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Necromancer (Childe Cycle) Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Childe Cycle (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction (September 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812545303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812545302
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,454,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Dickson is among the best storytellers we have had...one of the finest makers that our field has ever known."--Poul Anderson

"Dickson is one of SF's standard bearers."--Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Gordon R. Dickson was the Hugo- and Nebula-winning author of many classics of fantasy and science fiction, most famously the Childe Cycle (also known as the Dorsai series). He died in 2001.

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Customer Reviews

Every few years I re-read this book.
Dalton
It's a slim, slight book with a seemingly straightforward plot that starts to go in all kinds of weird areas very quickly, almost too quickly.
Michael Battaglia
I really have nothing good to say about this book.
SeriousMite

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on August 15, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Necromancer is the second published novel in the Childe Cycle, following Dorsai!, but is actually the first volume in internal chronology among the published works. This novel was intended as a bridge between the projected (but never published) historic volumes in the Cycle and the near future novels of the Dorsai series.

In this novel, Paul Formain is a mining engineer who has an accident that tears off his left arm. Although he has regeneration treatments, the arm does not grow back. He is told that the problem is purely psychological, so he consults a therapist, but only learns something that he already knows: he is unusually resistant to hypnosis.

Taking another approach to the problem, Paul tries the Chantry Guild, an organization created by Walter Blunt after being the only survivor of a hunting party caught by a freak early-winter blizzard. While the others died of exposure, Walter walked out to shelter wearing only the lightest of hunting clothes and arrived warm and rested. Chantry Guild literature claimed successful regrowth of missing limbs even in the treatment of resistant individuals. Paul meets with Jason Warren, the Guild Secretary, and is provisionally accepted in the Guild. He finds the training to be weird, but effective, and becomes a Necromancer.

This novel shows Paul developing certain skills in the Alternate Laws, but otherwise seems to lack any forward movement. The reason for his passivity is implied by the continued concern over a sailing episode five years before. Paul had been caught in a small sailboat by a severe storm and nearly died of exposure, much as Blunt had come close to death. Paul has a continuing vision of dying in that boat.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on May 27, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have no idea what order the Childe Cycle (aka that series with Dorsai) was published in . . . I'm reading them in the order listed on the back of the Final Encyclopedia, which gives this as the first book and so off we go. It's a slim, slight book with a seemingly straightforward plot that starts to go in all kinds of weird areas very quickly, almost too quickly. Paul Formain is a guy with not so good luck who loses his arm and can't have it replaced because none of the grafts will take. But some people tell him he has some ability with the "Alternate Laws" and so the Chantry Guild, led by Walter Blunt, decide to take him in and train them. Little do they know what it leads to. And neither does the reader, apparently. Dickson is too good a writer to not make the book any less than interesting and readable but some of this stuff doesn't seem worked out too well, the Alternate Laws remain kind of a catch-all and after reading the book I still have absolutely no idea what they are supposed to do. Other than Paul, none of the character have anything other than thin personalities (the lady, Kanteele is never developed at all and her at times strange behavior never really explained) and even Paul isn't that interesting since in grand SF hero tradition he mostly reacts to stuff and overcomes obstacles mostly because hey, why not? A lot of stuff happens toward the end that basically serves as a prelude for everything that comes after, which is where this book becomes essential. While if you skipped it, the rest of the Cycle probably makes perfect sense, this lays down the foundations and while not a spectacular book on its own, when fitted in with the rest of the series, it takes on a different resonance altogether.Read more ›
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of TERRAPSYCHOLOGY and DEEP CALIFORNIA on December 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't know what the "Synopsis" above is reviewing, but it's not this book; nor is this the first of the Childe Cycle (which you can start by reading DORSAI).
When engineer Paul Formain loses an arm in a mining accident, he seeks the help of the Chantry Guild, a secret society whose members believe in what they call the Alternate Laws (read: magick). Though skeptical, Paul is intrigued and joins the group. Their aim: what their leader-prophet Walter Blunt calls "Destruct": the end of a society far gone down the path of cybernetic conformism.
In this book you see, through Paul's eyes, the development of the major Splinter Cultures: the Exotics (from the Guild), the Friendlies (from Butler), and the Dorsai (from McLeod). The ending will surprise you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brent Butler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 23, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dickson seems to have an odd penchant for male and female leading characters with a disturbing mutual attraction and antipathy, and "Necromancer" includes that theme. That makes it two for two in the first two Childe Cycle books, as you also had this theme present in "Dorsai!".

Paul Forman is a young man who has lived thru a disturbing sequence of near death experiences. In trying to find answers, he turns to an organization that specializes in acting on the "Alternate Laws" ... in essence, magic. The same organization calls for the destruction of mankind, a mankind that seems to have been made strangely stagnant by virtue of its technological cradle. To counter, the forces behind the technological cradle are moving to arrange things so that there are no challenges to keeping mankind comfortable and safe, but stuck in a status quo that will never allow them to advance again.

Paul moves through this book in an oddly stoic manner, considering the dangers he has faced and those he suspects are still to come. The only very emotional character in the book is the girl for whom he feels an attraction, but who emotionally rejects him at every meeting. Still, Paul's progress thru using the "Alternate Laws" is interesting, and his two ultimate show downs are surprising.

I hold back a star because the ending is maybe a bit TOO surprising. Dickson pulls a couple of solutions out of left field, without giving the reader much reason for them, and no clues to have arrived at the solution on their own. A surprise ending of this type should be built on a foundation of events throughout the book that the reader may have overlooked or misinterpreted. Although there are some clues to what is really going on, they are very weak compared to the 180 degree turn the story takes at the end.
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