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The Arm of the Stone Paperback – January 25, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix Pick (January 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604504943
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604504941
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,027,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Victoria Strauss is the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the STONE duology (THE ARM OF THE STONE and THE GARDEN OF THE STONE), 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 (http://www.writerbeware.com/), Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/WriterBeware), and blog (http://www.accrispin.blogspot.com/), 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: http://www.victoriastrauss.com/

Customer Reviews

What drew me into this book was the characters and the excellent writing.
Catana
The plot is seamless, and I cared about both main characters, even though they were in opposition to one another.
Marcy L. Thompson
By the end of this book, I had to shut myself away from the world and read non-stop.
Suntree

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 24, 2000
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 12 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was recommended to me by a friend. I must admit I didn't expect much from the cover art and the uninformative back cover blurb, but I found myself very pleasantly surprised and pleased by this book. It's a real page-turner, with thought-provoking concepts, a fully-realized world, and a gripping plot. The author's take on the prophecy that drives a good part of the action is interesting and unusual. I read the whole thing in two nights--and I usually take a week or more to finish a book.
I have to say that I was surprised to see the comments of a couple of the reviewers below--that there wasn't enough character development over the course of the book, or the characters weren't fully realized. In my opinion, the characterizations are one of the best things about this book. The main characters are real, believable people, who change and grow over the course of the narrative. The hero's story--in which he starts with a dream of revenge, becomes seduced by the philosophy of those he wants to revenge himself against, and ultimately moves beyond both views to find an entirely new perspective--is especially finely-realized.
In sum: highly recommended!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 1999
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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