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Shardik Paperback


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Shardik + The Plague Dogs: A Novel + Tales from Watership Down (Vintage)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 604 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook TP (October 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585671827
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585671823
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Shardik was Adams's 1974 follow-up to his phenomenally popular debut, Watership Down. The title character is a gigantic bear who is the god of the primitive Ortelgan people. The hunter Kelderek becomes Shardik's greatest disciple and, eventually, ruler when the bear finally does make its return. On the surface, the book works as a fantasy adventure; on a deeper level, it explores our relationship with the divine. No matter what you want to see in it, Shardik is a good read.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Richard Adams was born in Berkshire, England, in 1920, and studied history at Bradfield and Worcester College, Oxford. He is the author of nineteen books, including the bestselling and award-winning Watership Down, his first book.

More About the Author

Richard George Adams (born 9 May, 1920) is an English novelist who is best known as the author of Watership Down.

He originally began telling the story of Watership Down to his two daughters, and they insisted he publish it as a book. When Watership Down was finally published, it sold over a million copies in record time in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Watership Down has become a modern classic and won both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in 1972.

Richard Adams currently lives in Hampshire, England.

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Customer Reviews

Although all of these elements are superb, its really the action of the story that drives it (As with Watership Down).
Matt C. Stedman
Without magic, fantastic monsters, or any overt supernatural occurrences, Adams sweeps the reader into a world of brilliant imagination -- the mark of a great fantasy.
Claude Avary
Its is from his voyage that we learn the true importance of faith and how cruel the human species can truly be because of it.
Vin Baker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Edwin Tait on March 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Richard Adams's _Shardik_ is set in an imaginary world, though Adams, like Tolkien, hints that in fact it is simply the remote past of our own world. The central action of the story concerns a giant bear worshipped by a tribe living on the southern limits of the great Beklan empire. This tribe, the Ortelgans, believe that Shardik's purpose is to lead them to greatness, and so when he appears they follow him in a glorious campaign to conquer the Empire. But is Shardik really a god, or just a very big bear whose thoroughly animal-like actions are given meaning by his followers? Adams wisely never really answers this question, and this is the great fascination of the book. Adams faces head-on the charge that religion is simply a tool for oppression and exploitation. He avoids a simplistic answer largely through his complex portrayal of the central human character, Shardik's prophet Kelderek. Kelderek is a simple tribesman who sincerely believes himself to have been chosen by Shardik for great purposes. While many of his actions are evil, we are never allowed to lose sympathy with him or to suspect him of hypocrisy, while at the same time we come to sympathize more and more with the characters who oppose his fanatical regime. At the end, Kelderek sees the evil he has done in the name of God, and begins to understand what Shardik's true purpose is--or does he simply misunderstand yet again? The greatness of this novel is in the fact that while it has a strong moral message, it always conveys this message through the actions and words of its characters. Adams lets the world he has created speak for itself. In the end we can choose to believe or not to believe.
For readers like myself who themselves practice a religion, the novel is a powerful portrayal of the way the divine can be distorted and misunderstood by even the sincerest believer, even while God always remains transcendent, able to pierce through our comfortable blindness with the shocking light of his grace.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Claude Avary on April 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Richard Adams followed up the success of his animal fable, "Watership Down," with this epic fantasy novel. However, you couldn't have imagined a more different novel from "Watership Down." This is a very stark, mature, and philosophical fantasy work that explores the nature of religion, human interpretations of god, and the sacrifices and compromises of a war fought for supposedly idealistic causes. With the exception of a disappointingly tepid finale, this is an astonishing, absorbing novel that deserves rediscovery. I promise, you haven't read fantasy like it before. Without magic, fantastic monsters, or any overt supernatural occurrences, Adams sweeps the reader into a world of brilliant imagination -- the mark of a great fantasy.
"Shardik" occurs in a hidden world with a hint of the ancient Middle East. A great bear appears to the hunter Kelderek of the simple Ortelgan people. Kelderek declares that the bear is Shardik, a messenger of God, and soon the Ortelgan people rise to "follow" Shardik (who must often be coerced or drugged into fulfilling prophecies) to wage war against the mighty city of Bekla. Kelderek finds himself as the high priest of the great bear, but also learns the heavy responsibilities, and eventually, the doubts and fears.
The novel is filled with war, a strange romance, bizarre and frightening new lands, and violent shifts in the story that rise from the heights of spiritual victory to the depths of slavery. Adams's prose is beautiful and inspiring. Unfortunately, after many excitement moments throughout the book, the lengthy last chapter sputters to a conclusion and probably should have been left out. Regardless, "Shardik" is a fantasy of great scope that leaves the reader with much to ponder.
This new edition comes with a thoughtful introduction by author Robert Silverberg.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By K. Carpenter on October 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I just finished rereading Shardik for the third time. Boy, do I love this book.
Richard Adams has long been my favorite 20th century novelist. His ability to make an epic fantasy feel intimate and utterly believable, in addition to his brilliant imagination, sets him apart from every other fantasy novelist I've ever read.
Shardik is no exception. I just finished reading Shardik for the second time and can't help but marvel at Mr. Adams' genius. The world he describes in Shardik (and again in Maia) is as unforgettable as its denizens.
Shardik and its companion piece/prequel, Maia, are no longer available commercially, but there are still a lot of copies floating around out there that I'm sure Amazon could hunt down for you. Don't miss the opportunity to read this story. Not only will you love it, you'll probably find yourself wishing that Mr. Adams had written even more about the land of Bekla.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Matt C. Stedman on March 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first heard about this book through Stephen King's The Waste Lands. The characters fought and killed a giant robot bear and found a label naming it "Shardik" after the bear in this book. Then I found the book "Shardik" in a second-hand book store and thought, "Hey! Like in The Waste Lands!" It cost only a dollar so I bought it and read it. When I finished I thought, "that was pretty good, a little slow in parts, but still pretty good" but then as a few years passed, I found myself remembering scenes from it. I would take the book down and re-read parts I liked and parts I didn't quite understand the first time. I think that is a sign of a truly great book. One that sticks in your memory and makes you think. Its too bad that it is no longer in print, but it isn't too hard to find in second-hand stores, and for cheap too (Second-hand book stores are truly magical places). What makes this book so good, is that it simply tells a good story and doesn't get bogged down with its theme, characters, and the writing. Although all of these elements are superb, its really the action of the story that drives it (As with Watership Down). There are many surprising twists that change the whole course of the story, and drive the story forward until the final, stunning revelation of Shardik's purpose which is astounding in its simplicity and morality. Its more complex, more profound, and darker than Watership Down and just as exciting. A terrific novel that should and probably will go down as a classic, if its ever brought back into print, that is.
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