Read The Last Coin by James P. Blaylock Online


Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Twenty-nine of the coins are already in the possession of the unpleasant Pennyman. The last coin is all that stands between the world and doom, and it now belongs to ordinary Andrew Vanbergen, owner of an inn where dark magic and bizarre heroism are about to intertwine....

Title : The Last Coin
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780441470754
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 328 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Last Coin Reviews

  • Wanda
    2018-12-02 05:30

    I’m glad that there are plenty of readers out there who appreciated this book, because it was not my cuppa tea. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this was supposed to be humourous (kind of like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), but I find that I often struggle with humour on the page.I think this would be an excellent TV show—the main character Andrew bumbling along like Maxwell Smart and his wife Rose herding him in the right direction just like Agent 99 (young folks, go to YouTube and search Get Smart!) It seemed to me that watching the action and being able to appreciate the story’s physical aspects would have probably made me laugh.In so many ways, I feel this story had potential. I mean collecting Judas Iscariot’s 30 pieces of silver and gaining power from them? That’s an awesome concept. Dan Brown could do something with that (whether that’s good or bad, I leave to your judgment) and I was disappointed in Blaylock’s lack of ambition with such an excellent idea. Treated seriously, this could have been an excellent fantasy thriller. It would also have benefitted, IMHO, from a focus on the villain of the piece, Mr. Pennyman, instead of Andrew. Andrew was such a bumbling idiot, that I longed for a competent narrator. Pennyman would have served, as would have Andrew’s wife, Rose, or Rose’s Aunt Naomi. Nowhere in the narrative did I discern why Rose had actually married Andrew or why she continued to put up with him. If ever a woman had a clear reason to divorce, I would say Rose did. Needless to say, despite the fact that this is the first book in a series, I won’t be continuing on. I am uncertain whether I will even be willing to try other titles by this author.This is book number 246 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2018-11-13 06:04

    On the whole I like what I've read by J. Blaylock. In this case I'd be more likely to characterize my feelings on this book as "not disliking it".This is the third of the books usually grouped together as Blaylock's Christian books. This one has what I think is a "hook" or "basic idea" that would catch a lot of reader's interest. We're looking at a story built around the 30 pieces of silver payed to Judas to betray Jesus. These coins have been used by others as plot points and they are usually seen to carry a curse. Here it's in the "legend" that they can confer some kind of power...(though this could include a curse).Sounds interesting. I've found that (I'm a Christian pastor) that there are certain verses in the Bible that "grab reader's interest" even though they aren't basic to any teaching and the Bible doesn't go into detail about them. Note the interest so many have in Hell as a main point. No where did Jesus sit down and say, "this is what Hell is and what it's like." No He and the apostles simply referenced it. Or the verse that says Jesus preached to the souls in Hell... Read past that and anyone listening will completely lose interest in the rest of the passage. The same is true here. The Bible says nothing about these coins beyond the fact that Judas threw them back at the ones who'd paid him and that they used the money to buy a "potter's field" to be used as graves for criminals. That's it.But we humans build legends around "stuff"...same here.All that's okay, even good. The problem comes with the story telling and the characters. The story telling is (as I've said about other books) yawn worthy. I almost rambles along. There's a set up for our villain and he gives us a look at his (obviously) obtain the coins (the ones he doesn't have). The book goes on attempting some humor which "sort of works". Sadly it often comes across as a little more silly that I think it was meant.Then there's our protagonist. He is also a bit silly. Of course he's meant to be so, I didn't miss that. If he weren't there wouldn't be any growth, but it can actually be a little hard to read the guy who so often comes across as a bit of an idiot.So...okay but not what I was hoping for nor (I think) what it could have been.Decide for yourself. I think most will find it...okay...also.

  • Phillip
    2018-11-14 03:18

    I went through a time when I experienced a perfect love of Blaylock's works. Each one gave me exactly what I wanted out of a book at the time, and I eagerly sought out the next book after I'd finished the last. The Last Coin, The Paper Grail, and All The Bells On Earth are my favorites and I am ever thankful for the gift of Blaylock's imagination, quirkiness and humor. As happens, tastes change and I haven't been able to get back into his books as I once did. But if you happen upon them at the right time, they can be magnificent windows into a world just a little more magical than our own. One of the greatest things about Blaylock's novels is the unlikely heroes, and one of his best is in The Last Coin.

  • Margaret
    2018-12-04 23:08

    Jules Pennyman is searching for the last of a set of thirty magical coins: the thirty pieces of silver Judas received to betray Jesus. Unbeknownst to himself, eccentric innkeeper and would-be restaurateur Andrew Vanbergen owns the last coin, which must be kept out of Pennyman's hands. I've loved Blaylock's first couple of books, The Elfin Ship and The Disappearing Dwarf, for many years; they're set in a fantasy world but show Blaylock's remarkable ability to intertwine the mundane and the fantastic. The Last Coin is even better at this: the book is set squarely on the California coast, peopled with seemingly ordinary people and animals, yet even the ordinary becomes the extraordinary. I'm also fond of Blaylock's oddball characters; Andrew especially is endearing in spite of (or maybe because of) his maddening vagaries and laziness.

  • Jonathan
    2018-11-16 03:21

    Frustrating dreamer and compulsive liar opens an Inn, plays tremendously immature pranks on his guests and causes the death of at least one hapless coin collector, whose only crime is an innocent desire to embody some kind of wickedness.The idea is pleasant enough, but the whimsy of the (generally trivial) signs and portents is slightly annoying.

  • Fredösphere
    2018-11-25 23:18

    Blaylock combines two very different kinds of stories here: a magical thriller and a screwball comedy. The comedy dominates for the great majority of the book, leaving the thriller neglected.The magical premise concerns the 30 silver pieces paid to Judas. These have vast power, when gathered into the possession of one person. The villain of the book, Mr. Pennyman, after surviving for centuries, is nearing his goal.The hero is Pennyman's landlord, a schlub called Andrew Vanbergen. Andrew is not nearing his goal. It takes him forever (past half the book) to wake up to the threat, or discover that the "spoon" in his possession is in fact the last coin Pennyman needs. (It came to him, via his aunt, out of the mouth of a pig. Yes, really.)Andrew spends much of his time pursuing hairbrained schemes and spinning insane lies to explain away the inevitable disasters that result. I really, really, wanted this story to focus on the threat and build the tension instead.Blaylock has a wildly inventive mind and I've enjoyed his writing before. ("The Pink of Fading Neon" is a short story featuring an unforgettable, mock-horrifying horde of armadillos. It's an example of Blaylock getting the horror-humor balance perfectly right.) I wanted to read more Blaylock and found this book at a used bookstore. He's won the PKD award with Homunculus; I think that's the one to read next.

  • Tim
    2018-11-26 01:29

    "The Last Coin" begins with a reflection in the Prologue followed by a family legend in Chapter 1. In the first, a man named Jules Pennyman, in the Mideast, recalls a storm at sea near Cyprus. The crew is calling him a Jonah, ready to toss him overboard. Instead, they take a coin from him that crackles with St. Elmo's fire, casting it into the sea. A vast shadow rises from the deeps to swallow the glowing coin. The family history from another side of the world, 75 years before the events of the novel, recounts a pig appearing at a farmhouse doorstep, in its mouth a silver spoon, which it leaves for the perplexed family. These scenes set the fun/mysterious tone quickly for possibly James Blaylock's most delightful novel (I've read them all). "The Last Coin" is like a best-of for familiar Blaylock templates: offbeat goings-on in coastal California; some sort of magical/mythic element; quirky, oddly charming, sometimes clueless everyman right in the thick of things; a villain who is delightfully nefarious but tends not to put our heroes through the meat grinder; strong, amusing prose with an amiably twisted take on life; weird animal connections. For this outing, breakfast cereal, in various forms, also plays a big role (contraband Weetabix!). In the animal category, Blaylock throws in the kitchen sink — and there's probably a toad in it. Playing significant roles we have the following all-star animal types in the lineup, in addition to the aforementioned pig and monstrous fish: cat, 'possum, parrot, squid, carp, seagull, tortoise and, yes, toad. Blaylock is fond of giving animals humanlike outlooks (or, more precisely, having simple characters who imagine that animals have humanlike outlooks), and the delight he takes in the writing of these creatures and, thus, transfers to us, rules out overkill. "One pig to rule them all, One pig to ..."In "The Last Coin," the villainous Pennyman has collected nearly all 30 of the mythic and now-powerful pieces of silver paid Judas Iscariot when he betrayed Christ. Judas still wanders the earth, his (extended) life's work to keep the coins apart; if Pennyman succeeds in his quest ... well ... it's not precisely clear what would happen, but it would be very, very bad. Pennyman, drawn to the few coins not in his clutches, his life extended by the influence of those in his possession, has landed in Seal Beach, Calif., as a boarder at the house of Andrew Vanbergen and his wife, Rose. Andrew also counts Rose's Aunt Naomi among the boarders. There's also a neighbor whose name Andrew never is sure of, always referred to by Blaylock as Ken-or-Ed. Andrew and his more-driven (but, of course, odd) friend Beams Pickett are convinced Pennyman is up to no good, and as they uncover gradually the story of the coins, Andrew and Beams start to watch/agitate Pennyman, little knowing just how close Pennyman is to getting the last coins. Many of the characters come to play bigger roles in the Judas-coin business than Andrew ever dreamed; the plot thickens, and Blaylock keeps the delightful weirdness coming. (Isolated comedy spoiler nearing). As Andrew comes to realize Pennyman is up to far worse than Andrew originally supposed, he can't resist needling the old man. He makes mysterious phone calls to Pennyman and sends him an envelope with a single piece of paper enclosed, bearing a cryptic, absolutely meaningless message designed to drive him crazy: MOKE DAT YIGARETTE. Whether you find this ridiculous message funny will tell a lot about whether you will like this book. (Isolated comedy spoiler over). Obviously, I think it's freakin' hilarious.Blaylock lets the tale meander a bit in the middle, but it's never less-than-fun meandering. Our heroes even get involved in some slam-bang action in the late-going, so there's a weird something for everyone. This tale of loony-but-likable Andrew and the coins doesn't get too fearsome, but readers willing to wander in Blaylock's offbeat world experience more fun than humans should be allowed to have.

  • KatHooper
    2018-11-26 03:24

    Andrew and Rose Vanbergen have recently purchased a California inn which they are fixing up and getting ready for guests. They live in the inn along with aging Aunt Naomi, her numerous cats, and her companion, Mrs. Gummage. The Vanbergens have only one real guest so far — the mysterious Pepto-drinking Mr. Pennyman.Andrew has grand plans for the inn. Unfortunately, he’s also a bit of a slacker and he’s always managing to find excuses for doing anything but the actual work that needs to get done. While his good-natured and industrious wife is cleaning or sewing linens, he’s daydreaming about a gourmet kitchen and purchasing luxury items that aren’t really necessary. (He fancies himself an epicure).Andrew also tends to have crazy ideas that sometimes border on delusional. Sometimes he acts on these. He knows he’s being silly and that it upsets his wife, so he’s in the habit of .. Read More:

  • Michael
    2018-11-18 02:11

    The pernicious Mr. Pennyman aims to gather the last of the thirty pieces of silver given to Judas Iscariot. Standing in his way is Andrew Vanbergen, Vancouver innkeep and cereal connoisseur. Vanbergen has to be one of the dumbest protagonists I've come across - genuinely doltish, the sort of person who thinks they're much more clever than they actually are. I had hoped for more tension in the story than Blaylock provided; the concept was certainly interesting.

  • Linden
    2018-12-04 02:27

    this is the first Blaylock's book I read and I found it really charming,not as much the story line but the style and the language, the way Blaylock describes even small details. I remember having the book on my night stand and I would just read a random page before going to bad. I am looking forward to a new book from the urban fantasy series.

  • laurenpie
    2018-12-11 06:29

    This story makes me happy :) One of my all-time favorite books. I read it again last year, twenty years after my first reading; it hasn't lost it's sparkle. A charming, hilarious, inventive story, perfectly told. Wonderful characters, love it, love it, love it!!!

  • Emily
    2018-11-19 23:10

    I have only a passing interest in coin collecting.

  • Kari Gritzan
    2018-11-20 23:10

    Absolutely fantastic. One of my favorite books of all times. I reread it again recently, and it was just as good as the first time. Love it!!!

  • David Merrill
    2018-12-05 03:29

    This is my third or fourth time reading this book. It happens to be one of my favorites and I'll be discussing it with a group in a couple of days. One of the reasons it's a favorite is it isn't what one usually expects from a fantasy novel. Andrew Van Bergen is an unlikely protagonist and certainly an untrustworthy point of view character. We can also truthfully call this a "Big Fish" story. And if you've ever seen the movie, "Big Fish," I think you can justly compare some aspects of this book to it, in particular the viewpoint of Andrew. He definitely sees magic in the world in places where most of us don't. It gets him into trouble throughout.There will be spoilers in this review, so you may want to stop here.I think one of the biggest questions we have through a lot of the book is we have to wonder whether there are really ever going to be fantastic elements to the story or if that's just how Andrew sees them. We get most of the story through his lens. There are signs and portents everywhere. Sometimes local animals, parrots, cats, possum, turtles, toads, frogs, pigs, etc., may be acting on his behalf. At least he sees it that way. One of my favorite characters is the painted turtle that's really painted-- with a landscape on its shell. It reminds me of the horse of a different color in The Wizard Of Oz movie. And my favorite quest isn't the one for the thirty coins, but the one for Wheatabix. And one of my favorite scenes is when Andrew, Rose and Aunt Naomi convene in the kitchen in the middle of the night for bowls of cereal. There's a different kind of magic going on here and there are lots of different kinds of magic happening throughout this book.Some of the less obvious magic here is the transformation of Andrew. At the beginning of the book, he can't stand a Aunt Naomi and her cats. By the end, he's accepted them and likes them. He feeds the cats goodies, bonds with Naomi and stops Mrs. Gummidge from poisoning her. She entrusts the pig spoon with him, which, given Andrew's character, seems ill advised. So, we have characters who learn about each other and themselves. They grow.Favorite scenes are the adventure with Uncle Arthur and the turtles. I like it when he stacks them in the car for transport. Any scene involving Wheatabix and the scenes where we meet people tricked by Pennyman with the coin down the face trick.I could go on about this book. It's quaint and redefines what fantasy can be. This is a great book to read near Halloween.

  • Asher Macdonald
    2018-11-28 00:08

    One of my favorite books. The pacing is just right and the book is charming and funny. It's a contemporary fantasy -- not sure if the urban paranormal label fits it just right. Here is the Publisher's Weekly summary of the book:"In Blaylock's contemporary fantasy, the fate of the world falls into the hands of a daydreaming eccentric named Andrew Vanbergen. This quick-tempered Californian is muddling through the conversion of his rambling home into an inn and cafe when he unwittingly becomes one of the Caretakers who have kept the world safe for nearly two millennia. The danger is that someone like Andrew's mysterious guest Jules Pennyman will gather together Judas Iscariot's original 30 pieces of silver, thereby summoning up an apocalyptic magic. Against a lyric vision of the Southern California coast, cosmic conspiracy theories bump heads in a gleeful farce to produce another strange and wonderful book from the idiosyncratic author of Homunculus and Land of Dreams."It is just a delightful book.

  • Fantasy Literature
    2018-11-12 23:28

    Andrew and Rose Vanbergen have recently purchased a California inn which they are fixing up and getting ready for guests. They live in the inn along with aging Aunt Naomi, her numerous cats, and her companion, Mrs. Gummage. The Vanbergens have only one real guest so far — the mysterious Pepto-drinking Mr. Pennyman.Andrew has grand plans for the inn. Unfortunately, he’s also a bit of a slacker and he’s always managing to find excuses for doing anything but the actual work that needs to get done. While his good-natured and industrious wife is cleaning or sewing linens, he’s daydreaming about a gourmet kitchen and purchasing luxury items that aren’t really necessary. (He fancies himself an epicure).Andrew also tends to have crazy ideas that sometimes border on delusional. Sometimes he acts on these. He knows he’s being silly and that it upsets his wife, so he’s in the habit of .. Read More:

  • Margo Brooks
    2018-11-18 07:16

    Strange, quirky, absurd. James Baylock's characters are flirting with the sanity line and it is hard to tell on which side they will end up. The premise of this unusual novel, where animals are safeguarding the world, is that the 30 pieces of gold that Judas betrayed Jesus for are roaming the world; If they come together a terrible power will be at work. Pennyman has been at the task of gathering the coins for many years, and the last one can be found in a little town on the northwest coast of the United States, where we meet Andrew and Rose, proprietors of a small inn, and a wickedly excentric cast of characters who together, and unknowingly, must try to save the world. The antics of these folks, from trying to snare some cats to cooking gumbo, is so absurd that there is nothing to do but laugh. They are unlike any other characters I have ever read about before. The plot is secondary, but the characters are well worth the read.

  • Thomas Gizbert
    2018-12-11 01:12

    "It was the trifles that signified: the cut of a man's beard, the too-convenient discovery of forgotten money in a disused wallet, the overheard conversation between two fishermen early in the fog-shrouded morning as one of them hauls out of the ocean a crab trap with an ink-stained note in it. There was a secret order to things."Sadly the rest of the novel didn't live up to the above quote. The characters were a bit juvenile and underdeveloped, there was some implicit misogyny in the passive character of Rose, and the relatively carefree nature of most of the plot felt at odds with what was at stake.

  • Alannah Carmen
    2018-12-03 03:24

    Blaylock writes a kind of small-town American magic realism, and at it's best it's lovely, quirky, and charming. This isn't my favourite Blaylock, though I enjoyed it. The protagonist does some pretty dumb things, especially in the beginning, and I got second-hand embarrassment listening in to his thoughts. And I think I prefer the ones where he's working from the Grail legends rather than from Christian mythos directly. Still a fun, light read, and Mr. Pennyman is a nicely sinister villain.

  • Roger
    2018-12-08 03:27

    I read this a long time ago and really liked it. I'd like to find another copy and read it again.Well, I finally did. Listened to the audio book version from Audible. It was fun to hear this story again - full of quirky characters, animal allies, unexpected bizarre and strange events set in a seemingly normal California inn where an epic struggle of biblical proportion between good and evil get played out.

    2018-11-22 06:21

    Not the same cover, not the same edition, but close enuf. Blaylock is in that minority of SF writers who're also clearly comical. I like that combination. Other writers that spring to mind are the team of G. C. Edmondson & C. M. Kotlan, Ron Goulart, & Rudy Rucker. I'd read more by him if I ever ran across anything again. There's something about absurdist SF that's dear to my parallel dimension baboon heart.

  • Guy Ferguson
    2018-12-03 02:24

    Most enjoyable. Reminded me of Confederacy of Dunces by JK O'Toole (I think that's who wrote it). Detail to minutaiem everyman as hero, the major difference was the supernatural element, but that did not figure too largely really. I half expected an ending that explained everything in normal terms. I look forward t reading more of this man's work.

  • Garry Geer
    2018-12-08 02:13

    Blaylock weaves a strange urban fantasy drawn out of every day victories and failures which end up having catastrophic impact upon a moral universe. The angels are watching and laughing, but they know what is at risk, so they don't laugh too hard.His hero is fallible and frustrating, sometimes too much so, yet redeemable. Maybe we see him as being too much like us.

  • Sk
    2018-11-24 01:10

    Kurz vor Ende (90%) weggelegt, weil mir die Energie zum Weiterlesen gefehlt hat. War kein schlechtes Buch, aber mit dem Protagonisten bin ich bis zum Schluss nicht warm geworden, zu unverständlich und sprunghaft war mir sein Handeln. Ausserdem habe ich das irgendwie in Robert Rankins "Brentford"-Romanen schon viel besser gelesen, z.B. in "The Antipope".

  • Dano
    2018-12-11 07:05

    Whimsy is a tricky beast, and rarely successful. This book is sort of like the movie "Amelie" for me. I didn't find the main character's antics very charming or amusing, so they end up reading as psychotic and irritating. Reminded me of novels I read in junior high school, though I don't think it's a young-adult title.

  • Arabella Thorne
    2018-12-01 06:07

    I love Blaylock's work. He and good buddy Tim Powers write wonderful fantasy (frequently set in California) with depth and heart. This was a wonderful tale... Don't hesitate if you haven't read him before (or Tim Powers for that matter). Excellent stuff

  • Chris
    2018-11-24 03:03

    This book is quirky, which, I understand, is how many of Blaylock's novels are. It is pretty funny and enjoyable, but if you're looking to laugh out loud a lot, I wouldn't say this book brings that on. It definitely brings on some smiles, a few chuckles and an admiration of the characters.

  • Max
    2018-11-20 23:30

    Very quirky and unique story. I didn't like the random pages of "pig" lore that were shoved into the book and the ending was very anticlimactic if you ask me. If you can find for cheap at a used book store it's worth the read

  • puppitypup
    2018-12-01 00:15

    Contemporary Fantasy My main problem with this book is that I simply cannot drum up one ounce of concern or respect for the main character. He is insipid, irresponsible, immature and ungrateful. His ongoing dialogue with himself was tedious to the point of frustration for me.

  • Ghanimatrix
    2018-12-06 06:19

    Tim Powers lite, very enjoyable. I found myself constantly laughing at the ceaseless internal monologue of the main character. The story was engaging if not earth-shattering. I'll be reading more from Mr. Blaylock.