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The Twelfth Enchantment: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Aug 9 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (Aug. 9 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400068967
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400068968
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3.6 x 24.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #727,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Praise for Twelfth Enchantment

"David Liss takes readers on a light-hearted romp through Regency England in The Twelfth Enchantment. With an adroit mix of fact and fantasy, Liss casts heroine Lucy Derrick into a world of industrializing mill towns, mysterious enchantments, ghostly dogs, undead fairies, Luddites, and even Lord Byron and his legions of lovesick women. Charged with gathering the scattered pages of an alchemical manuscript, Lucy’s adventures teach her that appearances can be deceptive—and delightfully so. Liss’s deft touch with historical subject matter and his ability to craft tremendously appealing characters makes this a thoroughly enjoyable, satisfying read."
--Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches

The Devil’s Company
“Accomplished, atmospheric and thoughtful.”—The Washington Post
The Whiskey Rebels
“Smart, page-turning fun.”—St. Petersburg Times
The Ethical Assassin
“[A] page-turning thriller . . . a thought-provoking and highly enjoyable yarn.”—Baltimore Sun
A Spectacle of Corruption
“[A] wonderful book . . . easily one of the year’s best.”—The Boston Globe
The Coffee Trader
“Unusual and diverting . . . Sometimes, as the book demonstrates with a nice twist, sincerity can be the greatest means of deception.”—The New York Times Book Review
A Conspiracy of Paper
“Tremendously smart, assured, and entertaining.”—Newsweek

About the Author

David Liss is the author of The Devil’s Company, The Whiskey Rebels, The Ethical Assassin, A Spectacle of Corruption, The Coffee Trader, and A Conspiracy of Paper, winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. He lives in San Antonio with his wife and children.

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By Alysa Kim on Oct. 14 2011
Format: Hardcover
Wow! I just loved this book! If you love Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South) and Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell) you should read this. I was surprised to learn that the author was a man, he wrote Lucy so well. Although not a fan of sequels as a rule, I'd love to read more about Lucy. Jane Austen characters abound and the more you know of her books, the more you will enjoy this. So many people seemed so irritated by this book and never having read any of the author's other works I wonder if this is in part because it was a departure for him from his usual voice. The people who disliked it all seem to begin with "I loved his other works..." Anyway, it was recommended to me highly and I am so glad I found it. I took it out from the library but it is one of those books that I am now going to purchase for kindle to add to my collection permanently. Amazon needs half stars - this is a 4.5 but I gave it a five because I think so many people would enjoy it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 89 reviews
51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
What a letdown! Sept. 1 2011
By D. Campbell - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've been hooked on David Liss since I read the first page of "A Conspiracy of Paper" a couple of years ago. His novels are funny and intricately constructed. I pre-ordered this on the strength of past experience. I was sorely disappointed.

It's not that it's fantasy about the occult: I can suspend disbelief to read about Sookie Stackhouse and am fanatic about Harry Potter. But this book was just plain silly. And not in a good way. I can only believe that Mr. Liss decided to try his hand at occult/fantasy just for a lark.

Lucy Derrick is straight out of Jane Austen, or maybe Dickens, which is fine. But the situations and characters are simultaneously preposterous and predictable. Our heroine, an impoverished young woman of undeserved questionable repute, is for some reason beset by all manner nefarious ill-wishers, living and undead. She lives with a distant uncle who wants to marry her off to a banal mill owner troubled by Luddites. There's no clear motivation for any of the characters to act or react the way they do, except for the fact that they're being controlled by (potential SPOILER) an evil fairy(!) who is Lucy's nemesis, unbeknownst to Lucy. She seems to have some friends, but perhaps they have been bewitched, perhaps not. None of it makes any sense.

Lord Byron (seriously!) is a major player, as is William Blake. In Mr. Liss's other fiction, historical characters make appearances that, while fictional, are not impossible to accept. For example, Alexander Hamilton appears in "The Whiskey Rebels" in a capacity that is reasonable. For the politically-driven plot to advance, Hamilton had to make an appearance. Historical fiction in general uses real people in imagined stories. In "The Twelfth Enchantment", there's no reason why the bewitched potential hero has to be a fictionalized Lord Byron, or why a fictionalized William Blake has to show up. Instead of driving the plot, they bring the reader up short. The reader has to actively disassociate everything he or she knows about Byron or Blake to get back into the story.

"The Twelfth Enchantment" has made me reconsider pre-ordering David Liss's books on the strength of his authorship. Next time I'll wait and see what other reviewers say, and hope that he's back to his usual form.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Magical I Guess Aug. 16 2011
By William Skipper - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Perhaps I should recuse myself from reviewing this book, for as a child I found the Hobbit impenetrable. I am indifferent to the world of Harry Potter. The popular vampire books couldn't possibly interest me less.

But I am a very big fan of David Liss's works.

THE TWELFTH ENCHANTMENT starts out with great promise. It's 1812, England. Lucy Derrick is a strong heroine--sort of Jane Austen's next door neighbor, if you will. She's been orphaned, living in penury with a dreadful dreadful uncle and an evil caretaker and is about to be married off to a colorless dolt of a mill owner.

Then Lord Byron (yes, THE Lord Byron) appears at her door. He's apparently suffering under some kind of curse (vomiting pins, no less).

What follows is a very strange adventure into the world of magic, fairies, changelings, immortals, ghosts, zombies and lord knows what else.

It's readable, mainly due to the wonderful historical details that are the hallmark of Liss's books. Lucy Derrick, as I said, is a very strong heroine. The writing itself is gorgeous in places.

However, in the final analysis, magic isn't my bag. I got through it but it was a chore at times.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Amazing Regency Era Paranormal Mystery Aug. 14 2011
By Heather Bannon - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Man this book was GOOD!!!!!!!!! Really it's a 4.5.

As a fan of historical fiction, particularly of the Regency era, this book immediately caught my eye and I'm happy to say The Twelfth Enchantment was a delight to read.

We start off to find Lucy Derrick in a predicament worthy of Jane Austen: penniless and beholden to an unkind and distant relative, suffering the petty degradations of such a situation and being coerced into a bleakly loveless marriage. Unable to see any escape from her current suffering but to take on the equally unappealing status of wife of Mr. Olsen, local mill owner, Lucy is about to accept her fate of a life of unhappiness. All that changes, however, when none other than Lord Byron appears at her uncle's door, begging her not to marry her betrothed.

To fully understand the import of such an event, you have to realize that Lord Byron was the rock star of his age. The young, beautiful, bad boy of the British aristocracy who brought countless well bred women to their knees swooning.

What comes next is a wonderful mystery, worthy of Charles Dickens, with twists and turns and people who turn out not to be exactly what they appear. And these characters are wonderful, full bodied, quirky people, each one of which was a delight to read, particularly the villains who were absolutely delicious!! Add to all of that a wonderful magical element and a quest to save the world and you've got a wonderful story that's near impossible to put down.

The perfect blend of history, mystery, fantasy and myth; The Twelfth Enchantment is a must read for anyone looking for a book with a strong story and an even stronger heroine!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
For a book about magic, there was no magic for me! Sept. 2 2011
By P - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I'm willing to stretch my imagination and accept magic and fairies as a "real" scenario, but this was the driest, biggest stretch of a novel. The characters were annoying and the main premise of the book - saving the world from industrialization - was SO ridiculous as a motivation for all of the action; it was given rather superficial treatment for such a driving force. I found myself constantly asking myself, "Why?" Things seemed so random: Lord Byron made no sense, coincidences right and left. It was a chore to read and disappointing from an author such as Liss.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Just disappointing.... March 9 2012
By Paul J. Heaney - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a big fan of David Liss' early books. I felt they were well-researched and the stories were believable. After his third book, I have felt the story lines have begun to go down an ever-increasing black hole of unbelievability. In the Twelfth Enchantment, magic and black arts are pulled from nowhere and used with devastating power, and then inexplicably ignored or used incongruently with prior displays; i.e.: if she can do that, than why doesn't she...? Character motivations and backgrounds are odd and wanting - a trait that was so different from Liss' first three books. The fact is that this book is just hollow because the poorly constructed story can't hide in the shadow of Liss' quality writing style. I finished the book, but decided I am unlikely to waste my time on a Liss book ever again. What a huge disappointment.