- Paperback: 436 pages
- Publisher: Berkley Trade; First Edition edition (April 1, 1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425058735
- ISBN-13: 978-0425058732
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lyonesse: Book 1 - Suldrun's Garden Paperback – April 1, 1983
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the first of a fantasy series from the 1980s, by an author whose first work in the genre ("The Dying Earth", 1950) predates publication of "The Lord of the Rings" ... consequently one does NOT get the immitable bits of Tolkein filtered through the D&D Dungeon-Master's Guide, but a book that re-creates mythology in its own right. Well, it sort of re-creates fairytale as well. "Suldrun's Garden" especially.
This was (and will be) many people's first Vance book; and so I should mention the most salient point: the style. Unlike most of his competitors Vance can put a sentence together - nay, even a paragraph: imagine that! - and his dialogue is always crisp and delicious. (Supposedly wise wizards mouthing empty inanities are nowhere to be found in Vance.) Inventive, unpredicatble, beautiful ... the publishers can stick that on the back cover of the next edition, if they want. Just so long as they print one.
Suldrun's Garden opens the trilogy. The other volumes are The Green Pearl and Maduoc. Suldrun, the daughter of the relentlessly scheming King Casimir of Lyonesse, wants nothing to do with the future her father has planned for her. For her stubbornness, she is exiled to a garden at the edge of Casimir's castle. One day, a shipwrecked sailor washes up on shore. He is Ailias, prince of the kingdom of Troicent, pushed overboard by his cousin. Lyonesse is at war with Troicenet, and the doomed relationship is one of the threads that make up this wonderful tale.
From changelings to evil tyrants, from hedge witches to Mulgren, who has dedicated his life to keeping the Elder Isles above the waves, Vance does a fine job of interweaving new stories and old. There are children's adventures that trace to the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Anderson; there are sly references to the King Arthur (his grandfather appears briefly); and there is much that is the marvelous creation of Vance himself.
This is my test for excellent fantasy: when you read it, the world created is brighter and more vivid than the world you return to at the end of the book. This book passes that test. I'd love to wander the forest of Tantrelles, or talk with Shimrod, or wander the Teac a Teac.
This year I started to play attention to fantasy again, what with the release of Donaldson's new Covenant series and my cousin recommending the Phillip Pulman trilogy to me. Over the Summer I pulled this book from the basement and added it to the to-read stack. Last week I read an old essay from Samuel R Delany saying how wonderful Vance is: ok, I'll give this book another try.
After a couple days to get into it, the book just consumed me, and I burned thru the last 375+ pages in one sitting, staying up all night (til 7am! and I work in the mornings!) to finish it.
Wow. What a book!
Vance takes his time setting everything up just so; but when the match touches the the tinder this book just starts roaring. An amazingly detailed and dramatic plot with dizzying twists and turns. Some of the most richly detailed characters I've ever encountered; believeable yet surprising. Written with a very sure, controlled (even dry) prose. This is definitely a work for grown-ups: very mature, hard-edged at times. Yet light and funny at other times; and warm. This author really knows what he's doing. Rewarding.
Why wouldn't I even give this book a decent chance before? Well -- maybe I was too young before.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jake Vance delivers-A great tale.
The first 50 pages are a bet hard to get through while he lays out the landscape of the story. Read more
I just couldn't finish this. It jumped around too much to hold my attention. I got invested in a character and BOOM...they're dead with little explanation. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Fantasy Fan
I can't give a decent review on this book, simply because I couldn't get into it. I've picked it up a few times, thinking "maybe this time it will appeal to me! Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very enjoyable classic fantasy book. Mr. Vance builds great characters in a very classical style of old world fantasy and fairytale stories. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jonathan M. Carmel
An old school fantasy novel that has more in common (in format) with Lord of the Rings than Game of Thrones. Highly enjoyable if also nonlinear. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kennon Carl Bauman
I really cared about the characters and felt like I got to know them. That seems almost rare lately, so I definitely think that alone merits 5 stars. Read morePublished 12 months ago by NatalieD
Abrupt removal of man characters. I don't understand the better reviews for this book. It simply meandered.Published 12 months ago by Z Dave Moore
True Vance mastery. Eloquent, poetic with typical Vance detail to character and place. Beautifully drawn, highly original and imaginative, you quickly realize why the best authors... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Alan Rudo
This was somewhere between a 2 and a 3. Readable prose, for the most part, but extremely uneven storytelling. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Brad Foley