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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Admirable conclusion to metaphysical-fantastical series
I enjoyed the first two novels in R. Scott Bakker's "Prince of Nothing" series -- his weaving of action, humor, sex, and metaphysics into a fully-realized alternate universe demonstrated astounding dexterity and full-fledged commitment to his story. I can't imagine the permutations this story must have gone through as Bakker wrestled with a plot that was truly epic in...
Published on March 23, 2006 by Scott Schiefelbein

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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the rest of it?
Reading this book is a profoundly frustrating experience. Because there has been nary a hint that more books will follow this one, the reader expects both major plotlines--the one involving the Holy War and the other involving the conflict with the Consult--will be resolved. But that's not at all what happens. Though the Holy War is definitely over by the time the book...
Published on February 18, 2007 by M. Jacobs


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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Admirable conclusion to metaphysical-fantastical series, March 23, 2006
By 
Scott Schiefelbein (Portland, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, Book 3) (Hardcover)
I enjoyed the first two novels in R. Scott Bakker's "Prince of Nothing" series -- his weaving of action, humor, sex, and metaphysics into a fully-realized alternate universe demonstrated astounding dexterity and full-fledged commitment to his story. I can't imagine the permutations this story must have gone through as Bakker wrestled with a plot that was truly epic in scope, not to mention his philosophical, slightly archaic diction.

I eagerly dove into "The Thousandfold Thought," anxious to see how Bakker was going to wrap up this announced trilogy. In some respects, the plot of "TTT" is straightforward: the otherworldly Prince of Nothing, Kellhus, has led the Holy War to the threshold of its goal -- the plains outside the city of Shimeh. What ensues is, for approximately the last 20% of the novel, a battle between invader and invaded that rivals anything since the Battle of the Pellenor Fields from Tolkien's "Return of the King." It's hard to say who is more terrifying -- Bakker's battle-hardened human soldiers or their sorcerer allies. Nobody writes a more powerful, more dazzling battle scene than Bakker, and that's high praise indeed.

But much of "TTT" is given over to metaphysical debate as Kellhus confronts his father, the sorcerer Drusas Achamian confronts the truth of Kellhus and his love for his former wife Esmemet (now Kellhus' lover), and the barbarian Cnaiur confronts his former lover and tormentor. Plus, "minor" characters plot, scheme, and kill as they seek to twist the Holy War to their own ends.

To be honest, I am not all that interested in philosophy, so much of the metaphysical stuff Bakker obviously adores was lost on me. Bakker writes it well, but I am not the correct audience. I liked it fine, but it's not the kind of stuff I'm going to eagerly revisit, and it made much of "TTT" pretty slow going.

Much of the humor found in the first two books in this series is absent from "TTT," as the major players are moved to peaks of triumph and despair in the midst of war. There's naturally not much room for levity. That's unfortunate, but it's not a weakness. "TTT" is just a weightier tome than the first two novels.

Bakker takes the interesting step of ending his trilogy with what is essentially a cliff-hanger. Does he intend to keep the story alive? He's got more than a few plot threads left to tie up. Or does he want the reader to puzzle over their own interpretation of these plot threads (such as, what's going on with the bird-with-the-human-head, what happens to Cnaiur, etc.). That would be a daring choice considering all the work that went into this trilogy.

Ultimately, I admire the "Prince of Nothing" series more than I enjoy it. I don't shun complexity, but this series is the first one I've really wanted to finish where the third novel starts out with dozens of pages summarizing what happened in the first two novels, and attaches 100 pages of expository appendices to the end. Again, Bakker has created a complex world populated with a staggering cast of characters and with its own extensive history -- I'm sure his world's version of the "Silmarillion" is out there just waiting to be published. And I'd probably check it out.

Not for the faint of heart, the "Prince of Nothing" series is probably better suited for armchair reading than the stairmaster at the gym -- you're going to need the time and the energy to work through Bakker's complex stories. And in the end, it's worth it.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the rest of it?, February 18, 2007
By 
Reading this book is a profoundly frustrating experience. Because there has been nary a hint that more books will follow this one, the reader expects both major plotlines--the one involving the Holy War and the other involving the conflict with the Consult--will be resolved. But that's not at all what happens. Though the Holy War is definitely over by the time the book ends, the Consult is still creeping through the brush, as it were, trying to kill off mankind. Will we ever get to see what happens next? I have no idea.

Mr. Bakker really could have been more charitable with his readers, given what an onerous slog he's demanded from us. He's given us only one sympathetic character, Achamian. The rest range from indifferent (Esmenet, Proyas, and others) to absolutely loathesome (Kellhus). And though Mr. Bakker does provide readers with some food for thought, now and again, I think his political/philosophical musings are by and large going to be familiar territory to modern readers. Can anyone, today, be shocked by the manipulations and cynicism of cult leaders (of which Kellhus is a characteristically revolting example)? I doubt it.

On the flip side there's Mr. Bakker's weird explanation of why the Consult wants to commit mass murder: if they can reduce the human population to a small enough number, the world will no longer have access to the "Outside," i.e. the gods and the afterlife will no longer be accessible to anyone inhabiting the planet. That's just plain bizarre. The implication seems to be that, since it takes a certain critical mass of souls to access the Eternal, a single soul has no worth on its own. That's a fine metaphysical position to take, but it really does require some elaboration, I think. Which we don't get.

All that aside, the book's worth a read. Just don't expect to set it back on the shelf with any particular feeling of satisfaction for having finished it.
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34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is not the end, is it?, May 29, 2006
This review is from: The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, Book 3) (Hardcover)
All credit to an author who sets out to write a trilogy and manages to do it - a rare thing in this line of publishing. That is, if this will still be a trilogy...

This is a very disappointing sequel to the very good Warrior-Prophet. Mainly, what causes problems in this novel is Bakker's continuing penchant for liberally sprinkling pseudo gems of undergraduate level philosophy and psychoanalysis throughout his text. There is so much of it that it hinders reading, as you are constantly re-reading passages to make sure that a) you didn't miss anything, b) did you understand what Bakker was trying to say, and c) often wondering what a load of balderdash his characters tend to spout. We could have done without this, as one might imagine Bakker would trust us enough to understand his characters by now. But, from having read the glaringly sycophantic comments and reviews on his websites, one wonders if he was in part taken in by those who seem to like this sort of writing.

I don't know why he felt the need to do this, as it really obscures what is an otherwise interesting plot, some well worked characters, a world with a lot of potential and scope, but with one monstrous flaw - and that is Kellhus. He is just not credible as a character, nor is he likeable. One man cannot do what Bakker makes him do. If he only had given Kellhus the more limited task of influencing the elites of the Three Seas who would then, always using Bakker's own political and philosophical assertions, have carried their peoples with them, it would have made the reader's acceptance of his abilities easier.

Bakker still has real talent, however. Some loose ends are nicely tied up, particularly those involving Maithanet, the Cishaurim, the spy within the Mandate, and Moenghus. Conphas gets a quite monumental comuppance. The skinspies take on depth and complexity. He manages the multiple scenes of the book's climax well, although the battle between Inrithi and Fanim warriors, again awash in names of people we know or care nothing about, could have been shorter to give more time to the more important confrontation between Kellhus and his father, which fizzles out frustratingly and inconclusively. As well, the Biblical tone of the book resonates well with his geography and grasp of his world's antiquity, and every time the Consult makes an appearance the book and writing work better - the scene between Kellhus and a possessed Esmenet is excellent.

But, but, but... One wonders why he went to all the trouble of creating the Consult and the No-God (which never even makes an appearance) if he never planned on doing anything with them. The sprinkling of Achamian/Seswatha flashbacks add nothing to the story, and only serve to underline the way in which Bakker could really have made something of the Mandate's dreams, like enabling Achamian to work out who the Dunyain are (they obviously existed during the Apocalypse) and what they stand for, as well as throwing a spanner in the works by having the Seswatha alterego actually possess one of the Mandate, or something like that.

Well worth the read, but if he does continue this, he needs a better editor.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Good, but Still Better than Most Other Fantasy Out There, June 27, 2007
I was a tremendous fan of the first two books of this series--especially "The Darkness that Comes Before." However, with "The Thousandfold Thought" it seems that Bakker may have bitten off more than he can chew. I found myself barely paying attention half the time as I read because either we were treading ground we'd already tread before, or we were following characters and factions I knew so little about I hardly knew what was happening.

The entire final battle scene is really just a blur in my memory. I may as well have read the words "people are fighting" hundreds and hundreds of times. Perhaps this says more about me than about the book, though.

Still, there was a bit too much of Achimian's anguish about Esmet and Kellus. Really, how many times did we need to hear how weird it was to see her with him? This was especially grating after Kellus had just ordered a massacre in a recently conqured city. No tears for the dead innocents, but lots of tears for himself.

But what I found the most unfathomable was Achimian's behavior at the end. I really can't say I understand his motivations for any of the actions he takes. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just leave it at that.

Like so many other reviewers of this book, consider me disappointed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In The End Its A Beginning, February 4, 2006
This review is from: The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, Book 3) (Hardcover)
What if every night you relived the destruction of the world as it happened two thousand years ago? What if you and those who shared those dreams were the only people who believed that those events had actually occurred? If it was your job, along with those few others, to track down every rumour that could potentially signify the return of the evil that would bring about a second apocalypse: could you do so in the face of the scorn and disbelief of the whole world?

In the first two books of his trilogy The Prince of Nothing; The Darkness That Comes Before and The Warrior Prophet, R. Scott Bakker introduced readers to just such a man. Drusas Achamian is a sorcerer, or as they are known in the world of the Three Seas, a schoolman. Of the four schools of sorcery: The Mandate, The Scarlet Spires, The Imperial Saik, and The Mysunsai, only Drusas' Mandate fellows and himself retain the memory of the end of the world.

We have walked with Drusas into the midst of a holy war; a crusade whose leader he has been ordered to investigate on suspicion that he is a harbinger of the second apocalypse. Although he is unable to gain access to Maithahet, the initial impetus behind the war, he finds signs of the return of the Mandate's great enemy amongst the combatants.

The Skin Spies can assume the shape of another person and live behind their assumed body's face. They have superhuman strength and are extreme perversions of humans. Even more alarming, if possible, is his discovery of a man named Anasurimbor Kellhus amongst those gathering to march in the crusade.

It was an Anasurimbor who marched through the first apocalypse and Drusas must discover if this man from the forgotten Northlands where the ancient kingdoms lay is the one who will be the cause of the second cataclysm. By the beginning of The Thousandfold Thought, book three of the series, all signs are pointing towards Anasurimbor being along the same lines as his forbearer

In the Thousandfold Thought R. Scott Bakker continues to spin his complex tale of magic, religion and philosophy. The world he has created offers a fun house mirror of our own history. Everything is suspiciously familiar but is distorted or exaggerated beyond the normal into an almost grotesque caricature of events that have occurred in our own world.

Men of power had plotted and conspired to show they were best suited to serve the god by leading the armies. But they have all fallen by the wayside with the coming of Kellhus into his glory. He has supplanted all other leadership through the simple expedient of being able to see people's true motives, and speaking them aloud.

When we see him through the eyes of Drusas we don't want to believe in him or worship him, but we do anyway. Through the eyes of Cnaiur the barbarian, he is a devious liar that will twist you inside out by knowing exactly what you will do before you do it. But even through the eyes that despise him there is no denying the power of Kellhus.

Has Kellhus become that which everybody wants him to be? How does destiny work anyway is what Bakker seems to be asking. When Kellhus sets out from his people's retreat at the beginning of the trilogy to answer the summons of his father, what wheels were set in motion by that simple act? How come there was a crusade just waiting for him to lead that suited his purposes ideally?

Bakker's characters are not simple constructs of good and evil. The pious are guided into unspeakable acts of evil in the name of their god. The demon skin spies are manifestations of perversion but are fighting a holy war of their own which is every bit as sacred to them as the one fought by the humans.

Of them all Drusas seems to be the most honest and human in his emotions and ambitions. He is the everyman of the novel questioning, but wanting to believe. As a Mandate schoolman he has grown used to being singular in his beliefs and considered a pariah

In The Prince Of Nothing R. Scot Bakker has created a fascinating study of how thoughts and beliefs are shaped and formed. But these are not books of philosophy they are stories of people, war and magic. The Thousandfold Thought, like its predecessors, is the work of a masterful storyteller.

Bakker's characters have depth and dimension beyond what is usual for fantasy. It seems we have entered a new era of fantasy; where authors are taking care to create characters that can join the pantheon of fictional heroes that has been built by "serious novelists".

R. Scott Bakker has created a world which is both recognizable and alien simultaneously. His plots, while intricate are not convoluted; his characters are complex and not cartoons; and his writing is though provoking and challenging without being deliberately obtuse. The Thousandfold Thought is the masterful conclusion to a trilogy of the highest order. I can only hope that Mr. Bakker will soon create more worlds for us to discover.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It could have been excellent, December 2, 2008
By 
Susan Marsh (Minneapolis, MN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This novel, and really, this entire trilogy, could have been marvelous. Bakker possesses an excellent sense of prose, which, while occasionally pretentious, is nonetheless utterly engrossing. It had many likeable characters, including quite possibly the best underdog (Drusas Achamian, who is not quite the underdog he thinks he is, may remain one of my favorite characters of all time) I have ever seen. The plot is many-faceted and strong.

Unfortunately, Bakker seems to have confused his protagonist with his antagonist. Anasurimbador Kellhus, as many have noted, is an atrociously bad character. His ability to control others to a point where they become reverent of him by doing what seems to be nothing more than making them cry, pointing out their own little contradictions and shortcomings, borders on the absurd. In addition, he possesses more than a few sociopathic tendencies, harming our favorite characters as he sees fit with about two lines (in a 1000+ page series) of remorse.

This would have been all well and good; not every character needs many shortcomings, and there are sociopaths in the world. Unfortunately, Bakker made the atrocious decision to turn Kellhus into the series' protagonist, simply in how he is written and described in the narrative. Bakker chooses to try--unsuccessfully--to convince us, and, perhaps, himself, that he is one of The Good Guys, come to save our world and yadda yadda yadda.

I may read the others, but only because I hope to someday see the characters I care about take down the one I don't. I hope Bakker comes to realize, even if he continues to focus on Kellhus, how he has written him and stops trying to convince us how incredible he is.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, December 20, 2006
By 
This review is from: The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, Book 3) (Hardcover)
I lost myself in the world of the first two books--this one was simply jarring! To disjointed, to many characters with names to difficult to keep track off, and to many unanswered questions to be anywhere near satisfying as a "conclusion". I was never able to re-enter the world and simply enjoy the story! Constantly having to look-up names in the glossary was so much helpful as distracting.

Unless there's more to come, what was the point of the No-God? the bird, etc. While so many other authors of epic fanatsy simply keep the story going ad-infinitum (gouging their paying public?), I looked forward to a trilogy that actually was a trilogy, but this "conclusion" without a conclusion was just as frustrating and in many ways, more disappointing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars where is the rest of it?, August 7, 2007
Ok so I get to about page 400 of this book and there are still about a hundred pages left. I'm starting to think "Ok he's going to explain everything and wrap up the loose ends, tie everything together, and finish it off nicely. AND THEN IT ENDS 2 PAGES LATER!?! Sadly, the last hundred pages are an encyclopedic glossary.

So it's a pretty good series if you can get past the weepy emotional characters and the endless pages of "gaped in horror at the implications" "cried out at the revelation" and things like that. I was just left completely unfulfilled by the ending.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great conclusion to an epic trilogy, February 2, 2006
This review is from: The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, Book 3) (Hardcover)
A fabulous finale!

This is the concluding book in the "Prince of Nothing" trilogy by Scott Bakker. I'd waited in eager anticipation for this release; I was not disappointed.

The Pros:

1.)The book effectively ties up the loose ends of previous episodes and (thankfully) comes to a definitive ending; and, not surprisingly, it may have opened a few new treads at the conclusion as well. This book deals with the same major characters as the previous books; that being Kellhus, Achamian(Akka), Esmenet and Cnaiur, as well as a new "concern" that was mentioned passingly in previous books.

2.)Well written, gripping and intriguing right from the word go, this book was a page turner; also there was an erotic quality in some areas that was "intense" to say the least. As with most great fantasy novels there is a liberal dose of magic, deceit, love, betrayal and some really great battles.

3.)In addition to the story itself, there are 3 maps at the back of the book to keep you abreast of the Holy Wars' locations: as well, there is a 100 page "Encyclopedic Glossary" at the end of this book giving added descriptions of persons, places and things mentioned in the trilogy. (it's this "glossary" that makes you realize the effort that the author has put into developing the storyline of this epic fantasy)

The Cons:

And yet, despite the greatness of the story, there were segments of this book that I did not find easy to read; e.g. I found I really had to concentrate hard to try to understand some of the philosophical discussions between Akka and Kellhus and likewise for some chapters dealing with the internal musings of Akka and Cnaiur as they went through periods of internal crisis. Thankfully, these chapters were short and infrequent, making my "complaint" a minor issue when weighed against the overall quality of the rest of this book.

All in all, if you liked the previous installments of this series, I think you will find the conclusion equally enjoyable. Recommended! 4 1/2stars.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed?, February 9, 2006
This review is from: The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, Book 3) (Hardcover)
I found the final installment of the Prince of Nothing Series to be somewhat anticlimactic. Perhaps high expectations are to blame, but I found Bakker dwelling on the mundane more and the exciting parts less than he did in The Darkness that Comes Before or The Warrior Prophet.

I definitely enjoyed the glossary at the back. Lots of great history of the Three Seas to be found. Perhaps Bakker's next task will be to relay the story of the First Apocalypse or the Curo-Inchiori war?

I recommend the series even though the payoff I craved in the end just wasn't there. The Thousandfold Thought is definitely my least favorite of the three.
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The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, Book 3)
The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, Book 3) by R. Scott Bakker (Hardcover - February 2, 2006)
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