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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 25 December 2010
Second volume in the scavenger trilogy, a series of fantasy novels, concerning the exploits of Poldarn.

But that's not his real name. He began the first book by waking up with amnesia and has struggled through various trials and tribulations whilst striving to find the truth about himself since.

You could probably get into this one without having read the first Shadow (Scavenger Trilogy) as there is enough exposition to bring you up to speed, but it might be better to start with that one in order to get the full story.

In this volume Poldarn has returned to what he is told is his childhood home, a remote land sparsely inhabited by a small number of families and is trying to pick up life there. With an arranged marriage on the cards and potential fuels, plus a volcano about to erupt, he doesn't seem destined to find a happily ever after...

Not a book containing many fantastical elements - save for a few narrative tricks with memory and some characters who can mind read - this does concern itself very much with depicting how arrivals in a place like the land shown here might live, their most advanced level of technology being the forge. And whilst the setting is well drawn and convincing it's pretty much all you get for a while, so there will come a point when you could be screaming for something to happen. Even the ever present problem of the volcano is largely a background menace and not the source of too much action.

Poldarn has to make choices, various memories do come back to him, and he finds how actions have consequences. Which leads to an ending that whilst being somewhat self contained also sets up the third and final volume,

Whilst Poldarn has learnt a lot more by the end of the book than he knew at the start, this is very much a middle book in a series and simply serves to move it along and develop things for the finale. The writing is very clever in regards to how his memory troubles are depicted and it presents the reader with some interesting moral food for thought at times but it lacks an epic scale and it's not as involving as the first book.

Should you wish to find out what happens next after this, the story concludes in a book called memory, the third and final volume of this story.
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on 15 December 2016
A good product at a good price with rapid delivery.
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on 19 May 2017
am in the process of reading this book and not finished yet but very interesting
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on 23 April 2012
Kind of hard to follow in places and ultimately I never quite got was going on. The twist at the end seemed a bit of an anti-climax. If you like intricate, intriguing stories then this might be for you.
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on 26 July 2014
Excellent
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on 22 June 2015
This is an unusual novel for Parker/Holt. While the first novel in the Scavenger-trilogy, Shadow, follows the main character Poldarn and plays (or should I say, intentionally confuses the reader) with events in the present and at various times and places in the past, this one is all Poldarn, all straight forward, all one location.

Though marketed as 'fantasy' there is no a fantastic element here (as in all of Parker's novels so far as opposed to his stories) while a great deal of space is given to even minute details of the work in a forge and during the construction of a timber-frame house.

Simply for the sake of comprehension you could just skip this second part and would not miss much regarding the main storyline - but please don't! "Pattern" is well worth reading. It takes place in one location and is told in a straight forward-style, almost linear, with a different cast of characters. It's not your typical weak second part at all, but it is the odd one out.
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on 30 June 2003
This is an excellent book.
I found the first of the trilogy a rather hard read with its meandering plot and lack of coherent direction and also its lack of depth of character (few characters stick around for long and the "hero" has no memory) but I decided to persist with the series in the hope that the first book was merely setting the scene and things would get better.
They did.
Pattern is superb; very original and at times very funny.
The plot develops (although a lot of things are deliberately left obscure to tease the reader) and starts making sense, as Poldarn continues to regain his memories he starts to become a real character rather than simply someone things keep happening to.
In summary buy the book! If the third carries on where this left then the trilogy will be even better than the Fencer Trilogy
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on 7 June 2002
In the first book of The Scavenger Trilogy, Shadow, many things were discovered about the main character Poldarn, from the scattered memories of his past which returned to him in fragmented form in his dreams. But many more things were revealed about K.J.Parker, the most obvious being this man is a major new talent in the fantasy genre, and has assured himself a place in my personal must-read list from here on; another discovery about him is that he loves to toy with his reader. Shadow was littered with false clues and hints, leading the reader to constantly rework their theories over who Poldarn really was. This was one of the book's strongest and most intriguing parts.

It is even more strongly the case in the sequel, Pattern. Poldarn's past is by no means decided as he arrives at his childhood home and meets his estranged family. This book takes a different tack to the first, with Poldarn remaining essentially in the same place and having to deal with the other characters around him rather than wandering the hills and taking life as it comes (or, more likely, punches him in the face). This is a welcome change and adds diversity to the Poldarn's story; the dreams also return and with them a plethora of new suspicions and ponderings over who he has been in his forgotten life. And now he is surrounded by people who know something of his past and aren't telling him, so much can be gleaned (perhaps falsely, however) from their reactions to him.
The most enjoyable aspect of Parker's works, I think, is the cynically realistic tone he maintains throughout his novels, a pessimistic, or realistic perhaps, take on life which grounds his characters in a more believable world than the typical fantasy heroes and heroines of the genre. There really wasn't a poor quality sentence in the whole book (and in a side note, it was incredibly well proof read, with only a couple of missing speech marks to be seen).
It's surprisingly difficult to review this book, because there is so much to commend it which is hard to describe. As this is the second book in a trilogy, I would assume that you have read Shadow, and therefore are familiar with what made Shadow an excellent book; all that can easily be said from that basis is that Pattern keeps up that supreme quality, but moves both Poldarn and the plot forward. It gets a little complicated in the sometimes (intentionally) conflicting dreams and memories he has, and had me keeping some notes to stay on track with the revelations...all to little avail because there is a magnificently surprising twist in the final pages.
To bring that rambling to an end - buy this book. It deserves attention and acclaim, and I look forward to both the final instalment and K.J. Parker gaining the true status as a superb fantasy writer that he has proven he richly deserves with both Shadow and Pattern.
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on 11 November 2008
After reading this book i was actually shocked. I found that the the previous book 'Shadow' was brilliant, not only for its thrilling plot, but also because of the way Parker presents the lead character. As you may already know the main character Poldarn has lost his memory. Parker is able to deal with this very well as s/he is able to create the character with little personality. Many other critics have slammed Parkers character for his lack of deepth, but in my opinion Parker has done the plot justice by having the character (who has no memory) lacking real depth.
This trait is once again seen in the second noval 'Pattern'. I believe that many critics have slammmed this book on account of the slow and almost non existant plot. However what many readers seem to forget is that the main character has little or no memory(Ironic,I know). Parker reflects this extremely well in the plot by having the main character focus on his day to day life rather then have him off saving the planet or whatever else most generic fantasy hereos do. The point is that Parker is cleary trying to get across the fact that people with no memory have a very undeveloped personality as one's past determines one's outake on the world.
I would recommend this book to any reader who is able to look past the fact that this is a fantasy book lacking fantasy, and instead I advise them to take the novel for what it really is; a man's journey to find himself.
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on 7 November 2002
I would have to disagree with the previous review. After battling through the first in this triology "Shadow" I decided to give K J Parker the benefit of the doubt and purchase "Pattern". Unfortunately it invokes the same feelings as the first. In both books the characters are annoying and you have no interest in any of them which includes the main character. I find that the interweaving of the plot results is a mish mash of a book with nothing really happening and you just feel like screaming "shut up" to the characters. The book is very repetitive with the same conversations etc. in each chapter which I think accounts for the length of this book. There is no action which you can often forgive in fantasy as long as the plot is strong. This has neither a good plot and absolutely no action. I have been struggling to finish it for the last 4 months. I did buy it so I will finish it but I can't recommend it.
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