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The Scarlet Fig: Or, Slowly Through a Land of Stone, Book Three of the Vergil Magus Series (Prologue Fantasy) [Kindle Edition]

Avram Davidson
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Last Manuscript of a Master

It began with an accident, as if Fate had a plan for Vergil Magus . . .

After his trials in the Very Rich City of Averno but before his crowning achievement of a certain magic mirror, the great sorcerer and alchemist finds himself on a journey nothing short of epic. Sure he is slated for death in Rome, Vergil seeks safety in the far reaches of the Empire—and finds a world teeming with wonders and magical oddities.

The “unhistoric” sea adventure is a deft mix of fantastic fact and fable, showcasing the author’s keen attention to the often forgotten connections between them.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2461 KB
  • Print Length: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Prologue Books (August 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008MMV0GQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #669,428 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Some books have significance and value beyond their pure value as novels. Certainly The Scarlet Fig is one such - the long awaited third Vergil novel from the late Avram Davidson. Its value as fiction is high enough, mind you. It's very characteristic of late Davidson, stuffed with evidence of his erudition, the prose complicated, eccentric, enjoyable for those of us who have a taste for Davidson's prose. (That said, often a bit prolix, perhaps a bit too precious.) The story concerns Vergil's travels after he leaves Rome ("Yellow Rome"), fearful of accusations of having tarnished a Vestal Virgin, and also menaced by piratical Carthaginians. He visits many strange shores: Corsica, Tingitayne, the Region called Huldah (and its beautiful eponymous ruler), the island of the Lotophageans, where he drinks of the Scarlet Fig, and finally the Land of Stone in North Africa. All along we witness much magic and many wonders - all reflecting the altered Rome of Davidson's Vergil Magus, a Rome reflecting the legends that accumulated in the Middle Ages: so, gloriously grotesque satyrs, victims of the cockatrix, the dogs of the Guaramanty, etc. I enjoyed it greatly, particularly the character of Vergil and the mix of darkness and strangeness throughout. It is also beautifully presented: a large handsome hardcover, with beautiful illustrations, and much excellent additional material to the novel: afterwords by both Davis and Wessells, and several appendices including a few "deleted scenes" and reproductions of some notecards from Davidson's collection ("Encyclopedia") of Vergilian research.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only for Erudite and Recondite Readers Lovers of Fantasy November 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read "The Phoenix and the Mirror" when I was a teenager (lo, these manny years ago). I didn't understand much of it, but I loved it! It was wizardry and wild romance, and little-known bits of history and philosophy all mixed up in a tasty gumbo.

Then recently I was searching for Avram Davidson in the Kindle store, and found out that book and the 2 sequels I had never heard of were available!

This is probably the least accessible of the 3. And it's not finished. Start with "Phoenix", continue with "Vergil in Averno".
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2.0 out of 5 stars Will have limited appeal March 20, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

I loved The Phoenix and the Mirror, the first book in Avram Davidson’s trilogy about the mage Vergil in ancient Rome, but the two sequels are disappointing. The first sequel, Vergil in Averno, is a travelogue of Vergil’s visit to Averno, a place that ancient Romans thought might be the gate to Hell. (It’s not nearly as interesting as that might suggest, though.) It had little plot, but at least it displayed Avram Davidson’s amusing sense of humor.

This second sequel, The Scarlet Fig, has even less plot. The story starts as Vergil encounters a condemned man who is pardoned by a Vestal Virgin on his way to be executed. Something happens to the Vestal Virgin’s carriage and in his attempt to keep her from falling, Vergil accidentally touches her arm. Vergil’s intentions were honorable, but touching a Vestal Virgin is a crime, so he must flee Rome. The rest of the story follows Vergil around the world as he tries to keep ahead of the men who want to escort him back to Rome. Along the way he visits random real and legendary places (Naples, Corsica, the Island of the Lotus-Eaters) and meets random people and creatures. Vergil often gives us information and backstory about all these random places and people, though it has nothing to do with the plot (because there is no plot). He also recounts many childhood memories that are somewhat interesting but also mostly irrelevant.

But there does seem to be a purpose to The Scarlet Fig.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Glad to get it cheap on Kindle since the paper ... January 29, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyable. Glad to get it cheap on Kindle since the paper versions were prohibitively rare and costly. Not as enjoyable as the first two books in the Vergil series.
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1 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book remains unread, because the new Kindle/Swindle machine will not display it.

The Kindle is ruined, it won't do anything any more because it's been 'improved' until it became useless.
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