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One For The Morning Glory [Mass Market Paperback]

John Barnes
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 15 1997
The Tale began when young Prince Amatus secretly sipped the forbidden Wine of the Gods, leaving him half the lad he'd once been--literally--for his left side suddenly vanished without a trace!

But, as is often the case in Tales of this sort, the young Prince's misfortune was also a sort of blessing in disguise. For a year and a day later, four Mysterious Strangers appeared, and, as Amatus grew to manhood, they guided him on a perilous quest to discover his true identity--not to mention adventure, danger, tragedy, triumph, and true love.

John Barnes has been heralded as "one of the most able and impressive of SF's rising stars" (Publishers Weekly) for his widely praised novels including Orbital Resonance and A Million Open Doors.

Now, in One for the Morning Glory, John Barnes has crafted an artful and immensely entertaining fable that takes its place as a modern fantasy classic beside such enduring works as William Goldman's The Princess Bride and T.H. White's The Once and Future King.

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From Publishers Weekly

An original SF talent has now turned to humorous fantasy. In the Kingdom of Underhill, the toddler Prince Amatus sips the Wine of the Gods?and his left side vanishes. The King orders the execution of the four royal attendants deemed responsible for the calamity, eventually replacing them with Companions who join Amatus on a series of deadly quests. As the Companions fall one by one, Amatus rises to the stature of a hero-king, regaining his left side and throne along the way. Barnes fills the narrative with the intelligent world-building, well-chosen detail, smooth prose and deft characterization that have marked his other books (including Mother of Storms, nominated for a 1995 Hugo Award). It is also permeated with verbal wit?men are deadly shots with pismires, and the Vulgarians are housed in stupors?but the wordplay palls deeper into the story, as sympathetic characters die by the handful and Underhill comes to resemble Bosnia. While not completely successful either as straight high fantasy or as a satire of the genre, however, the novel still manages to generate a great sense of fun.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Known for his breathtakingly innovative hard sf, Barnes offers a surprising change of pace in his new novel, a delightfully entertaining regal fantasy. In a fit of childish mischief, young prince Amatus drinks the forbidden Wine of the Gods and promptly loses his entire left side. The prince's father, King Boniface, quickly beheads the neglectful royal retinue, then solicits its replacements, which arrive in the form of a captain of the guard, a prince's personal maid, an alchemist, and a royal witch. Charged with Amatus' upbringing, the suspiciously adept foursome guides the now partial prince through his youth in a series of perilous and enlightening adventures designed to reveal his true destiny while concealing a possibly sinister agenda. Along with imaginative variations on the standard fairy tale monsters and magic, Barnes doles out wit, whimsy, and wisdom in equal measures, thereby echoing such other fantasy classics as The Princess Bride and The Once and Future King and establishing himself as a writer of extraordinary versatility. Carl Hays --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It was an old saying in the Kingdom that "a child who tastes the Wine of the Gods too early is only half a person afterwards." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars One for a slow day July 26 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The jacket compares this to William Goldman's The Princess Bride, and it is easy to see some resemblance. Both are fantasy stories in which the author speaks directly to the reader for humorous intent. The device of the book within a book in The Princess Bride allows Goldman to comment on the story itself; Barnes has his characters comment on it, as they realize that they are part of a tale. Post- modern fantasy. Whowouldathunkit.
And it works for the most part. Barnes deconstructs the typical fairy tale through his self-aware characters, yet also makes these same characters empathetic and keeps the tension of the story itself tight. Although you know that you are reading a story, you wonder just how much this new tale will fit the traditional, or if the author will suddenly veer off into unexplored territory. At its heart, the story is still your basic fantasy plot, and, unfortunately, no amount of tricks can avoid the fact that you've read this all before.
The Princess Bride succeeded because it exaggerated the standard cliches, making everything stand out as in bas-relief to the flat irreality of the normal story. Goldman's fondness for the genre kept it light, rather than ponderous and heavy-handed. Barnes starts off well, and there are brief flashes of brilliance, but most of the time his post-modern experimentation takes a backseat to the plot. It thus feels schizophrenic. I like what he was trying to accomplish, though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars read between the lines Oct. 23 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book and loved it. Like the best John Barnes books I've read (e.g. Earth Made of Glass), the author resists the temptation to just give us what we want, which would result in a much shallower book. With Barnes' superb writing and ability to draw the reader in, a shallower book would probably be very entertaining and possibly more popular. I'm glad he went for a meatier treatment, though. I believe that One for the Morning Glory isn't so much about Amatus and the fantastic world he lives in as it is about fantasy and reality and how fairy tales were originally written to instruct rather than to entertain, and possibly about many other themes which I haven't grasped yet. My wife recently read the book, and we had the most amazing conversations afterwards. This is a book to make you think. If you're looking for simple entertainment, read Patton's Spaceship. If you want to be entertained and also inspired to think about the world in new ways, read One for the Morning Glory.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Hell?! Aug. 3 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am completely torn on this book. It is broken down into four sections, one for each of the companions that aids the young Prince Amatus, and each section is basically a novelette unto itself. The first two parts, which concern an invasion of goblins and vampires, respectively, are wonderful. It seems that with each character introduced, I was immediately enthralled with them. One of the best touches is that they're not truly heroes. Much like THE PRINCESS BRIDE (which the whole book reminded me of), the characters are sometimes assassins, thieves or the like. It is their pure hearts and charming personalities which show them as good people, if a bit immoral. That just adds to the devilish fun. The other high point is the language itself; the simple use of the words won me over, which almost never happens. It all sounds very poetic, often amusing. For instance, it is said that no goblin can set foot on land that another goblin has not already set foot on. It's just full of stuff like that. Throughout this first half, you fall in love with the characters and their world.
Then, all of a sudden, the book just dies half-way through. There actually seems to be a tangible line between parts 2 and 3 where it stops being enjoyable. The characters are no longer interesting; the prince is no more than a prince, his knights no more than knights. No more depth into these people, and they suddenly become pinnacles of decency. Also, gone is the beautiful language and clever fairy-tale-with-a-twist plots. Instead, we're reading a chronicle of the kingdom's war with an unspeakable force of evil. Wow, haven't read anything like that before. By the end, we no longer care what happens, which is for the best, because the ending is so weak.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What a way to discover John Barnes! April 29 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked this book up in a supermarket, and devoured it in 2 days. I have a taste for fairy tales (which is why I bought the book in the first place), and this novel plays with many of the tried-and-true conventions of the genre in a delightfully direct and tongue-in-cheek way. Like all of Barnes' novels- which I later discovered in the sci-fi section of my favorite bookstore- "One for the Morning Glory" is populated with characters whose humanity, whatever their species, is never in doubt: they make mistakes, and if they're lucky, learn from them. What's wonderful is that no one, not even the reader, ever finds a pat answer or comfortable ending point in Barnes' books- like real life, his stories are all parts of bigger stories, and therefore never really finished.
I didn't give this book 5 stars; I reserve that rank for a truly soul-satisfying read, and this didn't quite achieve that. Still, it's an entirely fun book, for both grown-ups and kids. It's the kind of book that made me fall in love with reading when I was young.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars j.poulain.
in the book they eat protons and similies...
how great is that?!
Published on June 11 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars The only Barnes i like
As a casual fan of sci-fi and fantasy, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was the first book I read by Barnes, and the only one of his I liked. Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2003 by Mat Shettler
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Book
I have to say. One for the Morning Glory is probably my favorite book. I love the way it is written so playfully. Read more
Published on April 11 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Not typical Barnes, but very delightful
One of the best fantasy fairy tales out there; witty, touching, and self-referential as it consciously tries to define its own fairy tale rules. Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2001 by S. Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars Mother of Storms, it isn't!
This excellent foray into fantasy by John Barnes isn't as much sword-and-sorcery as it is a novel length Grimm's fairytale. It certainly isn't a Disney fairytale. Read more
Published on June 2 2000 by joe_n_bloe
4.0 out of 5 stars A postmodern fairy tale
Barnes, better known for his science fiction, here turns his hand to fantasy, in a Princess Bride-like self-aware fairy tale. Read more
Published on Nov. 23 1999 by Michael Kozlowski
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the greatest book I've ever read.
"One For The Morning Glory is one of the most underrated fantasy novels of all time. It litteraly made me laugh out loud, gasp in astonishment and cry all at the same time!
Published on Feb. 5 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars Too snide for me
I got this book after having it highly recommended by a friend. I admit to being disappointed. Though well written, it's just too snide and tongue-in-cheek for me. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars Witty and entertaining; somewhat disappointing.
Overall, the book was enjoyable and well written. The characters are interesting and there is a witty charm that is sustained throughout the novel. Read more
Published on Dec 31 1998
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