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Acacia: The Acacia Trilogy, Book One Paperback – Apr 17 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (April 17 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307947130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307947130
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #707,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Corey Lidster TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 2 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
'Pride of Carthage' was 'Acacia' Trilogy author David Anthony Durhams' excellent historical novel recounting the events of the second Punic War from the perspective of Hannibal Barca -- the Carthaginian general who led a far-smaller army made up largely of mercenaries to repeated victories over the feared legions of Rome. At the battle of Cannae alone Hannibals' famously ingenius tactics resulted in the slaughter of over 100 000 Roman soldiers (compared to losses of under 5000 for the Carthaginians, if ancient accounts can be trusted). It was the worst defeat in the history of the Republic or the Empire to come. Durhams' sophomore novel demonstrated an intelligence and talent that made me eager to see what he could do in the realm of epic fantasy. His well-researched and well-crafted book avoided the kind of 'artistic license' employed by writers like Conn Igguldens' vivid account of the life of Julius Caesar, an entertaining series that strays so far from what we know of his life (Excepting his childhood, quite a lot, actually) that it cannot really be considered historical fiction. Durham instead stayed close to recorded history, using the gaps between fact 'A' and fact 'B', fact 'Y' and fact 'Z' to flesh out characters, imagine credible motivations, and realistically imagine the many secondary characters whose real-life counterparts' went unnamed by historians who believed that only the nobility were worth remembering. After the rigors of producing a true historical novel in the tradition of Robert Graves' 'I, Claudius' and 'Count Belisarius', a fantasy novel must have seemed like a welcome break; a way to meld his love of history with the freedom of pure creation, as well as examining the various issues of racial injustice that he has explored since his debut, 'Gabriels' Story'.Read more ›
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Zafri M. on Oct. 9 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A for "Acacia" by David Anthony Durham

The pacing of the novel is fantastic. No wasted space, all interesting. Durham makes good use of events happening off-scene for dramatic effect, and he fills in the blanks that he skipped over extremely well.
The world building is where this novel shines. You learn it bit by bit and you always get the feeling there is some other mystery still be to be revealed.

A definite recommendation in the epic fantasy genre. If you have problems with swearing, sex, and violence, get this instead of GRRM's A Game of Thrones (although I would still point out that Martin's novels are some of the best fiction out there).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anthony L. on Oct. 26 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have just finished reading Acacia by David Anthony Durham.
Here are my thoughts--the praise, and the criticisms:

First off, I'm an avid fantasy reader, (Tolkien, Martin, Jordan, Lewis, Sanderson, Durham, Novik, Paolini, Flanagan, Erikson...) so I know what I'm talking about!

So, read on, Like or Dislike, Comment, and Read my other fantasy reviews!

1. Aren't the Akarans partly based on the Starks?

My reasoning went thus:
Leodan Akaran--Eddard Stark
Aliver Akaran--Robb Stark
Corinn Akaran--Sansa Stark
Mena Akaran--Arya Stark
Dariel Akaran--Bran\Rickon Stark.
The parallels go further.

Eddard Stark and Leodan Akaran are both killed, and their children separate.
Aliver and Robb are both killed.

Corinn and Sansa are both lady-like and both don't really leave civilization.
Mena and Arya are both tom-boyish, good fighters.
So, is it coincidence, or is there a similarity between the Akarans and the Starks?

2. Good World-building.

The land Acacia takes place in is exceptionally well-built by today's standards.
The best fantasy worlds always seem to fit together. Everything makes sense--the allegiances, the past battles, the armies...
Acacia was like this, due in part to DD's career as a historian.
I always say, "Fantasy Should Have Ground in Reality."
UNLIKE Brandon Sanderson's land of Roshar, (Read my review on the subject) The Known World fulfills this rule perfectly.

It feels like a world that could have existed, there isn't a WHOLE LOT of magic in the first book. Just enough to make it believable, and at the same time give you no doubt that it's fantasy you're reading.
Read more ›
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dom on Jan. 18 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I really liked the world of Acacia and the political structure built by Durham. The Acacian Empire is not benevolent although the people in it a highly likable... good book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 154 reviews
52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Richly Imagined Characters and World July 10 2007
By Scott Masterton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Will Durant said: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within". It was true of Rome and is equally true of David Anthony Durham's mythical land of Accia.

'Acacia' is Durham's first professional trip into the world of fantasy...and what a trip it is. The story follows the lives of four royal children raised by a father that has insulated them from all the darkness in the world. The Empire is built upon slavery and trade in a highly addictive opiate called Mist. The children see none of this and are spoonfed idealistic stories about the nobility of their family line and the Divine right by which their family rules. Their idealistic, loving but deeply flawed father is eventually assassinated in a successful attempt at overthrowing the dynasty that has been in place for generations.

Each of the Akaron Children is secreted to different corners of the Empire where they develop new skills and more importantly, new perceptions of the world that once had been theirs to rule. The lessons here are numerous. Good and evil are a shell game; concepts that become more and more "muddy" as each of the children sees the beauty as well as the darkness in cultures not their own. These newly developed abilities, perceptions and allies may collectively return them to power, but more importantly, balance a world filled with inequaties (much like our own). Moral pitfalls fill this novel and it becomes clear how difficult it is to juggle idealism and the power to transform those ideals into reality.

This is the 'Heroes Journey' in true Joseph Campbell fashion. Filled with political meanings and starkly human motivations, 'Acacia' could very well join Frank Herbert's 'Dune' as one of the most influential novels in Fantasy/Science Fiction. The book is fleshed out by Durham's mastery of the language and one cannot help but compare this book favorably to George R.R. Martin's Fire and Ice series. Like Martin, Durham is not afraid to create a fantasy world with real grit and meaning. There are many lessons for our time in this book and it's easy to tell that Durham's previous novels were historical in nature and it's difficult not to draw parallels between the current state of affairs in the world and this story.

This is a dynamite novel (in any genre) and if Durham is able to hold true to his vision in the future 'Acacia' books this is well on it's way to becoming classic literature. I can hardly wait for book two!
59 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Great start, woeful middle, who knows about the end June 28 2007
By Troy Vitullo - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I agree a lot with M. Borchelt's review. However I have to say the first third of this book was the best first third of a book I've read in a long long time. Great action, wonderful character development, excellent details that help the reader visualize scenes and conversations in ways that other authors haven't touched.

With such a deep knowledge of human character then, how could the book degenerate into such pap? Every one of the four main characters who were written so insightfully as children become cardboard cutouts of various comic book/fantasy/romance characters by the end of the second third of the book. By that point, any cliffhangers become meaningless because I was truly hoping he would kill them off and start over.

By the last third, even the (mostly) well-written villains become automotons.

The plot has similar problems. It advances well and quickly in the first third of the book, begins faltering in the second third, and then becomes just a repetition of the same formula by the third piece. At this point each chapter becomes almost the same in format. It starts with few pages discussing where the plot is, maybe drawing some history into it, or else just focusing on a vapid character's obsessive and/or meandering thoughts, then it proceeds to the expected piece of action or dialog that shoves the plot onto the next step.

The action in the first third of the book is exquisite. It's realistically written, hard-edged to the point that when one fairly ludicrous fight comes along (man vs giant) I was swept right along with it and believed it.

By the middle third the action is humdrum; people severing limbs with sabers, for instance, or one person taking on four and not receiving a scratch. A main character trains in sword-work and becomes a master in weeks (if not days ... it's hard to tell how he advances time). Things like that completely sever my suspension of disbelief.

This book had so much potential.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Strange Aug. 30 2011
By RG69 - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a strange one for me. The book is well written and the author is certainly talented. The story ideas are there. I did read the whole thing, but I was never engrossed in the story. When I really love a book I will put it down, but find myself thinking about what may happen next. I will then find time to pick it up again because I can't wait to find out. I didn't find a single character I really liked or cared about in Acacia. I also didn't like the way the dependence on the drug Mist was handled. I think it is a brilliant idea in a fantasy novel, but it is touched upon without proper reasoning. If most of the world is addicted to this drug I think it would have more ramifications then what was said in the book. The author uses it as a good plot point to give the League(the drug supplier) a point of power, but he never expounds on a world of addicts. If most people in the U.S. were addicted to crack, I think people would act differently. I think that was my main problem with the story. The League is so strong because they supply the drug and everyone needs it, but aside from one or two examples you don't read about people using the drug. Nor do you ever get anything about the drug effects. No withdrawals for those without it, no broken down old addicts. It is not nearly explored enough and just feels like a plot point made to give the League strength. I may pick up the second novel and hope the writer goes deeper.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A Brilliant Departure! July 2 2007
By Pretty Brown Girl - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Acacia: Book One: The War With the Mein is David Anthony Durham's "debut" of sorts into the fantasy genre. He creates a world rich with myths, legends, history, culture, and differing races striving to co-exist in Acacia, the designated center of the The Known World. This first book, The War With The Mein, opens with a Mein assassin journeying from the arctic ice lands of the North on a mission to avenge his people who felt they were denied their place as rulers of the The Known World and banished to the ice lands centuries before. Upon the successful assassination of the King of Acacia; three of the four sheltered, pampered child heirs escape capture, scattered to differing parts of the kingdom under assumed identities. The Mein easily topple the sleeping Acacian capital and control the kingdom. Hanish Mein, handsome brother of the self-sacrificing assassin, occupies the palace and vows to capture the remaining Acacian heirs (preferably alive) to complete a blood oath to release the Mein's spiritual ancestors.

In the meantime, the heirs, separated during their flight from capture, mature in differing ways in disparate cultures over the next decade. The oldest son, Aliver, trains with the Talayans on the desert plains and enlists the aid of the mystical Santooth to avenge his father. The beautiful elder sister, Corinn, a prisoner in her own palace, becomes the concubine/lover of Hanish Mein. Third to the throne, Mena, is raised as a virginal priestess in a land that worships a sea Eagle and practices child sacrifice, and the youngest son, Dariel, is raised a swashbuckling pirate buccaneer.

Durham leans on his historical fiction background and blends a numerous, yet full bodied, cast filled with resonating histories, each contributing purposefully to the multi-layered plot and sub-plots. Much of the book establishes the complex histories, secrets, interrelationships of the Acacian people, their allies, enemies, and subjects. It also provides a detailed backdrop on the alliances, motives, and betrayals of court members and key figures with such deep conviction that initially, it is very difficult to sort the `good' from the `bad' guys.

I enjoyed the book and enjoyed how The Known World parallels reality in that there are multiple races that mimic reality. The reader will recognize a touch of ancient Nordic, African, and Arabian traditions and cultures that borrow from the Celtics and Aztecs. His creativity sparked in the creation of a feared group, The Leaguemen, a sea-faring group who specialize in the production and distribution of "the mist" and opiate-like drug that has stupefied most of Acacia into submission. The nations of Acacia struggle with slavery, war, greed, jealousy, drug addiction, and other social ills that have plagued mankind from creation. I am not sure if all of his "old" fans will embrace this novel; but there is no doubt that he will pick up new fans with this release. I'm looking forward to Book Two!

Reviewed by Phyllis
APOOO BookClub
Nubian Circle Book Club
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Does Durham have something against dialogue? Jan. 15 2009
By Pharaoh - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was like a fantasy history book. Too much telling, not enough showing. In one chapter Spratling and his crew are discussing how to attack a League platform. Instead of writing the entire conversation like a normal person, Durham just writes a couple of lines and exposits in-between. Not only does that make it seem like he doesn't care about his characters, it makes it seem like the characters do stuff just for the sake of moving the plot forward. I thought the whole downfall of Acacia was rushed; there's a plague that kills off half the population (and a minor character) and it's only briefly mentioned and then forgotten about. No emotional impact whatsoever. And then in the second half Mena, Dariel and Alivar become Mary Sue's. Not good.

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