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Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Eyes of the Overworld - Jack Vance

This book is billed as a sequel to The Dying Earth, but unlike that book, follows a single narrative, instead of being a collection of unrelated short stories. In practice, its locations are so varied that it could be seen as a collection of short stories, but there is a single central character.

That character is Cudgel, who in the beginning of the tale, makes the mistake of trying to rob from the home of Iucounu, the Laughing Magician. Iucounu catches him, and as a price for setting him free, forces him to go on a journey to collect the second half of a pair of purple orbs, which is located in a faraway land. He’s able to get Cudgel there in a single day, but Cudgel must then find his own way back, through lands that he has never seen before.

This is just as fascinating a book at The Dying Earth – gorgeously painted, with incredibly imaginative lands and peoples. Cudgel considers himself to be Cudgel the Clever, and he does indeed manage to get himself out of a number of scrapes. It took me quite a while to locate all of the Dying Earth books, but so far, they’ve been worth the trouble.

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