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Beyond the Hanging Wall Hardcover – July 18, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (July 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076530449X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765304490
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,511,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this stand-alone high fantasy set in the same universe as her Wayfarer Redemption series (Enchanter, etc.), Australian Douglass fashions a promising milieu of elemental Gnostic magic within a rugged coastal setting. Unfortunately, stock characters wending their way down standard plot-lines to a foregone conclusion obscure her world-building. Garth Baxtor, an apprentice healer who's inherited an extra helping of "the Touch" (the ability to feel-and, to some degree, alleviate-his patients' pain), journeys to the Veins, a complex of underground mines. While tending condemned workers in the shafts, Garth happens upon prisoner 859, whom Garth's Touch reveals to be Prince Maximilian, the missing heir to the throne of Escator. Later, in the Land of Dreams, Garth has a conversation with the ancient heraldic beast of Escator, the droll monster Manteceros, who agrees to confirm the identity of the true king if Garth can rescue prisoner 859 from the Veins and have him challenge the vile pretender, King Cavos. In an overly complicated finale Manteceros administers a moral test of worthiness to the two kingly claimants. Maximilian's near-instantaneous transformation after 17 years' hard labor from broken-minded wretch to dashing, lighthearted prince strains credibility, while a spate of hand-waving mystical exposition at book's end does more to confuse than resolve the story. Still, the atmosphere of maritime magic is diverting, and, for fans of the author's Redemption books, this may be enough.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Fourteen-year-old Garth and his father are healers gifted with "the Touch." Because the physicians of Escator are required to spend three weeks each year ministering to the prisoners confined in the dank, underground mine called the Veins, Garth's father brings his son, still an apprentice, along when he goes to fulfill his obligation. Using his own powers to heal, Garth senses the king's mark on a prisoner and suspects that beneath layers of dirt lies the young prince who disappeared 17 years ago and had been presumed dead. Aided by a marsh witch, a mythical creature, an order of monks, and his own courage, Garth sets out to rescue the prince and restore him to his kingdom. Australian Douglass' latest American release is packed with sympathetic characters and heroic challenges. Lacking the violence and sex of Douglass' Hades Daughter [BKL Ja 1 & 15 03], this is a rousing fantasy for all ages. Candace Smith
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

There is a very nice balance between the characters.
Andy Gray
This is the only book I have read from Sara Douglass so I may not know much about her style but this is definitely good.
As I have said before, I love Sara Douglass' writing, I can get right into the story & picture the characters & scenes.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In the kingdom of Escator, medical apprentice Garth Baxtor learns how to apply his gift of the healing touch and use of herbs under the tutelage of his father physician Joseph. Every year Joseph treks to the Veins to provide health care to the condemned prisoners working the mines instead of paying taxes. Garth accompanies his father on the trip.
Garth notices one of the incarcerated has the tattoo of the mythical Manteceros on his arm; a tattoo of this beast is restricted only to two people, the king and his heir. It does not take mush thinking to conclude that this prisoner has to be Prince Maximillian, who vanished almost a decade ago. Garth says nothing, but upon returning home, he quietly investigates the tattoo, the Manteceros, and a weird rhyme the prisoner recited. Joined by Ravenna of the marsh, and the regally faithful Abbott Vorstus, Garth knows the rightful monarch toils in the mine while an imposter rules Escador.
Though the story line flows in an obvious direction, fantasy readers will enjoy this delightful tale. The story line is loaded with action so the audience rarely has a moment to breathe. The champion trio seems genuine even as they step over the edge risking everything in a heroic effort to right a wrong. Sara Douglass provides a strong tale that displays why the Australian audience thinks she is one of the top fantasists writing in the past decade.
Harriet Klausner
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have enjoyed some of Douglass' books, but I found this one to be a disappointment. There was never any character development - the main character was the same at the end as he'd been at the beginning. There was never any suspense - the outcome was never in doubt for a second. For example, when proof of the prince's identity is needed, someone shows up within minutes (it felt like that short a time, at least), with the only object that could prove the prince's identify in his pocket.
While the book kept me busy for a couple hours it didn't have me riveted to my chair. I kept hoping that there'd be some real action, or some reason to actually care what happened next, but nothing ever really developed. I was sorry I'd spent money on it, as I doubt I'll read it again. Save your money and wait for the paperback if your library doesn't have this book on the shelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on August 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
While on a medical mission in the prison-mines, physician apprentice Garth Baxtor discovers the heir to the throne of Escator. The discovery transforms Garth's life--makes him seek out evidence of the crime that was committed, and the magical tests that could restore the true king to the thrown. But Prince Maxamilian fears the outside world and doubts his own identity. In a world where the longest lifespan is one or two years, Maxamilian has survived for seventeen--but much of his identity is now lost. How can a young apprentice hope to overcome the entire governmental organization--when his prince doesn't even want to be helped?
Fortunately, Garth stumbles across help. A swamp woman's daughter offers powerful magic. A monk searches the library for clues. And a mysterious order dedicated to the royal family of Escator hears of Garth's quest and volunteers to help. With a quick turnaround from Maxamilian and some powerful magic, order can be restored in the kingdom.
Author Sara Douglass. Adolescent Garth will appeal to younger readers and Douglass's smooth writing makes the fairly linear plot seem more interesting than it would in less skilled hands.
BEYOND THE HANGING WALL isn't Douglass's strongest story but it lacks the genocidal bent to some of her other stories. Fans will definitely want to add this one to their collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aliya Jamil on March 12, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having read most of Sara Douglass's novels, Beyond the Hanging Wall proved to be a fine, stand-alone novel absent of the melodrama and lurid sex which had marred a few of her other stories. The protagonist, Garth Baxtor, a young man gifted with the "Touch," an ability to assess and probe illnesses, travels with his father to the Veins--a gloomy, squalid series of mines where gloam is harvested--to administer healing to the prisoners. During his three week soujourn, Garth discovers, much to his delight and surprise, that one prisoner, Lot no. 859, is in actuality a prince thought to have died seventeen years ago. Although the prisoner denies his true identity, bemoaning that there is "nothing beyond the hanging wall," Garth embarks on a quest to free the true heir to the kingdom. Garth enlists the aid of a marsh witch and a brotherhood committed to the line of the true royal family. He also pursues the mystery behind the mythical dream creature called the Manteceros, which is inextricably linked to Lot no. 859. Mystery, suspense, with some mayhem are thrown together to produce a rousing adventure tale that you just can't put down.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on January 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Beyond the Hanging Wall is an independent novel. In the kingdom of Escator, a vibrant and beloved young prince is lured away from a royal hunt and ambushed by a group of masked men. These men cannot kill the prince, for he is protected the royal tattoo on his arm, but they brand over the tattoo and haul the prince away to perpetual captivity.
In this novel, seventeen years later, Garth Baxter is an apprentice healer learning his trade from his father. When Joseph is called to serve his annual term as a healer within the Veins, Garth asks to go along with his father. First, however, the pair visit the king to treat the festering of his royal tattoo.
When they reach the deep mines of the Veins, Garth finds a man -- lot 859 -- far below who has a royal tattoo buried under the hideous scar on his arm. Recognizing that lot 859 must be Maximillian, the lost prince, Garth first tries to get the man to respond to his name, but has little success. After returning from the Veins, Garth spends the next few months trying to find out more about Prince Maximillian and the tattoo.
His questions brings him to the attention of others who join with him in the quest. Among these is a monk of the Order of the Persimius and a pair of marsh witches. Eventually they plot a rescue of the prince.
Some of the most poignant scenes occur deep within the mine. The stench of sulfur and the tang of saltwater overlay the odour of unwashed humanity. The ever present dust coats the skin and is drawn into the throat and lungs with each breath. Overhead is the hanging wall of the tunnels, holding back millions of tons of rock and dirt. Darkness oppresses the mind of many, but is a well-known friend to the prince.
In many respects, this story can be compared to those of Patricia McKillip.
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More About the Author

Sara Douglass was born in Penola, South Australia, and spent her early working life as a nurse. Rapidly growing tired of starched veils, mitred corners and irascible anaesthetists, she worked her way through three degrees at the University of Adelaide, culminating in a PhD in early modern English history. Sara Douglass currently teaches medieval history of La Trobe University, Bendigo and escapes academia through her writing.

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