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Beyond the Pale: Book One of The Last Rune Mass Market Paperback – Nov 2 1999

3.8 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 638 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Reprint edition (Nov. 2 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553579347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553579345
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.5 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #687,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Travis, a bespectacled barkeep from Castle City, Colorado, and Grace, a regally beautiful ER doctor from Denver Memorial, wormhole their way through a magical billboard into... a Robert Jordan novel. Well, sort of. Sure, in Beyond the Pale, it's a chilling winter--not a sweltering summer--that's gripping the land. And the seals (little stone disks, no less) are weakening on the prison of the Pale King, not the Dark One. But, surprise--Travis finds that he's the first man in centuries to successfully wield the One Power... er, runes, that is... and is the sole hope of keeping the Pale King at bay.

Beyond the Pale isn't entirely derivative of Jordan's wildly popular Wheel of Time series: if nothing else, Anthony sets himself apart by having things actually happen in his book. Travis and his fellow earthling Grace end up in Eldh after surviving run-ins with the Pale King's servants on Earth. Grace, mistaken for a fairy queen, is quickly shanghaied as a spy for King Boreas, who has just convened a council of Eldh's rulers. After a series of adventures, Travis joins Grace, and the two must tangle with the mysterious Raven's Cult and a bunch of iron-hearted bad guys who are trying to derail the Council of Kings and hasten the PK's return. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Launching a new fantasy series, Anthony, an erstwhile Forgotten Realms author (Curse of the Shadowmage, etc.), makes use of the classic premise of humans from our mundane world transported to a fantasy milieu; in this case, the travelers are two Coloradans, bartender Travis Wilder and ER physician Grace Beckett. The pair are not wholly surprised at their journey, as the world of Eldh has made several bloody visitations to Colorado already, but the reality of Eldh, full of political intrigues, is still terrifying, despite the protagonists' ability to work magic there. Anthony's pacing is spotty, frequently slow?there is just not enough matter here to justify the sheer mass of words. His characterizations are also uneven, sometimes exceedingly original and moving, other times relying on simplistic fantasy archetypes. He lays down exceptionally exciting action scenes, however, particularly those set in Colorado, as when Travis must escape an onslaught of fierce creatures from Eldh. This novel is only a so-so series kickoff, but if Anthony pumps up the pace and writes to his strengths in future volumes, the series could gain many a fan. Agent, Shawna McCarthy (Danny Baror for foreign rights).
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
As most reviews have mentioned, this book is NOT very original. Since that's out of the way, I must say it was a lot of fun to read. There is a lot of action, the characters are charmingly flawed, if somewhat predictable. I really enjoyed the high drama, and rather silly plot twists...just as someone is about to say, do, or discover something important, they are interrupted by a completely bizarre event. (Action! Swordfights, fires, storms, attacks by evil creatures, translocations--that type of thing.)The lead characters are irritating in many ways, but for some reason, this made me like them! Travis is unbelievably passive, and really upset...about his PAST! Grace is an ice princess, who feels DEEPLY, and can't quite express herself. And, as mentioned in other reviews, Melia is a virtual clone of Polgara this sorceress, even calling people "dear" the way Polgara does. If you can get past these flaws, however, you will find an enjoyable read, with nice touches of humor. It's not a gourmet meal, it's more of a takeout pizza with everything on it. Sometimes, that's just the thing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well I finished and I'm writing this as a follow-up to the initial review that I had written after reading the first 79 pages. I still think it is pretty derivitave but after awhile you do get sucked into the plot. The initial similarities of the female heroine, Grace, to characters in both Stephen R. Donaldson's and Anne Rice's works faded into the background once Grace leaves the world of the Denver ER and enters Eldh. However, after several chapters another influence became glaringly apparent; Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series which also features a sometimes confusing array of characters and POV. My biggest complaint with this novel is its sketchiness. I also have a few bones to pick.
When Grace and Travis ride off on a spying expedition Grace, who has never ridden or horse, manages to mount a STALLION, no less, with only a 'small degree of difficulty'. She manages this dubious feat while wearing a heavy woolen gown. Anyone who has ever ridden knows that mounting a horse with ease takes practice. Especially in a non-Western saddle. If the stirrups are in proper riding position they are quite high. You mount facing the back of the horse so you have to place your foot into a stirrup which can easily be at your mid-chest level and swing yourself forward and around into the saddle. Most people need a boost or a stool the first few times and even then it isn't easy. Anthony wants us to believe that Grace, by sheer power of a noble demeanor, is able to control not just any horse, a STALLION! There is a reason geldings exist. It is because a stallion can be a very willful and difficult to control animal except under the most skillful and competent hands.
When I was 13 I spent a summer working at a stable where the owner kept a stallion that was used only for stud services.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'll start by saying I'm giving this book 3 stars because to be fair, I haven't finished it and I don't want to be too harsh since it isn't a bad book so far. I'm writing a preliminary review now because I was getting frustrated and I figured by writing this while it was fresh in my mind would give an idea of why.
I have read only 79 pages of this book so far and I have already detected at least three blatent rip-offs.
1a. Strange, appocolyptic prophets from another world in modern, real world setting. (Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenent series)
1b. As an added bonus, the description of the leader of these prophets is a pale imitation of a Stephen King type character.
2.Cold and remote yet brilliant female doctor with mysterious past. (Thomas Covenent series AND Anne Rice's Mayfair Witch series)
3. Glimpse into the thoughts of a soon-to-be victim-of-a-horrible-death (very awkward aping of Stephen King's unique style)
4. Mysterious organization which studies strange phenomena. (almost of any of Anne Rice's books which feature the organization whose name has maddeningly escaped me at the moment).
It was when I got to the scene introducing the erudite gentlemen of hard-to-place ethnic origins from the above mentioned organization that I decided to write this initial review. However, I plan to continue reading. The all-to-obvious influences are a bit distracting but for the moment the plot is diverting enough to capture my attention. The writing is skillful if not original. As others have pointed out, many classics have their origins in earlier works. It's too early for me to predict whether this series will be a classic (somehow I doubt it) but so far it is a decent summer read.
Also, I found the name of the bar owned by the main character a bit revealing, particularly in light of the reviews of the next two books in the series. The bar is called, The Mine Shaft. HAR HAR HAR!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Beyond the Pale is the first novel in the Last Rune series. Castle City, Colorado, is an old mining town that has not changed much since the mines petered out a hundred years before. The Mine Shaft Saloon, owned by Travis Wilder, is one of the century-old establishments, although now serving a much tamer type of clientele: the local book club instead of a bunch of drunk, lustful miners. Lost tourists will sometimes find their way to the Saloon, but not very many.
In this novel, Travis notices that strange events are happening around him: the very realistic-looking billboard, the chime of bells, the laughing shadow within the ruins of the old orphanage, and the man in black in front of the ruins. There is also the big circus tent in a field next to the road for Brother Cy's Apocalyptic Traveling Salvation Show.
Later, Travis receives a phone call from Jack Graystone in which Jack declares that he is in grave ... and the phone goes dead. When his truck won't start, Travis walks over to the Magician's Attic. There Jack tells him that a darkness is coming and that he is being hunted. Jack plans to leave town but, as Travis is leaving, a bright glare like a searchlight comes rushing toward them. Jack orders Travis back inside and gives him a highly decorated stiletto to carry. An electric humming comes from the other side of the front door and the door knob turns right, then left, and right again. Then the door is hit twice hard enough to shake it.
Travis is paralyzed with fear, but Jack roars his name and calls him over to the cellar steps. The front door crashes open in a spray of splinters. Jack pulls Travis inside, closing and barring the door behind them, takes him over to another door, tells him it leads to a garden shed out back, and pushes him through.
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