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Riddle-Master Paperback – March 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Patricia A. McKillip is a winner of the World Fantasy Award, and the author of many fantasy novels, including The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy, Stepping from the Shadows, and The Cygnet and the Firebird. She lives in Oregon.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; Ace One-vol ed edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441005969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441005963
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 93 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
It had been a while since I had read The Riddle Master of Hed when I came across this edition. I bought it since I didn't own any of the books, and I thought it would make a nice addition to my library. The book arrived, and it sat for a bit on the shelf. Then one day I picked it up and began to read...
From the first chapter of the first book it sucked me into the world of Morgon, land-ruler of Hed. I couldn't stop reading. I couldn't stop turning pages. When I finished Riddle-Master of Hed I HAD to start immediately on Heir of Sea and Fire. I was then drawn into the world of Raederle and her search for Morgon. When I finished that book I HAD to start on Harpist in the Wind. Like the previous two, I couldn't stop reading.... Four days after starting The Riddle Master of Hed, I finished the last paragraph of Harpist in the Wind. Finally I could rest. I had been reading the collection every spare minute, sneaking breaks to read more while at work, avoiding people so I could read without interruption, and reading long into the night. I was exhausted, and throughly satisfied.
Morgon, land-ruler of Hed has a destiny to fulfil. A destiny and an inheritance that he knows nothing about. All he has to work from are clues. Three stars on his forehead, a harp, a sword, and several riddles with no solutions. Raederle is in a similar situation. She is the daughter of a land-ruler, heir of a mysterious people with no name, and in possession of powers she is afraid to use. Both Morgon and Raederle are involved, in ways they don't understand, and often do not want to be, in the ending of an age.
This book presents one of the great trilogies of modern fantasy in its complete form. The complete story arc is here, in one volume, for your time-draining, work-interrupting pleasure. You might want to take a vacation prior to opening it, the book is that hard to put down.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Larry C on September 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
On a recent trip to Boston, I live in the wild west, I was trudging through a bookstore looking for something to read and a copy of this book (the only one on the shelf---slightly dog-eared and full-priced!) called out to me. I picked it up and saw that on the back cover a reviewer compared this trilogy and the author to Tolkein. I had to buy it and make the decision myself. From page one, I was unable to put the RIDDLE-MASTER down for three complete back to back readings! Patricia McKillip deftly weaves a believable tale of Morgan and his friends and their journey from innocence to nearly immortal power. McKillip has a command of language that rivals any fine author and she has the ability to spin a story that is intriguing as well as compelling. Her heroes, Morgan and Raerjle, are characters that follow the hero formula that is as old as the epic and are as human as we all are. This complete trilogy is satisfying because it is all collected in one volume and there is no wait for each of the sequels (seemingly, the original books are out of print and I had never heard of this author). Considering that these tales were written some 25 years ago, there are delightfully fresh and as I stated above, compelling. Oh, by the way, Tolkein has nothing to fear---he is still the master but I would have no problem placing this volume on a shelf along side the copies of his work!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 25, 2008
Format: Library Binding
Usually when an author is compared to Tolkien, it means that there are lots of swords, sorcery, countries clashing and a dark lord, but that the spirit of the master of fantasy is missing. But the "Riddle-Master" trilogy is one trilogy that almost lives up to the words -- a majestic, magical adventure that spans all of McKillip's richly invented world.

"Riddle-Master of Hed" opens with the discovery of a jeweled crown under Prince Morgan's bed -- a sign that he outriddled a king who had never been defeated before. Along with the crown, he wins the right to marry his pal's sister, Raederle, the second-most beautiful woman in the continent of An.

But Morgan is stopped on his way by a shipwreck and news of something dark and sinister creeping into the lands. Strange shapeshifting creatures are entering the lands, the wizards have vanished from the land, and somehow the three stars on Morgan's brow are connected to their presence and how to stop them. He heads off to Erlenstar Mountain, to find the High One -- and finds more than he bargained for...

"Heir of Sea And Fire" very slowly resolves the cliffhanger ending of "Riddle-Master," focusing instead on Princess Raederle. The land-rule -- a sort of sixth sense given to kings -- of Hed has passed to Morgan's brother, meaning that apparently Morgan is dead -- but Raederle and her father don't believe it's true. She sets off with a few faithful friends, and encounters the semi-sinister harpist Deth, the shapechangers, armies of the dead rampaging through her father's lands -- and disturbing news about her and her heritage.

"Harpist in the Wind" continues from the end of "Heir," with Morgan and Raederle planning what to do next.
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109 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Elyon on October 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
It had been years--or should I say decades--since I read this trilogy, so when I found it reissued in a single volume, I had to buy up. My fond memories of the book were not disappointed, and it still reads as freshly now as it did during the late seventies. Then, when fantasy still remained dominated by Tolkien, or in the hands of overly prolific imitators, two authors stood out, both for the freshness of their approach and their skill of writing: Stephen Donaldson and Patricia McKillip. It's fitting, in the author's acknowledgements, to see their names still linked.
As the author hints in her introduction, this trilogy lacks the maturity of her later works, such as "The Book of Atrix Wolfe," "Winter Rose," or the recent "Song for the Basilisk." Yet all the elements are evident that have contributed to making Patricia McKillip one of the finest authors writing fantasy fiction today: beautiful, at times lyrical, prose, imaginative and original themes and characters, and a wondrous sense of the magical that infuses both her world and story throughout. Each world she creates is unique and thoughtfully rendered, with elements designed to provoke both thought and wonder, and her characters are some of the most striking found in fantasy fiction--no small accomplishment indeed!
While I understand the exuberance behind some earlier reviewers' comments--this work is special and deserving of wide readership--some of the praise here goes overboard. Compared to the second two books, "The Riddle-Master of Hed" is a rough cut, both in conception and in terms of its writing.
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