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The Complete Lyonesse: Suldrun's Garden, The Green Pearl, Madouc (Gollancz Black Books) Hardcover – 26 Aug 2010
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The latest of the bestselling Gollancz Black Books brings together Jack Vance's masterpiece of fantasy into one gorgeous volume.
About the Author
Jack Vance was born in 1916 and studied mining engineering and journalism at the University of California. During the Second World War he served in the merchant navy and was torpedoed twice. He started contributing stories to the pulp magazines in the mid 1940s and published his first book, THE DYING EARTH, in 1950. Among his many books are THE DRAGON MASTER, for which he won his first HUGO, BIG PLANET, THE ANOME, and the Lyonesse sequence.
Top customer reviews
The book: this hardback contains all three Lyonesse books in a single volume (and excellent Amazon price!)
My opinion of the text: it sounds like yet another fantasy/sword-and-sorcery tome, but Vance is such a good writer that he sweeps you (me) along and before you know it you are immersed, following all the various strands effortlessly. This is a classic of High Fantasy, with brilliant imagination, colour, wit, evocative names, lyrical as well as down-to-eart descriptions, strategy, magic, a range of personalities with foibles and traits... colour, food, drama, death... Vance's language is rich but very easy to read, he plays on your imagination, has a sardonic wit, is a story-teller par excellence, and leaves you with magnificent memories and dreams - and a wish for more, even after page 1024! I think this is among his best work, and it was written/recorded after he went blind. Homeric - plus wit!
My opinion of this hardback: first of all, my copy has a different cover - same colour scheme, but a nice goblet instead of this strange crown of the image above. Beautifully produced with nice text layout and font use; worthy of Vance, which is saying something! My only reservations are on the illustrations in the text: Vance does not need illustrating, his language calls up many images and visions already. Illustrations actually take some of the joy away, but most of them are pretty generic (even if slightly wrong, to my taste) and not very obtrusive. There is a very occasional larger plate of a scene or character, which is tedious for people who prefer their own imagination; but they are really very few, and I recommend this edition to all lovers of Vance. And if you don't know Vance, this would be a good place to start.
Oh, and the 'one line missing' from the first review? I think he/she means page 270, where one line is repeated a bit later - and the line that *should* be there, is missing.
If I were to pick faults, all I could say is that some people might find it difficult adapting to Jack's verbose dialogue. All of his character's talk the same way, with many words (most of them seldom found outside of the dictionary), much charisma and almost always the ability to defend their point of view with wit and intelligence. This isn't realistic, and neither is meant to be. What it is meant to be is entertaining. I've never enjoyed dialogue like I enjoy Jack Vance's. He can turn the simplest conversation into a battle of wits able to amuse the gods. Most of his conversations I re-read because I can't believe anything could be so good.
Anyway, I can't praise him enough. And if you haven't done so, after this book, try reading the Dying Earth books and the Demon Princes saga. They are equally as good.
I have long since concluded that all Kindle editions are plagued by typographic and editorial errors; I do not own one that doesn't have them in abundance. This trilogy sets a new record! The typographic errors and miss-spellings are so numerous (and often repeated) that many sentences are rendered incomprehensible. Entire paragraphs are destroyed too - I encountered some who's second half was overwritten by a repeat of the preceding paragraph! These are not minor mistakes. These are unacceptable - not only do they obliterate any meaning of the text, they induce extreme fatigue in the reader who endeavors to follow the story.
These errors are tragic because Vance's story and writing are exceptional. This trilogy is definitely one of the best fantasies I have read - an imaginative and enthralling mix of fairy-tale whimsy with dark agendas, politics, unashamed but tasteful physicality and politics. The story does not pretend to be philosophical or educational or moralistic in any way - it remains a tale, an adventure, a journey, and nothing more.