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The Settlers of Catan Paperback – November 15, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 620 pages
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossingEnglish (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611090814
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611090819
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #508,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Interview: Author Rebecca Gable & Settlers of Catan Creator Klaus Teuber

Klaus Teuber:
When we saw each other at the Frankfurt Book Fair recently, I recalled how we met there 10 years ago. Do you remember?

Rebecca Gable: Of course! You asked if I could imagine writing a novel based on your famous board game.

KT: I had read one of your books and was so excited about it, I wanted you to bring the story of the settlement of Catan to life. What was your first thought when I asked you?

RG: I thought, "This must be the most unusual and fascinating project ever proposed to me." What gave you the idea for a novelization in the first place?

KT: In the game, seafarers land on Catan. They harvest, trade, build, and settle the island. But where did those seafarers come from? Who are they? Why did they undertake this dangerous journey? The game doesn't answer any of those questions. I had some ideas but no story yet. Then you entered the picture.

RG: We met in Cologne to discuss some basic plot ideas, and it turned out we both had the word "Vikings" in our heads. What is so "Viking" about the game?

KT: Catan is set in the Early Middle Ages, and at that time the Vikings were the only seafaring people to venture into the open ocean, and therefore the only ones capable of reaching a fictitious island in the middle of the Atlantic. That was probably at the back of our minds.

How do you move from a draft outline like ours to developing your characters? Do you use people you know as models?

RG: Never. I'm fond of my friends and want to keep them, so I make sure the characters in my books don't resemble them. Speaking of characters: If you had to choose, would you rather sit down in a beer garden with Candamir or Osmund?

KT: Well, I'd prefer a little flirt with Siglind. But if I may only choose one of the men, I'd like Candamir to explain to me how to build a nice wooden chest. I still need a Christmas present for my wife.

How did you come up with the idea to season the novel with Austin, a likeable character who so insistently (and unsuccessfully) tries to evangelize his master, Candamir?

RG: The game inspired the creation of Austin. You've got to be clever and sometimes mean to win at Settlers of Catan, but whenever I play, it strikes me that what you need most is the ability to cooperate and compromise. Austin stands for that ability, I think--though he can be clever and mean, too.

KT: In your telling of the legend of Catan, the god Odin falls in love with Tanuri, the king of the Albs' daughter. Normally Odin can have any woman, but Tanuri makes a fool of him when he creates an idyllic island for her. Grief stricken, he moves the island to a place where nobody can find it. Of course, the island is Catan. Where did you get this wonderful idea? Did it come from an archetype in Norse mythology?

RG: It's not based on any particular Norse saga, but I tried to capture the atmosphere and narrative patterns of the form. I also wanted to emphasize how very special Catan is--not just in the book, but for millions of fans all over the world who love the game. Catan is a mythical and wonderful place.

From Booklist

Fans of the popular board game that inspired this novel will be thrilled to learn the backstory. For those with an interest in fiction set during the Viking era, there is something here for you, too. A village is attacked by raiders, and the surviving residents must decide whether it is worth staying on in the hardscrabble of northern Europe. One villager tells a tale of a wondrous land on the island of Catan but notes that the journey there is fraught with peril. No one can verify the tale, but it provides a glimmer of hope for a band of villagers who decide to venture to the mysterious island. Slavery, greed, religion, and social mores are all touched upon in the story, and all of these factors play roles in determining the future of the people living on Catan. Characters are fleshed out with plenty of interactions and dialogue, and the varieties of landscape on the island—so integral to playing the game—also are significant elements in the storyline. — Rebecca Gerber

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Customer Reviews

Very interesting look into historical fiction.
J Arthur Rodger
Good storyline that explains the characters in the Catan game very well.
Michael Farnam
I found the book dull at first and as I got into it , it got better.
Stacy Ballard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By ARH TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I saw a book titled, "The Settlers of Catan" I thought to myself, all right, I'll bite.

This book is based very loosely on the best selling board game of the same name, The Settlers of Catan. Just a little background, the board game "The Settlers of Catan" was released in 1995 and soon won the very prestigious Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) Award. The game soon spread in popularity until it has become one of the most popular board game names in the world, and IMO changed the way game-players around the world look at games. My family and I have been playing this game for over a decade.

Anyway, back to the book...when I saw a book titled "The Settlers of Catan" my first reaction was, "Oh, Please! You can't be serious!" I thought it was nothing more than some kind of gimmick to make a quick buck on a well-known brand name. But, as a long-time player of the game I thought it deserved a fair shot, and I wanted to see if it really had anything to offer. I have to admit that I was hesitant to do that though...610pp is quite a few pages to give something a shot (too little time, too many know). But I ordered it up all the same.

The book was a bit daunting when I opened my smiling Amazon box...the version that I got is in a 9"x6" format, is about 1.5" thick, and the font is not large. Big books don't scare me, but remember I picked this book up as more of an experiment than out of a deep-seated desire to read it. You know, testing the waters.

Anyway, I dove into the book.
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33 of 45 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My favorite part of the book was the excellent introduction by the game's designer, Klaus Teuber, describing the process of creating a game. Being a fan of "Settlers of Catan," his processes and thinking was fascinating to me.

The book itself is a translation from the original German book by Rebecca Gable, a German mystery author, who wrote the book in 2003. I don't know if anything's been lost in translation or this type of fantasy may be more appealing to German audiences, but it wasn't precisely my cup of tea. This is one of the rare times when I cannot finish a book. I honestly tried, but I couldn't get past the first 150 pages. Given the amount of time it would take to wade through the remainder of the book, I'd rather just play the game instead.

The story's semi-resembling the Viking settling of Iceland in about 900. Readers are treated to a mix of Norse - Christian mythos as well as romance, violence, etc. The characters for me were lifeless, but the violence was perhaps too strong for younger audiences. (Possibly more trouble with the translation)

If you're a huge fan of the game and can't get enough, give the book a try. I'm not sure I would recommend the book for fantasy adventure fans. There are many other books in the genre, including George R. R. Martin's popular "Game of Thrones" series which would provide a lot more satisfaction.

Rebecca Kyle, October 2011
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Jorgensen VINE VOICE on October 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First of all, the only reason I chose to read this book is fondness for the source material. I haven't played Settlers of Catan in a few years, but I remember it being easy to learn, quick to pick up, and a lot of fun once I got into it.

The book is none of these things. Neither does the plot resemble playing the game in the least. The only thing that ties this book to the game is the cover art. It's there teasing the hard-core Catan fan with the promise of a Catanesque resemblance that never materializes.

But on to judging the book on its own merits. First of all, it's way too long. 620 pages, and there's a lot of writing on each page. The book was so large that my wrists would get tired after holding it open for a while. That's a bad sign.

A long book can certainly be good, of course. In fact, one might argue that a long book gives itself chances to unfold into a level of quality storytelling that would not be possible otherwise. But that is definitely not the case here. The length just feels like padding. Consider: In a book about an emigrant community, it took a full one hundred pages for the characters to decide they were going to emigrate. Since the reader knows that the premise of the book, if it ever starts, makes emigration a foregone conclusion, the characters' endless debate has all the suspense of a train ride between two stations without any rail junctions between them.

The pace never does pick up. This book is slooow. It's got a handful of interesting character relationships and some surprisingly exciting action scenes to keep the pace from being referred to as glacial, but it's still a constant struggle to maintain interest as whatever first hooked your attention drags on and on with no payoff in sight.
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26 of 36 people found the following review helpful By SillyMoose VINE VOICE on October 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is a solid adventure book, somewhat based on Vikings settling in Iceland. For those of us who read historical/fantasy/adventure fiction, I will compare it to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, one of the best in its genre, and rate Outlander ten while giving Settlers of Catan five. If I compare Settlers of Catan with The Game of Thrones series by George R.R.Martin, within fantasy/adventure genre, Settlers get three against The Game of Thrones ten. These ratings are based solely on my reading preferences. I found the book enjoyable, but the language was a little too plain and the plot a bit too predictable. Let's just say I do not regret reading it, but if the second one in the series were to be written, I am not going to be the one reading it.
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More About the Author

Rebecca Gable is a best-selling author of historical fiction and crime novels in Germany. She was shortlisted for the Freidrich Glauser Crime Prize and served as the director of the crime writers' syndicate for three years. Since her first historical novel, "The Smile of Fortune," was published in 1997, she has worked consistently writing medieval historical fiction. In 2006, she won the Sir Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction for her novel "The Guardians of the Rose." She lives in the German countryside with her family, and she likes to read, travel, and play music.