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The Summer Palace: Volume Three of the Annals of the Chosen [Hardcover]

Lawrence Watt-Evans


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Book Description

June 10 2008 Annals of the Chosen (Book 3)
All of the world is kept in a delicate balance under the supervision of the Wizard Lord. It is his duty to govern lightly and protect his domain…but if he should stray from the way of the just then it is up to the Chosen to intercede. The Chosen are the Leader, the Seer, the Swordsman, the Beauty, the Thief, the Scholar, the Archer, and the Speaker, magically infused mortal individuals who for the term of their service have only one function--to remove an errant Wizard Lord. 
 
But the new Wizard Lord has now changed the playing field by neutralizing all magic in his domain (both his own and that of the Chosen) and has successfully killed and/or blocked his adversaries and their challenges to his omnipotence. Sword (now on the run) must work alone to restore order to their fair land and unravel the mystery of the Ninth Talisman--which might be the salvation or downfall of all that is good in their well ordered land.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (June 10 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765310287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765310286
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 18.1 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,161,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The final segment of the Annals of the Chosen trilogy (after 2007's The Ninth Talisman) successfully mixes intrigue and adventure with ruminations on the nature of power and heroes. The Council of Immortals made the Chosen responsible for removing the ruling Wizard Lord if he should ever stray from just governance of Barokan, but the current Wizard Lord, Artil im Salthir, has killed or run off most of the Chosen, leaving Sword, the Chosen Swordsman, alone to plot his revenge. After a lonely winter hiding out in the Wizard Lord's Summer Palace, investigating the big flightless birds called ara and their natural ability to inhibit magic, Sword prepares to strike, with help from the local spirits and an unlikely alliance with one of the Wizard Lord's own henchmen. Readers who appreciate thoughtfully drawn characters and settings will enjoy this story of justice and revenge in an ever-evolving world. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Praise for The Ninth Talisman:
 
“If you like swords, sorcery, and interplay between characters, this is the book for you. The rush towards confrontation was exhilarating. I look forward to the third installment.”--SFRevu.com

“Fans of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragonlance saga will find this series much to their taste.”--Publishers Weekly

“The deliberately archetypal Chosen are not without individual character, thanks to Watt-Evans' dry wit, and the Wizard Lord isn't a standard magical potentate. But he is treading a classic path for his ilk by introducing technology that may conflict with magic--how deeply is the Chosen's current and probably future concern in the gifted, prolific Watt-Evans' promising new series.”--Booklist

“Veteran SF and fantasy author Watt-Evans (The Obsidian Chronicles) displays his command of the fantasy genre in this fast-paced, fluidly told sequel to The Wizard Lord.”--Library Journal


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Series, Tepid Conclusion July 27 2008
By Kevin M. Wagner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I really liked this series. I thought the first two volumes were very good. I thought this one was a bit weaker. It wasn't terrible or unreadable, but it was fairly slow in pacing and more contemplative than action packed. The bulk of the book has Sword basically hiding out until he can make an attempt on the Wizard Lord. The actual conclusion is fairly swift and has a neat little twist. While I was glad to read the final novel and to get closure on the storyline, I doubt I would read it again. Too little happens and too few of the characters that we got to know are in the book for much time at all. With that said, I still think Watt-Evans is a strong author and I would highly recommend his work especially the Ethshar series and the Obsidian Chronicles.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Should have been 2 books instead of 3 Dec 22 2008
By Ian Duckles - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Having finished the series, I must say I was generally disappointed by it. The first book was quite strong and got me very interested in the world Watt-Evans had created and the characters he populated it with. However, the second and third books have really dimmed my interest. The main problem as I see it is that there really isn't enough material in the last two books to justify publishing them separately. Each of them is filled with needless repetitions to the point where the last two volumes of this series should have been edited down and released as one three hundred page novel. Yes, I do think about half of the last two books amounted to unnecessary and extraneous material. As an example, there were at least two places on this book, in addition to the prologue, in which the entire series up to that point was summarized.
In addition, the characters are remarkably slow and dim-witted. I figured out every single plot twist and problematic plan pages in advance of the characters in the story. Essentially reading this book amounted to me wading through pages of repetitious ruminations waiting for the characters to figure out what should have been obvious from page one. All in all, much as I like the work of Watt-Evans, I cannot recommend the series. Book one is a good read; a self-contained and interesting story. I would recommend you read that and skip the rest. If you are particularly bored you might try to get the books from the library, but frankly I am not sure they are worth even that limited time commitment.
2.0 out of 5 stars A Really Disappointing Finale Dec 14 2009
By Patrick J. Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I thought the first book in this series, The Wizard Lord, was Watt-Evans's best job of world creation since the 1980s. And it still works as a stand-alone novel. The follow-up, The Ninth Talisman, had its moments but because it had no resolution was ultimately disappointing. This book concludes the series and ties up the loose threads from book 2, but in disappointing fashion.

The book's main flaw is that for a very large part of it, protagonist Sword is alone with his own thoughts, wintering in a building designed for warm weather use only, on an incredibly cold plateau - with little food or fuel for warmth. The lack of interaction with other people makes it boring. The fact that Sword's situation isn't a heroic survival story but a stupid blunder made by someone who should have known better makes it annoying - to this reader, anyway.

The reason after all that Sword is alone is that no one does winter on the plateau. Not even its hardy native population. Certainly not lowlanders such as Sword himself. Sword's plan, if it may be called that, consists of his forcing himself on the native population, demanding that they train him in how to live up there, telling everybody why he wants to spend the winter there (so that he can kill a dictatorial ruler when the dictator returns the next summer), and blithely assuming no one will give him away. Sword's every choice is so bad that I found myself wanting him to fail.

I think I saw in the deterioration of this series the same features that marred his prior Dragon series. I'm guessing that Watt-Evans's interest in a created world quickly wanes after he has finished a satsifactory novel set in it. So although he may be contracted for a three-book series and have to go through the motions in deleivering the next two, his heart and his mind aren't in it. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's the simplest explanation I can think of for why The Wizard Lord and Dragon Weather are so superior to the other four books in those two series.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Worst Watt-Evans I've Ever Read Sept. 26 2008
By elvindeath - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Okay ... I'm a big Lawrence Watt-Evans fan, so this one is hard for me. Ever since I picked up The Misenchanted Sword while summering at my grandparent's cottage many years ago, I've enjoyed his work. I find his writing style simple and enjoyable, and his characters affable and generally believable (seriously - read my other reviews). Until this book, that is.

The Annals of the Chosen is a rather tepid series. The concept is solid - I liked the idea of the checks and balances of The Chosen versus The Wizard Lord, and the way ler played such a role in world. But where this book (and series) fell apart, for me, is with the characters. There simply isn't a likeable or engaging one in the entire trilogy.

I'm not sure if Harriet dear actually read this book - one can never tell from her reviews, since they basically seem to be a review of the dust jacket - but "Sword" as about as simpering, inane and idiotic protagonist as I've ever read. The entire book seemed like one paragraph being written over and over again. "I need to kill the Wizard Lord, but I'm not sure why, and he's pretty good for Barokan, but he killed two of the Chosen, but ..." Seriously - by the the middle of the book I was hoping one of the uplanders ran him through with a spear and the book just ended.

By the end of the book, I wasn't sure why the Wizard Lord deserved to die, I didn't care whether he - or anyone else - did, and I didn't believe any of the characters motivations for doing anything.

The book had a rushed and hurried feeling; like it was being rushed out the door to meet a deadline (or collect a paycheck). Normally, a "sub par" book by a favorite author still garners a good review from me, but not this one. I loved The Obsidian Chronicles, but this book - and this series in general - earns a big pass from me.

If you need a break from reading complex, engaging and truly epic fantasy (like Steven Erikson's Malazan series, or George RR Martins Song of Ice and Fire), there are many better options than this series. I'd look to anything by Ray Feist, or the new series by newcomer Joe Abercrombie. All are better paced, with deeper characters and more flow.

Sorry Lawrence ... hope you come back strong.
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, but not quite Ethshar good Nov. 21 2008
By S. Marsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Watt-Evans brings the story off on an even keel, and manages to make a complete story of it. The key parts are no secret. The hero is on the run, pursued by an all powerful wizard and his new police force. The bad guy may or may not be bad for the land the hero is supposed to protect, but the dead are his friends and he has to flee outside of the range of the magic of the land.

The place he has to flee to is almost impossible to survive in the winter, and he is headed into the heart of the cold season.

Evans manages to make the fight for survival interesting, and he develops the set up and the passage well. I was worried what he would do to fill up the book space, so to speak, and he manages to do that well.

He also manages to resolve the "bad guy" or "not so bad" guy issues well, reconcile some people, pull together a solid plot and make it an enjoyable read.

I'm not sure where the one guy got the thought that the book is all angst, that is a small sub-plot and not overused. The difficulties are real, the issues make sense, the development continues and the book wraps the series well.

All in all I was pleased with the read, even if I paid for a new copy when the book came out.

I'd recommend it as a Watt-Evans fan or to anyone who gets the book recommended by Amazon (if it fits your profile).

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