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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
5.0 out of 5 stars j.poulain. June 11 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
in the book they eat protons and similies...
how great is that?!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The only Barnes i like Feb. 6 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. It is a witty and humorous tale of the life of the main character, from toddlerhood to kingship. Mostly lighthearted, with moments of darkness, it is a tale in some ways reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm. Yet, the tale itself is a sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious jab at old folk tales, as well as stories with morals (though it has morals of its own).
Barnes has managed to effectively combine elements of the classical romantic (falling in love, ancient science, magic, and exploration) with post-modern storytelling and a solid splash of wittiness and puns.
It's a shame that this charming, intelligent and mostly honourable book is his only crowning achievement.
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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 My Favorite Book April 12 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have to say. One for the Morning Glory is probably my favorite book. I love the way it is written so playfully. The characters know they are just part of a fairy tale, and commonly used words are given new meanings. This book was so much fun to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not typical Barnes, but very delightful Aug. 18 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. Though Barnes is much better known for his hard science fiction, I actually enjoyed his quirky foray into fantasy even more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mother of Storms, it isn't! June 2 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. Comparison to Goldman's The Princess Bride is appropriate. The writing always has a whimsical tone, but both good and bad things happen with regularity.
Barnes's ability to change his tone and style completely from book to book always amazes me. (I'm still not convinced "John Barnes" is a single human being.) If you like your fantasy cockeyed yet lyrical, this is a book for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A postmodern fairy tale Nov. 24 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Barnes, better known for his science fiction, here turns his hand to fantasy, in a Princess Bride-like self-aware fairy tale. The book genuinely captures the magical, inexplicable atmosphere of a real fairy tale while simultaneously playing with the genre. Part of this inexplicability is the consequent of a plot whose depths eluded my understanding, admittedly; but even the sense that there was something I wasn't grasping added to the feel of the story. The charming atmosphere is likewise enhanced by Barnes' quirky wordplay -- where else will you see a soldier carrying an escree? -- which serves to delight rather than confuse.
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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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