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The House of the Stag Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 16, 2008


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 16, 2008
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (September 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765317451
  • ASIN: B003P2VD42
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,202,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Culture clashes resound through this multi-layered coming-of-age tale from fantasist Baker (The Anvil of the World). Shaped in movements like a verbal symphony, the novel follows half-demon foundling Gard from a pastoral childhood punctuated with vicious raids by the savage Riders. Gard's willingness to kill in self-defense leads to a career as gladiator and sex slave under the insatiable Lady Pirihine and his training as a powerful mage, all contrasted with and eventually tied into the Gospel-like story of the Star, a John the Baptist–like figure, and the Child, a young girl who becomes a saint. Somehow this unusual and mostly charming mélange of basic fantasy motifs, fair and feral landscapes, and ironic characterizations ranging from gentle to raucous all comes together harmoniously, like extended variations on the theme that achieving adulthood is not for fainthearted sissies. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. The peaceful, primitive Yendri tribe is no match for the Riders who conquered and enslaved them. Only Gard, a half-demon foundling, bears enough anger to fight back but finds himself cast out of the tribe. Captured by mages who rule an underground realm, Gard secretly learns their magic to try to escape and redeem himself in the eyes of his people. Returning to the fantasy world of The Anvil of the World, the author of the popular series about the Company (e.g., The Sons of Heaven) demonstrates her gift for epic storytelling on a compact scale, grand in scope yet touched with small moments of wry humor. Gard's journey from monster to man encompasses every person's struggle to be human and to reconcile the light and dark within himself. Highly recommended for most libraries.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Naturally, this story sets the stage for the first volume.
Arthur W. Jordin
Her stories are unique, peculiar, smart, and often very funny in that dry deadpan way that I love.
Kat Hooper
I'm not sure but I think she should have made things a bit more complicated.
booksforabuck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Duke on July 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Every once in a while you come across a book that raises the bar, that blows the competition out of the water. Some years back, that book was Harry Potter (or books, to be more accurate); now, Kage Baker's The House of the Stag has done what few books can ever do.

The House of the Stag is a modern fairytale that chronicles the struggle of a young man after his people, the Yendri, are invaded by a barbaric, horseback-riding people called the Riders. As his people are rounded up and killed or turned into slaves, a strange figure appears called the Star, who takes on the role of a prophet. But Gard refuses to accept the "sit and do nothing" stance of the Star and takes matters into his own hands. When his actions get him accused as a murderer by his own people, he finds himself exiled and flung out into the wider, more dangerous world beyond. There he discovers new cultures and customs, and important information about his past, all while vowing to gain the power and influence he needs to destroy the Riders once and for all and free his people forever.

Baker's novel is an astonishing fantasy tale, with rich detail, fantastic world building, enjoyable, complex characters, and a unique postmodern structure that is as readily aware of its fairytale roots as it is of its emotionally impacted literary attention to issues of (post)colonialism, slavery, and racism. That's a mouthful, for sure, but The House of the Stag deserves such long-winded praise. This book influenced me so much that I actually used it for a second senior thesis during my final quarter at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I now regret having never read anything else by Ms. Baker, because her writing is impeccable, her characters are realistically flawed, and her world is stunning in its design.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Yendri are a gentle innocent people living in contentment in their valley protected from outsiders by mountains until the Riders showed up. They viciously enslave the tranquil Yendri, working them in the fields until they die. Their spiritual guide promises them their freedom from bondage to a new land led by the Promised Child. Meanwhile Gard, a half demon foundling who was banished from the tribe for his violence, keeps attacking the invaders. A baby is found and brought to the Yendri to raise; they assume she is the Promised Child.

Gard gets frozen while trying to climb the mountain and believes he is going to die. Instead he is found and made into a slave by the mages who are bound by magic to live in the mountain.. The mages are evil and decadent and love seeing slaves kill each other in the arena. Gard quickly learns how to maneuver his hosts so they will trust him while he plots his escape. He and the Promised Child known as the Saint are fated to meet and their relationship will change both their worlds.

Kage Baker, author of the Company series, returns to her THE ANVIL OF THE WORLD realm with a dark fantasist parable. THE HOUSE OF STAG is character driven with the spiritual guide and the Promised Child having differing parallels to the Bible. There is plenty of action, the usual trademark wry but desert dry humor, and tons of intrigue. Gard is the prime star as the half demon shows with his risk taking actions he has a heart of goodness in spite of his nasty reputation. The Saint incongruously has the goodness PR spin, but ironically fans will observe some noted discrepancies in her lifestyle. Biblical references aside, readers will enjoy this magnificent tale.

Harriet Klausner
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By SoCalBonnie on November 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you've never read any of Kage Baker's books, you are in for a treat. This gal knows how to tell a great story.

"The House of the Stag" is a prequel, explaining the background that ultimately becomes the setting for the rollicking "Anvil of the World". (If you haven't read "Anvil", "The House of the Stag" stands rock solid on its own. But don't cheat yourself out of reading "Anvil", too.)

I don't know what I like best about Kage Baker. Her world-building is logical and satisfying. Her adventure keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Her characters are fascinating, wonderful, unforgettable, all of them worthy of stories of their own. Baker may not use clay and lightning to bring them to life, but she does an equivalent job with paper and pen.

Her romance grabs your heart and never lets go -- without a single cringe. (Think Kirk Douglas and Jean Simmons in "Spartacus". Or Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn in "Terminator".) And she's got the Elizabethan aptitude for describing sex oh, so salaciously -- without battering you with the technical details.

Best of all, she has a talent for humorously laying bare human foibles without ever being preachy. Like Twain, she draws you into subtle social commentary that is wickedly spot-on, but you won't notice because you're having so much fun.

If Kage Baker's name is on the cover, I will always plunk my money down. I save her books for long weekends when I know I'm going to be able to read them through at least twice. Her books are definitely "re-readers."

(And if you are like me, reading anything else right after one of Baker's books is always a letdown, so you might as well read it again.
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