- Series: The Rover (Book 3)
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (July 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765307243
- ISBN-13: 978-0765307248
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,382,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lord of the Libraries (The Rover) Hardcover – June 23, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
In Odom's winsome Tolkienesque fantasy, the third in a series that began with The Rover (2001), a month has passed since the near eradication of the Vault of All Known Knowledge and the disappearance of its chief librarian, Grandmagister Edgewick "Wick" Lamplighter, in The Destruction of All Books (2004). Now First Level Librarian Jugh, a small halfling and former slave, and his old friend, the wizard Craugh, go in search of Wick, who was last seen in hot pursuit of The Book of Time, a dangerously powerful tome that has been broken into four pieces for the world's safety. Joined by brave elves, dwarves and humans, Jugh and Craugh fight against tremendous odds in an effort to rescue Wick from evil Aldhran Khemphus. They must also discover another mysterious library and find the key to release the vault of true knowledge to all. While the series is best read in order, readers can enjoy this third volume on its own because of Odom's fluid mastery of establishing lovable characters and interweaving prime plot points from earlier books. (July 13)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The third in a series that began with The Rover (2002) takes up where The Destruction of the Books (2004) left off. The Vault of All Known Knowledge has been all but destroyed in the battle with attacking evil forces. Juhg, apprentice to Edgewick Lamplighter, the vault's grandmagister, once again is the protagonist. Accompanied by companions who include the wizard Craugh, Juhg, who would prefer to attempt to rescue the grandmagister from his Goblinkin captors, reluctantly embarks on the task set him by the grandmagister--to find and reunite the four hidden sections of The Book of Time and keep it out of the hands of the dark forces. The quest for the sections is fraught with danger as the companions travel to the far reaches of the land in their search. The story's fast pace, violent action, camaraderie among the companions, and leavening humor add up to a hard-to-put-down page-turner. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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By this point in the trilogy that began with "The Rover," Mel Odom will have been abandoned by those who want to reduce these books to the level of a mere Tolkien pastiche, which leaves those of us who like the fast-paced action and focus more on their uniqueness. Yes, the main characters are a halfling and a wizard, but one of the things I liked about "Lord of the Libraries" (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, J.R.R.) is that Jugh does not trust Craugh, especially once he finds out about the wizard's past involving "The Book of Time" and his role in bringing about the Cataclysm of Lord Kharrion. Every single time Craugh says or does anything in this novel, Jugh has these "yes, but" thoughts that I find even more amusing than thinly veiled jokes about Budweiser commercials and the like.
I also liked the prologue to "Lord of the Libraries," in which the importance of the Vault of All Known Knowledge is underscored by the activities of Novice Librarian Dockett Butterblender in the wake of the attack. For that matter, my favorite scene in the book is when Jugh, weakened by wounds and shaking from a fever, reveals a book to someone who has never seen one before. Jugh cannot stop talking about the books in the library, the acts of the Grandmagister, and all the things that he has read about. This is key because in his heart Jugh does not want to be just a librarian, simply preserving books and the knowledge they contain. He wants to be a teacher. For Jugh, copying books so that they can be preserved is not as important as copying books so they can be shared. These stories are told in the Dark Ages of this world, but Jugh represents the hope of a true Renaissance.
A lot happens in this book. When I was within 100 pages of the end I was wondering how Odom was going to be able to play out his entire end game in so few pages, but the answer is simply that things start moving in "Lord of the Libraries" in the first chapter and they never really stop until the last one. More importantly, Odom is coming up with interesting things in virtually every chapter, so the pace is quick but the story does not remain simple. Since this is the 21st century I would say that the book reminds me of the type of computer games that I tend to play, where you go about collecting items and solving puzzles, except that there are a lot more battles to fight, where Cobner the dwarf, Jassamyun the elf, and Raisho the human who is Jugh's best friend, get to save his neck time and time again (although, to be fair, Jugh holds his own in such encounters).
"Lord of the Libraries" is a fun read that is serious enough without being pretentious, which is the pitfall of most fantasy trilogies. I appreciate the way Odom has created his own little dance in the shadow of Tolkien. Wick and Jugh might be the size of hobbits, but they have a dedication to their life's work that makes them decidedly different from Bilbo and Frodo. The work of the librarians will never end, even when you get to the final page of this novel. My only complaint is that Odom has not worked a return visit by the Embyr, the flaming female Wick encountered on his first adventure when he was shanghaied by dwarf pirates (or is it pirate dwarves?). But Odom is working on another book in this world, which takes place before "The Destruction of the Books," so I am hopeful that within the pages of that book she will make her appearance (hint, hint, hint).
All three books are a light, quick read for the times when you don't feel like reading heavier fare like Michael Moorcock or Gene Wolfe novels.
Through a combination of logic and blackmail, Craugh eventually persuades Juhg that the search for the book is essential to freeing the Grandmagister. But the book has been broken, with each piece hidden in the trapped ruins of destroyed civilizations (civilizations apparently destroyed by the book itself).
Juhg, a dweller, is an unlikely hero. Still, he resolves to do the best he can. Using the logic he developed in years of working in the library, he manages to do what no one else can--to actually touch the book when he eventually finds the first piece. The book is powerful, but it contains traps of its own. All books are dangerous, but this particular book may be the most deadly item in existance.
Author Mel Odom writes a compelling adventure with sympathetic characters, a fascinating world, a rich history, and some thoughts that are especially relevant as we move dangerously closer to a post-literate society. Odom does a great job making us sympathize with Juhg, while simultaneously letting us see the world from other viewpoints. There are, it seems, other stories, other libraries. While the vanquished Lord Kharrion was undoubtedly evil, he was once able to persuade dwarves, elves, men, and goblinkin to hide the book that they must have known would destroy them. Could he have been fighting against something even more evil. Odom certainly leaves plenty of possibilities open for future exploration into his magical world even as he wraps up this particular story.
Again, following the tale of librarian and adventurer Juhg, the endearing dweller must set off on the most difficult journey of his life. The Library of All Known Knowledge has been destroyed, Grandmagister Wick has been kidnapped, and Juhg has been sent off to find the legendary Book of Time. While Juhg would rather try to rescue the grandmagister, his cohorts (comprised of a ragtag lot of humans, dwarves, elves, and a wizard) convince him that he must go after the book instead. More lives are at stake than just the grandmagister's.
The Book of Time is a dangerous book with considerable power. The book was broken in to four parts and hidden away separately. Juhg must decipher clues and track down the pieces of the Book of Time before other groups with more nefarious plans can get their hands on it.
The Lord of the Libraries is even more exciting than the previous installments. Odom has written another wonderful story, full of adventure, humor and fantasy. Continued in the recently release Quest for the Trilogy, I hope he continues writing tales set in this fantasy world for quite a while.