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A Feast Unknown (Secrets of the Nine #1 - Wold Newton Parallel Universe) Paperback – October 9, 2012
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Not only that, but as incredible as those works of art are, Farmer does it better in "Feast".
It's a mind blower, wrapped in an incredible adventure with the two big iconic hero types that inspired Batman and Superman!
It's ALL THERE!!!!!
The lives of these two impressive specimens of manhood are ensnared by the machinations of a secret Illuminati-like group known as "The Nine." Grandrith and Doc must follow the Nine's rules because only the Nine can provide them with the elixir of immortality. Also, the elixir has recently exhibited an undesirable side effect: sexual arousement accompanies violent thoughts or acts, and sexual arousement occurs ONLY if accompanied by violent thoughts and acts.
Lord Grandrith and Doc Caliban might form an alliance and confront the Nine, but Doc's cousin has been kidnaped and killed. With firm evidence--such as witnesses--identifying Grandrith as the murderer, Doc becomes the lethal opposite of an ally.
The novel has much sex and violence, graphically and--depending on your personality--intriguingly described, but it all adds to development of character and story. Except for one full page later in the story, where Grandrith makes normal love. To me that read like standard pornography. A couple of sentences, or a short paragraph would have sufficed. Still, A FEAST UNKNOWN makes up for that one boring page with other absorbingly interesting pages. For that reason and because of its skillful and unique blend of violence, sex, adventure, heroic fantasy, and conspiracy, I award it five scintillating stars.
I read this book right after I read the first Tarzan novel ("Tarzan of the Apes" by Edgar Rice Burroughs) as well as the first Doc Savage novel ("The Man of Bronze" by Lester Dent writing as Kenneth Robeson), so the connections and themes Philip Jose Farmer was playing with were on the surface for me to see. While this is not needed by any means to enjoy the book, I believe it will enrich the experience. Farmer's pastiche's, Lord Grandrith and Doc Caliban can be seen on the new editions cover in an epic Herculean struggle on a suspension bridge. This is just one of the many testosterone filled action moments in this novel.
Fans of action, Rated R movies, heroic fiction as well as crossovers in general will surely enjoy this book. However, it is not for people who are easily offended. The graphic depiction of sex and violence (sometimes both simultaneously) can get pretty intense, but this is like no other novel you will ever read. That being said these scenes serve a purpose in the story and are not simply written for shock value. Hint: Jack the Ripper had the same problem. To find out more, you will have to check out the book.
Farmer is one of the three people who Robert Heinlein dedicated his ground breaking "Stranger In A Strange Land" novel to. There is a reason for that.
Top international reviews
If I could have given it no stars, I would have, which is a shame as I have been a fan of PJF for decades (25 years plus), especially Riverworld, the World of Tiers, even Henry Miller's Dawn Patrol.
However, this book reduces the Tarzan figure to a beast in human guise, hateful, spiteful and indulging in cannibalism, perversion and getting sexual excitement from violent homicide. The scene of cruel bestiality was awful. I was so disappointed and disgusted by this story, I stopped reading it before Tarzan met Doc Savage, so can't comment on the treatment that that character got. It does no favours to either Tarzan, ERB, or fans of those novels.
Now that I'm done with it, this book will go in the bin. I won't even hand it in to a charity shop.
Far below the usual standard of PJF's work. Utter muck.