August 13th, 2015

buzz

Lord Valentine's Castle, by Robert Silverberg

My admission a few years back that I hadn't read this evoked responses of varying enthusiasm. It's Silverberg's most popular novel by far on both LibraryThing and Goodreads, and I had really really intended to read it when it first came out in 1980, but somehow never got round to it. (Memory is tricky - I was sure I'd seen Dave Langford reviewing it in White Dwarf around that time, but it looks like he didn't.)

Anyway, it was a serious effort to shift Silverberg's output from SF to big commercial fantasy, clearly drawing on older models, particularly Zelazny (amnesiac hero discovers that his crown has been usurped) and Vance (adventures across a world of varying magical creatures). We've had an awful lot more of that kind of thing since, and though some of it has been done better, most of it has been done worse. The setting of the multi-species travelling circus is nicely developed. The general thrust is uplifting - it's not just about divine right of kings, it's also about earning the right to rule through sufficient popular support (and, er, winning the battle at the end of the book). It was as much fun as I hoped it would be, but I don't feel any particular urge to track down and read the sequels.
books

Thursday reading

Current
Watership Down, by Richard Adams (a chapter a week)
History, by Elsa Morante
Mean Streets, by Terrance Dicks

Last books finished
A Visitor's Companion to Tudor England, by Suzannah Lipscomb
The Tomorrow Windows, by Jonathan Morris
Selected Essays, by Virginia Woolf

Next books
The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lampiri
Naamah's Kiss, by Jacqueline Carey

Books acquired in last week
A Star Chamber Court in Ireland: The Court of Castle Chamber, 1571-1641, by Jon G. Crawford