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The Barbed Coil [Mass Market Paperback]

J. V. Jones
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 1999
Tessa McCamfrey, young and rootless resident of Southern California, has never found much in life that interests her. All of that changes when she stumbles upon a ring that transports her to a distant time and place. There she discovers her unexpected talent: She can create luminous, magical illustrations that have the power to influence others' lives. She becomes involved in the fate of kingdoms when her power is brought to bear against an evil king whose mind has been taken over by a golden crown called the Barbed Coil. As in The Book of Words trilogy, J. V. (Julie) Jones imbues every one of her characters with personality, from the dashing mercenary Ravis, who becomes Tessa's protector in this strange new world, to the sailors, innkeepers, soldiers, and others who populate her lush, involving story.

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From Amazon

On Earth, the Barbed Coil is a ring that transports Tessa McCamfrey to another world. After Tessa appears in the city of Bay'Zell, she quickly meets up with a mercenary named Ravis, who takes her under his wing just in time for the pair to be drafted by Camron of Thorn. Camron is bent on defeating the mad king, who is being controlled by a larger version of the Coil. And Tessa's newly discovered gift for magical illuminations might be the best weapon in the fight. J. V. Jones, one of fantasy's hottest new authors, provides plenty of action in The Barbed Coil. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Doorstopper new fantasy from the author of the Book of Words trilogy (Master and Fool, 1996, etc.). Tinnitus sufferer Tessa McCamfrey finds a remarkable barbed ring. When she puts it on, its points pierce her finger--and the pain transports her to another world. Here, Tessa will meet new people and enjoy various adventures involving the cruel and insanely ambitious King Izgard of Garizon: He wears a magic crown, the Barbed Coil--a larger version of Tessa's ring!--that helps its wearer win wars. In this world, too, illustrations--complex illuminations like those of medieval manuscripts--exert magic effects. Amid various subplots, the old scribe Ederius paints illustrations that transform Izgard's harras troops into relentless beast-warriors. Fortunately, Tessa's own scribing talents help counteract Ederius. Both crown and ring, she learns, are ``ephemera,'' magical objects that tumble in and out of reality. An ancient and mighty illumination binds the crown, preventing it from falling away into another world. So, somehow, Tessa must scribe an even mightier unbinding illumination to free the Coil and allow it to vanish, thus frustrating Izgard's dreams of conquest. Sparkling ideas embedded in vast swathes of conventionally inflated mediocrity: Fans of the previous trilogy should feel right at home. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A uniquely new way of looking at magic July 31 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I grew to respect J.V. Jones in her Book of Words series. She is truly skilled in making an adventure feel very real. The Barbed Coil puts an interesting new spin on magic. It is almost refreshing to have a different method to fantasy books. Instead of the usual pattern -- bad thing happens, group forms, journey ensues -- Jones gives us something entirely new. There is a journey, but the problem has to be solved through ink and paper rather than battles and conventional ideas of magic. So why did I give it four stars?? I spent well over half of the story trying to decipher just what the story was. Plus, there is a huge rush at the end to tye up loose ends that is almost completely unsuccessful. I was left unfulfilled at the end, after hundreds of pages of fighting that should have killed all of the characters anyway. This would have made a five star rating if Jones had managed to find her story a bit faster. I think it took her half the book to decide where she was going with her ideas.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting approach of magic. April 29 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Barbed Coil is a stand-alone novel telling the story of Tessa McCamfrey, a young woman from san Diego.
One day, to flee her responsibilities, she takes her yellow Honda Civic and drives without stopping until she comes to a clearing in the Cleveland National Forest. There among the trees are piles of safe deposit boxes, and a intricate, mysterious golden ring. As she puts it on, she's transported into another, exotic world.
More exactly in Bay'Zell, a port city of the province of Rhaize. Bay'Zell is a dangerous place for a young woman on her own and soon she finds herself harassed by two rogues. Fortunately, a piratical but handsone man named Ravis comes to her rescue and decides to take her under his wing.
Quickly she learns more about the continent on which she's just landed: Izgard of Garizon, the bearer of the Coil, is about to invade Rhaize to gain access to the sea. With the help of his monstruous horde of Harras, he's slaughtering all who stand in his path to quench the Barbed Coil's thirst for blood. And so Berick of Thorn, who conquered Garizon fifty years ago, is slain. His son Camron will hire Ravis to get revenge and assassinate Izgard.
Tessa finds herself caught up in these events. Taking refuge in Emith and his mother's cosy cottage, she'll soon realise she also has a part to play. Emith, who was Deveric, the late king's counselor and scribe's devoted assistant before he too was murdered, starts teaching her the art of painting illuminations, as patterns are the catalyst of this world's magic. But his skills are limited, and he sends her to the Annointed Ilse, where his former master Avaccus lives.
The Barbed Coil is a good, fast-paced adventure novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars On my Keeper Shelf, and Dog-Eared from use! Feb. 8 2002
I've read 'The Barbed Coil' at least thrice - and I've even been magnanimous enough to loan it to all and sundry (well, those interested in fantasy, in any case!!!). In summary, it's brilliant! JV Jones's writing style is evocative, clear and detailed. Very quickly you find yourself immersed in the lives and events of the characters, and of the world that they're living in.
I have to say that Tess adjusted supremely well to her displacement from Earth, though, but while her lack of angst and relocation anxiety might be a problem for some, it didn't actually bother me all that much.
Also, the fight scenes in the book have made me look at battle-scenes from a very different perspective... JV Jones has done her research very well, and the employment of strategy, battle tactics, and sheer descriptive clarity can make one almost smell the carnage.
The Illumination - well, I've learned more about parchment-making and pigment-mixing than might be employed in my day-to-day existence, but hey, if I ever need a change of career, I think I'd be able to do scripts quite well (provided that actually DRAWING anything is not a basic requirement!). Actually, even though I was so involved in all aspects of the book, the description of the requirements for the illuminations and the magic surrounding the use thereof gripped me the most.
I could not put 'The Barbed Coil' down, and spent an entire day reading it the first time, so I would heartily recommend it. Don't approach it with preconceived notions of fantasy and what defines it - read it with an open mind and an open heart, and you will seriously gain great pleasure from it!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyed it. Dec 2 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having read about half of the reviews posted here, and several of them suggesting that this book be shortened, I have to disagree. If the same was suggested about any of the Wheel of Time books, I suppose I'd be flamed, abused etc. etc., ad infinitum. This book is a good read and I devoured it in three days. It has some very interesting concepts in it, and I think Julie Jones has done a very good job with the characters. Let's face it, Tessa and Ravis are the main POV characters and Camron/Izgard/Angeline AREN'T. How can we expect them to be as well developed as the main POV characters if that wasn't the authors OBVIOUS intent? Julie writes *believable* female characters who don't act like 12 year olds with PMS, sniffing and tugging endlessly at their braids, or are perfect goddess-like Amazons! My only adverse comments are that I would have liked to have seen Tessa say: "stuff wearing these bloody awful dresses, I'm wearing pants regardless!" and some gratuitous bonking! I look forward to a sequel.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars J.V. Jones writes an interesting story
This book took me a while but after reading it. I found out that it was well worth the time put into it. Read more
Published on May 4 2004 by R. Reinhart
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it WAS wonderful
I couldn't put it down. This was one of my favorites! It was delightfully descriptive, I could tell exactly what was happening. It has great vocabulary too. Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A book worth reading more than once
This book has so much packed into it that you need to read it more than once to catch all the details. I loved this book! Read more
Published on Sept. 28 2003 by Patricia Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting book
Now this book isnt perfect, but has a lot of uniqueness and colour to it that makes it deserve 5 stars... the characters and action is good... Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2002 by P. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting turn on an old concept
As some rather disparaging commentors have remarked, the idea of a modern person being transplanted into a fantasy world is not new. Read more
Published on Jan. 31 2002 by Whitney S. Christiansen
2.0 out of 5 stars sorry... but It just lacks something...
...but I don't really know what...
Well Jones' writes exellent, I won't argue that, and this book is also very well written, but even though it just lacks something. Read more
Published on Sept. 10 2001 by axel
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-constructed Plot
I picked this book up on a whim and was not disappointed. The plot was very tightly constructed and the main characters were fairly well developed. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2001 by Rosemary Billman
2.0 out of 5 stars SciFi for the artist
I picked up this book as another Fun read, and i wasn't disapointed. The depth that Jones goes into with the background of illumination and the relevance with the story line had... Read more
Published on May 13 2001 by Nate
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read!
I first read Jones' Book of Words Trilogy and truly enjoyed it. I then picked up The Barbed Coil expecting a good book. It surpassed all of my expectations! Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2001 by "kaydeejay"
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, a golden find
This book was incredible. Shame on all who didn't like it! Jones did an extraordinary job of keeping it action packed, but not over describing it. Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2001 by Strawberry
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