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The Gift Hardcover – Large Print, Oct 15 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (Oct. 15 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312864027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312864026
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.9 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,163,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

The Gift is the second book from up-and-coming author Patrick O'Leary, and is quite a departure from his wonderful and zany first novel, Door Number Three. The Gift is largely a dark fantasy novel, focusing on a world where magic and storytelling hold sway, although there are some distinctive science fiction overtones. The protagonists are a young king named Simon, who has lost his hearing, and a young woodcutter named Tim, who has lost his family. Both are on a similar quest: they're attempting to find and destroy The Usher of Night, a twisted sorcerer who has unleashed an ancient evil, and who has caused both men great suffering. Although the quest might make this novel sound like a conventional fantasy, it's anything but. O'Leary clearly shows that he enjoys bending genre boundaries as much as he enjoys telling a good story.

From Library Journal

O'Leary made a widely praised sf debut with his first novel, Door Number Three (LJ 9/15/95). Here he weaves a magical tale about the Usher of the Night, a deaf boy king, and Tim, the woodcutter's son, who becomes the Wind Tamer. In a land where most magic has been forgotten, only Mother Death can vanquish the Usher of the Night, with help from the Wind Tamer. O'Leary cleverly embeds tales within tales as he layers and intersects his story lines. For larger fantasy collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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First Sentence
THE ALCHEMIST HELD HIS HAND over the candle, speaking the old words quickly, determined to finish the spell before the pain grew unbearable and his hand would wrench away of its own accord. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By ahmed mohamed on Dec 4 2003
Format: Paperback
The Gift by Patrick O'leary is a fiction book with a lot of story telling. The book mainly talks about The Story Teller, King John, Jason and the Captain. I like the book and I don't at the same time. At the beginning the book starts off when people on the ship and the captain hear voices singing coming from the river. The story teller starts telling the captain and the people on the ship a story about this lady who has been killed on a ship and how she was thrown in to the sea. People believe that she wants revenge and sings all the time ships pass by. Then all of a sudden The Story Teller starts talking about Jason and King John. The author keeps mixing up the stories and that gets the reader confused.
The theme of the book is "don't trust anyone you don't know". The king trusts Jason, a young arms man and the king wants to give him a promotion. But the kings advisor tells the king that is not a good idea in quote "no one knew where he'd come from, and he couldn't be cajoled into speaking of his past" pp. (30). I totally agree with the theme of the book because I was taught not to trust anyone that I don't know. It's hard to trust even the people I know my whole life.
At the beginning I liked the book because the more I read the more I want to find out what is going to happen next. One thing I don't like about the book is the mix up that I gets as I read the book. It's a kind of book you have to read more than once to understand it more. I am not going to recommend the book to anyone. If you like to read a fiction with a lot of fantacy and twist to it, then you will love it. I like the book and at the same time I don't.
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Format: Paperback
I can't recall being so disappointed in a book. I haven't read _Door Number Three_, but the impressive blurbs for _The Gift_ didn't lead me to expect hackneyed plotting and amateurish prose.

O'Leary likes Gene Wolfe (one of my favorite writers) enough to use Oreb from the Long Sun in a cameo, but he has none of Wolfe's strengths. There is a boring dialogue between the protagonists and a typically Wolfean character - a non-human intelligence that wants to die - no doubt inspired by the homunculus in _The Citadel of the Autarch_. Michael Swanwick also apparently drew on this character for _The Iron Dragon's Daughter_, but along with the situation he took the scalpel-sharp dialogue. Here's what O'Leary's dialogue sounds like:
"I thought I'd never see you again."
The Teller smirked. "You've grown a beard."
"You smell of fish." The King smiled.
"I need a fire," the Teller said.

Another Wolfean device is the anachronistic interlude - here involving a black man named Jordan "after a great leaper who lived long ago." This Severian-meets-Handmaid's-Tale interlude in a fairy tale put me in mind of Tepper's _Beauty_, which isn't a great book but puts this one to shame.

One of the main characters, a child, is called "Ender" at one point, and perhaps a case could be made for some early Orson Scott Card here or there, or Neil Gaiman, or lord help us, Terry Goodkind - but eventually I stopped counting who O'Leary is trying to emulate.

O'Leary certainly has good taste in influence - there seems to be a good deal of Ted Hughes's Crow rewarmed here, and he's obviously read LeGuin's _The Farthest Shore_ - I just wish he had the ability to profit from his betters.
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Format: Paperback
This is probably the oddest book there is in this genre. Oleary is a new uprising writer, who has a real talent in storytelling. Now, SciFi Fantasy is one thing, but what this guy's doing is a whole lot of a different art. And you'll love every minute of it. This story is actually an excuse for Oleary to do his best - Storytell. The layout is some kind of an Earth-like world, only technologically retarded. It tells the story of the ancient Wind Wizards, who crashed to the planet, and made it their own; it tells the tale of a young deaf King, Simon, who's healed by the dark Usher of the Night, only to become a Sentinel. He then starts on an adventure with only one thing set on his mind - Revenge; it tells the story of a little orphan, Tim, who's destined to more then he's ready to bargain for; it tells the sad story of a lost species of magic, the Watermen, who are at the point of extinction. Science-fiction, Fantasy and Story-telling meet in an exquisite mixture of high-tense adventures, humor, bizzare and night-marish sequences of the S.King kind. If any, this book's worth the reading. You'll LOVE it - every one of its 287 pages.
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By A Customer on July 23 1998
Format: Hardcover
This story was sooooo twisted, you get lost in the book. If this book didn't have good stories when I finally caught up and grasped its' content, this book would have negative amounts of stars. I did not like the jumping around from story to story. That just got me even more mixed up and turned me off. Jumping around in a story is not a suggested thing to do while writing for anyone of any age. What reading level is this for, because although I am advanced for my age (I am 12 1/2), I expected to understand the book. I did NOT, though, expect to get lost. I did like some of the stories, though, because they often taught a lesson. That was good. Next, what is the moral or, more importantly, the POINT of this book?! That was my question of the day. Also, what is the basis of this book? Who or what inspired, or should I say possessed Mr. O'Leary and made him write this book?
Horrid.
Horrid.
Horrid.
I sure hope Door Number Three is a much better book than this. T! hank you for putting up with my outrage of this book. Goodbye!
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