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The Thousandfold Thought: The Prince of Nothing, Book Three (The Prince of Nothing) Paperback – September 2, 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Prince of Nothing Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the shattering climax to Canadian author Bakker's magnificent fantasy saga (after 2005's The Warrior-Prophet), the Holy War army has finally reached the gates of the holy city of Shimeh. The warrior-prophet, Anasûrimbor Kellhus, learns that the Thousandfold Thought, a great "transition rule" that promises to transform the two warring faiths of Inrithism and Fanimry, offers the only way to bring peace to the world of Eärwa and avoid a Second Apocalypse. Amid all the bloodshed and battle, Kellhus continues to respect his friend, the sorcerer Drusas Achamian, despite the conflict that arises when Kellhus takes "the whore Esmenet," hitherto Achamian's woman, as his consort. Esmenet's wavering love between the two men lends poignancy and personal depth to an epic story notable for its lack of melodrama. A large and varied supporting cast of heroes and scoundrels add further emotional realism. The Prince of Nothing trilogy is a work of unforgettable power. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

In the shattering climax to Canadian author Bakker's magnificent fantasy saga (after 2005's The Warrior-Prophet), the Holy War army has finally reached the gates of the holy city of Shimeh. The warrior-prophet, Anasurimbor Kellhus, learns that the Thousandfold Thought, a great "transition rule" that promises to transform the two warring faiths of Inrithism and Fanimry, offers the only way to bring peace to the world of Earwa and avoid a Second Apocalypse. Amid all the bloodshed and battle, Kellhus continues to respect his friend, the sorcerer Drusas Achamian, despite the conflict that arises when Kellhus takes "the whore Esmenet," hitherto Achamian's woman, as his consort. Esmenet's wavering love between the two men lends poignancy and personal depth to an epic story notable for its lack of melodrama. A large and varied supporting cast of heroes and scoundrels add further emotional realism. The Prince of Nothing trilogy is a work of unforgettable power. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY The Thousandfold Thought concludes with a tour-de-force set piece in which Bakker cuts back and forth between the battle for Shimeh - which must count as among the greatest descriptions of sorcery in war ever recorded - and each of his main characters as Readers will be grateful for the Encyclopedic Glossary, a nearly 100-page-long treasure trove of essential information about everyone and everything in The Prince of Nothing. An absorbing read in its own right, it's an indispensable reference guide for vo REALMS OF FANTASY 'Few fantasies come more apocalyptic than R Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing sequence' THE GUARDIAN; '[R. Scott Bakker is a] class act like George R. R. Martin, or his fellow Canadians Steven Erikson and Guy Gavriel Kay...very impressive.' --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Prince of Nothing (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: The Overlook Press (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590201205
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590201206
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott Schiefelbein VINE VOICE on March 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the first two novels in R. Scott Bakker's "Prince of Nothing" series -- his weaving of action, humor, sex, and metaphysics into a fully-realized alternate universe demonstrated astounding dexterity and full-fledged commitment to his story. I can't imagine the permutations this story must have gone through as Bakker wrestled with a plot that was truly epic in scope, not to mention his philosophical, slightly archaic diction.

I eagerly dove into "The Thousandfold Thought," anxious to see how Bakker was going to wrap up this announced trilogy. In some respects, the plot of "TTT" is straightforward: the otherworldly Prince of Nothing, Kellhus, has led the Holy War to the threshold of its goal -- the plains outside the city of Shimeh. What ensues is, for approximately the last 20% of the novel, a battle between invader and invaded that rivals anything since the Battle of the Pellenor Fields from Tolkien's "Return of the King." It's hard to say who is more terrifying -- Bakker's battle-hardened human soldiers or their sorcerer allies. Nobody writes a more powerful, more dazzling battle scene than Bakker, and that's high praise indeed.

But much of "TTT" is given over to metaphysical debate as Kellhus confronts his father, the sorcerer Drusas Achamian confronts the truth of Kellhus and his love for his former wife Esmemet (now Kellhus' lover), and the barbarian Cnaiur confronts his former lover and tormentor. Plus, "minor" characters plot, scheme, and kill as they seek to twist the Holy War to their own ends.

To be honest, I am not all that interested in philosophy, so much of the metaphysical stuff Bakker obviously adores was lost on me. Bakker writes it well, but I am not the correct audience.
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Format: Paperback
Reading this book is a profoundly frustrating experience. Because there has been nary a hint that more books will follow this one, the reader expects both major plotlines--the one involving the Holy War and the other involving the conflict with the Consult--will be resolved. But that's not at all what happens. Though the Holy War is definitely over by the time the book ends, the Consult is still creeping through the brush, as it were, trying to kill off mankind. Will we ever get to see what happens next? I have no idea.

Mr. Bakker really could have been more charitable with his readers, given what an onerous slog he's demanded from us. He's given us only one sympathetic character, Achamian. The rest range from indifferent (Esmenet, Proyas, and others) to absolutely loathesome (Kellhus). And though Mr. Bakker does provide readers with some food for thought, now and again, I think his political/philosophical musings are by and large going to be familiar territory to modern readers. Can anyone, today, be shocked by the manipulations and cynicism of cult leaders (of which Kellhus is a characteristically revolting example)? I doubt it.

On the flip side there's Mr. Bakker's weird explanation of why the Consult wants to commit mass murder: if they can reduce the human population to a small enough number, the world will no longer have access to the "Outside," i.e. the gods and the afterlife will no longer be accessible to anyone inhabiting the planet. That's just plain bizarre. The implication seems to be that, since it takes a certain critical mass of souls to access the Eternal, a single soul has no worth on its own. That's a fine metaphysical position to take, but it really does require some elaboration, I think. Which we don't get.

All that aside, the book's worth a read. Just don't expect to set it back on the shelf with any particular feeling of satisfaction for having finished it.
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Format: Hardcover
All credit to an author who sets out to write a trilogy and manages to do it - a rare thing in this line of publishing. That is, if this will still be a trilogy...

This is a very disappointing sequel to the very good Warrior-Prophet. Mainly, what causes problems in this novel is Bakker's continuing penchant for liberally sprinkling pseudo gems of undergraduate level philosophy and psychoanalysis throughout his text. There is so much of it that it hinders reading, as you are constantly re-reading passages to make sure that a) you didn't miss anything, b) did you understand what Bakker was trying to say, and c) often wondering what a load of balderdash his characters tend to spout. We could have done without this, as one might imagine Bakker would trust us enough to understand his characters by now. But, from having read the glaringly sycophantic comments and reviews on his websites, one wonders if he was in part taken in by those who seem to like this sort of writing.

I don't know why he felt the need to do this, as it really obscures what is an otherwise interesting plot, some well worked characters, a world with a lot of potential and scope, but with one monstrous flaw - and that is Kellhus. He is just not credible as a character, nor is he likeable. One man cannot do what Bakker makes him do. If he only had given Kellhus the more limited task of influencing the elites of the Three Seas who would then, always using Bakker's own political and philosophical assertions, have carried their peoples with them, it would have made the reader's acceptance of his abilities easier.

Bakker still has real talent, however. Some loose ends are nicely tied up, particularly those involving Maithanet, the Cishaurim, the spy within the Mandate, and Moenghus.
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