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Riddle-Master by Patricia A. McKillip

Riddle-Master (original 1979; edition 1999)

by Patricia A. McKillip

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1,405255,395 (4.14)62
Authors:Patricia A. McKillip
Info:Ace Trade (1999), Edition: Ace One-vol ed, Paperback, 592 pages
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Riddle-Master by Patricia A. McKillip (1979)


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English (24)  German (1)  All languages (25)
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ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

There are some fantasy epics that all literature professors, and most normal people, would consider essential reading for any well-educated person -- J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S.Lewis, Lewis Carroll, etc. So, yeah, I read those a long time ago. But beyond that, there's not much fantasy literature that's essential reading. So, for a long time, I didn't read any. In my drive to be educated, I stuck to the classics (which are classic because they're great literature, usually). But one day, maybe 15 years ago, Patricia McKillip's Riddlemaster fell into my hands. I can't remember exactly when, and I can't remember how. I can't even remember enough to tell you exactly what the trilogy was about. It's been that long ago.

All I can remember is sitting for hours, slack-jawed and amazed. The imagery was so beautiful, the writing so elegant, the ideas so powerful. Some of the imagery has remained with me; I can still remember the awe I felt when Morgon learned how to change into a tree, how to harp the wind, and who Deth was. I don't really remember the details of the story very well, but I still feel it.

I was sad when I finished the Riddlemaster trilogy, but excited to have found something I loved so much, so I went looking for more beautiful fantasy literature. It's been my favorite source of entertainment since.
Read more Patricia McKillip book reviews at Fantasy Literature . ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
I borrowed "The Chronicles of Morgan, Prince of Hed" from the library so that I could read the first book in the trilogy for my book club, but I'm afraid "The Riddle-Master of Hed" has failed the 50 page test and I have given up on it. Neither the characters nor story have grabbed me, and it seems more like a YA book than adult fantasy.

Interesting fact from Wikipedia: Patricia McKillip is a Leap Year baby, born on 29th February 1948!
  isabelx | Dec 17, 2013 |
The first book, The Riddle-Master of Hed belongs to the title character, Morgon of Hed, Riddle-master and Farmer-Prince who finds the most challenging riddle of all is his own identity and destiny. The next book is the story of Raederlie, Morgon's love, who in Heir of Sea and Fire goes in search of him and finds out much about her own identity and powers. In Harpist of the Wind both work to find out what has happened to the "High One" the "sustainer of the land-law of the realm" that ties the rulers to an awareness of their lands. Despite the multiplying of mysteries in the books, by the end of this one they're all tied up neatly--and with a fairly unpredictable but logical twist. I'd also say that Mckillip develops her world deftly--like most high fantasy it definitely has a medieval European feel, but it feels its own place. Even minor characters are well-drawn, and the style is smooth and the narrative flows well.

It's a good read. Not a great read. I read this trilogy because it was recommended on the "Seven-League Shelf" of the "cream" of fantasy. I don't think it rates as among the best in the genre I've read. I wouldn't place this with others on the list such as The Gormengheist Trilogy, Lord of the Rings, The Once and Future King, Carroll's Alice books. I don't consider it extraordinary in style, nor did it move me to tears or laughter nor did I find it gasp-worthy. But entertaining? Yes, certainly. And some have told me that McKillip's best book isn't this trilogy but The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. I'd certainly be interested in trying that someday having read these. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Aug 15, 2013 |
It's a relatively simple tale. But McKillip tells it well, with some really lovely descriptions and turns of phrase. ( )
  devilish2 | May 14, 2013 |
The Riddle-Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, and Harpist in the Wind ( )
  ogorobez | Apr 6, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia A. McKillipprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Woolhiser, JackCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Craft, Kinuko Y.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Riddle Master of Hed

the first eleven chapters

Harpist in the Wind

For all who waited, and especially
who always called at the right time

for GAIL,
who reminded me of the difference
between logic and grace

and for KATHY,
who waited the longest
First words
The Riddle Master of Hed

Morgon of Hed met the High One’s harpist one autumn day when the trade-ships docked at Tol for the season’s exchange of goods.
Heir of Sea and Fire

In spring, three things came invariably to the house of the King of An: the year's first shipment of Herun wine, the lords of the Three Portions for the spring council, and an argument.
Harpist in the Wind

The Star-Bearer and Raederle of An sat on the crown of the highest of the seven towers of Anuin.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Published as Riddle of Stars (1979)
Riddle-Master: The Complete Trilogy (1999) and
The Riddle-Master's Game (2001)

Contains three works:
The Riddle-Master of Hed (1976)
Heir of Sea and Fire (1977)
Harpist in the Wind (1979)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441005969, Paperback)

For over twenty years, Patricia A. McKillip has captured the hearts and imaginations of thousands of readers. And although her renowned Riddle-Master trilogy--The Riddle-Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, and Harpist in the Wind--has been long out of print, it is considered her most enduring and beloved work. Now it is collected in one volume for the first time--the epic journeys of a young prince in a strange land, where wizards have long since vanished...but where magic is waiting to be reborn.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Riddle-master of Hed: In seeking the answer to the riddle of the three stars on his forehead and the three stars on the enchanted harp and sword, Morgon, Prince of Hed, goes ultimately to the High One, himself.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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