night mare save Xanth from the invaders ?
The series as published and planned in January 2014 is as follows:
1 "A Spell for Chameleon" (1977), link A Spell for Chameleon
2 "The Source of Magic" (1979), link Source of Magic: Xanth Series, Book 2
3 "Castle Roogna" (1979), link Castle Roogna
4 "Centaur Aisle" (1982)
5 "Ogre, Ogre" (1982)
6 This book, "Night Mare" (1983)
7 "Dragon on a Pedestal" (1983)
8 "Crewel Lye" (1984)
9 "Golem in the Gears" (1986)
10 "Vale of the Vole" (1987)
11 "Heaven Cent" (1988)
12 "Man from Mundania" (1989)
13 "Isle of View" (1990)
14 "Question Quest" (1991)
15 "The Color of Her Panties" (1992)
16 "Demons Don't Dream" (1992)
17 "Harpy Thyme" (1993)
18 "Geis of the Gargoyle" (1994)
19 Roc and a Hard Place (1995)
20 Yon Ill Wind (1996)
21 Faun & Games (1997)
22 Zombie Lover (1998)
23 Xone of Contention (1999)
24 The Dastard (2000)
25 Swell Foop (2001)
26 Up In A Heaval (2002)
27 Cube Route (2003)
28 Currant Events (2004)
29 Pet Peeve (2005)
30 Stork Naked (2006)
31 Air Apparent (2007)
32 Two to the Fifth (2008)
33 Jumper Cable (2009)
34 Knot Gneiss (2010)
35 Well-Tempered Clavicle (2011)
36 Luck of the Draw (2012)
37 Esrever Doom (2013)
38 Board Stiff (2014)
39 Five Portals (being written at Jan 2014)
There is also a companion volume, "Piers Anthony's Visual Guide to Xanth" and the co-author of that book, Jody Lynn Nye, has written the adventure book "Ghost of a Chance (Crossroads Adventure : in the World of Pier Anthony's Xanth).
A major part of the plot of the sixteenth book, "Demons don't dream" relates to a computer game about Xanth, and Legend Entertainment were licenced to bring out a real computer game shortly afterwards which had the same plot as the game in the book and the same name, "Companions of Xanth." This game was designed to run under DOS and is no longer available at Amazon UK although it can still be ordered from Amazon.com or downloaded as abandonware if you have a working computer old enough or flexible enough to run games designed for the specs and operating systems in place twenty years ago.
If you have the right sort of sense of humour, particularly a love of dreadful puns, this book and most of its' successors can be quite amusing. These books are not meant to be taken seriously. Be warned that if you did take this book and quite a few of the other Xanth books seriously, they can come over as rather sexist even by the standards of 1983, let alone those of today. However, at least some of the accusations of sexism against Piers Anthony over the Xanth books are based on taking out of context, and assuming that the author is endorsing, views which in context are clearly attributed to characters for the specific purpose of disproving them. One of the consistent themes of "Night Mare" is that the bad guys make the mistake of underestimating the female characters and that the heroines often find that they can achieve far more than their initial low expectations of themselves. In context many of the antedeluvian attitudes to women attributed to villains in the Xanth books directly contribute to the defeat of those characters or are a sign that they are on the wrong side, and similar sexist perspectives attributed to heroes and heroines are at least sometimes there so that the characters concerned can grow by overcoming them.
As you work through the Xanth series new characters and themes are gradually introduced and old ones fade away, so it it not essential to read this series in sequence, though I personally prefer to do so.
Worth a try if you enjoy fantasy and puns, are reasonably broad-minded, and able to avoid taking things too seriously or literally.
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