- Series: Prestimion Trilogy (Book 2)
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (August 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061050288
- ISBN-13: 978-0061050282
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.2 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,765,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lord Prestimion (Prestimion Trilogy) Hardcover – August 1, 1999
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Robert Silverberg has been one of SF's most prolific and popular writers since the mid-1950s. His science-fantasy stories set on the huge, exotic world called Majipoor began with Lord Valentine's Castle (1980), which the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction calls "polished but rather languid." In Lord Prestimion, the hero Prestimion takes the throne as Coronal, coruler of Majipoor, a millennium before Lord Valentine's reign. His crowning follows the long, ruinous civil war to overthrow a usurping Coronal, a war now literally forgotten: Prestimion's sorcerers have imposed amnesia on the people of Majipoor in hope of preventing any further uprising. Such a memory wipe reeks of wrongness and seems to have caused the infectious plague of insanity. Meanwhile, one very bad man, who is a leading rebel and warmonger, recovers his memories and escapes to make new mischief. After various colorful, almost dream-like travelogues, the situation is saved--a little too easily?--by telepathic gadgetry. (The device in question and several crossover characters appear in the 1982 story-cycle Majipoor Chronicles.) Smoothly written but somewhat short on real suspense, even in the swashbuckling comic sequence when Prestimion's Regent fights and kills at least 21 would-be assassins during one morning's office paperwork. It's just another day in the life of a Majipoor civil servant. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk
From Publishers Weekly
The latest volume of Silverberg's colossal Majipoor cycle (Sorcerers of Majipoor, etc.) makes a respectable addition to the series of fantasy tales set in a far-future, far-distant human-settled world. Just after he is crowned Coronal, and thus ruler, of Majipoor, Prestimion faces a number of problems. The treacherous rebel leader Procurator Dantirya Sambail has escaped from the royal dungeons, and Prestimion must pursue him across the vast face of Majipoor. A plague of madness has spread through his subjects, with more gruesome incidents cropping up every week, and Prestimion must struggle to contain it while he wonders if he himself caused the trouble when he cast a spell to make everyone forget the bloody civil war that brought him to power. At the same time, the Coronal is recovering from the death of his last love and growing increasingly interested in the graceful daughter of a boorish merchant. Eventually all the quandaries are resolved in a climax so fast and so furious that it is over before it can build up any proper emotional impact. Silverberg gives over much space to travelogues on Majipoor, a vividly described setting that is as captivating as any of the people who inhabit it, but he fails to spend the same amount of care developing Prestimion's character. In contrast, he does a fine job on minor playersAthe precocious Lord Dekkeret; brave Prince Akbalik; the two-headed sorcerer, Maundigan-Klimd; and Prestimion's brother, Abrigant. These personalities keep the novel lively enough to please Majipoor's many dedicated followers. (Aug.) FYI: Silverberg has published more than 100 books of SF, fantasy and nonfiction.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I've read and liked the previous five -- this is Jack Vance "Big
Planet" country: big, colorful landscapes, strange flora & fauna,
teeming cities, richly-caparisoned nobility, exotic aliens, bits of
higher-tech in a metal-poor, basically nineteenth-century
civilisation. Good thick light escape-reading, which is just what I
was in the mood for. I noticed the Vancian rodomontade more this
time, because there's very little plot here, maybe a novella's worth:
Prestimion is crowned as Coronal after winning a disastrous civil
war (in Sorcerors of Majipoor). He's decided to heal the scars of war
by -- removing (by sorcery, offstage) all memories of the war.
Naturally, this has unforeseen consequences, not the least of which
is one of the rebel leaders trying to start a new civil war. And he
meets a girl and makes her his Queen. Well, that's about it until
Mind you, this is by no means a bad book, but, thinking back, I found
Sorcerers to be the weakest Majipoor book up until now, so I suspect
the well is running dry. Unless you're a diehard Majipoor fan, I'd
wait for the paperback or a library copy. And I believe I'll let
someone else be the guinea-pig for Prestimion #3.
Peter D. Tillman
Now, in this new book, Prestimion has doubts and angst and while chewing his nails to the quick, he allows the notorious Procurator Dantirya Sambail to escape from the royal dungeons. And so now we have the plot for this novel- saving the planet from the insanity the inhabitants are experiencing as a result of having their minds tampered with, and fighting the evil Procurator whom Prestimion didn't have the balls to put to death. (Poor value judgement number two.)
It's very frustrating to care about a character one cannot admire- and wants to wallop a good one in his derriere.
That said, the other characters are marvelous. Prestimion's close friends are a delight, Dekkeret is given good characterization, Maundigan-Klimd is fascinatng, and the main "character" - Majipoor- is as marvelous as ever. Not much excitement, except for the misery- for both the inhabitants and the reader- of detailed descriptions of incidents of insanity, but if you've come to love this world and its characters, you won't feel you've wasted your money.
Fundamentally, Majipoor makes no sense. The larger a planet, the less unified it would be and the more unstable the politics. On Majipoor, we are asked to believe, not only is there one language and culture but the same political system has existed without change for thousands of years. With a sufficiently vigorous plot, one can overlook this and suspend one's disbelief, but there's not enough going on here to distract you from the man behind the curtain (so to speak).
Jack Vance's Big Planet, by contrast, depicts a giant-size world as it probably would be --- a thousand contentious cultures, no central political control of any kind, technology limited only by the lack of metals. Surely Silverberg is familiar with this venerable work (in many ways, one of Vance's best); but Majipoor is fantasy, not SF. Still, we know Silverberg can do much better.