- Paperback: 328 pages
- Publisher: Third Day Books; 1st edition (October 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0982104928
- ISBN-13: 978-0982104927
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,581,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Beale is a masterful storyteller who really does create a rich and fascinating world. The characters are rich and likeable and I can honestly say I didn't see a major twist coming.
But what really upset me and brought this book down was the rushed ending. Beale summed up the most pivotal moment of the whole story in one sentence. It deserved a lot more.
Theodore Beale has arguably returned high fantasy to its origins, which was a medieval world dominated by a rich and powerful Roman Catholic Church. The utter separation of church from most modern fantasy has resulted in a number of idiocies that fail to withstand scrutiny: Divine Right of Kings without a Divine, priests without gods, etc. The result is one of the most fascinating fantasy worlds I've ever visited, and one I'd like to revisit again in future sequels. Mr. Beale has also given us a fascinating cast of characters that I'd like to hear more from: Marcus Valerius the still-wet-behind-the-ears scholar, Lodi the dwarf, Caitlys the Lady Shadowsong, Brother Grimfang the you-won't-believe-it-until-you-read-it, and especially Bessarias the convert. One hopes that with time Mr. Beale will see his way to producing a sequel or two, perhaps with a bit less philosophy and a bit more adventure.
Defects? Well, the ending is more than a bit abrupt, acceptable assuming a future continuation, but giving every evidence of having been rushed. The lack of a map is also sorely felt; I found it virtually impossible to visualize the geography without it.Read more ›
+: Interesting characters and world it takes place on. An interesting premise.
+: The dialogue between characters is well done.
-: The 2nd half of the story suffers. Feels rushed. I was expecting more of a whiz-bang ending after reading the intro and setup for the book.
-: Huge plot flaw that is pretty hard to swallow. Discussed below.
I'll say this about the book. The price is right. It's an easy (well, the story itself. The theological arguments at the end of the book...a bit more meaty and complex) and fun read. I felt the first half of the story was much better than the 2nd. The premise and promise is a hook, but I felt the 2nd half the book felt kind of rushed. I felt that more would be done with some interesting characters, but instead things just raced towards the finish it seemed.
I was also sad that Nomelos/Bessarias did not have a bigger role in the story. He seems to be arguably the most interesting character in the book. He gets a few pages worth of text. (I will say, this is mostly mitigated by a pretty cool "extra" at the end of the book showing a Prologue of sorts regarding his past and how he came to where he was.)
So here is the huge plot flaw though. It's pretty ridiculous and bring the rating down a full star. !! *** MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!! *** . The idea that the Michaelines turn out to be the assassins who are hired to kill the protagonist and the other two religious figures in the story is just beyond belief. Sure, it's kind of a cool twist. But in terms of pulling that off...IMPOSSIBLE. For a guy as smart as Vox (I read his blog as I assume most of the reviewers of this book do as well.Read more ›
A young man, Marcus Valerius, finds himself on the unlikely mission of traveling to the elvish lands of Elebrion to determine if the elves have souls. He has been sent off by the ruling religious class, and he's accompanied by mysterious men of the cloth, as well as warriors, an elf, and a dwarf. Not all have his best intentions in mind, and the treachery will soon reveal itself.
Along the way, there is much discussion about the possible military conflict with the elvish king, should it be decided that elves are simply a higher form of animal without a soul. This debate turns lively at points and is bolstered by its parallels to actual church history, as well as by its connections to current theological issues and even the question of whether fiction with a biblical worldview has a place on the shelves of fantasy readers.
All that said, I was waiting for a bit more action to speed things along. At the point I thought the book would be a long dialogue on said subject, it picked up the pace and raced toward a great conclusion. Any reader who skips over the "Appendix Aelvi" in the last third of the book is missing on some more great stories.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked it right up until it felt like the author was a little bored with writing and wanted to wind it up, too soon I thought. Storyline was refreshing and character depth good.Published 19 months ago by JK
I love fantasy, ancient history, and theology, so I looked forward to seeing a blend of these elements, and for the most part I was not disappointed. Read morePublished on December 20, 2013 by Evie Delacourt
Excellent introduction to the world and some of the characters therein. Vox develops the religion of Selenoth without producing a boring tome.Published on November 22, 2013 by Amazon Customer
In today's fantasy genre, unless you are a fan of werewolves, vampires, and romantic stories authored by angry feminists, there is a dearth of quality fantasy fiction. Read morePublished on June 28, 2013 by Ben Cohen
Read from cover to cover and enjoyed immensely, thanks for a around four hours of entertainment for $3! Currently enjoying Day's other works.Published on June 15, 2013 by Robin
While I titled this review as an interesting first story, it needs to be understood that it is first released and not first in the timeline for the new world the author is... Read morePublished on June 13, 2013 by Orion
I would like to say to anyone who has not downloaded or purchased all of the books in this series, do it now. They are a delight. Aside from Witchking, I've now read them all. Read morePublished on June 6, 2013 by Love Good Books, All Sorts
I was already familiar with this author's other writing, but I did not know what to expect. I wasn't particularly interested in finding out if elves had souls or not, and was... Read morePublished on June 5, 2013 by Hermit
Beale, also writing as Vox Day, is writing some of the best epic high fantasy in the field. The world he is creating is as riveting as anything Tolkein ever did.Published on May 10, 2013 by Bill Quick