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The Face In The Frost Hardcover – September 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 174 pages
  • Publisher: Olmstead Press (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158754105X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587541056
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.7 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #656,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Anthony Bellairs (17 January 1938 - 8 March 1991) was an American author, best known for fantasy and gothic mystery novels. Bellairs undertook The Face in the Frost while living in Britain and after reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, but it is not much like that book, apart from sharing the idea of a wizard.

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Customer Reviews

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  • "Suspense" 7
  • "Writing" 7
  • "Characters" 5
  • "Funny" 3
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
My initial reading of this book was when it first came out in paperback in 1978. This isn't by way of bragging, but simply to point out that it impressed me so much that I still have that very copy of the book, despite many relocations and resizings of my own library. For its time it was so unlike any other fantasy book that it made an immediate impression and has continued to do so to this very day.
Written with a deceiving simplicity that, no doubt, owes its origins to Bellairs' many successes as a writer of horror fiction for young adults, 'The Face in the Frost' is the tale of two wizards who must prevent the completion of a spell so awful it would bring the ruin of their world. When Prospero (not the one on the island) finds his comfy and peculiar home under siege by baleful magick he is alarmed. The appearance of his old friend and co-wizard Roger Bacon (the very one) only confirms that ominous portents are about. Faced with giant moths and a force of giant menacing shadows they make their escape, bent on finding the source of the problem.
In short order they realize that someone is in the process of activating a spell inscribed in a legendary tome. They must face illusion, traps, and even death trying to discover the identity of the book's new owner. And then, once the identity is known they must wrest the book from its keeper's grasp and bring it to destruction. In a trick unknown since Aristotle's Cave, Bellairs manages to fit this detailed and wide ranging quest into a novel of less than two hundred pages. For this accomplishment, if no other, Bellairs deserves a great deal of appreciation.
Bellairs characters are gem-like, as is the world in which they move.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By laptopuser on March 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is an excellent book.

The kindle edition, as of Mar 2012, is horrible.
Typos in almost every paragraph. The OCR is embarrassing. It does include the original drawings, which is a plus.

I called, had my purchase refunded, and talked to a team member who said they take feedback on OCR issues seriously.

Get the print edition for now; I'll update if they notify me that the Kindle version has horrible quality control issues addressed.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Carol A. Thompson on January 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This has been one of my favorites since I found the first edition remaindered many years ago. I still have that edition, battered and torn.
I have never read any other fantasy novel quite like it: There are no gigantic wars, just 2 clever and charming(but somewhat silly) wizards trying to save the world. There is genuine horror, but not going into grossness ilke too much horror lit nowadays.

When I found it was available on Kindle, I jumped to get it. I was glad to see the original illustrations were included.
However the numerous and annoying formatting problems tempered my joy. There is a space missing after every italicized word so it runs into the next work likethis.
There are random commas inserted here and there without, any pattern, like, this!
There are 2 mangled sentences in the very first (and my favorite!) chapter:
"On the artichoke dome was a weather vane shaped like a dancing of the observatory was a weather vane shaped like a dancing hippopotamus..."

I hope these issues are addressed. I would like to be able to read this favorite without irritation.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By James D. DeWitt VINE VOICE on August 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is fantasy reduced to its purest form. From a laugh out loud first few pages you are plunged into nightmare and horror through to a purely satisfying ending. In decades of reading fantasy I know of no story that better illustrates the form. Something different than Tolkien's idealized fairy-tale, and something better than mere horror, this is a superb book.

Prospero - and not the one you are thinking of, either - and Roger Bacon must solve the riddle of an unreadable book before that riddle and a more powerful wizard kills them. The threat is all the more real because neither you nor the characters understand it; we understand the side effects well enough. But Bellairs lets you guess what might happen unless Prospero and Bacon act. Nameless horrors can be the most frightening of all.

Bellairs died far too young, leaving only a handful of children's books, outlines for a few more and this tale. We can only wish there were more.

Originally published in paperback by Ace in 1969, that early edition was brilliantly illustrated by Marilyn Fitschen. Her perfectly apt, child-like illustrations didn't make it to this new hardbound edition, so you miss the macabre heraldic device of Melichus, and the spooky illustrations of Bellairs' scenes. It's a loss only partially made up for by the fine Anton Pieck cover drawing, completely appropriate to the story's secret. The paperback was printed, unhappily, on typical Ace cheap paper, and is now browned and brittle. Finding it isn't easy and may no longer be worth the effort.

Still, despite the missing drawings, it is wonderful to have The Face in the Frost back in print. This should be on your short list of the best fantasy stories written. It's a story you will read again and again Highly recommended; simply superb.
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