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The Redemption of Althalus Hardcover – December 5, 2000

2.9 out of 5 stars 460 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As the first stand-alone one-volume epic fantasy by the popular Eddings team (whose series include The Belgariad; The Malloreon and The Elenium), this hefty saga about Good trouncing Evil plumps an engaging young reprobate hero into the arms of aDliterallyDdivine feline heroine. A professional thief and occasional murderer, Althalus accepts a commission to steal a supernatural tome known as the Book. When he arrives at the mysterious House at the End of the World, a lissome black cat with emerald eyes turns out to be the fertility goddess Dweia. Together they enlist a Mission Improbable team to out-sorcel the assorted villains marshaled by the sorcerer Ghend, who is bent on converting this medieval-like world from the worship of Dweia's good god-brother, Deiwos, to awful servitude under their wicked sibling Daeva. Plenty of derring-do spices up the first two-thirds of this jolly romp, and some zingy flashes of wit home in neatly on stuffy human institutions like overorganized religion and landed aristocracies. Unfortunately, the Eddingses can't resist a lengthy time-traveling reprise, which drags the story down into so-so conventionality. Though the Eddingses' multitudinous fans will likely feel right at home here in their safely magical realm of good-natured fun, this circle of would-be faerie has been trodden so often that here it yields very little deep-rooted literary greenery to munch on or to savor, still less to ruminate upon.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The Eddings, whose fantasies usually sprawl for several volumes, had to cram to get their latest adventure into a mere 700 pages (768 in galley form). The first section, covering more than 2,000 years, sets up the premise: a talented thief, Althalus, is hired to steal the Book from the House at the End of the World. Althalus, who doesn't know a book when he sees one, gamely enters the house, is trapped there by a talking cat, and remains for 2,500 years, learning to harness the Book's powers. The talking cat, Emmy, is in fact Dweia, one of three sibling gods who rule the world. Her brothers, Dewois (the creator) and Daeva (the destroyer), are choosing up sides and preparing for battle. Dweia enlists Althalus' aid to obtain a knife covered with runes that can be read only by those companions chosen to join the fight on the side of good. Althalus, traveling with Dewois as the cat Emmy, seeks and enlists the help of several unlikely accomplices, including a young boy, a priest, a witch, a warrior, and a princess. Once the companions are gathered, the Eddings hit their stride, and the story takes off. The interactions between characters, straightforward plotting, and doses of wry humor keep the tale humming. Judging by the popularity of their other books, this is a sure purchase for fantasy collections. Candace Smith
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 726 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (December 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345440773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345440778
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (460 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When I first read "The Seeress of Kell", I was so involved in it that, at one of the climactic moments, I actually exclaimed out loud in the middle of a crowded pizza parlor "Don't do it!". (I won't spoil that book for you, but if you've read it you probably know what I'm talking about) When "Cyradis was weeping" in a poetic section of the climax, I was with her. That set the bar for me with David and Leigh's work, and I've mostly been pleased with their books since then. I have to say, though, that based on that level of what I know them to be capable of, this book was a disappointment.
I cannot think of a single character, outside of the poorly developed "villains" of the work, who is not a slightly altered version of a Belgariad or Elenium character. There are several catchphrases among the main characters that were pulled directly from their previous work ("Be Nice", for instance), which, in combination with the retread characters, made it seem as if the cast of the Belgariad and the Elenium were doing a community theater production called "The Redemption of Althalus".
Another thing that bothered me was that too much was telegraphed. I knew *exactly* what was going to happen to Ghend, for example, about mid-way through the book. There was only one event that truly surprised me, and that was not revealed until very, very late in the game.
The book also jumped from location to location and event to event much, much quicker than in their previous work. It seemed as though they were trying to cram a trilogy into one book, and the edges show.
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Format: Hardcover
If you've read the Eddings' work before, then you know if you liked or didn't like it.
And whichever way you may have felt about the Belgarion books or the Sparhawk books you'll probably feel about this book.
I happen to enjoy Eddings books, even though, objectively, i can see a number of flaws in them.
There's a certain progression in size here, from the ten-plus-two-point-5 volumes of the Belgarion stories to the six volumes of the Sparhawk stories to this single volume. But there's really about the same amount of story from series to series -- which means that things have to happen faster and closer together to get it all in.
Which means things can get a little crowded, muddled or confusing, which means periodically one of the charcters explains things to another character -- entertainingly, but it's still an expository lump.
The standard Eddings characters are all here -- Althalus, the thief, recruited as a sort of disciple by Dweia, one of three sibling gods whose conflicts are the basis for the story, is amazingly similar to what you'd get if Silk had Belgarath's's sorcerous abilities. Eliar is Garion or Berit -- the eager young man who has to learn some lessons the hard way.
And so on -- just as most Heinlein novels, Eddings books are stocked with pleasantly familiar characters constructed out of the Very Finest Cardboard, who make their way through various horrific but not particularly frightening (to the reader, anyway) adventures until, after some sacrifices, they arrive at the happy ending. Along the way, they exchange clever/flippant/dry/cynical badinage and make jokes about their adventures and the way in which the young girl-type people (to use this books rather arch term) pursue the young boy-type people with marriage on their minds.
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Format: Hardcover
Sorry, David and Leigh, but we deserve better than this.
For the first time in my life, I didn't finish a fantasy novel. The fact that the book was an Eddings novel just added to the depression. I grew up with the characters of the Belgariad/Mallorian, and honestly, Eddings could keep turning out books on those characters and I would continue to buy them.
This book, however, is atrocious, for 3 reasons:
1. I hate the heroes!!! Not just apathy, here... I can't stand them. They are annoying, shallow, fake... and I think this comes from the attempt to force us to like them. I didn't like the characters in the Belgariad because they were "cute"... I loved them because I watched them grow, I knew their habits and nuances, and their lively interactions were intertaining and absorbing.
2. The number one rule in writing is SHOW, DON'T TELL. Why on earth did they break this rule?!?!?! Giving a list of characteristics is amateurish, and I've never seen the Eddingses do it... until now. This was a blow below the belt to me, when I know they know how to do it right!!!
3. "Sort of?" "Kind of?" These phrases have no place in the narration of a professional novel. As a long-time reader, these stand out to me like sore thumbs. I was thrown out of the story every time I encountered one.
I remember reading the reviews for this book, before I purchased it, and thinking, "It can't be that bad, it's an Eddings book! These reviewers must be wrong." Well, my friends, I was wrong. I hope you don't make the same mistake I did. Save your money: get it at the library. If they don't carry it, email me and I'll send you my copy.
On the other hand, if you'd like a good read, try the Belgariad.
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