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If I Pay Thee Not in Gold (1993)

by Piers Anthony, Mercedes Lackey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8621318,401 (3.52)10
The queen of Mazonia challenges her magically talented rival, Xylina, to undertake a dangerous quest in search of a powerful shard of crystal, in this story for mature readers.

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I haven't read much Piers Anthony. This book was a great read with some awkwardly amusing magic and the consequences of using that magic. It was not more memorable than that but I would probably read it again if I was bored and looking for some Drama/comedy/ very light romance. ( )
  MarceeJo | Jul 29, 2019 |
This was a good book and I really enjoyed it. Enough to recommend it to a very good friend of mine. The characters are engaging and the world in which they live is very intriguing. I just haven't seen very many books set in a world that belongs almost exclusively, if not truly exclusively, to women.

I would definitely recommend this book, especially to young women. I'd caution that there is gender-specific slavery, discrimination, reversed gender roles, nudity and sex in the book. The book also heavily considers themes such as outcasts, working to better your situation in life, forbidden love, and the corruption of power.

Another thing that I'd caution in this book is that it's by two authors. Usually, I don't find it a problem when an author decides to collaborate with another and co-author a book. However, in this case I think it seems a detriment to the book. I've never read a co-authored book that made it so strikingly glaring that it was co-authored. About halfway through the book there's a very, very noticeable change. All of the characters change, their personalities are different, the way they interact with and view each other is different, their goals seem to even change. It's as if one of the authors wrote the first half of the book by themselves and then had the second author write the second half of the book nearly blind so that the characters are in the right situations and have the right names and backgrounds, but are still somehow transformed into completely different characters.

It was so striking, in fact, that it completely broke my suspension of disbelief, confused me quite a bit, and then made it difficult for me to get that suspension of disbelief back. I don't think I ever really quite managed to. This is the main reason I've given the book three stars instead of five.

There are demons and other non-human creatures in this book, in case that's something that may make or break the book for you. I will also say that one specific demon that we meet early on plays a significant role in the book and to the heroine as well as to the villain.

It's a good and intriguing book, but definitely not without its faults. I still think it's worth a read and it remains one of my favorite books (especially the first half). ( )
  madam_razz | Jan 19, 2017 |
The Piers Anthony bad-touch is strong in this one, but I love the title! ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
The premise of the book is that women are in charge and men are their slaves. This state of events has come about because women have magical power. The story follows a group questing for a crystal shard that when retrieved will change the balance of power in the city as the magic will go to a different unknown group. This is a great set-up but has little follow through in the novel. Instead the story becomes bogged down in a rather ridiculous subplot involving a sex-changing demon and the original quest is abandoned. ( )
  Alexiea | Mar 3, 2015 |
Intriguing setup, disappointing follow-through. ( )
  Snukes | Jun 14, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Piers Anthonyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lackey, Mercedesmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Sweet,Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Xylina ignored the hum of whispered conversation that followed her as she wound her way through the crowded bodies in the bazaar.
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The queen of Mazonia challenges her magically talented rival, Xylina, to undertake a dangerous quest in search of a powerful shard of crystal, in this story for mature readers.

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Book description

In the Age of Mazonians women rule through magic - and men suffer what they must. Magical creations only last for a single day (magical food is great for dieting), but that is quite long enough for casting giant wet blanket (if you're feeling kind) over a would-be rampaging male - or a block of granite (if you're not). No uppity males in Mazonia!

But then as now some people rise above what they've been taught. One such is Xylina; somehow she has always understood that being of the wrong gender, or even lacking magical power, is no reason for stripping a human being of dignity. HOw ironic, then, that the Queen has ordained that in order to avoid execution Xylina must use her magic to publicly conquer the most glorious male Mazonia has ever seen - and how doubly so that together he and Xylina will transform their world.


Faro narrowed his eyes against the glare of sun-on-sand, and quickly scanned the arena, focusing immediately on the girl who was his target.

It looked as if she were trying to hide behind her long golden hair. The effect made her seem curiously vulnerable. He paused a moment, assessing her, and saw nothing to change his original ideas about her. She was helpless.

She was his.

He stifled an abortive feeling of pity, and strode out onto the sand. He gave her a moment to stare at him, make her own assessment, and contemplate the smile of hate on his face. He wanted her to be afraid.

He glanced around the arena, to make sure that there were no other threats. Then he charged. He knew better than to give her time to organize her power of conjuration, or to plan a defense. Even the weakest woman was dangerous, because of her magic. First he had to knock her down and out. Then pluck her eyes out. Then break her arms. Only then could he afford to start playing with her. To give the Queen her show.

He closed on the prey. She stared at him, frightened. She gestured. And in a single instant, the ever-fickle fates turned the tables on him ...

She had, after all, come to fight ...
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Average: (3.52)
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1.5 3
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