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5.0 out of 5 stars wonferful book in a wonderful series
Like many of the other readers I picked this book up because I needed something to read and, like all of his readers I am sure, was completely blown away. Anthony has created a wonderfully rich story, I believe we have only seen the barest outlines of his delightfully complex plot, with bright, complicated , and still developing characters. I noted with great pleasure...
Published on Aug. 1 2000 by Jennifer

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3.0 out of 5 stars Kind of refreshing, but empty calories
Hey, we can't eat broccoli all the time! We need to enjoy something relatively non-nutritive from time to time. This, the 2nd book in the Last Rune series, is the literary equivalent of jalapeno poppers! Lots of dramatic action--the lead characters are constantly imperiled! People are always getting nearly killed. Travis and Grace, the transplants from Earth to the...
Published on Feb. 26 2004 by Brenopa


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3.0 out of 5 stars Kind of refreshing, but empty calories, Feb. 26 2004
By 
Brenopa "bsmith376" (Southern California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Keep of Fire: Book Two of The Last Rune (Mass Market Paperback)
Hey, we can't eat broccoli all the time! We need to enjoy something relatively non-nutritive from time to time. This, the 2nd book in the Last Rune series, is the literary equivalent of jalapeno poppers! Lots of dramatic action--the lead characters are constantly imperiled! People are always getting nearly killed. Travis and Grace, the transplants from Earth to the magical realm of Eldh, are remarkably resilient when plopped into a somewhat inconsistent world. (For example, what is the real difference between maddok and coffee? Why even bother? Horses, sheep, bread and clothes are are medieval style. Why create a drink exactly like coffee, (only better) and call it maddok?) These little things can be irritating--almost as irritating as the fairly bad illustrations on the cover. (Can we have the characters depicted to match their descriptions in the book?) Despite all this, I enjoyed the action and energy. The author is not afraid of completely bizarre and unforseen plot twists dropping out of nowhere. Enjoyable, but leaves you wanting something a little more filling.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A decent book, Jan. 14 2001
By 
Chad Cloman (Denver, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Keep of Fire: Book Two of The Last Rune (Mass Market Paperback)
After reading Beyond The Pale, I wrote an online review (not for amazon.com) stating that it was "a good start". I really enjoyed some of the aspects such as the iron hearts, the travails of modern Americans trying to adjust to medieval living, and the mysterious Child Samanda et. al.. But I was fearful that the subseqent books would be a letdown.
In this second book of the series, Mr. Anthony continues some themes and introduces others. Once again, he focuses on a specific stone of power (this time it's the stone of fire). Our heroes work to prevent the misuse of the stone and the destruction of Earth and Eldh. We get more information about what it's like to live in medieval times. Child Samanda makes a brief appearance. The main characters finally have to face their inner demons. And so on. In addition, we get the character development that is typical of the second book of a trilogy, including the homosexual knight mentioned in other reviews.
In general I like Keep of Fire and the series. It may be a ripoff from other epic fantasies (Tolkien, Eddings, Donaldson, Hambly), but there is a lot of new stuff as well. Mr. Anthony has given us a rich world and some interesting characters.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A pale successor, Sept. 18 2000
Beyond the Pale was a well and carefully written book. Its hallmark, in my opinion, was the patience which the author displayed in introducing and fleshing out characters, as well as the meticulous care he spent crafting a strong physical presence that made the world of Eldh tangible and solid. Strong fantasy was mixed with horror, mystery and intrigue that gave the story a terrific cadence. So strong was the writing, in fact, that some of the cliches (character and plotting) were easily forgiven. Good writing can make even a bad idea sound good. The Keep of Fire, unfortunately, possesses none of the qualities of the former. It is my hope that the book was written quickly, perhaps due to contractual obligations, for (as George R. R. Martin has said) your second book should be better than your first, your tenth better than your second, and so on and so forth. Sadly, however, the end of the book could not have come quicker; if not for the strength of Beyond the Pale I would have put The Keep of Fire down and scratched Mark Anthony off the list of authors whose works I choose to follow. Mr. Anthony, for reasons that puzzle me, chose to skim lightly over material that, if fleshed out, would have made for exciting reading. Case in point: the time spent with the Necromancer. Robert Jordan, in a classic case of overwriting, could have written 500 pages on that alone. Mark Anthony should have, in my opinion, written at least 200. So much potential was there! Yet it ended in such disappointment.
I applaud the author for tackling issues that have long been taboo in fantasy: specifically homosexuality. Too often homosexual men have been seen as effete, useless fops. In the real world, we know this not to be true. Kudos.
NOW...let's see the third book be stronger than the second, and at least as strong as the first.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonferful book in a wonderful series, Aug. 1 2000
By 
Jennifer (Pennsylvania) - See all my reviews
Like many of the other readers I picked this book up because I needed something to read and, like all of his readers I am sure, was completely blown away. Anthony has created a wonderfully rich story, I believe we have only seen the barest outlines of his delightfully complex plot, with bright, complicated , and still developing characters. I noted with great pleasure the echos of David Eddings in the dry wit of Melia and the whining, on occasion, of Travis. As noted already by others, the influence of other authors can be seen on Anthony's work, but in no way is this a bad thing, we are now all caught up in a grand conversation that only those who are avid readers of fantasy can comprehend. Although there are many things in these books that are innovative I don't have time to comment on them all and would just like to say that Anthony's portrayal of Travis' possible relationship with Beltan is a bit of a relief. It is nice not to be beat over the head with the gay issue, unlike what will happen if you read Mercedes Lackey, and I am curious as to what will happen in the next book, whether a relationship between the two of them would work, or if, perhaps, Grace and Travis have a future (or possibly Diedre and Travis?) hey, you never know what might happen. Anyhow, Keep up the great work Mr. Anthony. There are few books I have enjoyed reading more than yours and I look forward to all the ones yet to come.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Ingenius, Feb. 22 2000
Let's face the harsh reality of customer reviews. They're either 5 stars, or 1 star. Benedict, or scathing. I choose the former, or rather, Mark Anthony earned it. Simplicity is the weapon of masters and fools, and clearly, Anthony is a master.
His plot is simple, yet enthralling. Gone is the complex plot and multitude of indecipherable subplots. I would take this book to school, and amidst the cackling children and ranting teachers, I found nothing but pure ecstacy, or sorrow, or horror. It is the kind of book that will keep you pensive all night long, pondering over who is the epitome of this vile undertaking, or who Tira really is.
His character development is commendable. One moment a character's ignorance almost gets him/her killed, and the next, he/she is the savior of the party.
For a budding author, Mark Anthony has displayed a skill in authoring which surpasses that of any other author, either self-promoted or reputably commended. If you are a reader who enjoys a captivating mystery/action book, then I recommend The Keep of Fire and Beyond the Pale. If Mark Anthony lives up to his well earned reputation, then The Dark Remains should par, if not surpass, the entertainment that The Keep of Fire has served me.
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1.0 out of 5 stars I won't be able to make it to the third book, Jan. 28 2000
By 
Bruce (Northidge, CA) - See all my reviews
Anthony's got a great voice and his dialogue is sharp, but that's about it for the story. The plot (what little there is)is tired and the characters lack any true depth. I don't mind the "reluctant hero" type, but Anthony's heroes flat out refuse to help. Think about it. You've come to this planet with the greatest power in the world and you tell these people who view you as demigods that you can't do anything - without even trying. You get the idea. You end up wanting to yell at the characters "Shut up and do it!" But they don't, until the other characters finally guilt them into action. By the way, if you're an action lover, pass this one over. Talking, talking and more talking. Yes, its sharp and often witty, but man, just make something happen! Don't be fooled by the dragon on the cover, either - the half-page-long encounter is just more talking. I've enjoyed these types of novels, where characters from Earth visit an alternate plane - Rosenberg's were great and Forstchen's "Lost Regiment" series is excellent reading - but the first book in this series was slow and the Keep of Fire is slower...I'm not going to stick around for slowest.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An improvement on "Beyond The Pale", Dec 5 2000
This review is from: The Keep of Fire: Book Two of The Last Rune (Mass Market Paperback)
I really liked "Beyond The Pale," the first of The Last Rune series. I thought it was a little uneven, but I couldn't put it down. Mark Anthony particularly excels at writing action and horror sequences. So I was eagerly awaiting "Keep Of Fire" and was not disappointed. I consider TKOF so much better than BTP, that I was wondering if the same author wrote both! Still intact are the great action sequences and the pulse-quickening spookiness, and to those already great qualities Anthony adds an intriguing mythology, revealing some answers to questions raised in BTP while introducing new ones, and an unbelieveable sense of place, the ability to paint a real world and place the reader smack in the middle of it. I didn't really buy the character developments at the end of TKOF, but it hasn't dulled my appetite for more of this series! Can't wait for "The Dark Remains" in February!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Another bait and switch job..., Aug. 13 2000
By A Customer
His first installment was a quick, and engrossing read, and I enjoyed some of the more subtle undertones of Beyond the Pale, however... all gloves come off in this second installment much to my extreme disappointment.
Any doubts about the political bent of the author are COMPLETELY put to rest in this second installment.
I guess someone HAD to write a politically correct fantasy epic, complete with horrible corporations wanting to use the new world for profit, openly gay characters, and even a handicapped witch, parts of which are even set in (drum roll please) Denver Colorado! Anthony even goes so far as to trot out the old Earth-As-Mother-Spirit anology (his goddess is Sia instead of Gaia).
For those who bend hard to left... enjoy... all others should take a pass... on this and the third installment.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A little more and a little less, Feb. 9 2004
By 
Daffydd (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Keep of Fire: Book Two of The Last Rune (Mass Market Paperback)
I read the first book and was pleased, there were a few missteps I could except as first novelitus, and a few good points that made me interested in reading further into the series. The Keep of Fire, dissapointing, because the same writing missteps from the first novel keep happening. AND because there was an exceptional novel another draft or two away. TOO MUCH having characters inner voices trying to browbeat those main characters, and the 'I should but I can't but I must this isn't me...' TOO LITTLE in having created a supporting character who was sympathetic, and then having him die... and being left with the feeling with a little more developement, the death would have been trully dramatic. I think this writer needs... like one more creative writing lesson... and take that from someone who needs MANY more lessons.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Captivating Fantasy, Jan. 10 2001
This review is from: The Keep of Fire: Book Two of The Last Rune (Mass Market Paperback)
Much like the book that came before it, "Beyond the Pale", this book is filled with the precise detail that I've already learned to expect from Mark Anthony. "Keep of Fire" contained the awe-inspiring imagery and gorgeous prose of its predecessor, and elaborated significantly on the already-real characters. I was helplessly caught up in this book, and encourage everyone who enjoys a good fantasy to read "Keep of Fire". The third book promises to be every bit as fascinating as the first two. All that really needs to be said is that this series is, without a doubt, my favorite. I've never encountered such believable and likable characters, or waited so nervously for an ending, or delighted at each new turn -- read these books for yourself, and see why!
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The Keep of Fire: Book Two of The Last Rune
The Keep of Fire: Book Two of The Last Rune by Mark Anthony (Mass Market Paperback - Nov. 28 2000)
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