Top positive review
23 people found this helpful
Nice edition of a fantasy masterwork
on 30 September 2010
The text: a tale of the lost continent or large island Lyonesse, West of France, South of Ireland. Mystery, strategy, war, romance, fairies and magic. How Princess Suldrun grew up and fell in love, while her father King Casmir tries to gain the ascendancy among the scattered kingdoms of Lyonesse; how Prince Aillas travelled the medieval lands of Lyonesse, encountering strange tribes and weird customs; and how Madouc, a faerie changeling, sets off on a quest not unrelated to the other stories. A rich multi-stranded epic of the Elder Isles.
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.