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Lud-in-the-Mist (Prologue Fantasy) [Kindle Edition]

Hope Mirrlees
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The book that New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman considers "one of the finest [fantasy novels] in the English language"

Between the mountains and the sea, between the sea and Fairyland, lay the Free State of Dorimare and its picturesque capital, Lud-in-the-Mist. No Luddite ever had any truck with fairies or Fairyland. Bad business, those fairies. The people of Dorimare had run them out generations ago--and the Duke of Dorimare along with them.

Until the spring of his fiftieth year, Master Nathaniel Chanticleer, Mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist and High Seneschal of Dorimare, had lived a sleepy life with his only son, Ranulph. But as he grew, Ranulph was more and more fond of talking nonsense about golden cups, and snow-white ladies milking azure cows, and the sound of tinkling bridles at midnight. And when Ranulph was twelve, he got caught up with the fairies, and Nathaniel's life would never be the same.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hope Mirrlees (1887–1978) was an English writer and scholar. She was a friend of Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot, part of the Bloomsbury literary circle (Mirrlees's poem Paris has been called by some critics an undiscovered treasure of modernism), and a close friend and collaborator of the great classical scholar Jane Ellen Harrison. She and Harrison divided their time between England and France. She became fluent in French and Russian, and later studied Spanish. Lud-in-the-Mist is her best-known work of fantasy.

Product Details

  • File Size: 491 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Prologue Books; Reprint edition (December 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007ZT1KV2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,243 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Back in August 2004, when I was preparing a review of "Lud-in-the-Mist" for Amazon, the very good news was that the book was finally back in print. In July 2012, the good news is that now it is also available in digital format from Prologue Books (across several platforms, including Nook and iBook as well as Kindle).

For me, this means having it available on a smartphone, whenever and wherever I want to read it. Yes, along with hundreds of other books (I'm afraid to count), but this is one of those that I like to read at odd moments.

"Lud-in-the-Mist" was first published, to both some incomprehension and some critical success, in the 1920s. It opens with, as an epigraph, a reflection by the author's teacher, friend and sometime-collaborator, the classicist Jane Ellen Harrison, on the otherwise inexpressible longings revealed in myth.

The setting is the land of Dorimare, which is certainly not England, but is something like it; just as the port city of Lud-in-the-Mist on the river Dawl is not exactly the port city of London-in-the-Fog on the river Thames. For one thing, England never had such remarkably *interesting* neighbors as does Dorimare -- at least not across any merely geographical border. Not that the solid, and increasingly stolid, burghers of Lud have any intention of acknowledging Fairyland or its inhabitants.

That nonsense was all done away with in a glorious (but not The Glorious) Revolution, by their brave, revered, but (now) embarrassingly enthusiastic, ancestors, who wiped out the old aristocracy, and chased the last Duke, and the Priests, off to -- well somewhere over the border. These days, the only connection allowed with -- that other place -- is the underground source of the River Dapple, which can hardly be avoided.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By my great-aunt's rump! July 5, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The oddness of this story can be detected just by checking out the main character. Most fantasy heroes are not round, stodgy, middle-aged men who are respected pillars of the community.

But Hope Mirrlees' enchanting fantasy "Lud-in-the-Mist" defies many such fantasy cliches, written as if "The Hobbit" had been spun up by Lord Dunsany. It's a sweet pastoral story that slowly blossoms out into a very unique story -- there's a little murder mystery, an amusing village of hobbity people, and a quicksilver dream of beautiful fairyland and otherworldly danger.

Fairy is forbidden in the town of Lud -- not just fairy creatures and their exquisite fruit, but mentions of them, the dead who walk with them, and the Duke Aubrey who left with them.

But all his life, the steadfastly dull Mayor Nathaniel Chanticleer has a lingering longing/fear for a strangely magical musical note. Despite all this, life remains boring and rather pleasant -- until Chanticleer's son Ranulph begins acting strangely, claiming that he's eaten fairy fruit.

After Chanticleer sends his son off to a farm for a vacation, the teenage girls at Miss Primrose's Crabapple Academy suddenly seem to go pleasantly nuts, and then race off into the hills. Life seems to seep out of the old town,and Nathaniel must connect the present crises to a past conspiracy, all of which hinges on Fairyland, fairy fruit, and the sinister doctor Endymion Leer. The journey to discover the truth will take him out of the everyday world -- and change him forever.

Haunting music, mad dancing, and ethereal meadows filled with fairy people and strange flowers. All through "Lud-in-the-Mist," there's the underlying feeling that there's a frightening, exquisite world that is barely separated from ours.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites April 9, 2013
By Cywydd
Format:Kindle Edition
Lyrically written and an amazing story. I read this book at least once a year. I highly recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lud-in-the-mist April 3, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Neil Gaiman highly recommended this book and I am so glad that he had. It is one of my favourites and I love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Painting in Words January 26, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you love J R R Tolkien, if you reread "The Last Unicorn" and "The Face in the Frost" just for the words and to watch the author's weaving of them, then you will love this book. It is a painting of us that captures the poignant beauty of the everyday as we puzzle through our lives against the backdrop of the rich mysteries all around us. I read this book the first time almost 40 years ago and images and phrases from it come to mind still. It is one of those rare books that can change the way you look at the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It took me a while to warm up to this book. It unfolds in a rather leisurely pace and uses language that I am not used to. I did learn some new words, such as cockchafer* and velleity and so on. (Ebooks are handy because any unfamiliar word can be instantly looked up in a dictionary.)

As everyone knows, this novel has been praised highly by people like Neil Gaiman and Tim Powers, and its interactions between the country of Dorimare and Fairyland (or the land of the dead) can be interpreted in many ways. (I was mostly thinking in terms of order vs. chaos or rules vs. creativity, but obviously it could be read as pro-drug message or a Freudian superego/id thing, or materialism versus spirituality if you like.) I wondered if JK Rowling was influenced by it in the style she named her characters in the Harry Potter series, or if this naming style is just a part of a longer tradition.

This Kindle edition has some oddities that I think are OCR/scanning errors slipped through proofreading. One sentence reads: "A house with old furniture has no need of guests to be haunted." Surely it should be ghosts, not guests. Later on there is a phrase "who had been present during the last hours of the farmer" that is repeated in the same sentence for no reason. And yet later there is a reference to "Mistress Ivy's little ship," where "ship" should certainly be "shop."

*Cockchafer, I learned, is a beetle I already knew by its Finnish name (which is turilas). Then again, there is another beetle whose Finnish name translates literally as "priestkiller." (Which has nothing to do with this book, really.)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid the Kindle Version
The book may be a good one, but it's hard to tell when there's missing or invisible words on virtually every page. Read more
Published 1 month ago by sollipsist
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 2 months ago by Jerry
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delight
This has become one of my most-loved books, as much for its resurrection of long-lost words as for its clever use of new words in old ways, and vice versa. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Neal Cornett
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read
I can't understand why Lud-in-the-Mist is not as well-known and oft-read as the works of Tolkien, Lewis, and other early greats of the fantasy genre. Read more
Published 12 months ago by a customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Prolix and Pleonastic
Why use one word when lots more create an aura of fog and mystery? I found it turgid and incomprehensible. These are mostly words I don't use. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars It was OK..sorta..maybe
Really have to say I was a little disappointed in this story. It did not live up to it's reputation or reviews of other authors. Read more
Published 13 months ago by James Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful stuff
This is one of those books that's so good, it's hard to imagine why it's not number one on the fantasy list. Read more
Published 15 months ago by infrequent
5.0 out of 5 stars I didn't want it to end
It's such a delight to run across a book like this that makes you want to wiggle down in your chair and not stop till it's done. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Anita Sullivan
5.0 out of 5 stars A true treasure!
I had never heard of this book before - shame on me! It is now on my list to recommend to all friends I can label (to myself) as "thinking readers with a sense of humor". Read more
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Loved this -- it's beautifully written, nicely allegorical, and a great antidote to the action-heavy fantasy that seems to be the norm these days. I wish I'd found it decades ago!
Published 19 months ago by A. Smith
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