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Land of Unreason [Kindle Edition]

L. Sprague de Camp , Fletcher Pratt
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

On Midsummer's Eve, as everybody knows, you should leave a bowl of milk out for the fairies. Unfortunately - or fortunately - Fred Barber, an American diplomat convalescing in Yorkshire, didn't take the obligation with proper seriousness. He swapped the milk for a stiff dose of Scotch. So he had only himself to blame if the fairies got a bit muddled. Barber found himself in an Old English Fairyland. At the Court of King Oberon, to be precise. The natural - or supernatural - laws there were, to say the least of it, distinctly odd. Things kept changing. This made the mssion with which he was entrusted, as the price of his return to the normal world, even harder than he expected. He had to penetrate the Kobold Hills, where it was said that swords were being made, and discover if an ancient enemy had returned. He was given a magic wand - but not told how to use it. Through the fields and forests he went, meeting dryads and sprites, ogres and two-headed eagles, on the way. Danger, seduction and magic lay all around him. And, as the adventure continued, somehow it darkened and became more seriousness. At the end of Fred Barber's quest lay a shattering revelation.

Product Details

  • File Size: 362 KB
  • Print Length: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Gateway (September 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005HRT7N2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,412,258 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ONE STRANGE RIDE September 16, 2003
Format:Paperback
"Land of Unreason" first saw the light of day in 1941, in a shorter form, in "Unknown" magazine; it was later expanded to novel length. Just as there is a genre of science fiction known as "hard" sci-fi, as typified by the works of Hal Clement and Larry Niven, this novel impresses me as a "hard" fantasy novel. Not only do authors deCamp and Pratt usher us into Fairyland, and show us the court of Oberon and Titania, but we are also shown all manner of elves, sprites, nymphs, fairies, ogres, kobolds and the like; even a leprechaun and a unicorn are thrown into the mix.
This journey into the fantastic begins when Fred Barber--an American vice-consul in Spain who has been injured during World War II and who is convalescing on the Yorkshire moors--impulsively drinks the milk that his hostess has superstitiously left for the fairies on St. John's Eve. He is kidnapped by a fairy named Sneckett and brought to Oberon's palace, where he is given the task of going to the Kobold Hills and preventing the kobolds from making metallic swords (a substance that no fairy can touch). Thus, Barber begins his picaresque wanderings, and the reader is propelled into a very strange world indeed. Fairyland has been going through a series of so-called "shapings"; even the normally bizarre physical laws of the realm don't apply anymore. In his travels, Barber encounters a talking whirlwind, an apple-tree sprite, a monster from a plum tree, and two-headed eagles. He resides for a while with a marooned, 19th century farmer from New England, and is transformed into a frog and, later, a batlike creature, all leading to his ultimate transformation. The reader will never be able to guess where the story is going next; it's one darn thing after another for poor Fred Barber, as he tries to find his way back home.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fairytale for adults June 26, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Fred Barber is an American diplomat posted to the U.S. embassy in Spain at the beginning of World War 2. Although the U.S. is still a neutral country Barber is wounded in an explosion and sent to the British countryside to recuperate. From his temporary billet in Yorkshire, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gurton, Barber can hear the German bombs shattering the near-by city of Leeds. At nighttime the sky glows red in the distance where the city burns. Unable to relax or sleep easily Barber uses sleeping pills to nurse himself into a calmer state. Then on St John's Eve Barber finds himself in the house alone, except for the Gurton's baby who sleeps in his room peacefully. Determined not to resort to pills again Barber reaches instead for the scotch bottle. Wandering around the house Barber comes upon a saucer of milk, which Mrs. Gurton has left on the front doorstep. Intrigued Barber remembers that he has read in The Golden Bough that superstitious people believe that on certain nights of the year a tribute of milk should be left out for the fairies. Not to do so will result in the child of the household being stolen away and a changeling left in its place. In a slightly tipsy state Barber is amused by his find. He decides to drink the milk and leave his scotch in its place. The milk has a soporific effect and Barber happily goes to bed. In the middle of the night Barber thinks he dreams of a strange creature, with a huge smile, entering his room. Later in the night Barber awakes and finds himself out of doors in a very strange land surrounded by a crowd of very strange beings. Much to his surprise Barber finds that he has been transported to Fairyland, to the court of King Oberon and Queen Titania. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fairytale for adults June 26, 2009
Format:Paperback
Fred Barber is an American diplomat posted to the U.S. embassy in Spain at the beginning of World War 2. Although the U.S. is still a neutral country Barber is wounded in an explosion and sent to the British countryside to recuperate. From his temporary billet in Yorkshire, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gurton, Barber can hear the German bombs shattering the near-by city of Leeds. At nighttime the sky glows red in the distance where the city burns. Unable to relax or sleep easily Barber uses sleeping pills to nurse himself into a calmer state. Then on St John's Eve Barber finds himself in the house alone, except for the Gurton's baby who sleeps in his room peacefully. Determined not to resort to pills again Barber reaches instead for the scotch bottle. Wandering around the house Barber comes upon a saucer of milk, which Mrs. Gurton has left on the front doorstep. Intrigued Barber remembers that he has read in The Golden Bough that superstitious people believe that on certain nights of the year a tribute of milk should be left out for the fairies. Not to do so will result in the child of the household being stolen away and a changeling left in its place. In a slightly tipsy state Barber is amused by his find. He decides to drink the milk and leave his scotch in its place. The milk has a soporific effect and Barber happily goes to bed. In the middle of the night Barber thinks he dreams of a strange creature, with a huge smile, entering his room. Later in the night Barber awakes and finds himself out of doors in a very strange land surrounded by a crowd of very strange beings. Much to his surprise Barber finds that he has been transported to Fairyland, to the court of King Oberon and Queen Titania. Read more ›
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