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Madouc by Jack Vance
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Madouc (1989)

by Jack Vance

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lyonesse (3)

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5981125,507 (4.05)9
The courageous Princess Madouc sets out to find the identity of her father in this conclusion to a fantasy trilogy that began with Lyonesse: (1982) and The Green Pearl (1986).

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» See also 9 mentions

English (7)  French (3)  Italian (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
And the brilliant conclusion. What Vance succeeds in doing in this series is the melding of myth, folk-tales and legend into a rich, vibrant setting and a broad, epic narrative. One could easily imagine cycles of fire-side and bed-time tales about the adventures of good king Aillas and clever magician Shimrod and the wild and fey Madouc and evil King Casmir. Lots of sharp little stories where the good outsmarted the bad and won through as much with brains and boldness as well as brawn, and sometimes a dark, nasty edge would creep in, a hint of loss and tragedy to make the happy ever after that much more bitter sweet. Poor Sir Pom-Pom.

Anyway, the whole trilogy is never less than a wild and wonderful joy, even of there are inconsistencies between this and the epilogue of the first novel. Whatever happened to the faceless knight? These should be taken all in all as part of the mystery and whimsy and unexpected dangers of Lyonesse. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Well, here's the finale of Jack Vance's Lyonesse, and I'm sorry to see it end. This novel was about Madouc, the changeling princess of Lyonesse, and her interactions with Casmir, Sollace, Aillas, Dhrun, Shimrod, Throbius, Sir Pom-Pom, Umphred, Twisk, et al.

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.

I've said it twice before, so I won't say again that Lyonesse ought to be reprinted. Read the rest of my Lyonesse reviews. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
The child of the prince and princess grows up raised by fairies. This tells of her quest to find out who her pareents are/were. The power play around the kings and sorcerers of the fighting kingdoms rounds it out. Good book. ( )
  stuart10er | Sep 27, 2013 |
I really enjoyed the first two books of this series, and the conclusion was good, but not great. It wasn't a disappointment, but it also didn't live up to the promise of the first book. Unfortunately I thought some of the characters were a bit lifeless and the plot wasn't quite coherent enough to make up for it. Still a good fantasy book and better than most, just not great. ( )
  Karlstar | May 30, 2013 |
Madouc is the third book of the Lyonesse trilogy, and it does a fantastic job of wrapping up a lot of the storylines/ends from Suldrun's Garden and The Green Pearl.

Vance tells his story with such a dry delivery, that at first, you might not catch the humor if you aren't looking for it, or, if you don't like that kind of sardonic telling, you might just not enjoy it.

This whole book is so silly, so hilarious, fast and fun... but you aren't being told that it's hilarious and silly, which makes me love Vance all the more.

It's like he thinks his readers are intelligent enough to figure it out without telling them what to do, which I very much appreciate.

Princess Madouc, who doesn't know she is a changeling, is suffering from a crappy childhood in the same style as her "mother" Suldrun. Only she's not the passive Suldrun, but a very spunky and awesome Madouc, and so, shenanigans ensue.

And there's a satisfying happy ending... sometimes I just love those. ( )
  suzemo | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Vanceprimary authorall editionscalculated
SanjulianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Houten, MickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, DawnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Au sud de la Cornouaille, au nord de l'Ibérie, de l'autre côté du Golfe d'Aquitaine, se trouvaient les Isles Anciennes, qui s'étendaient du Croc de Gwyg, arête de roche noire battue par les déferlantes de l'Atlantique, à Hybras, le Hy-Brasill des premiers chroniqueurs irlandais : une île aussi grande que l'Irlande elle-même.
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