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Rats and Gargoyles [Hardcover]

Mary Gentle
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 19 1990
From the highly acclaimed author of Golden Witchbreed and Ancient Light, an enthralling tale of an exotic and savage world of anarchy, tyranny, of magic and forbidding religion. In the heart of a nameless city, miracles are commonplace and God is just around every corner. But now there is silence from the Divine.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Moving away from her earlier depictions of a future society, Gentle ( Golden Witchbreed ) has created a dark, vivid and complex alternative medieval world, a fantasy where highly intelligent rats rule subservient men under the direction of gods incarnate, the Thirty-Six, monumental Decans whose gargoyle acolytes terrorize the populace and maintain the holy rule. Into the menacing city, with its teeming masses and its Thirty-Six temples of the Fane, comes Lucas, prince of Candover, to study at the the University of Crime. He and a classmate, the tailed Katayan Zar-bettu-zekigal, training to be a King's Memory, stumble into a plot to destroy this world and its balance of power. While men stir up revolt against the Rat-Kings, Plessiez, a Rat priest, schemes to sow true death through plague and necromancy to unsettle the Decans and decimate the serfs. Other forces--other gods and an Invisible College--enter the fray. Gentle paints her mystical and occult world in the nightmare images of Hieronymus Bosch, drawing deeply on Rosicrucian and Hermetic lore, while at the same time creating idiosyncratic and believable characters.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

While the god-demons, incarnated in living stone, rule a nameless, gargantuan city through their Rat Lord agents, a few unusual humans struggle to free themselves from servitude and rediscover the lost arts of a long forbidden magic. Machiavellian politics, Rosicrucian and Masonic secrets, and Renaissance atmosphere combine in this lavish metaphysical fantasy by the author of Golden Witchbreed ( LJ 6/15/84). Gentle's feel for language and character provide both immediacy and a sense of timelessness to a complex and evocative tale. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Different, Atypical Fantasy Novel Feb. 22 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this book on a whim, and found it to be a good read, but only when I had no distractions and the time to really concentrate on what was happening. There is a lot of description and detail, as well as quite a few characters to keep track of, and sometimes that can be difficult for me if I am just reading to kill time in a crowded space, or just before going to sleep when I'm already tired.
If you have the time and the lack of distraction to really get into this book, I recommend it. However, if you like fantasy novels such as the Dragonlance books, you probably won't like this book because it applies some real science to a fantasy setting, rather than the standards of magic found in many fantasy novels.
The characters are interesting, especially because the role of the women in this novel isn't that of the damsel-in-distress, which was refreshing. I especially liked the character of Zari because she was just so... well... different.
So, I recommend this book, but only if you want to read a book that engages you and makes you think. If you are looking for a "pulpy" book to kill time on an airplane or in a bus station, this is a bad book for that purpose. --Kim
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2.0 out of 5 stars A difficult, uninvolving book Dec 27 2000
By Jen S.
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is, first and foremost, a difficult read. That's not necessarily a bad. It's sometimes nice to sit back with a book where language and imagery are just as important as plot. Michael Williams' _Arcady_ and most of Patricia McKillip's works spring to mind as similarly "difficult" reads (that I have enjoyed), for comparison.
However, where those other works reward the reader's efforts with intriguing characters or classic story, Rats&Gargoyles failed to catch my interest at just about every turn. Too many characters, too much peripheral action, too little time spent on important elements left me feeling "at sea" throughout the book, wallowing through page after page of pretty language without any stable character or plot thread for me to latch onto as the "important" stuff. In the end, I finished the book more because I had paid for it and felt obligated to finish rather than out of any real enjoyment gained.
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By Brian
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the more imaginative sci-fi books I've read. After all those typical fantasy books (eg. Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, etc.) Rats and Gargoyles really fired up my imagination again. The use of Hermetic magic is inspired - a whole lot better than the usual twiddling of fingers and some mysterious chanting most standard fantasy authors use. It brings a sense of realness to the world which is a melange of different time era. As the earlier reviews pointed out, the sometimes over-convoluted prose is hard to read and it took me a while to comprehend the what the author wants to tell me. The author also tends to disrupt the dialogue which can lead to reader confusion on who is speaking what. That's the reason why this book isn't getting a 5 star from me. But the immersive of the setting has had me reading it again and again and it just gets better with every read.
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