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Agyar Paperback – August 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; Reprint edition (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765310236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765310231
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Brust has concocted a marvelous fantasy, a vampire novel in which the word "vampire" never appears. Jack Agyar is, if not quite immortal, very long-lived. He writes the story of his life on an old typewriter in the attic of an abandoned house in an Ohio university town where he lives with the ghost of an ex-slave named Jim. In Brust's world, vampires don't necessarily kill their victims, but, rather, feed off them for lengths of time. Through one of those victims, Agyar meets Susan, an enchanting young dancer with whom he is shocked to discover himself falling in love. Meantime, the vampire who made Agyar plans to set him up for a murder she commits and he finds himself less and less willing to do her bidding. The plot may seem elementary, but Brust is a master stylist who creates such intricate characters that plot is almost irrelevant. (Brust adds the initials P.J.F. after his name. They stand for Pre-Joyce Foundation, a group whose members, among them Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, and Jane Yolen, believe that James Joyce ruined modern literature.)
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A mysterious young man appears in a midwestern college town, takes up residence in an abandoned house, and awaits his death at the hands of the woman who controls his destiny. As John Agyar attempts to reconcile himself to impending doom, he discovers another woman whose love for him leads to a dangerous revelation--and his only hope to escape his fate. The author of The Phoenix Guards (Tor Bks., 1991) and the "Vlad Taltos" series offers a fresh perspective on a popular theme of dark fantasy in this penetrating look at an individual caught between life and death. A good choice for fantasy collections.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and raised in a family of Hungarian labor organizers, Steven Brust worked as a musician and a computer programmer before coming to prominence as a writer in 1983 with Jhereg, the first of his novels about Vlad Taltos, a human professional assassin in a world dominated by long-lived, magically-empowered human-like "Dragaerans." Over the next several years, several more "Taltos" novels followed, interspersed with other work, including To Reign in Hell, a fantasy re-working of Milton's war in Heaven; The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, a contemporary fantasy based on Hungarian folktales; and a science fiction novel, Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille. The most recent "Taltos" novels are Dragon and Issola. In 1991, with The Phoenix Guards, Brust began another series, set a thousand years earlier than the Taltos books; its sequels are Five Hundred Years After and the three volumes of "The Viscount of Adrilankha": The Paths of the Dead, The Lord of Castle Black, and Sethra Lavode.While writing, Brust has continued to work as a musician, playing drums for the legendary band Cats Laughing and recording an album of his own work, A Rose for Iconoclastes. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where he pursues an ongoing interest in stochastics.

Customer Reviews

Agyar is absolutely the best written novel I have ever read.
Michael M. Mason
I am a great fan of the Vampire genre and Brust's approach to it is refreshing for not relying on any of the tired cliches.
E. See
The prose was not very good, being in the first person and deliberately lacking details.
Judah

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael M. Mason on November 23, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Agyar is absolutely the best written novel I have ever read. I think the clearest proof of this is that I have never gotten it back from anyone I lent it to. I have quite literally purchased this book 4 times, then lent it to friends, and never had it returned. Brust accomplishes so much without beating the reader over the head with too much imagery. The story seeps into you very organically. The thing I love about Brust's writing is that there is absolutely nothing unintentional about it. He crafts his words with precision and intent. I absolutely recommend this book (I won't call it a Vampire book, since the Word is never mentioned, besides, I hate the Horror Genre). Anyone with an interest in good writing and storytelling must read this. Oh, and If I could borrow your copy for a few days....
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Steven Brust has long been a favourite of mine, and if you read Agyar, you will understand why. I believe that there are very few vampire stories that are truly worth reading, perhaps it is something about the very nature of vampires that makes them so difficult to handle. However, John Agyar, even as a killer, comes across as a very well- rounded character who evokes the reader's sympathy. The story revolves around Agyar's fight to free himself from the machinations of his mistress, Laura, and his growing love for a talented young dancer named Susan. The ending, while not entirely completely rosy, is none the less very satisfying. A much- recommended read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Townsend on October 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
I second the opinion of Benny "B". The less you know about this book, the stronger the impact. This book is best discovered. Don't read other reviews, many give too much of the story away, and thus lessens the impact. If I remember correctly, Mr Brust had said that this was a literary experiment in writing, one in which he was personally satisfied with the result. I read this book first in high school and then again several months ago. It has aged relatively well, is well written, and should appeal to many peoples tastes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Kelly Wagner on January 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Brust is perhaps best known for his Dragaeran series. This book is not part of any series, and in fact is mainly in a contemporary urban setting in the Midwest. It's almost a classic vampire story plot-line, except that vampires and drinking blood are never mentioned.

BunRab's Standard Vampire Classification: well, this is a pretty standard vampire. Vampire books can fall into several genres, and Brust is best known as a fantasy author, but this book actually contains relatively little fantasy, other than the existence of vampires in the first place. Our vampire has pretty much the minimum standard vampire powers: long-lived, can't enter a house unless invited, vulnerable to sunlight although it doesn't kill him instantly, drinks blood, can bend people to his will. No turning into a bat. Our vampire doesn't have a "day job" - his entire existence is pretty much being a vampire for the sake of being a vampire, and he resents that, too. Does he stand as a metaphor for sex? Yes and no - he is that, just as Stoker's vampire was, representing metaphorically the deflowering of young women and all that, but there are some twists to it, and he does seem to have some purpose besides representing sexual activity. Are there other supernatural characters? Sort of, and I'll leave that for you to discover. Does the place where the story takes place have any depth to it? While not as thoroughly described as some cities, there is a "there" there to this town, with a university, businesses besides the ones our characters work at (an awful lot of coffee shops, among other things!), and some scenery. The university setting allows Brust to get in some sly digs at academe; other than that, I can't say that the book contains much humor. It's not either farce nor horror.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas S. Davis on May 5, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I only read vampire books when I get desperate for something to read. I ordered Agyar only because I very much enjoyed the Vlad Taltos series by Mr. Brust. I did not really beleive I would enjoy Agyar.
From the time I ordered the book, and the time I got around to read it, enough time had gone by that I had forgotten that Agyar was a blood sucker.
By the end of the first chapter I was wondering, when did Steven Brust get into writing romance novels about con artists? By the end of the second chapter he had my attention. I could not put Agyar down without wondering what was happening. I had to itch the scratch and pick that book up again.
Thank you Steven Brust for giving me my money's worth.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
_Agyar_, by Steven Karl Zoltan Brust

Published 1993 by Tor Books (Hardcover)

ISBN# 0-312-85178-2

(And while the paper the book is printed on is acid-free, I'm not entirely sure about the author. Speaking of which, here's the URL of his personal webite: [...] And here's a site dedicated to his work, particualrly the Dragaeran novels: [...] Both good, informative sites.)

Now, on to the book...

Finally, a vampire novel that doesn't insult my intelligence. And doesn't even once (not even ONCE!) mention the word 'vampire'. No boring passages about '...the bright crimson flow of his lifeblood crept slowly down my throat, caressing like a long-lost lover, yet leaving me as empty as the abyss which is my apathy toward this turgid world that strives as its only goal to bring me to my knees so that I may know despair and regain my faith once more in a God that I believe abandoned and cursed me to this eternal twilight existence neither alive nor dead, yet still forced to endure
this (im)mortal coil until the oh-so-sweet day of release when I shall finally be reunited with my long-lost and lamented love, whom I cared too much about to ever bring across this veil of death into this eternal half-life...'. Feh. Crap like that makes me sick. This book, however, is positively Pepto.

I will be the first to admit that this is a very odd book. Decidedly so. But this is a very good thing. It presents a new vampire story. Not 'the vampiric condition' from another perspective, but a NEW story. Even if this was not a vampire story, it would still be an excellent tale. It is not written in the normal third-person perspective, but it written in double first-person. No, don't ask me what that means.
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