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The Arm of the Stone [Kindle Edition]

Victoria Strauss
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“Treated with unusual depth.”—Locus

Long ago, when the worlds were one...

So begins the Tale, the ancestral legend Bron's family has guarded for a thousand years. Once, they were the keepers of the Stone, the most sacred object on earth, from which all the powers of Mind are drawn. But when the conflict between Mind and Hand split the worlds apart, the Stone was seized by an ambitious sorcerer. To keep the new world from contamination, he created rigid Limits circumscribing which tools might be made and which knowledge might be pursued—laws brutally enforced by a group of Guardians known as the Arm of the Stone.

For centuries, Bron's family has concealed the secret of its heritage. But when Bron's brother invents a new kind of plow—an unpardonable heresy in the world of the Guardians—the Arm of the Stone reaches in once again to tear them apart. Fleeing for his life, Bron vows revenge. To strike the Guardians down, he will become a Guardian himself. But Bron cannot know how much that choice will change him. Nor does he anticipate the hatred of a powerful enemy, or the love of a beautiful Guardian named Liliane...whose mission is to destroy him.

“An intelligent, fascinating novel...the complicated politics and social structure of this world give it a depth most fantasy novels lack.”—SF Site

“Compelling...a most unusual and fascinating novel.”—Anne McCaffrey

Editorial Reviews


A really brilliant novel...a most unusual and fascinating novel, exceedingly well done. -- Anne McCaffrey

A rich story about human nature, this fantasy is a thought-provoking page-turner....A thoroughly enjoyable read. -- Kliatt

Involving fantasy, treated with unusual depth. -- Carolyn Cushman, Locus

About the Author

Victoria Strauss is the author of seven fantasy novels for adults and young adults, including the "Stone" duology ("The Arm of the Stone" and "The Garden of the Stone"). She and her husband live in Massachusetts.

Product Details

  • File Size: 782 KB
  • Print Length: 359 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1604504943
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Phoenix Pick (January 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,085,477 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Many strong points, but ultimately frustrating October 24, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are a lot of things I liked very much about this book.. The background premise (the mysterious Stone, and the division of the mindpower and handpower worlds) is interesting. The writing is technically excellent, particularly good at evoking moods. The characters are likeable. The plot setup (evil theocracy, boy with a Destiny, etc.) takes standard genre tropes and twists them into something a little out of the ordinary, and the way it was developing toward the middle of the book was both unusual and unexpected.
So why did I want to throw the book across the room when I finished it?
Put simply, the story Ms. Strauss chose to focus on was not the story I wanted to read. The thing that hooked me most in the early and middle sections of the book was the gradual discoveries by the 2 main characters that their childhood assumptions and goals were based on misconceptions about the Way Things Were, and that the real world, and their real places in it, involved a lot more ambiguity and compromise than they expected. The middle sections of this book portrayed very sensitively the process of disillusionment, and the replacement of illusions with genuine understanding and idealism, and I was fascinated with the way the characters were developing.
Unfortinately, what followed was not a continuation, but a contradiction: the story did a jump-cut across the following 20 years, and the characters have both arrived in places that are perfectly consistent with their early illusions, not at all so with the direction they seemed to be moving in before the break. How did this happen? We get a bit of backfill and narrative explanation, but the real answer can only be, that's what had to happen because the author needed it so to make her plot work out.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bare, Ruined, but Magical Choirs February 25, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Arm of the Stone" is a fantasy about religion gone bad - not my favorite type of reading - but this is a very powerful, intricately plotted book. It is chronicle of hatred, prophecy, and a very, very conservative religious elite who govern through magic (the Domain of the Mind)and forbid any kind of mechanical innovation (the Domain of the Hand). The 'Stone' of the title is the magical equivalent of a fragment of the True Cross. A millennium before this novel begins, the Stone was stolen from its loving and noble caretakers who are hunted to extermination over the years. As you begin to read, the Stone's true caretakers are reduced to a single family, and ultimately, to a single boy. How he seeks to recover the Stone and wreak vengence on those who stole it is the heart of the story.
Now the bad news: reading this book was a lot like being a spectator at a chess match. If the cold, logical intricacies of the religion that play out through this book are of interest to you, you won't mind sitting still until the end game. The story's climax is certainly worth the wait.
However, if you're like me you'll put "The Arm of the Stone" aside, maybe for a week at a time, and look for something a bit more frivolous. I read all ten of Roger Zelazny's Amber novels ("The Great Book of Amber") before I picked up "The Arm of the Stone" and finished it.
The contrast between Zelazny's Amber and the grim, cold world of the Stone is like the difference between winning a vacation to Venusburg, or spending an eon in the refrigerated compartment of Purgatory. Zelazny's plots skip forward, driven by his wise-cracking, laid-back characters, while "Arm of the Stone" inches forward with all of the grim momentum of a glacier.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kept me up all night June 17, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A gripping story which takes a standard fantasy story - the hero's quest for some stolen magic artifact - and makes it new. Lots of unexpected twists. I was especially intrigued by the world which Strauss created. The story is told from two points of view - one male and one female. Both characters are fully realized, complex people with conflicting goals.
Read it just for kicks and you won't be disappointed - but thoughtful readers will also find lots to ponder here. Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is good, what evil?? September 10, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Interesting take on good vs. evil - and the ambiguities between them. A young boy whose family is exterminated has a VERY good idea of what evil is - and makes it his lifes ambition to infiltrate the group who killed his family and destroy it. That is, until he is finally accepted into this group - and comes to understand why they exist, and what they are trying to accomplish. He becomes a revered leader. Again - until he is re-united with his brother and realizes that there IS inherent evil in the group he now leads...Extremely lyrical prose makes the book even better!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in a while August 3, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I never heard of this writer until I bought this book, but now I'm hooked. This book is tremendous. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. It's a powerful, character-driven story which also has an exciting plot. Ms Strauss builds a convincing and unusual world from the idea that a group of Spanish Inquisition-like enforcers keep technology at a deliberately medieval level. She also writes very well, which you don't find often enough in fantasy. I hope there's a sequel!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking but Ultimately Frustrating Read
At the start of this book I was very excited as it looked like I'd finally found a book with characters I could completely give my heart to. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bluefig
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual premise, likable characters, good story
The premise, that magic and science are in conflict is actually not new, but the presentation here was entirely new to me and I really liked it. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Cary
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story
Bron's tale was sufficiently interesting to keep me pushing through this story to its end. However there were several scenes where the exposition was overwhelmingly long and I was... Read more
Published 19 months ago by M. Alvarez
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a fantasy fan, but . . .
What drew me into this book was the characters and the excellent writing. The fantasy elements don't overwhelm the exploration of personal development, which is what I generally... Read more
Published on August 27, 2012 by Catana
3.0 out of 5 stars Wordy but enjoyable
The prose in Arm of the Stone is very, very dense. Paragraphs are long, and everything is somewhat exhaustively described - this is one of the books only real failings, and I admit... Read more
Published on May 21, 2012 by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Looking for More Story, Less History
I suppose fans of "worldbuilding" would likely enjoy this one, but I fell out of the story somewhere during the interminably long and soporific thousand-year history of the... Read more
Published on November 4, 2011 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking Forward to the Sequel
The beginning of The Arm of the Stone was really rocky for me. Honestly, it got to the point where I thought about giving it up; however, I didn't and I'm glad I stuck with... Read more
Published on August 11, 2011 by Alyssa Marie
4.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the Back and Read This
Strauss' The Arm of the Stone starts off a little rocky. I had a difficult time trying to figure out who all of characters were -- most had so little character. Read more
Published on August 18, 2010 by Benjamin Archambault
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, misleading back cover
Unpredictable, imaginative, nicely written... What else can I say? It was a great book. Now I have to read the sequel. Too bad the third one isn't going to be published. Read more
Published on October 26, 2003 by Jerry Gerold
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
When I first started this book I saw many of the typical fantasy themes: the lost magical artifact of incredible power, and the boy born of prophesy to change the world. Read more
Published on May 13, 2003 by Suntree
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More About the Author

Victoria Strauss is the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the WAY OF ARATA duology (THE BURNING LAND and THE AWAKENED CITY), and a pair of historical novels for teens, PASSION BLUE and COLOR SONG. She has written hundreds of book reviews for magazines and ezines, including SF Site, and her articles on writing have appeared in Writer's Digest and elsewhere. In 2006, she served as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards.

An active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), she's co-founder, with Ann Crispin, of Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group that tracks and warns about literary fraud. She maintains the popular Writer Beware website (, Facebook page (, and blog, for which she was a 2012 winner of an Independent Book Blogger Award. She was honored with the SFWA Service Award in 2009.

Visit her at her website:


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