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The Golden Shrine Hardcover – October 13, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765317125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765317124
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,314,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Master alternate historian Turtledove stumbles with his third novel set in a parallel Bronze Age. Picking up shortly after the events of 2008's The Breath of God, the book continues the exploits of Count Hamnet Thyssen and his allies as they struggle to defeat the mammoth-mounted Riders, who are aided by powerful wizards. The count's ace in the hole is Marcovefa, a cannibal and shaman whose magic enables his forces to hold their own. The skirmishes with the enemy and the quest for a legendary Golden Shrine that holds promise for repairing their world form the bulk of the plot. Anachronistic word choices (You say the sweetest things, darling) consistently undercut suspension of disbelief, and while the imagined universe is accessible to newcomers, there's little to make readers rush out and read the earlier or future books. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

HARRY TURTLEDOVE, “the modern master of alternate history,” lives in Los Angeles

More About the Author

Harry Turtledove is the award-winning author of the alternate-history works The Man with the Iron Heart; The Guns of the South; How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel); the Worldwar saga: In the Balance, Tilting the Balance, Upsetting the Balance, and Striking the Balance; the Colonization books: Second Contact, Down to Earth, and Aftershocks; the Great War epics: American Front, Walk in Hell, and Breakthroughs; the American Empire novels: Blood & Iron, The Center Cannot Hold, and Victorious Opposition; and the Settling Accounts series: Return Engagement, Drive to the East, The Grapple, and In at the Death. Turtledove is married to fellow novelist Laura Frankos. They have three daughters: Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca.

Customer Reviews

I have enjoyed all the books this author has writen.
And all the characters contradict their established actions and personalities, sometimes several times on one page.
John Jorgensen
A good read, fairly good pace without a lot of boring distractions.
David M. Riethmeier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By John Jorgensen VINE VOICE on October 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've not enjoyed every Turtledove novel I've ever read, but I'd never seen one that was so badly written and falsely advertised that I felt I'd been conned out of the money I spent on it. The Grapple came closest, but I got that for free by winning a contest. (The one time I win a contest, and the prize is The Grapple.) But no, I'd never felt conned out of money by Turtledove.

I can't say that anymore.

The Grapple was bad in comparison with other TL-191 and Turtledove novels. The Golden Shrine, however, was so hackneyed that far, far worse authors, like David Hagberg or Robert Conroy, would be ashamed to put their name to it. And unlike The Grapple, TGS is the finale of the series, so the shadow of its failure falls heavily across its two prequels.

The book pretty much chucks the established themes of the first two novels and reveals that the story has always been driven by a prophecy that everyone's forgotten to mention till now. Marcovefa appears to be the prophet, but the Rulers know the prophecy too, and it's why they keep sending assassins after Hamnet. (Which they'd been doing since before Marcovefa was introduced.) The prophecy is that Hamnet will prove to be the Rulers' most dangerous enemy. Details are added in, but they're wildly inconsistent, changing as the plot requires them to. I have to think Turtledove used them to foreshadow scenes he'd thought of but hadn't written yet. When he wrote them he realized they didn't work as he'd planned and changed things around, but didn't bother going back to fix the prophecies. This could all be explained as the characters having an imperfect understanding of the prophecy, but instead no one seems to notice it keeps changing.

Probably because they too change as the plot requires them to.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. Boyington on February 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not one of Harry Turtledove's best ventures. I have read over 20 of his works, and this one, is a disapointment. It starts off well, and seems to be building momentum; but then begins to fall apart, and starts to be very predictable. The manner of finding of the "golden shrine" is a major disapointment, a riddle which is best left unsolved. The reference to the 5th chapter of Daniel makes very little sense, leading to the ending and a potential sequel which would be best unwritten. Mr Turtledove seemed to lose interest in the story, and needed a way out.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on December 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The 'Rulers' have broken through a gap in the glaciers that long separated them from the Raumsdalian Empire and pillage and conquer virtually unchecked. Led by its incompetent emperor, Raumsdalia can do little. Indeed, its only hope, and that of the barbarian Bizigot tribes to its north, seems to be a battered band of defeated adventurers led (mostly) by Count Hamnet Thyssen. Hamnet has one key weapon against the Rulers--his lover, shaman Marcovefa. Although the Rulers have magic far more potent than anything the Raumsdalian Empire or the Bizigots can deliver, Marcovefa is more powerful still. Of course, she is just one woman and the Rulers have hundreds of shamans. Hamnet will have to come up with something clever if he doesn't want to be just one more victim to the Ruler hordes.

Although Marcovefa finds it easy to defeat the rulers at first, with each victory, the Rulers learn more about her powers and come up with new ways to defeat her. Although Hamnet's band seems like a trivial threat compared to the huge armies of defeated but not vanquished Raumsdalia, the Rulers are willing to put most of their efforts into his defeat. When they finally manage to put Marcovefa to sleep, defeat seems certain.

Hamnet, with his inability to give up his obsession for the other women of his life (his ex-wife and his ex-lover, both of whom eventually connect to his band), makes an interesting, if sometimes frustrating character. I would also have liked to see a better reason to include the ex-wife in the party, and some explanation of exactly why she was so angry at him. I thought Turtledove did a great job setting up the climactic battle and hinting at the resolution without giving the secret away.
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By megan1 on June 12, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking for something different to read and thought I would try this series, got hooked!! they were totally different from what I normally read but enjoyed them!!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In this, the third and final book in his Opening of the World trilogy, author Harry Turtledove returns to his late-Ice Age/Iron Age world. The mammoth-riding Rulers are in the process of overwhelming the Bizogots and the Raumsdalian Empire, and only Count Hamnet Thyssen and his intrepid band seem to be able to offer them any real resistance. But, the Golden Shrine they are seeking is still proving illusive, and worse, the Rulers are learning to counter the potency of Marcovefa's magic. Can they find the Golden Shrine and defeat the Rulers before it is too late?

I must say that I found this book to be a bit of a mixed bag. For most of the book, the action and adventure is pretty darn good, with a lot of interesting magic thrown in. About the time that the story is beginning to drag and get too repetitive, the story comes to the defeat of the Rulers. So far, so good. As a matter of fact, I really liked the way that the author engineered their defeat. (No spoilers here.)

The biggest problem with the book is that it really falls apart at that point. The Golden Shrine, instead of being an instrumental part of the story, is simply explained to have been guiding Hamnet and his band all the way along. Other than that, the priests and priestesses refuse to answer any and all questions, making its presence seem completely useless. Emperor Sigvat is dealt with in a sort of deus ex machina that takes a story right out of the Bible, one that I cannot imagine how it connects to this story at all. All of the other dangling pieces of plot are left dangling, leaving the reader to wonder why they were included in the first place.

So, let me just say that it was a really good book, up to defeat of the Rulers, and not worth reading after that. I give this book a rather guarded recommendation.
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