- Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (October 13, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765341247
- ISBN-13: 978-0765341242
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,537,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Man Who Fought Alone Mass Market Paperback – October 13, 2002
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It hasn't happened yet, though. This series of mysteries (The Man Who Killed His Brother, The Man Who Risked His Partner, The Man Who Tries to Get Away, and now The Man Who Fought Alone) is another great series, stylistically quite different from any of his other books. I find it a bit hard to describe: the previous books in the series have been almost-parodies of stock detective-book plots; stock plots that Donaldson has injected with his own unique (often dark) perspective, effectively combined with a frequently light attitude that can really be quite humorous. The Man Who Fought Alone is more straighforward and less humorous than previous books, although the overall feel of the book is a bit lighter as Axebrewder starts to bring his life under control. Donaldon has managed to work the martial arts theme quite well too, with a look inside the world or martial arts competition which is both interesting and manages to develop good characters. This is what always draws me to Stephen R. Donalson's books, the wonderfully textured and developed characters, each with their own strengths and foibles and, well, character that really stands out in a genre that is not know for such things.
Now, the start of the book is a bit slow, and it's overall not quite as tight as previous entries in the series. The first few chapters will probably have a few long-time Donaldson fans rolling their eyes a bit as old Axebrewder goes on his lengthy "woe is me" bit. After this slightly rocky start, though, the book really does take off and it thoroghly engrossed me. It's not quite the best in the series, but the series is quite good and The Man Who Fought Alone is highly recommended. I'm glad that it looks like the whole series is being re-issued in hardback under Stephen R. Donaldson's real name (they were previously published under a pseudonym, Reed Stephens); they've been hard-to-get for some time and given his success, this is long overdue.
While I don't think of SRD as a god like some do I still consider him to be my favorite author. I have read everything that I could find by him and I must admit that this is not his best. Please don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the Mick Axbrewder series quite a bit. I just wouldn't read this series six times as I have the "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" or five times like "The Gap Series". (not sure if quotes are appropriate but who cares) I certainly am not waiting breathlessly for the next book in the series like SRD has made me do so many times before.
If you are reading this to help you make a decision about a purchase I'm sorry that I can't help you. If you are a great SRD fan you may want to try this series but you may be disappointed.
There is one thing that you may want to consider. More people have asked to borrow this series than anything else in my home library. Every single person that borrowed it loved it. I'm not making any kind of value judgement based on that. I am just reporting the facts.
SRD paints his characters with brilliant brush strokes that leave a reader in no doubt as to what makes them tick. Additionally, I appreciated the learning curve offered by the author in this book that really helps one's understanding of the real and the more esoteric practices of the martial arts. It is a subject that can be pretty confusing unless one is involved in that area of study.
The plot was fairly straightforward and I knew about the first third of the book who the "villan" would be. This was an interesting twist in his style for the reader to have the CLUE, while the hero was left to navigate the minefields of being clueless which the author dressed up as hunches. Nice touch. All in all, I have to say that I like "Brew" a lot as a character and hope to see him around again. And again. Thanks for a cool yarn SRD!
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