Madouc Paperback – Apr 1990
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About the Author
Jack Vance is one of the greats of science fiction. He has been writing for more than 60 years, and in 1997 was honored as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. He is the author of dozens of science fiction and fantasy novels, including the World Fantasy Award winning Lyonnesse series, and the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning The Last Castle. He lives in Oakland, California.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I cannot recommend Vance highly enough. If you have a kid, give her or him a book by Jack Vance.
Madouc maintains the quality of this excellent trilogy -- it's filled with clever prose, charming characters, and lots of imagination. Jack Vance's careful planning produced a tight plot and Madouc wrapped up all the loose ends from Suldrun's Garden and The Green Pearl.
I thoroughly enjoyed Lyonesse, but it may not be for everyone. It occurs to me that these books are a lot like Monty Python. They're fast-paced, weird, silly, outrageous, and (somehow) smart.
I'll give you one example: the magician Murgen realizes he's being spied on by someone who is disguised as a moth, so he sends Rylf to follow the moth and find out who it is. The moth flies away and joins a thousand other moths who are flying around a flame. As Rylf watches, one of the moths eventually drops down, turns into a man, and walks into an inn. But Rylf doesn't take note of the man because, as he figures, the laws of probability suggest that the particular moth he's after must still be flying around the flame.
If you don't find that hilarious, you may not enjoy Lyonesse as much as I did.
Part of what I love most about Jack Vance's humor is that he doesn't tell us it's funny. It's a completely deadpan delivery. So, when King Throbius (King of the Fairies) assures Madouc that "fairies are as tolerant as they are sympathetic," there's no narrator or character who explains to Madouc (and, thereby, us) that this does not mean that fairies are tolerant. I have never read any author who does this as beautifully as Jack Vance does, and I loved it.
2.The Green Pearl (despite what the digital version says in its title)
Now that that is out of the way!
Oh, to see the trilogy end!
But what a great ending. A fantastic denouement. All things resolved with wicked cleverness and justice dealt to every corner.
Jack Vance has got to be one of my favorite authors of all time. Maybe top of the list even. He writes with his imagination set on stun and with a wit to keep you giggling. I just can't understand the out of print-ness of this trio. If you enjoyed this Vance work then you will love, The Dying Earth, The Demon Princes, and Night Lamp.
Maybe if we could all get together and get Peter Jackson to sign on for the movie rights....
Ah a girl can dream can't she?
Hope this was helpful!
Casimir, the relentlessly scheming king of Lyonesse, has learned the child he thought was his grandaughter, Madouc, is in fact a fairy changeling. That is somehow wrapped up in the mystery of Dhrun, son of King Ailias of Troicenet, of whom it was prophecied by a magic mirror that he would be the king of all the Elder Isles. Not if Casimir can help it. He wants that throne for himself.
And there are much larger, darker schemes afoot, as the evil magician Tamurello and the mysterious witch Desmei plot against Murgen, the Elder Isle's greatest wizard, who alone keeps the Elder Isles from sinking into the sea.
And into this web of political and magical intrigue wanders Madouc, determined to learn her pedigree, possessed of a bit of her fairy mother's magic and a truly wonderful charm all her own. It is Madouc who sets this novel apart from other fantasies. Vance does a splendid job creating a central figure who will beguile and amaze you.
Vance blends myths from half a dozen cultures into a seamless whole. The Elder Isles are saved, if at a terrible cost. The kingship is resolved, after a terrible war. And Madouc even learns her pedigree. The book is full of surprises, and sly references to other legends. As just one example, you will learn how the Holy Grail got to where Sir Gallahad could find it...
You should read the whole Trilogy. If for some reason you cannot, read Madouc. It's a wonderful conclusion to a wonderful trilogy.