- Series: Craft Sequence (Book 5)
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books (July 26, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765379422
- ISBN-13: 978-0765379429
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 36 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Four Roads Cross: A Novel of the Craft Sequence Hardcover – July 26, 2016
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“Enthralling.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Last First Snow
“Elegant and ferocious.” ―Daniel José Older, author of Half Resurrection Blues, on Last First Snow
“Brilliant, elegant, epic, astonishing, smart, gritty…. Last First Snow is another wondrous visit to the fantastic world of the Craft Sequence.” ―Ken Liu, author of The Grace of Kings
“Gladstone gives us wonderfully relevant bits and pieces of the modern world, turned upside-down and inside-out and garnished with skeleton kings, serpent gods, and lawyer-magicians. It's glorious.” ―Django Wexler, author of The Thousand Names, on Last First Snow
“I'm having Max Gladstone killed. He's too good already to be allowed to live. If this is early work, the rest of us are out of a job.” ―Elizabeth Bear on Full Fathom Five
“Gladstone packs more ideas into a chapter than most writers manage in a full novel.” ―Brian Staveley on Full Fathom Five
“Newcomers and fans of the series alike will enjoy the mystery, demon-caused mayhem and fast-moving plot in this stellar, engaging read.” ―RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ stars, on Two Serpents Rise
About the Author
MAX GLADSTONE went to Yale, where he wrote a short story that became a finalist in the Writers of the Future competition. He is the author of the Craft Sequence: Three Parts Dead, Two Serpents Rise, Full Fathom Five, Last First Snow, and Four Roads Cross. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Four Roads Cross is my favorite book in the series, sliding in right above book six, The Ruin of Angels.
There are cameos and nods across the rest of the series, making this feel somewhat like a season finale, and what a great ride it is.
Dig into action, debate Craft and ethics, theology and family. And marvel at the world.
Even if you have, you may find the story a little confusing, as I sometimes did, because it involves three interwoven threads and sets of characters. All, however, are involved with the fact that Seril, the moon goddess who first appeared in Full Fathom Five, is gaining strength and adherents, but She is still weak—and, as such, represents a threat to Kos the Ever-Burning, Her godly former lover, and therefore to Alt Coulomb, the city He protects. Adherents of the powerful Craft, investment bankers whose currency is souls, want to block this potential instability by destroying Seril and, if necessary, Kos as well. Abelard, Tara, Cat, their friends, and the gargoyles who serve Seril must find ways to protect Her, whether these involve legalistic maneuvering or physical battle.
Because so much was going on, I didn’t find this story as emotionally moving as I did Full Fathom Five. However, it provided more details than most of Gladstone’s books about this half-strange, half-familiar world in which religion and economics are so closely interlocked that they form different aspects of a single system. (“The church serves as a bank,” a cardinal of Kos says. “We lend and guarantee and underwrite.”) There’s a hint of Lovecraft, or more precisely of Charles Stross’s Laundry books, in the air at times too: the gods are actually “n-dimensional noosphere entities, half-network and half-standing wave,” given humanoid form so that people can more or less comprehend them—but “don’t go too far, since a simulation this detailed is a new cave chamber inside the old philosopher’s cavern, and if you’re not careful you might tunnel into another chamber already occupied by capital-letter Things.”
There are also some wonderful descriptions, mixing metaphor and vivid detail and showing both similarities and differences to our own world. Airports in Gladstone’s universe, for instance, are quite similar to those here—but the planes are dragons. On the other hand, office coffee in Kos’s church is like office coffee anywhere else: “grim, nasty stuff, notes of hydrofluoric acid, undertones of charcoal, ground glass mouthfeel, aftertaste of squid.” All in all, I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys fantasy with excellent characters, plenty of action, and an interestingly complex background system as well.
It seems almost wrong to say it, but I kept thinking as I was reading that this reminded me so much of the late Sir Terry Pratchett. I can't think of another writer who infuses this much wit, absurdity, and fun into a story about the issues of modern society.
Five stars without hesitation. I can't wait for Six Feet Over!