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Customer reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
The Thousandfold Thought: Book 3 of the Prince of Nothing
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on 28 June 2017
Not quite as good as book 2 but still great.
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on 14 May 2017
superbly written, full of intelligence and compassion.
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on 29 August 2017
After a brilliant first book and a so-so second part he concludes the trilogy with a flop. Key characters that are developed throughout the first two books are killed off within the space of one page in the most stupid of ways (Conphas, Eleazaras) - and those are the lucky ones that get a conclusion to their stories. Others, such as Cnaiur, are left hanging just like that. This book is 200 pages shorter than the two previous ones and just shows how rushed it was. Full of generalities and pretentious pseudo philosophies. All in all, one to avoid and a shameful conclusion to a trilogy that started off so brilliantly. A shame.
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on 21 July 2010
I've seen many of the other negative reviews of this book and frnakly I don't understand them. 'The Thousandfold thought' isn't much harder to read than either 'The Darkness that comes before' or 'The Warrior Prophet' and it definitely isn't as dark and depressing as 'The Warrior Prophet' as Kehllus' power amongst some of the characters weaken with one seeing right through him in the end. So why all the negative reviews? I've come to the conclusion that those who give the book such negative reviews didn't like the other two books in the series and so should never have bought the third book in the first place or that by the time that got round to reading 'The Thousandfold thought' they'd forgotten all about the previous two books and so didn't understand it.

The book itself is a masterpiece of fantasy fiction subverting many of the conventions of the genre, tying up many of the storylines in the previous two books and yes leaving a few cliffhangars because in a series as in epic like this I doubt you could tie up all the storylines in three books without making it seem rushed.
Achamian -one of my favourite characters- finally comes into his own in this book and the Seswatha flashbacks which I've always found to be one of the most fascinating parts of R Scott Bakker's books are even more interesting in this book than the previous two. Many of the questions about Kehllus and his father are answered in this book and the Scylevandi also like Achamian comes into his own; we see the effects of many of the events and decisions made in the second book including some that we would never have thought of and its rare to see such a realistic and gritty storyline in any fantasy book.

In short If you liked the previous two books you'll probably love 'The Thousandfold Thought' regardless of what other reviewers have been saying and If you like rich, detailed and innovative fantasy series' you'll definitely love 'The Prince of Nothing' Trilogy.
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on 11 October 2017
...which makes it OK (3 stars) at best in my view. A citation by Theodor Adorno confirms this fact. The emphasis on power, nihilism, decadence, decay, subversion, relativism, deconstruction, dialectics, while refreshing and captivating at first encounter, drags throughout the series, detracting from it little by little. The series is labelled grimdark like Abercrombie, but it's the opposite of Abercrombie: no characters I could relate to; no dark humour here. Thus, I'd rate the books: #1 - 3.5 stars; #2 - 3 stars; #3 - 2.5 stars. A series worth reading but not great as it could have been.
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on 20 October 2006
The final book of the trilogy, and like the Tolkien that inspired it, the final instalment is the finest.

Many reviewers seem to have missed the fact that destruction of Evil (the Consult) is not the point or intent for the Warrior Prophet who leads the holy war. This trilogy will be lost on the reader looking for a good vs. bad slugfest. The reader that wants to follow a cast of deeply constructed characters, and enjoys the build-up of characters with immense potential for power, will enjoy this series and the final payoff.

Bakker presents the reader with a violent reality, following characters that are broken and remade over chapters to create a cast that is as subtly beautiful and terrible as the desert they travel through. This is not light reading. This is a novel that demands your attention and rewards you for your efforts with the explosive conclusion in the final third of the book.

For readers of the previous novels wondering if this is worth it, it is.
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on 16 November 2012
After thoroughly enjoying the epic scale and harrowing exploits of the Holy War in the opening two volumes of R Scott Bakkers Prince of Nothing series, I found the final volume to be a mostly abject ending. Not only were previously interesting charcters reduced to whimpering redundant shadows of their former selves (Conphas, Cnauir, Achamian & Xinemus), but one cannot help but feel the author panicked somewhere between book 2 & 3. Bakker must have felt he had not provided enough information containing the impending doom of the world through the second apocalypse and felt inclined in book 3 to dedicate large sections splurging messy disjointed flashbacks through Achamians dream sequences to solving this puzzle. Personally I felt enough was done in this respect in the first two volumes and book 3 should have dealt with the concluding perils of the Holy War and it's final battle at Shimeh.
Also, vast tracts of the book are written without any refernce to which character's view point we are seeing it from. It could be present day, it could be in the first apocalypse, Achamian, Seswatha, Serwe, skin-spy, who knows! Many may find this a subtle interweaving of threads and character emotions, whereas I found it turgid and confusing.
Not all is appaling though; there are many satisfying battle scenes in and around Shimeh, Achamian finaly finds some semblence of happiness and Bakker can hardly be accused of butchering the English language. As a concluding part to a previously gripping epic however, The Thousandfold Thought was poor.
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on 4 October 2006
Most people who bought the first two books will buy this one even if the reviews warn you that it's not that great, that's what happened to me. Firstly I was expecting a conclusion, ie a trilogy coming to an end, if this is the final book it is exceedingly disappointing, but I don't think it will be. Secondly I think the author has tried to be too deep and philisophical, wait to you get the the bit when Achamian is trying to teach Kellhus the gnosis. Thirdly the author flings in names of characters and places as if they are going out of fashion and they don't have any bearing on the storyline.
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on 17 February 2007
The first two books in this series (The Darkness That Comes Before and The Warrior Propeht) really set the bar high: the were beautifully written, featured several complex characters and an excellent major plot with several sub plot lines. They were a little complicated in the "world" created by the books, but not deterringly so.

This one, though just as beautifully written, was a struggle to get through. Not nearly as good as the first two, and, because of the fast ending, seems like it was written under a severe deadline.

The plot obviously continues from the second book (and, people with poor memories like me will appreciate the 20+ page "what has come before" summary at the beginning of the book) where Kellhus the Dunyain has assumed control of the Holy War through logic and manipulation. Achamian is helping him, but struggling with that path, in no small part because Kellhus has taken Achamian's wife as his own (when Achamian was feared dead). Cnaiur believes himself mad or possesed or both, and follows his own path to redemption. All head for Shimeh, the Holy City now held by heathens, where Kellhus has been "summoned" to see and sent to assasinate his father.

The characters again are beautifully wrought and described, especially Achamian, Esmet and Cnaiur.

Three major complaints. Bakker asks his readers not only to enter his world, but to study it. The PB version has 100 pages of Glossary out of a 500 page book, and in some of the passages, it feels like you've got to read them all to understand what is happening. Very confusing at times.

Second, the end flys by. A lot of action and things tied up in a very short period of time.

Third, it's not an obvious end. There are many questions left unanswered, obviously a fourth book or a new series coming next.

I will continue reading Mr. Bakker's works, because he tackles a lot, presents a new version of fantasy writing different than most, and I learn a lot from his style of writing. But he set the bar high with the first two novels, and this one, while still good, is not at their level.
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on 22 June 2007
Bakker's Prince of Nothing sequence does have some merits, most notably in the characters' of Achamian and Esmenet, the complexities of their love and failures to love give the novels a sense of heart.
Unfortunately, the hero character 'Kellhus' is a serious problem. The rational for his mastery of the world into which he has been introduced, is that he's a late stage product of a multi-generational breeding and education program, which is designed to create beings capable of transcending the innate drives to which they are chained by their genetic and cultural heritage. This is done so that they can act rationally in all situations and thus master all that they confront. An interesting idea and clearly one which takes a lot from the work of behavioural psychology. The problem is that literature, and indeed all human drama, is based on the confrontations of individuals with the irrational and mostly their own irrationality, it is in the end what makes us human and interesting. Thus the 'hero' has to be seen as essentially inhuman. That is not necessarily a problem, but the way Bakker has written him makes 'Kellhus' dull and unsympathetic.
Worse though he's a mediocre copy of Paul Atreidies. Let's face it we've all been here before with this sort of end product of a breeding experiment.
So why does Dune work and 'The Prince of Nothing' fail to convince? Partly because Dune was original and this feels derivative, but much more so because of the quality of the writing. Frank Herbert, at his best was a very fine writer, Bakker is simply not that good. He throws out interesting idea's and creates a world with a great deal of depth, but his writing lacks elegance. He crams in endless long, unfamiliar and difficult names(without ever giving us sufficient reason to care about the places and people to whom they belong) and he fails to bring the requisite excitement to the action sequences (i feel he himself only writes those because he feels they're necessary for this sort of novel, but he personally is not interested in them, being far more involved in the underlying philosophical and anthropological issues).
All of which is a pity as the strengths and potential of the series are such that i feel it could have been a landmark in modern fantasy. But with it being difficult to find any reason to care for Kellhus and having to wade through acres of dense and uninspired prose about the history, philosophy and battles of this world 'The Prince of Nothing' is, eventually, a failure.
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