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To Die in Italbar/A Dark Travelling Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: I Books
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743445368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743445368
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 21.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 286 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Feb. 3 2003
Format: Paperback
These books are two of Robert Zelazny's lesser-known works, "To Die In Italbar" and "A Dark Travelling." "Travelling" is a sort of YA novella, a little frothier than usual Zelazny books, and "To Die" is a deeper, darker, more horrifying story.
"To Die In Italbar" brings us to a future where one man, Heidal (known as H), is given strange, mysterious powers -- he can be afflicted and then cured of any disease, no matter how hideous or incurable. (Thanks to a disease/healing goddess who visits him in his dreams) When he accidently infects and is attacked by the people of Italbar, he becomes a walking plague machine. Malacar, the one man still living on Earth with his telepathic alien translator, wants to find Heidel with the help of a vengeance-loving girl from a brothel. But Heidal is becoming more and more dangerous with the goddess's help...
"A Dark Travelling" has a family that makes yours look downright normal. Jim is a teen werewolf. His sister is a witch. His brother is an assassin who lives in a castle. His father travels dimensions, or "bands." But one night his father mysteriously vanishes, and Jim goes on a desperate, magical search for him. And it leads him to sorcerers and rebels on one of the "darkbands," where his father has been taken captive for a shocking reason.
These books aren't the most prominent ones that Zelazny wrote, but they're enjoyable reads. "Dark Travelling" has a sort of frothier edge to it -- the plot almost never stops going until the end, with a small cast of characters (several of whom remain a bit underdeveloped) and no philosophical musings. "Italbar," on the other hand, is much deeper and darker, with a lot of dream conversations and telepathic linking. A lot more action is going on inside the characters' heads.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Haunting/sprightly Feb. 3 2003
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
These books are two of Robert Zelazny's lesser-known works, "To Die In Italbar" and "A Dark Travelling." "Travelling" is a sort of YA novella, a little frothier than usual Zelazny books, and "To Die" is a deeper, darker, more horrifying story.
"To Die In Italbar" brings us to a future where one man, Heidal (known as H), is given strange, mysterious powers -- he can be afflicted and then cured of any disease, no matter how hideous or incurable. (Thanks to a disease/healing goddess who visits him in his dreams) When he accidently infects and is attacked by the people of Italbar, he becomes a walking plague machine. Malacar, the one man still living on Earth with his telepathic alien translator, wants to find Heidel with the help of a vengeance-loving girl from a brothel. But Heidal is becoming more and more dangerous with the goddess's help...
"A Dark Travelling" has a family that makes yours look downright normal. Jim is a teen werewolf. His sister is a witch. His brother is an assassin who lives in a castle. His father travels dimensions, or "bands." But one night his father mysteriously vanishes, and Jim goes on a desperate, magical search for him. And it leads him to sorcerers and rebels on one of the "darkbands," where his father has been taken captive for a shocking reason.
These books aren't the most prominent ones that Zelazny wrote, but they're enjoyable reads. "Dark Travelling" has a sort of frothier edge to it -- the plot almost never stops going until the end, with a small cast of characters (several of whom remain a bit underdeveloped) and no philosophical musings. "Italbar," on the other hand, is much deeper and darker, with a lot of dream conversations and telepathic linking. A lot more action is going on inside the characters' heads.
On a quality front, these ibook reprints have good smooth paper and good bindings. Teens as well as adults will probably enjoy these -- there is a tiny amount of ...content in "Italbar" (Jackara works at a brothel) but nothing major. Fans of Robert Zelazny and thoughtful SF/F should definitely check these books out.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
One of mr. Zelazny's finest books. Nov. 9 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you liked Isle of the dead then this one is a must-read! The story is set in the same universe with its Pei'an pantheon and also has the protagonist of Isle of the dead - Francis Sandow - in it. In fact he's the one who brings the story to a good end. I don't agree with the author himself, saying that this book was not up to his standards and that he just wrote it in a hurry, after quiting his job as a civil servant and turning into a professional writer.(I read this in the biography that Jane Lindskold wrote about him.) If he did write it in a hurry, he made a good job of it. The story has a good plot, believable characters and, most of all, the real Zelaznian descriptions of certain scenes. As in the Amber-novels and a novel like The dream master, in this book mr. Zelazny again succeeds in visualising to the reader the images the characters in the book experience. In this particular book these are the dreamsequences that Heidel von Hymack goes through when he is sleeping and, while sleeping and dreaming, being in touch with Myra-o-arym, the Pei'an goddess of healing, who, after Heidel has been mistreated, turns into Arym-o-myra, the goddess of sickness and death. But there's more. The skills of John Morwin and the ways he uses them, the dead dr. Pels in his space-ship and Malacar Miles with his telepathic servant Shind. This is a very rich book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"Yet a part of me, somewhere, seems to be screaming" March 16 2005
By Marc Ruby™ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I decided to review this slim volume because To Die In Italbar has the distinction of being the second (and last) volume in the series he started with Isle of the Dead. While Francis Sandow only puts in a momentary appearance, it is a significant one, and once again the story turns on the clash between two Peian gods. This time the goddess the Shimbo faces is Arym-o-Myra, goddess of healing and disease. And this time the conflict is over the survival of the human race.

The novel works several threads, the most important is that of Heidel von Hymack, who has accidentally become Arym-o-Myra's avatar. Able to bring the diseases of his body into balance, he can cure any disease. Unfortunately, the side effect is that when Hymack's body isn't in balance, he is a disease carrier. He delays too long on one planet, causes a plague, and is nearly killed by a crowd. Anger replaces his concern, and suddenly he is overcome by Jackara's darker side. Now humanity is the disease to be cured.

Two people see a potential use for Hymack. Malacar Miles is an insurrectionist, bound to oppose the planetary commonwealth and defense the existence of the planets that were one part of earth's influence. Malacar lives in the shattered remains of his planet, living th life of a terrorist. When he discovers the existence of Hymack he sees an opportunity to launch a truly destructive campaign. Also tracking Hymack is the dead Dr. Pels who is seeking a cure for his own condition.

And then there is Francis Sandow, who the Peians have called in to deal with the resurgence of Arym-o-Myra. He has no agenda other than keeping folks alive and putting a god that has legitimate reason to be awake back to sleep. On one last planet all these forces meet - telepath against telepath against god.

Again, Zelazny demonstrates creativity that refuses to fall into a rut. He poses bit questions in human packages without hubris or theatrical deliver of messages. The result is a poignant tale that can set you thinking about what is and isn't important in a universe full of possibility.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fast-paced, dark, exciting read Jan. 7 2008
By Doug M - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This book is the sequel to the excellent Zelazny novel, Isle of the Dead, and I consider it a worthy sequel. This book does not actually feature Francis Sandow until half-way through the book, and the Pei-ans play only a very minor role, but the book does a great job of building to the climactic final battle. The prominent characters, Cmdr. Malacar Miles, the last Man on Earth, Dr. Pels, the walking undead and Shind the psychic alien all fill out a great cast of characters all bent on finding one man, simply called "H". H is the sole survivor of a plague, but is reborn with the ability to cure or kill with any disease. In the novel, he gradually goes mad and goes on a rampage, leading to an exciting finish.

While Isle of the Dead was more psychological and philosophical, this book is decidedly more action-packed, but still retains that dark, brooding mood I enjoyed so much in the first book.

This book is somewhat hard to find, but don't hesitate to pick it up if you enjoyed Isle of the Dead. Enjoy!
Two Very Good Short Novels in One Book Nov. 25 2014
By David A. Lessnau - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm not very happy with the packaging of this book. It's Roger Zelazny's "To Die in Italbar" coupled with his "A Dark Traveling." The two stories are fine, but they should never have been published together. They're not related in any way.

The first story ("To Die in Italbar") is set in Zelazny's Pei'an universe and features a cameo role for Francis Sandow (his protagonist in "Isle of the Dead"). Interestingly, according to the Wikipedia entry for the story, Zelazny said:

"If I could kill off one book it would be To Die in Italbar. I wrote that in a hurry to make some money after I quit my job."

It's interesting because I think it's a pretty darn good story. Oh, it's a bit short, the characterizations are fairly shallow, and Sandow's role is practically non-existent. But, the writing is all Zelazny, it's decently paced, and it's interesting.

I was really surprised by the second story ("A Dark Traveling"). First, it's a Young Adult (YA) story (apparently, his only such). Second, I actually enjoyed it. Usually, in these two-story compendiums, one story is good and the other is bad. And, since this one is YA, I really expected something not-that-good. But, from my point of view, both are good in this one. It's an interesting book in that the characters remind me a lot of those in Heinlein's YA material. Yet, again, the story has Zelazny all over it. I've got only two complaints about this one: first, the ending is a bit abrupt; and second, the characters are a couple of years too young for their behavior (even for Heinlein).

It's surprising since these two stories are so far apart in just about every respect. But, we've got two equally good stories packaged in one book here. So, happy to rate it at a Very Good 4 stars out of 5.

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