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Rhapsody is high fantasy, descended from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings through Eddings's Belgariad and Malloreon series, complete with an elf-like people, cannibalistic giants, fire-born demons, and dragons. Inquiring fantasy readers will wonder whether it can live up to such distinguished predecessors. The answer is yes. Haydon's first fantasy is a palpable hit. The three protagonists are well-realized characters whose adventures are by turns hilarious, horrific, and breathtaking. Best of all, though elements are drawn from familiar sources ranging from Norse myth to Mozart's The Magic Flute, Haydon's magic worldbuilding is convincing, consistent, and interesting.
Rhapsody, a young woman trained as a Namer, can attune herself to the vibrations of all things, tap the power of true names, and rename people, changing their basic identities. Her magic lies in music: "Music is nothing more than the maps through the vibrations that make up all the world. If you have the right map, it will take you wherever you want to go," she tells her adoptive brothers. They are "the Brother," a professional assassin able to sense and track the heartbeats of all natives of the doomed Island of Seren, their homeland, and his giant sidekick Grunthor, a green-skinned Sergeant Major who enjoys making jokes, using edged weapons, and honing his cannibalistic palate. Inadvertently, Rhapsody has renamed the Brother Achmed the Snake, breaking his enslavement to Tsoltan the F'dor (a fire-born demon). Tsoltan sends minions in pursuit to rebind Achmed. The three escape into the roots of a World Tree, Sagia, emerging transformed into another country and century. But have they truly escaped the F'dor's evil? And how does all this relate to the prologue's story of Gwydion and Emily, two young lovers brought together across history and then separated by the mysterious Meridion?
Like most first volumes, Rhapsody contains a lot of background information and foreshadowing, though Haydon ties up numerous plot lines at the end. The dislocations in time can be confusing, and some readers may find that the very 1990s dialogue clashes with the epic storytelling of the descriptive passages. Overall, however, Rhapsody is a smashing debut that delivers hours of great reading and will have you impatient to read the rest of the series. --Nona Vero --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Distinguished by superior wit and intelligence, this fantasy debut opens what looks to be an outstanding saga. In the ancient city of Easton, Rhapsody is learning musical magic after a brief time as a courtesan. While running from trouble caused by one of her ex-clients, she encounters two strangers, the assassin Achmed and the gigantic mercenary Grunthor. By hailing Achmed as her brother, Rhapsody not only saves her own life but breaks the control that the sorcerer Tsoltan, a servant of the fire demons known as F'dor, had over the mercenary. The three companions flee both human and magical forces that pursue them by climbing down the root of the Great Tree; as they pass through the fire at the center of Earth, their situation is magically transformed. They emerge not just on the other side of the world but 14 centuries in the future, when the land is torn by ethnic, religious and magical warfare arising from a multitude of realistic motivesAall depicted in exhaustive detail. But their demonic pursuers have also crossed time and space in pursuit; to counter them, Achmed determines to become king of the barbaric Firbolg. This huge and complex novel draws expertly on deep scholarship in Celtic, Norse and animist folklore, myth and history. With exemplary skill, it weaves these elements into its characterizations, world building and depiction of magic to create a narrative that grips throughout. This is one of the finest high fantasy debuts in years. Agent, Richard Curtis. 100,000 first printing; major ad/promo.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
LOVE this book! This isn't my first time reading it but I just had to read it again.Published 2 months ago by Leanne Nicholson
If you love strong female characters, imaginative new lands, fantastic story telling. You will love this book! Read morePublished on Dec 8 2010 by rooster
I found this book very interesting and hard to put down. Haydon does an awesome job with her characters.Published on March 14 2005
From the blurb on the back of this book, i thought, ahh, this sounds promising. But unfortunately, half way through i thought, why bother? Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by Suzanne
I love fantasy, and I'm currently reading like 5 fantasy books. Someone recomended Rhapsody to me, and I reluctantly bought it. Read morePublished on June 30 2004 by Raychael
I first bought this book with no knowledge of how much acclaim it has gotten. One thing that interests me is how Haydon utilizes the skills of a bard. Read morePublished on June 19 2004 by Angel
At first I was drawn away from this book, simply because the back of the book made it sound completely cheesy. Read morePublished on May 31 2004 by Jessica G.