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Riddle-Master Paperback – Jan 11 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Trade; Ace One-vol ed edition (Jan. 11 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441005969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441005963
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #115,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
MORGON OF HED met the High One's harpist one autumn day when the trade-ships docked at Tol for the season's exchange of goods. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
This trilogy is my favourite of all her works. I re-read it often and enjoy it more each time. A truly wonderful, complex, emotional, heart-rending tale and so beautifully written, as are all her books. Each time I find new nuances - and the ending seems just a little different too.
Just for the record, though, this trilogy has been issued before in one volume. I have it - in hardcover. Found it at a charity book sale. I read it so often that finding it well-bound in hardcover was a gift beyond price.
For those who loved the trilogy, I highly recommend Cygnet - combining The Sorceress and the Cygnet and the Cygnet and the Firebird. Not quite as satisfying as the trilogy, but very good. I re-read all her books many times - the only author (except Tolkien's LOTR) I do.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elyon on Oct. 26 2000
Format: Paperback
It had been years--or should I say decades--since I read this trilogy, so when I found it reissued in a single volume, I had to buy up. My fond memories of the book were not disappointed, and it still reads as freshly now as it did during the late seventies. Then, when fantasy still remained dominated by Tolkien, or in the hands of overly prolific imitators, two authors stood out, both for the freshness of their approach and their skill of writing: Stephen Donaldson and Patricia McKillip. It's fitting, in the author's acknowledgements, to see their names still linked.
As the author hints in her introduction, this trilogy lacks the maturity of her later works, such as "The Book of Atrix Wolfe," "Winter Rose," or the recent "Song for the Basilisk." Yet all the elements are evident that have contributed to making Patricia McKillip one of the finest authors writing fantasy fiction today: beautiful, at times lyrical, prose, imaginative and original themes and characters, and a wondrous sense of the magical that infuses both her world and story throughout. Each world she creates is unique and thoughtfully rendered, with elements designed to provoke both thought and wonder, and her characters are some of the most striking found in fantasy fiction--no small accomplishment indeed!
While I understand the exuberance behind some earlier reviewers' comments--this work is special and deserving of wide readership--some of the praise here goes overboard. Compared to the second two books, "The Riddle-Master of Hed" is a rough cut, both in conception and in terms of its writing.
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Oct. 9 2008
Format: Library Binding
Usually when an author is compared to Tolkien, it means that there are lots of swords, sorcery, countries clashing and a dark lord, but that the spirit of the master of fantasy is missing. But the "Riddle-Master" trilogy is one trilogy that almost lives up to the words -- a majestic, magical adventure that spans all of McKillip's richly invented world.

"Riddle-Master of Hed" opens with the discovery of a jeweled crown under Prince Morgan's bed -- a sign that he outriddled a king who had never been defeated before. Along with the crown, he wins the right to marry his pal's sister, Raederle, the second-most beautiful woman in the continent of An.

But Morgan is stopped on his way by a shipwreck and news of something dark and sinister creeping into the lands. Strange shapeshifting creatures are entering the lands, the wizards have vanished from the land, and somehow the three stars on Morgan's brow are connected to their presence and how to stop them. He heads off to Erlenstar Mountain, to find the High One -- and finds more than he bargained for...

"Heir of Sea And Fire" very slowly resolves the cliffhanger ending of "Riddle-Master," focusing instead on Princess Raederle. The land-rule -- a sort of sixth sense given to kings -- of Hed has passed to Morgan's brother, meaning that apparently Morgan is dead -- but Raederle and her father don't believe it's true. She sets off with a few faithful friends, and encounters the semi-sinister harpist Deth, the shapechangers, armies of the dead rampaging through her father's lands -- and disturbing news about her and her heritage.

"Harpist in the Wind" continues from the end of "Heir," with Morgan and Raederle planning what to do next.
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Format: Paperback
This trilogy is closest to my heart, even after forty-five years of reading fairy tales, mythology, fantasy, and science fiction. The story, created world and characters represent a kind of truth to me more real than newspaper articles about ridiculous people and preposterous, if factual, events. The writing is elliptical; emotions, and often events, are not described implicitly, but in a way that captures their essence rather than their details. Details can often be gleaned in later rereadings, and the reader's emotional involvement with the characters is strengthened on a second or third re-reading because of a greater understanding of the characters' backgrounds, situations and emotions, greater than the characters' understanding of themselves. These books are more Monet than Dali or Frazetta, but beautiful if you have the time and patience to absorb them.
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