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The Devil in a Forest Paperback – March, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An early fantasy novel from Wolfe, about a young man's troubled hero worship of a medieval highwayman, returns to print after an absence of nearly 20 years.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (March 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031289032X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312890322
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gene Wolfe is winner of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and many other awards. In 2007, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He lives in Barrington, Illinois.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bradley G. Beth on November 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I like Gene Wolfe a lot. The Fifth Head of Cerberus is one of the best and most intricate SciFi books ever written. The Book of the New Sun is very entertaining AND literate - not a common combination for the genre. The Devil in a Forest isn't quite on the same level...
It was obviously written for a younger audience as previous reviewers have pointed out, and though it still maintains some of the level of characterization I expect from Wolfe, the writing just isn't as complex as that found in his other works. Yet, the Wolfe-themes of the indeterminancy of Good and Evil are there -- as well as a critical look at religion and superstition.
Consequently, I don't recommend it to anyone other than those who find reading other Wolfe difficult, and hardcore Wolfe fans who wish to complete the bookshelf.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By bookofskin@juno.com on September 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
While not the usual literary labyrinth we are used to from Gene Wolfe, The Devil in a Forest is a great read. Wolfe manages to turn the self-righteous townsfolk into characters as flawed as the bandits, and the king's men are even worse. If you've never read Wolfe before, this is a good place to get a preliminary feel for his writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tactitles VINE VOICE on November 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
It's a quick read, with an interesting beginning that creates some intrigue as to what it will be about. Mark is a weaver's apprentice who lives near a medieval forest, somewhere unidentified. Mysterious murders have been occurring in the woods. A well known local drifter, or wayfarer, is suspected. A mysterious woman suspected of witchery is his friend, and may somehow be involved. Mark, by unlucky happenstance, ends up in the company of both of them while in the woods one day. They don't seem to him to be the dangerous people he has heard about. His contact begins the dangerous discoveries he will make, and exposes him and his nearby home village to violence. Without divulging answers, I was rather disappointed with the outcome. While there is an atmosphere of superstistion and mystical intrigue at times, it takes a back seat to a pretty mundane medieval crime story. The medieval life depicted is simply too short on details to have a great impact, and character development is pretty sparse. There was just not enough of any one aspect of this story to develop a good balance of elements, so nothing stood out. It was on the verge of becoming quite good at any given moment, and just never did. Wolfe's writing was strong, none the less, which helped me stay in it and quickly finish it. It probably will not stand out in your memory, if you read very often.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wisdahl on November 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
The story revolves around Mark, a young apprentice weaver, and the small village that he lives in as they go through the trials and tribulations of dealing with a highwayman, an elderly lady with an evil heart who may or may not be a witch and the soldiers who are sent in to deal with the highwayman. Wolfe is able to capture the persona of Mark quite well as he struggles to realize that the adults around him are not all powerful or perfect and that even at his young age, he may be more equipped to deal with some of the stressful situations then they are.

It doesn't appear that this is one of Wolfe's customary stories. There were no stories within stories and it didn't appear that the reader needed to be paying extreme attention to every detail to gather everything that is going on, both on screen and off screen. Also, Mark appeared to be an at least mostly reliable narrator. All in all a quick read that was enjoyable, but definitely not my favorite of Wolfe's novels.
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By swan on June 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this Wolfe book didn't live up to the very lofty standards that his more famous books set. It was good with an interesting twist at the end, but he set such a high bar with New Sun and Long Sun I was a little underwhelmed with this one. As a new Wolfe fan it doesn't change the fact that I intend to read everything he has written to date, as well as reread many of his stories. He is mindblowingly good and I can't believe It took me so long to discover that.
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