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The Riddle-Master of Hed Hardcover – August, 1976

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Long ago, the wizards had vanished from the world, and all knowledge was left hidden in riddles. Morgon, prince of the simple farmers of Hed, proved himself a master of such riddles when he staked his life to win a crown from the dead Lord of Aum.
But now ancient, evil forces were threatening him. Shape changers began replacing friends until no man could be trusted. So Morgon was forced to flee to hostile kingdoms, seeking the High One who ruled from mysterious Erlenstar Mountain.
Beside him went Deth, the High One's Harper. Ahead lay strange encounters and terrifying adventures. And with him always was the greatest of unsolved riddles -- the nature of the three stars on his forehead that seemed to drive him toward his ultimate destiny. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Patricia A. McKillip (1948 - ) Patricia A. McKillip is the award-winning author of many fine fantasy novels, including World Fantasy Award-winner The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, The Sorceress and the Cygnet, Winter Rose and Song for the Basilisk. She lives in Roxbury, New York.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum; 1st edition (August 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689305451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689305450
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,259,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 5, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I disdain much of the world of adult fantasy, which is populated by sword-and-sorcery Tolkien ripoffs. Patricia McKillip is one of the few authors who are truly worthy of being called a writer of epics and classics.
Her world is a relatively simple yet complex one, in which the Prince of the poor farming country of Hed, Morgan, is found to have solved the mysterious Riddle of Peven, an old King who had to give up his crown to Morgan. Also, the man who solves the Riddle will also get to marry a princess, Raederle, the second-most beautiful woman in the world. (She is also the star of book two)
But as Morgan ventures away from Hed, he learns that strange things are happening. Sinister shapechanging creatures are creeping in like a plague, and he begins to question the history of his world. Long ago, there were wizards in the city of Lungold, and now there are none. Their knowledge is left behind in the riddles that often crop up during the book -- but Morgan begins to suspect that the man who founded Lungold, Ghisteslwchlohm, is still alive.
Why Ghisteslwchlohm destroyed the city, and whether he is alive are only two of the strange mysteries (riddles?) that Morgan must face. Accompanied by Deth, the harper of the High One (a person who reads lots of McKillip knows that she loves harps), Morgan sets off to find the mysterious High One at Erlenstar Mountain. And the people he meet along the way help reveal the strange destiny that he has: the Star-Bearer, for the three stars on his brow. He learns new skills of shapeshifting and magic along the way to Erlenstar Mountain, where a shock awaits him...
Frankly a summary can't really express the complexity of this novel. This is only the bare bones of it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By rzaster on August 4, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As other reviewers have said, "The Riddle Master of Hed" is an extremely complex book with many plots. The book is a short novel but due to the amount of plots, characters, and scenes this book seems like it is much longer as it feels like a massive epic. The novel goes by very quickly and it will seem that you're done with the book in absolutely no time. The novel is the first book of an epic fantasy series, titled "The Riddle Master Trilogy," and due to my fondness of this book I will most definitely read the next to books of the trilogy.
Morgon of Hed is a Riddle Master (read the book to see what these are) that has three stars on his head. Morgon has no clue what the stars represent and when he takes a trip and discovers that he is the only one that can play a harp with the same three stars that are on his forehead, he is curious to see what the stars mean. Meanwhile, darkness is brewing in the world and shadow figures that look like people he knows are trying to kill him. Morgon takes a quest with friend Deth to see what Morgon's stars are about. Along the way Morgon learns a lot about the world that he lives in.
As with other books by Patricia McKillip the world in the book is very original and is not cliched with elements from other novels. Everything in her world is astoundingly original, especially the Riddle Masters. Morgon's quest in the world is very believable and does not seem like a dumb quest with no purpose. I'm sure that the next two books of the series will advance on the importance of Morgon of Hed's quest.
Morgon is a hero that everybody can relate to. He is in a world where there are problems and things that happen to him have effects on him, good and bad. Morgon is developed very well and is very, very believable.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Be warned. If you are a reader that prefers fast-food fantasy -- where everything is action-packed, color is delivered simply by creating a more outlandish 'species' than other writers have, and the characters' thoughts, motives and feelings are spelled out and defined for you -- then you will not like these books. McKillip does not insult her readers in that way. (Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of action, color, and character.) I have read this trilogy many times, and each time it grips me just as strongly, while it reveals something I hadn't noticed before. But it isn't the action that grips you. It's the quiet moments of doubt, vulnerability, and wondering. Moments when it seems that eternity is holding it's breath, waiting silently for it's fate to be read. Believe me, it's not as corny as I make it sound. Read the book (if you're an intelligent reader). The characters will become more real to you than many of the people you know.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I first read 'The Riddle-Master of Hed' some years ago, and loved it then. But as our library didn't have the sequels, and I hadn't then heard of inter-library loan, I gave up on finding the rest of the trilogy. A few days ago, however, I stumbled across the whole thing in my aunt's house, and she lent them to me. I read all three books less than a day; I simply couldn't get out of them. I'm convinced Patricia McKillip is one of the finest fantasy writers in the field. Not only are her plots tight and skillfully and imaginatively woven, but her imagery and writing style are one in a million. I can only think of Robin McKinley as a comparison. I found myself cheering Morgon and Raederle along, sharing in their confusion and sorrow and joy. I heartily congradulate Ms. McKillip for contributing such wonderful books to literature. Anyone who reads 'The Riddle-Master of Hed' will never be the same.
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