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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 27 April 1998
There aren't many people who can pull off such a blend of genres that unfold upon reading The Many Colored Land, but somehow May pulls it off. Normally one would expect some of each genre's fans to be turned off by her treatment, but the blend is entirely seamless. While the beginning of the book is mostly science fiction, when they actually get to the Pliocene, the science fiction elements, while still there, fade slightly to show the awe inspiring fantasy sequences.

But I haven't even gotten started on the story. Ah, the plot, I don't think I've ever seen anything like it before. It's complex yes, but when the book ends you get the sense that something has been accomplished, and that you haven't been reading four hundred pages to get shafted by a bunch of loose ends. There's a sense of closure. This is a book where you continue onto the next one because you want to, not because you feel some need to keep plodding on. It's just that good.

Oh, and just as an aside, those who are interested in the prehistory of this planet will find that most of May's research is completely accurate, keeping in mind of any new discoveries that have been made since the book was written. But the amount of research that had to go into getting the Pliocene right is astonishing, everything down to the crisp chill in the air warning of the Ice Age coming just a few million years down the road. The age comes alive.

But why listen to me ramble on? Read the darn thing already?
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on 24 March 2016
I read this series decades ago and it was wonderful. Thought I'd see if it was available as an audio download. WORSE THAN NOT BEING AVAILABLE, the first book is available, but not the whole series. What is the point of this? Either produce the whole lot or don't bother. I don't intend to buy the first volume and get into it only to be left hanging in the hope that at some point the others will appear. VERY ANNOYING.
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on 12 February 1997
E-Mail me to discuss. This author has created a world so filled with detail and strings of reality that it becomes real. OK, maybe not real, but it is a fantastic set of charcters masterfully blended together with foreshadowing which I have never seen before.
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on 21 November 1998
Granted that when you look at this cover, you kinda go,"huh, looks cheesy." That goes for the current cover shown here (I mean the person on the cover is supposed to be Felice, this hard core athlete girl.) What I get on this cover is a dorky looking gal wearing what looks like a wig.) And that's the current cover! What I actually saw when I first discovered this excellent book, (I can already tell the whole series will be a favorite of mine,) was the throw back cover from a 1981 edition of The Many Colored Land. Not to get into it too much, but let's just say there were hokey looking monkey's wearing jewlery,and a poorly drawn cheese-ball pirate and viking on it.
Anyways, don't use the cover as a basis for judgeing whether the book will be good or not. The actuall story is really very good and is a clever blend of sci fi, fantasy and is inspired by Celtic myth. The characters are all really original and so is the setting. May definatly has a well based scientific slant when she describes the Plieocne plants,animals and geographic layout.
Actually, I haven't read anything quite like this (and I have read Jane Aule's Clan of the Cave Bear Series and also Brin's Uplift saga.)The whole book makes for a really creative story and is a must read for people who like their books a little off the norm in either sci fi or fantasy. Also I was impressed with the breadth of the universe May creates for her characters. The characters in this series and their future time period will tie in with other books outside of the Exils series. I also liked how all the characters had a distinct culture. That included everyone from believable a Frenchwoman to alien races. In addition, the characters motives and attitudes were well thought out and distinct to each, making for "3-dimensional" people that stand out. Great Book!
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on 30 June 1999
The four volume 'Saga of the Pliocene Exiles', starting with 'The Many-coloured Land' is, for me, the most outstanding piece of fiction ever written.
A blending of science fiction and fantasy as exciting as it is unique; a wealth of deep, complex characters that feel like friends (and enemies) by the end; an audacious plot that makes your head spin; a narrative style that makes you wish you could read faster so you could get to the next page; descriptions of ancient earth and its inhabitants thats sets your imagination alight..
Julian May has created a series that is rich, intricate and real. No I'm don't work for her publisher. :-) I just love these books...
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on 13 April 1999
This is where it all begins: A wonder-world, richly written and woven by the reigning master of fantasy - Julian May. Well, at least that's my opinion! I have tried to explain to my friends the basis of this series, only to find myself saying, "Oh, but wait, I forgot about this..". You must read the entire series and experience for yourself how May turns a possible conundrum of events spanning 5 generations into an amazing story circle. I have followed the entire series through to "Magnificat" for over ten years now, and each book gets better and better! P.S. Join the Julian May Newsletter!
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on 25 January 1999
This was all in all a great book. But is not necsisary to read in order to "get" the other 8 books. My mom started me on this series when I was 14, and gave me the golden torc to read first and told me to skip the many colored land. And I did. I read Golden torc all the way to magnificant, and then the many colored land. The begining is great but the end is dry and repetative. Read the 30 page prologue in the golden torc and you'll understand this book, minus character development. But still a fun read.
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on 4 January 1998
I read this book years ago, and then simply ran to my local bookstore, and bought all the follow ons, simply because I found it to be so perfect. The characters are beautiful in their complexity, terrifying because of their strength, and admirable for their nobility. They return to an era which has been taken over by exotics, and all they can do is fight for freedom, and oppression, coming from an era where that was the norm. Marvellous.
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on 22 July 1995
In this book Julian May brilliantly combines SF with Fantasy. In an alternate-past misfits from the future are coming through a oneway time portal to exile in the pliocene period of earth. Once there they find a world very unlike the one they had expected to find. From there unfolds a fantastical adventure.
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on 15 April 1998
The beginning of a long and wonderful journey, the Many-Coloured Land is brilliant, exciting, though-provoking, well-told... I could go on and on. Read it and you will be at the bookstore (or on a week later, buying the sequel. Perhaps my most cherished SF series to date.
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