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The Serpent and the Rose (The First Book of The War of the Rose) Paperback – March 6, 2007


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The Serpent and the Rose (The First Book of The War of the Rose) + The Last Paladin + The Golden Rose (War of the Rose Trilogy)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765313286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765313287
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,071,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Strong, elegant writing lifts Bryan's fantasy debut. Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Lys, the Young God's forces captured and imprisoned the evil Serpent. Now, a thousand years later, the Serpent's forces are rising again, determined to defeat the Young God's paladins, the Knights of the Rose, and return the great deity to power. Duke Urien leads the opposition against Serpent ally Clodovec, the king of Lys. When Clodovec has Urien poisoned, Urien's daughter, Averil, becomes evil's next target. Averil flees with the Knights of the Rose and befriends Gereint, a commoner whose magical talent could be the greatest in generations—if he manages to learn how to control its tremendous power. In order to stand against the Serpent's forces, Averil and Gereint must bargain with ancient forces long held taboo. Such a bargain, once struck, could leave Averil and her people vulnerable to their own allies. In the crowded epic fantasy field, Bryan's series opener stands out with its intriguing characters and a vivid story rich with potential. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A thousand years ago, the Young God defeated the Serpent that ruled the chaos that was then creation but died of his wounds. His followers bound the Serpent and founded the Knights of the Rose and the Ladies of the Isle to keep it bound. Now King Clodovec of Lys' niece Averil is summoned to her duties as heir to the powerful duchy of Quitaine. She must travel secretly, for Quitaine is under subtle attack by Clodovec, an adept who seeks to free the bound god by destroying the Young God's paladins by treachery. In her home city, Averil encounters low-born Gereint, a novice Knight of the Rose with a great gift for magic. A few days later, Clodovec strikes down her father and attacks the paladins in the duchy. She and Gereint are for the moment all who stand against Clodovec and chaos. Bryan uses an archetypal but well-crafted plot and convincing characters and setting to open a series that should please lots of fantasy and romance fans. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Good start to a fantasy series.
HHK
Having actually read the book (ahem), I must say it's a wonderfully refreshing foray back into classic fantasy.
Julie Bryant
I had a hard time putting it down and can't wait for the next.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on May 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Although the servants of the New God and the Lady appear to have vanquished their ancient enemy, the serpent of chaos, lost magic has a way of being rediscovered. Lady Averil, only heir to an aging Duke, has a vision of the King extending his own power and that of the serpent-god he worships throughout the land. Her aging father may stand against him, but can that be enough? When the Duke calls her from her lifelong exile in training with the Lady, Averil must return to a world grown dangerous indeed.

Gereint never knew his father and his mother does everything she can to keep him from exploring the magic that flows so richly through him. But when a group of Knights of the Rose find shelter in his home during a storm, Gereint decides he can stay on the farm no longer and follows the Knights. The Knights, he knows, are all sons of noblemen while he is a bastard who doesn't even know his father, but surely they can point him to an order that will accept his kind. To his surprise, the Knights take him in--although there is plenty of resentment over his low birth and his age (at sixteen, he's far older than the normal postulant), he's allowed to train with them. It doesn't take long before he realizes that his magic is different from theirs. Could he be a part of the danger they're preparing to confront.

Although Averil is bound, by tradition and law, to marry a noble, someone who can lead armies and bring wealth and power to her family, and although Gereint is the son of a peasant and an unknown father, the two bond--over their studies and over the strange magic that flows in the two of them--and seemingly nowhere else.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Slauson on June 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
I agree with most of the reviews I have read of this book. It is a good example of High Fantasy. Peasant boy meets princess and falls in love. It is well written and a fun read. I will give it the best accolades that I can give a fantasy novel: in some places it reminds me of Guy Kay. The writing has a similar flow and some word choices brought me back to Kay's work.
The reason I wanted to write this review, is to point out that this is not a first novel. In fact this is the work of a well established fantasy writer working under a pseudonym. This book was written by Judith Tarr. If you like this book you should check out her other novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By April on July 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
The Knights of the Rose, mages and fighting men, have defended the Mysteries and kept the evil magic of the Serpent imprisoned.. or so they thought. Secretly, or not so secretly, the King of Lys has been gathering power by eliminating the powerful nobles, He also seeks to bring back the rule of the Serpent. To that effect, he makes a move against the Houses of the Knights, who were more complacent than they should have been after being unchallenged for centuries, and destroys their power and their magic. He also moves against the Duke of Quitaine. Averil, the Duke's heir, has been away on the Isle of the Lady, where she was trained and raised from a baby. She has returned to an assassination attempt against her as well as a suspicious illness that has stricken her father. She has found an unlikely ally in Gereint, a farm boy who is also a fledgling mage and Postulant to the Order of the Rose.

The basic tale is nothing novel... A strong lady, imperiled, who hopes against hope to foil the nefarious plans of the Evil King of Lys... aided by a farm boy who has the potential to be a great power. But the Knights aren't Jedi, Averil and Gereint are very likable characters (although why she insists on worrying about how unconventional it would be for her to hook up with a peasant boy when the sky is falling is beyond me!), and the world and writing is just good enough for me to want to keep on reading to the end of this book and on to the next in the series...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Julie Bryant on April 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having actually read the book (ahem), I must say it's a wonderfully refreshing foray back into classic fantasy. The characters are all well-wrought, with realistic traits that make it hard to flatly pronounce any of them purely good or purely evil. Although much has happened in this first volume (Averil's acceptance of her birthright, Gereint's development of *his* birthright, and their burgeoning relationship) there is clearly much ground yet to be covered in ensuing books. I'm very much looking forward to continuing the story.

Ms. Bryan's writing style is wonderfully evocative and grabbed me from the first page. One could say she crafts her words into a binding of the unsuspecting reader. Make sure you have plenty of free time before opening this book. You've been warned. ;)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By the_smoking_quill on November 10, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Averil is the daughter of a duke of Lys, trained from childhood in the magical arts on the Ladies' Isle. Gereint is a fatherless farmboy who possesses a powerful, untamed streak of wild magic. As the sinister king of Lys and his advisor, both practioners of dark magic, unleash a plot to remove the realm's nobles and awaken an ancient evil, Averil is summoned back to the mainland, while Gereint chases after a band of Knights of the Rose, hoping that their Order can train him. In time, Averil and Gereint find themselves together as unlikely allies and, perhaps, the only hope of both their realm and world.

As is obvious from that brief summary (and its faint echoes of Star Wars, among other tales), there is little new in The Serpent and the Rose, the first book of The War of the Rose trilogy by Kathleen Bryan (a penname of Judith Tarr). Still, the author's prose is almost always clean and even elegant, and her creation of an alternate Europe and a magical system centering on the use of glass are deft accomplishments. And even though little--especially the two main characters--was new or surprising in the first half of the book, I enjoyed the tale's unfolding. However, the plot loses focus and momentum in the second half, and the characters' choices make little sense except to prop up the collapsing plot. The ending of the book on a weak anti-climax, in preparation for the next book, was particularly disappointing. Other weaknesses include the lack of characterization of (or motive for) the villains and too many instances where seemingly important events or world-features (e.g. the orders besides the Knights) were glossed over or unexplained. (It is worth noting that one positive for many readers may be the lack of profanity and graphic violence or sex.
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