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The Book of Atrix Wolfe Paperback – February 5, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Trade; Reprint edition (February 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441015654
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441015658
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In what is probably her best-known work, The Riddlemasters of Hed, McKillip combined shape-shifting, riddle-solving and the desire for wild and unbridled power into a richly fantastic tale. Here, she returns to those themes, adding a strand of the fairy world to her rich web of enchantment. Prince Talis, heir to the Pelucir throne, has been away from his homeland studying magecraft. At the wizards' college, he discovers a mysterious book of spells whose words carry hidden meanings. Returning to Pelucir, Talis encounters the Queen of the Woods, who is looking for her daughter, Sorrow, lost ever since the mage Atrix Wolfe misused his magic to divert a war. Now Talis and Atrix must solve the riddle of Sorrow's existence, and rid the world of the evil that Atrix conjured. Though McKillip's latest is less strongly plotted than some of her earlier novels, her words and images remain masterfully evocative as she manages to invoke great beauty using the simplest language. Connoisseurs of fine fantasy will delight in this expertly wrought tale.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Driven by a formless fury when the prince of Kardeth refuses to halt his invasion of the kingdom of Pelucir, the great mage Atrix Wolfe creates a fearful hunter, "a warrior with no allegiance but to death." But the ensuing massacre of both armies and the king of Pelucir appalls the mage, and he flees to the mountains to live in wolf form among wolves until, 20 years later, the queen of the Woods demands that he seek out her daughter, who disappeared at the time of the great bloodbath. The ensuing story involves aspiring mage Talis Pelucir, son of the slain king, and Saro, a young, mute scullery maid in the castle of Pelucir whose background is unknown. Steeped in medieval legends of the wild huntsman, living trees, and shape changers, McKillip's tale is decidedly atmospheric, complex, compelling, and filled with rich imagery. Sally Estes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 37 customer reviews
Patricia A. McKillip is an excellent author!
H. Yates
I was so wrapped up in the characters, I couldn't talk for an hour after I read it the first time.
A must-read for those who enjoyed her other books, or fans of fantasy in general!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 1996
Format: Hardcover
For all of those fantasy readers out there who have read
fairy tale upon fairy tale, here is a familiar feeling original
tale which captures all of human emotion and brings you into
a dream. It has been said that a composer's power is the
ability to bring the listener, unwilling, into his state of
mind. And so it is here, as you are drawn in so subtly and
powerfully to each moment in the story until a tension so high
has built up it is impossible to rip yourself away. The language
is stunning, as in all Patricia McKillip books, and yet here
she seems to even surpass herself, every sentence a line of
poetry, never pretentious but always full of meaning.
Even though I myself have read many fairy tales, both the
originals and retellings, and admire greatly such authors as
Angela Carter and Anne Sexton who brings a wonderful edge
and newness to the tales, I was entranced by this book both
because of its originality and its homage to the form of a
fairy tale or myth. The most wonderful thing, however, is that
each character is human, suffering all of the emotions each of
us know so well, and therefore the story is always a grounded
and effective odyssey.
I would highly reccomend this book to anyone who misses magic
in the modern world, the sense that the Fair Folk are indeed
there, watching us. The feeling that imagination, superstition
and dreams are still very much a part of us, and can never truly
be forgotten.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on March 5, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A bare outline of the plot and characters of "The Book of Atrix Wolfe" might deceive you into thinking that this book is yet another modern retelling of an old fairy tale. Here is the beautiful princess, forced into a life as a scullery maid by a powerful mage, who also turns her father into a deadly were-stag with a "black moon rising from his burning horns". Here also is the mage-prince who eventually recognizes the princess for what she is in spite of her formidable disguise, and returns her to her loving mother.
The sleeping beauty on the Kinuko Craft cover may do justice to the loveliness of the princess-turned-scullery-maid (at least prior to her transformation by the mage), but it doesn't capture her incredible will to survive after she is torn from her parents and dumped, naked and alone, into an alien universe. Yes, she ends up as a scullery maid, thought to be mute and retarded by her fellow kitchen workers. Yes, she scrubs pots from dawn to midnight. But the prince's kitchen turns out to be lively and warm, and filled with an eccentric hierarchy of cooks, sauce makers, plate washers, mincers, pluckers, boners, choppers, and spit-boys. McKillip goes into loving detail over the making and serving of food fit for a King's table, and when the princess Saro finally leaves the washing cauldron to fulfill her destiny, I for one felt a faint tinge of regret.
Who would have thought that a medieval kitchen could be a more interesting place to linger than a fairy forest where "water flowed, silver and sweet as honey among ancient roots"?
"The Book of Atrix Wolfe" stands many fairy tale truisms on their heads, including the character of the evil, all-powerful mage.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Book of Atrix Wolfe" would function very well as a set of tapestries. The colors are rich, the setting vividly archaic, and attention to detail is meticulous: reading Patricia McKillip's work, you often feel that you are observing a series of still images linked in sequence. Talis Pelucir resettling his glasses on his nose. A winter wind streaking the dreaming gold-green of the Queen's forest with snow. Atrix Wolfe fraying from wolf to wind to human in the blink of an eye that stretches for nearly a paragraph. McKillip makes time elastic, which adds to the mixed sense of the gritty and the unreal that pervades the entire book, as does her use of words as evocations rather than as descriptions. Characters are viewed obliquely, even when the story proceeds from their point of view; it requires careful reading to understand them, and even then you are learning from the outside in: vivid, surreal, and slightly detached tapestries of action, magery, and emotion.
While "The Book of Atrix Wolfe" is not my favorite of all of McKillip's works, in several ways it reminds me of the Riddle-Master Trilogy more than her other recent works do, especially in the importance of names. One character is named Saro, which is persistently and not inaccurately misheard as "sorrow" for much of the book. Atrix Wolfe binds his book with his name, so that none of the words really say what they seem, and part of the Hunter's terror is that he seems to have no name. Similarly, a strong sense of the awakening past fills every movement of the characters' lives.
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