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The Violent Century Paperback – October 24, 2013

13 customer reviews

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Paperback, October 24, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Review

An emerging master." Locus Young, ambitious, skilled and original. Christopher Priest, author of The Prestige. He is a political writer, an iconoclast and sometimes a provocateur ... Osama is a remarkable and ambitious work. China Mieville on Osama. Where do heroes come from? How are friendships made? What makes us human? These are the questions that Lavie Tidhar grapples with, in this story of friendship writ large upon a canvas that stretches from the 1930s to the present day, in a slightly alternate world where superheroes exists, but heroics mean different things to different people. Choices made in the second world war resonate down through a series of brilliantly detailed cold war scenes, ultimately wrestling with the idea of the self. This is a big, ambitious book that manages to deliver. -- Glen Mehn http://glen.mehn.net/2013/08/100-word-review-the-violent-century-by-lavie-tidhar/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=100-word-review-the-violent-century-by-lavie-tidhar vintage Lavie, and also I think his most fully accomplished novel yet. Nobody rides that fast-rolling wave separating schlocky pulp and serious literary sensibilities so deftly as Tidhar. He manages to make serious points about the benighted twentieth-century and its obsession with 'supermen' without ever letting the narrative slacken or the adventure pale. If Nietzche had written an X-Men storyline whilst high on mescaline, it might have read something like VIOLENT CENTURY. -- Adam Roberts, author of Jack Glass blurb An alternative history tour-de-force. Epic, intense and authentic. Lavie Tidhar reboots the 20th century with spies and superheroes battling for mastery - and the results are electric. -- Tom Harper, author of THE ORPHEUS DESCENT blurb Dig it, kats and kittens: THE VIOLENT CENTURY is a brilliantly etched phantasmagoric reconfiguring of that most sizzling of eras - the twilight 20th. Lavie Tidhar lays it out like a dystopian dog!!! This book has it ALL: time travel, political intrigue, hellacious history itself!!! You've got superheroes in the guise of regular humans, you've got World War II!!! Viva Lavie Tidhar - "The Violent Century" is a torrid tour de force!!!!! James Ellroy Tidhar has written a fantastic novel... I can't wait to read Osama and anything else of his that I can get my hands on... Definitely recommended. Civilian Reader A love story and meditation on heroism, this is an elegiac espionage adventure that demands a second reading. Metro Provides an insight into what it takes to be human, and what can happen when we lay that humanity aside. It's a powerful novel, which will no doubt reward rereading. Sci-Fi bulletin

About the Author

Lavie Tidhar is the World Fantasy Award winning author of Osama, of The Bookman Histories trilogy and many other works. He also won the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella, for Gorel & The Pot-Bellied God, and was nominated variously for BSFA, Campbell, Sturgeon, Kitschies and Sidewise awards. He grew up on a kibbutz in Israel and in South Africa and currently resides in London. Lavie can be found online at http://lavietidhar.wordpress.com or on twitter @lavietidhar.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (October 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444762885
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444762884
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,790,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Posner on March 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book became more compelling as I neared the end. The style mellowed out, and the characters became more fully developed. While the comparison to Watchmen is not inappropriate because of the shifts in time and the deliberately fragmented narrative, it should be noted that World War II is a quite different setting than the Cold War, and that this story has less cynicism. I read about the book on io9 dot com, which is a well-trafficked site which recommended it, and I am surprised to see that The Violent Century has only ten reviews in the U.S. at the time I am writing this one (#10). It should be well-read among fans of the growing superhero novel genre.

I really like Sommertag (Summer's Day), a young girl with a very unusual and compelling super-power who is crucial to the theme of the book. Her power is unlike any other that I have seen in superhero comics. She is in direct contrast with the second lead of the book, the Dorian-Grey-like Oblivion. This is only one of many ways that the book has been constructed with care, using motifs and thematics to build to a unified literary effect. If the early style were not so pretentious, perhaps readers would warm to the very solid technique. I'm glad I waited it out, because I was satisfied at the end.

I appreciate the way superheroes of different countries have different approaches (the Americans showy and bombastic, the Brits covert and gloomy, etc). Some of the use of historical context, while admirable in attempt, gets less development than I would like. Parallels to Adolf Eichmann's trial, and to Operation Paperclip, are some of the more satisfying ones.

*

Since writing the text below I have upped the book to four stars. I'm about halfway through.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fast, compelling, and evocatively written, Tidhar's world comes right at you and you can't stop reading. His writing style takes a little getting used to (much like Charles Stross' Halting State), but the staccato style actually improves the experience reading this book (not saying too much about the plot to avoid spoilers). I want to read his other books now.

Also criminally underrated here (hope that hasn't affected sales) where the complaints are about an early pricing decision to price the ebook at comparable rates to a hardcover.
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Format: Paperback
What makes a man? What makes a hero?

A tall, pale, aristocratic-looking man walks into a pub in London. The pub is almost impossible to find, hidden under a railway arch, lost in thick fog. There is only one patron at the bar.

“The Old Man wants to have a word with you,” the tall, aristocratic man tells him.

Clearly, these men know each other well. No, the man at the bar growls, he’s retired. It’s about an old file, the tall man explains. Which file, the bar patron wants to know.

Oblivion says a single word. "Sommertag."

"The fug of smoke crescendos around Fogg, a beekeeper’s protective mask. That single word, like a bullet with a name engraved on its side."

The bar patron hurls his shot glass at Oblivion’s head. Oblivion raises his hand, wiggles his fingers, and the glass disintegrates into dust. Without further resistance, the man at the bar rises and follows Oblivion to an office building, where the Old Man, his former spymaster, leads him gently through a series of questions about a missing week in 1943.

The two men are Oblivion and Fogg. During World War II they were a team, recruited along with other mutants, men and women who developed miraculous abilities when they were caught in the Vomacht Wave. Recruited to a secret training facility called the Farm, these two lonely young men become friends while they learn to harness and control their unique powers.

The backstory: In 1933, a German scientist by the name of Dr. Joachim Vomacht invented a machine that shot out a probability wave, altering every human being who happened to be in its path, all over the world. Suddenly, there are people who can create fire with a snap of their fingers.
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Format: Kindle Edition
For me, there were only two masterpieces in the superheroes genre: Alan Moore's Watchmen and Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight. The Violent Century is certainly the third one. There is so much to be impressed with in this novel: the structure, the characters, the prose and alternate history, that is such a wonderful tool to examine the real 2nd World War, its hideous consequences and all the havoc and trauma it produced on the outside world and on the soul of the humans beings. In a way every participant in the World War who fought, ran, hid, died or survived was an Ubermensch.
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By work2live on March 19, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An amazing, innovative, profound piece of fiction, which succeeds in capturing the utterly surreal quality of Hitler's crimes. You wouldn't think a device like real-life super-heroes would work, yet it does.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gerald P Sadvari on January 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating concepts and characters. The story drives you along to a fine finish. This is a fine introduction to a new world. More please
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By Amazon Customer on October 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
An excellent novel--form and content blend perfectly.
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