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The Third God (The Stone Dance of the Chameleon) Hardcover – International Edition, April 21, 2009

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This concluding volume in Pinto's debut trilogy (after 2003's The Standing Dead) continues the life story of Carnelian Suth as he and his lover, Osidian, leave their exile in the barbarian lands of the Earthsky and race toward an apocalyptic confrontation with the God Emperor in Osrakum. Never using one word when three will do, Pinto evokes a vaguely West Asian mystique amid the tale of the decline of an imperial oligarchy. The narrative, however, gets lost in its own heft, leaving the reader struggling to keep track of characters, understand created words and hunt for shreds of plot. Powerful themes of love and loss dominate Carnelian's tale, but deadpan delivery, a myopic focus on one character, repetitious introspection and lengthy exposition turn a potentially gripping story into a snooze. (Dec.)
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"Boldly conceived and intelligently written . . . lingers in the memory like a strange and disturbing dream."  —Interzone

"A remarkable feast which I avidly consumed."  —Dennis L. McKiernan, author, The Eye of the Hunter

"Outstanding . . . a new kind of writing . . . Pinto is blazing a trail where others, no doubt, will follow."  —Amanda Foreman, author, The Duchess

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Product Details

  • Series: The Stone Dance of the Chameleon (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 519 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593050517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593050514
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,216,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Frederick Kirchhoff on January 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The final volume in Pinto's trilogy is also by far the longest. If The Standing Dead could have dropped fifty pages without losing anything important, The Third God could easily wave goodbye to a hundred and still tell the same story. But would I have enjoyed it half so well? That's a difficult question to answer. In some ways, reading the book was like taking a long train ride. You enjoy watching the world go by outside your window so much that you don't want the journey to end, and yet you would also like to get where you're going faster than the train seems to be taking you.

Even so (paradoxically?), a few sections of the narrative seem rushed through. Why, for example, are Osidian's maneuvers in his final battle with his brother left vague when so much else is explained in endless detail? Perhaps, at this point in the novel, we are meant to see events simply as Carnelian sees them. But that doesn't strike me as an adequate answer. For Pinto, who seems to enjoy recounting long, dreadful journeys more than just about anything, has the good sense to resist portraying the final journey in the novel, even though Carnelian is very much a part of it.

Reflecting on the trilogy as a whole, endless detail seems its hallmark. How many times does Carnelian slog though sewage? I lost count. How many times does he throw up? Not even Sartre has given us so much nausea. And why must everything red look like blood? Every disjunction resemble a wound? Taken separately, the images are powerful. Taken together, they begin to cloy. It's like eating a whole box of chocolate-covered cherries. (One may be good; two is too many; a boxful, and I feel like Carnelian.)

Nevertheless, The Third God is clearly the most exciting book in the trilogy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lucas on November 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wanted to love this book. When the package arrived in the mail, I was so excited, I probably spent a good 10 minutes examining the artwork on the cover alone, which is beautiful, by the way.
I had loved what happened in the later half of the first book, loved the entire second book, and expected...ultimately, too much from the third book.
Third God has two redeeming qualities: One, Pinto has a way with words. He is very prosaic, he uses words eloquently, paints pictures with them. Two, I was happy with what became of the characters, the way the story wrapped up. Nothing left me unsatisfied there.
So what went wrong? If it weren't for the strength of the two positive qualities listed above, I would give this book 3 stars. How do I put it? Okay, here:
It was SO. SLOW.
At times, just page after page after page of floating in a boat down a river and oh, look at the landscape.
Why is it that in this book, with the largest battles of all, the plot absolutely dragged so much? What was missing? Honestly, I can't put my finger on it. Maybe my expectations were high.

I started to recommend this series to a friend of mine...and after getting into the Third God, had to second guess that decision. So to anyone reading this on Amazon, I can only give a lukewarm recommendation of this series. But with that being said, this author is incredibly talented, the stuff reads almost like poetry. I will buy and read anything he publishes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nitaka on October 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Stone Dance of the Chameleon trilogy is a captivating yarn. The story takes place in a utopian world in which authority is given to The Chosen, those with supposed divine blood. And The Chosen thus create a complex political balance to maintain their desired utopian existence. The main political players are the God Emperor, The Wise and The Masters; all of which reside in the hidden city of Osrakum. The plainsmen, considered barbarians, reside far removed from the walls of Osrakum scattered into tribes throughout the vast surrounding land, named The Greenland. The Chosen oppress the plainsmen through strict rule and punishment. Chosen individuals wear elaborate masks to conceal their divine countenance; for a plainsmen (or any un-chosen) to look upon the face of The Chosen results in immediate blinding. Mutilation, torture and death are oft used by The Chosen to enforce the Law-that-must-be-obeyed. Themes of punishment and overt pain run throughout the Stone Dance of the Chameleon.

Carnelian is the protagonist of The Stone Dance of the Chameleon. Carnelian is a Master thus meaning he's Chosen. Carnelian's blood has a high taint making him (and his role in politics) of great importance. The Chosen are cruel. There is very little compassion among The Chosen, save for Carnelian. Carnelian is compassion personified.

The reader is introduced to Carnelian in the first book titled "The Chosen". Carnelian is exiled with his father, Suth Carnelian. Suth is sought out by three Masters - Aurum, Jasper, and Imago - to return to Osrakum to participate in the election of a new God Emperor. And thus Carnelian begins to learn of the cruel nature of politics and the unquestionably harsh cannon of the Law-that-must-be-obeyed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ryan on April 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Third God is the third and final book in Ricardo Pinto's The Stone Dance of the Chameleon series, published by Bantam in 2009. In The Chosen we were introduced to Carnelian and Osidian, got to explore the politics and brutality of The Three Lands, and felt angry when Carnelian and Osidian were betrayed by the ones they loved. In The Standing Dead we were introduced to the people of the Earthsky, fell in love with beauty of the sprawling plains, and came to loathe Osidian as he systematically conquered each tribe to create his own personal army.

The story picks up immediately from the events of the second book with Carnelian, Fern and Poppy learning that Osidian has massacred the whole Ochre tribe as a means to unite the Earthsky tribes into an army that can challenge his brother Molochite and help regain his rightful place as God Emperor. With Osidian severely weakened after his communion with his God, Carnelian takes up the leadership of the army hoping that he can bring some meaning to the senseless destruction of his tribe by toppling the brutal reign of the Chosen and bring freedom to the people of the Earthsky. As Carnelian and Osidian close in on Osrakum, the battles become bloodier and the consequences become much greater and much more horrific than Carnelian could have imagined. And while the representatives of the two Gods are waging their bloody war, the third God is watching, waiting for the opportune moment to exact the revenge that has been simmering for hundreds of years.

This was a very difficult book to read.
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