RAPTOR Mass Market Paperback – Jun 1 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
In the opening pages of Jennings's ( Aztec ) massive, audacious historical novel about the Gothic conquest of the Roman Empire, Thorn, the hermaphrodite hero/heroine, is seduced first by a monk and then by a nun. Evicted from a monastery and a convent, Thorn is then schooled in the ways of the world by the grumpy, blasphemous woodsman Wyrd. Rugged yet sensitive, usually dressed as a man, Thorn is to elim fragment raptorial (i.e., predatory) in his thirst for lovers, male and female, and for adventure. He serves as field marshal, sidekick and spy for bloody Theodoric (A.D. 454-526), king of the Ostrogoths, depicted here as a benevolent despot. For all its sexual titillation and gory battles, this majestically paced epic with its unconventional hero consistently rewards as it leads readers through exotic byways of the fragmented Roman Empire, delving into pagan customs, Christian mysteries, corruption, slavery and the tolerant Arianism embraced by the Goths but condemned by the Catholic Church as a heresy. Through the androgynous Thorn, attuned to the war betwen the masculine and feminine sides of his nature, Jennings subtly explores the gender-based roles imposed by society. Spiced with medieval flavor, the novel will captivate readers willing to commit themselves to a long, detailed, sometimes ploddingly written but ultimately intoxicating narrative.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Jennings (Spangle, etc.) takes over 900 pages to tell the epic story of Thorn, a fifth-century Goth wanderer who becomes friend and counselor to Theodoric the Great, the Ostrogoth king who temporarily revitalized the decaying Roman Empire. Thorn, a most unusual hero indeed, is a hermaphrodite. While Thorn's dual sexuality may prove off-putting to some readers, particularly because of his many and often graphic sexual encounters (even though most are recounted with good humor and sly wit), his nature does provide for some interesting perspective on events. He learns of his unique nature when he is raped in a monastery and then becomes himself a seducer in a convent, all at the age of 12 and all without knowing exactly what he's doing. Sent packing, Thorn spends valuable time as companion to a crafty and knowledgeable old Roman centurion-turned-woodsman and a winter passing himself off as a rich nobleman in a city on the edge of the Empire (learning to exploit both his male and female aspects all the while). When he finally joins his countrymen, the Ostrogoths, he discovers that their young king, Theodoric, was the stranger who saved his life in the woods after he was bitten by a poisonous snake. Thorn immediately enlists in Theodoric's cause and serves him throughout his historic conquest. His ability to act as either man or woman serves him, his king, and their cause very well indeed. In the most improbable adventure of all, he encounters an evil ``twin'' who shares his sexual duality. An impressive, often violent saga that allows readers to experience a richly re-created time and place through the eyes of a hero unlike virtually any other in fact or fiction. Along the way, it also offers some thought-provoking critiques on Christianity and its origins. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Thorn is an unusual protagonist, and whether you love or hate him/her, one you will not forget in a hurry. Sometimes (and this is what lost one star) I would find myself thinking "Oh yeah? As if!" when Thorn got out of yet another scrap by demonstrating yet another skill. Like so many main characters in novels of this type, Thorn is just a little bit too amazing to be be entirely credible, and I found myself wondering how Theodoric, an actual historical character, possibly managed to rise to his greatness if Thorn was only a figment of Jennings' imagination!
However, once you take the leap of faith to accept that besides having ambiguous gender characteristics (although I always saw Thorn as essentially male) and considered an incredibly handsome man and an exceptionally beautiful woman, Thorn also had been endowed with superhuman strength and endurance, a strategic brain to rival any chess master, treachery, deviousness and guile second to none, survival skills and instincts of a bushman, and loyalty only to himself and Theodoric, you find yourself accepting the story for what it is, a competently written, entertaining, absorbing work of fiction, that brought with it some awareness of the past.
Like other reviewers, I was keen to find out more about Theodoric, and was interested in how Jennings showed Vandals have been vilified down through the ages.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I finally got the book which was not delivered due to the bad weather in these parts of the world. I already know the book and think it's an excellent read.Published 16 months ago by Elfrad
Superb, awesome , I wish it was available for "Kindle" - I want read and reread this bookPublished 23 months ago by Maria Brogowski
Now I've read AZTEC, Spangle, and Raptor! Jennings is my new favorite author. I second a previous review that Raptor is not as good as AZTEC but what a searing story, you really... Read morePublished on Dec 26 1999 by Bookman
this book is the best book I have ever read it gave great backround imformation about all of the roman leaders and of theodoric the great. Read morePublished on Sept. 10 1999
This is my second Gary Jennings book (I read aztec 3x) and while I liked it well enough, I thought that it wasn't nearly as well executed as Aztec. Read morePublished on Aug. 12 1999
I loved this book. This book was given to me by a friend who also loved the story. Things being such as they are, I passed this book along to friends of mine who love to read as... Read morePublished on April 10 1999