Read The Green Pearl by Jack Vance Online

Title : The Green Pearl
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780887330100
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 406 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Green Pearl Reviews

  • Lyn
    2019-05-17 19:31

    Damn it, Jack Vance!Your 1983 Lyonesse novel Suldrun's Garden was a mix match of good, bad and ugly but good enough to leave me curious about the next book.The 1985 sequel The Green Pearl was better – more of a linear narrative and more focused – but it was still not what it could have been. Cool fantasy, mixing legendary city names like Ys and Avalon and creating the Elder Isles just south of Cornwall and west of Gaul, with historic and mythical references, but just too … something! Or not enough something!Damn it!I thought the coolest element and one that did not get enough ink was the Ska, a racially pure breed from ancient Norway and then Ireland whose heritage is traced back to before the last ice age, thousands of years.Good fantasy, excellent world building and yes, God help me, I will no doubt read the last of the trilogy, Madouc.

  • Bradley
    2019-06-12 12:48

    And now that we've entered firmly into the mid-eighties Fantasy, I'm startled by just how much a giant like Vance was either influenced by or was the influencer of such notable works as many, many of the D&D compendiums. After all, hasn't he been around so much longer? Ah, but never mind that.What we've got is not dwarves and elves in a fantastic other-realm, but a continuation of the Gaelic isles, the Elder Realm, the lost continent near Avalon, with christian priests still blackmailing, kingdoms still plotting, and parentages still not known to all the pertinent peoples. The plots are delightful and adventuresome, when they're not political and crafty, and when they're not adventuresome, they're still magical (Ten Realms, so much so,) and full of confidence games, tricksters, and Fae. And even kings play these same games. Most impressively, at least for me, is the clever and clear and pertinent retellings of old fairy tales, yet again, including the redoubtable Green Pearl that enhances greed and bad luck, various old tales of mistaken identities, and yeah, I'm looking at you, Murgen, and so many other interspersed tales that I cannot even begin to crow about, because they should all be savored and enjoyed.This may take place hundreds of years before Arthur, but it is no less delightful or lacking in any way when it comes to the sheer weight of myth, great characters, and sheer enjoyment.Anyone looking for some great fantasy?

  • Jaro
    2019-05-27 16:25

    This is my favorite of the Lyonesse books, and probably my favorite thing in the world. Like Twitten's Almanac it is a work of great complexity and inner coherence. Like Melancthes precious and remarkable flowers it is an exquisite work of startling distinction that exudes a multitude of strange and fascinating odors, each purporting entire cascades of meaning, and meanings of meanings, and each bringing various and surprising dreams, some of which exceed the limits of imagination.

  • mark monday
    2019-06-01 17:41

  • J.G. Keely
    2019-06-12 18:49

    The first volume in Vance's Lyonesse trilogy felt like such a departure for the author--not that it didn't have his characteristic wit and oddness, but I really felt it was one of the first times that I was invited to feel for his characters. His usual fare is light and disconnected, skipping across the surface without taking time to reflect. His characters are often clowns, comically suffering for their own errors and bruised egos, motivated by base urges, like spite and greed, and lacking more personal depth--yet I found Suldrun's subtle sense of alienation and melancholy to be vastly more intriguing than all of Cugel's adventures in Dying Earth, no matter how wacky they became.Which is why it was a disappointment that this second volume returns to more of the same from Vance: largely episodic picaresque scenes. And yet, unlike the more silly and freewheeling style of Dying Earth, here his silliness is at constant odds with his larger, more serious plot of war and politics and betrayal.The explanations of politics and history fall particularly flat, trying to drum up some interest in the intrigue and battle which would be better served by personal connections from the characters through whom we experience the tale--as opposed to references to (thankfully brief) appendices and lengthy descriptions of architecture and food.He gets caught up in these explanations and descriptions, in reminding us of where we are, what's going on, and what the characters' motivations are. These are central aspects of the story, so the fact that he feels that he has to keep restating them just highlights the fact that he's struggling with focus, structure, and pacing in a longer, more interconnected story.These explanations extend to the characters--we're often being told why they do what they do, and it's not just that we're in their heads, but that Vance seems concerned with making them transparent to us. It’s not really an effective use of words to sit and tell us why the characters do everything. The reader should be able to figure that out from the behavior and details, from how they are presented. If it isn’t clear from how it’s presented, then you don’t really gain anything by sitting down and telling us.It’s also a denial of the reader’s act of interpretation, that instead of looking at the character and trying to figure them out, to read them, we are instead told what ‘the truth’ of it is. This doesn’t mean we should never get into the characters’ heads, but what makes a character intriguing is to see their conflicts, and the gradual progression of those conflicts, which eventually lead to a point of climax, where we see that conflict come to some kind of fruition. Of course, these conflicts should also relate to the character’s outer life--the problems they have to face should reveal those internal conflicts, and force the characters to come to terms with them.During one section, Aillas knows there is a spy in his midst, but doesn’t know who it is. So, he goes on to mention several times that he’s concerned that there’s a spy, and that he wonders who it might be. As readers, of course we’re curious, but it’s just redundant to have the character keep mentioning it in the same way without any kind of progression or fresh view on the subject.Certainly, sometimes a writer has to remind their reader of a fact, to catch them up, and it's admittedly always a challenge to find a way to do this without being obtrusive or repetitive, and to find a balance between too much explanation and not enough--but that's what sets an author of skill apart.In the first book, Vance managed to do a better job giving us Suldrun's and Aillas' internal conflicts without overstating them, and letting them develop naturally, over the course of the book--and besides Suldrun and Aillas, we also had the strange intertwinings of Faude Carfilhiot and Melancthe, these figures trying to discover their own identity, at once competent but unfulfilled, literal half-creatures searching for wholeness.In The Green Pearl, there is a similar relationship between Melancthe and Shimrod, but we really only get one side of the story. We see Shimrod's pining after her, his attempts to romance her, his thoughts and desires, but not hers. She is meant to be a mystery, and we do get some explanations for why she behaves the way she does, but by and large, she serves mainly as a motivation and foil for Shimrod's romantic intentions, the source of his desires and frustrations--which is unfortunate, since she seems to be a much more interesting character, with more intriguing motivations.That Vance faltered here may be because the emotional depth he's dealing with isn't as intense as the star-crossed romance in the first book--and also because a star-crossed romance is much easier to get your head around, rather than the existential struggle with identity that Melancthe and Shimrod go through as magical creatures.Vance’s villains also tend to be more interesting than his heroes, not an uncommon trait in writers, because villains are, overall, given more free reign in terms of behavior and personality. This being said, they are still rather flat, often acting out of malice and spite instead of more complex internal motivations. It's more that they have more vigor, that they are more demonstrable in their personalities because they are given freer reign.All in all, it shouldn't be surprising that Vance should struggle somewhat with this series. Here is an author who tends to prefer silly, amoral heroes motivated by greed and self-preservation now trying to produce characters of depth and pathos, who prefers episodic, humorous, unstructured stories but is now trying to relate a long-running, large scale political conflict, who tends to tell stories about character faltering and ultimately failing, now trying to depict a rise to power, who usually portrays sex as a lewd joke, but is now trying to capture deeper romantic feelings.It's all outside of his comfort zone--which is why the true surprise is that he did so well with this experiment in the first book. Then again, the second volume in a trilogy is notorious for lagging and struggling along between the promise of the opening and the excitement of the climax. I'm still intrigued to see where this experiment ultimately ends up.

  • Algernon
    2019-06-10 15:32

    HERE ARE THE PREMISESOF THE NOTABLE AND SINGULARZUCKDEALER IN OBJECTS UNIQUE UNDER THE FIRMAMENTMY PRICES ARE FAIR!MY GOODS ARE OFTEN REMARKABLE!No guarantees! No returns! No refunds!Welcome back to the Elder Isles, the fantastic realm of warring kingdoms and powerful wizards, beautiful maidens and fickle faery folks, where druids fight against Norse raiders and Arthurian Knights cross paths with early Christian pilgrims and with the last survivors of Atlantis. Get ready for adventure, for bloodshed and romance, for alternative universes that can be reached through magical portals and for grotesque creatures unseen anywhere else except from the pen of the master of ceremonies : Jack Vance, who really lets his imagination fly all over the map and for whom one universe, one planet is never enough.As in the first volume of the Lyonesse epic, these flights of fancy can get overwhelming and just one step away from self-indulgence. The plot and the wanderings of the main actors are even more pointless and leisurely than in Suldrun’s Garden. By the end of the novel, Vance does a decent job of tying up the many loose ends, but it felt a bit rushed after all the build-up, and many questions and resolutions are left for the last part of the trilogy.Green Pearlis a fine example of the “the journey is more interesting than the destination” school of adventure.Having made my complaints, you can probably understand why the plot is difficult to reduce to a few lines of synopsis, and still make sense. I must also be careful to avoid spoilers. The most important aspect I think readers need to be aware of is that the Lyonesse books are not standalones, they are just three episodes of one huge story that got too big to be published in one single novel ( not unlike Lord of the Rings). So, if you haven’t already done so, pick up Suldrun’s Gardenand get busy getting familiar with the Elder Isles and with their ten competing kingdoms, with the Forest of Tantrevalles where each tree, each meadow and each creature you meet is brimming with magic and mystery and danger. Boiled down to its most simple building bricks: there’s an ambitious king in the town of Lyonesse (Casmir) who plots to reunite all ten kingdoms under his rule, and he is prepared to break every rule of decency and morality to achieve his goal. His opponent is the young King Aillas, who is as lawful and honorable as Casmir is dastardly. Casmir is allied with a couple of wizards (Tamurello and Vishbume) while Aillas has on his side the powerful archmage Murgen and his disciple Shimrod.The ladies are as strong and interesting as the men: Melancthe – the Galateea created by the witch Desmei as a revenge against men, unbearably beautiful but completely devoid of emotions; Tatzel - the warrior princess of the Ska raiders, proud and merciless with both her enemiesand her tentative suitors; the gentle and melancholic Glyneth, the golden maiden who is relegated to the role of damzel in distress yet still manages to show initiative and courage.My favorite episodes in the novel : the introduction with the fate of the Green Pearl as it passes from one hand to another bringing misfortune and despair to all who touch it; the romantic journey of Aillas and Tatzel, full of perils yet maintaining a humorous tone and elaborate turns of phrase; the vain attempts of Shimrod to find a flutter of emotion in Melancthe empty breast; the whole journey into the alternative realm of Tanjecterly, more weird and incredible than any other I have yet read from Vance, with its own romantic subplot between Gwyneth and Kul, her golem-like guardian. Last but not least, I have enjoyed returning to the faery fairs in the middle of the Tantrevalles forest, where anything could happen and where Zuck and his fellow merchants will sell more weird stuff than you can imagine.There’s not much more to say about the plot: even when things were going nowhere I was still captivated by the language and the humorous twists of fate (similar often to the adventures of the likable rogues from the Dying Earth series). On the more serious side of the epic, there’s a lot of death and foreshadowing of doom to balance the lighter tone of many of the passages. There is also some food for thought on contemporary issues, if the reader is inclined to pursue them: I hereby declare torture, in all its categories, to be a capital offense, punishable by death and confiscation of property.(Aillas uncompromising stance on the subject of torture)---- His subjects espoused a variety of beliefs: Zoroastrianism, a whiff or two of Christianity, Pantheism, Druidical doctrine, a few fragments of classic Roman theology, somewhat more of the Gothic system, all on a substratum of ancient animism and Pelasgian Mysteries. Such a melange of religions suited King Casmir well.(despite being the evil overlord of the epic, Casmir gets some bonus points for arguing in favor of religious tolerance and diversity)Conclusion: Highly recommended to readers more interested in adventure and beautiful prose than a tight plot. To be read together with the other Lyonesse books.

  • KatHooper
    2019-05-18 14:47

    ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.The Green Pearl is another engrossing adventure in Jack Vance's whimsical world. This installment of Lyonesse mainly follows Aillas, now King of Troicinet, as he seeks revenge on the Ska, tests his infatuation with Tatzel, deals with a couple of traitors, and tries to thwart the ambitions of King Casmir of Lyonesse who, unbeknownst to Casmir, is Aillas's son's grandfather. We also spend quite a bit of time with Shimrod, Glyneth, Melancthe, and some new and excellent characters such as the duplicitous innkeeper Dildahl, the dogged but distractible Visbhume, and The Notable and Singular Zuck (Dealer in Objects Unique Under the Firmament).There are two main reasons that I love Lyonesse. First, I admire Vance's florid imagination. His world and its creatures are unique and, while not as bizarre as Lewis Carroll's, there's plenty of weirdness. Second, I love Jack Vance's odd but irresistible style. There's no message, no lesson, no pretensions — it's just pure fast-paced entertainment. But best of all, Vance's deliberately peculiar and droll prose makes me laugh:A crippled ex-soldier named Manting for ten years had served the county as executioner. He did his work efficiently and expunged Long Liam's life definitely enough, but in a style quite devoid of that extra element of surprise and poignancy, which distinguished the notable executioner from his staid colleague. ... [then Manting comes into possession of the Green Pearl which Long Liam had carried:] ... Thereafter, all who watched Manting declared that they had never seen the executioner's work done with more grace and attention to detail, so at times Manting and the condemned man seemed participants in a tragic drama which set every heart to throbbing; and at last, when the latch had been sprung, or the blow struck, or the torch tossed into the faggots, there was seldom a dry eye among the spectators.And the dialog is truly humorous — so many authors try, but Vance gets it right. Just two short examples:• The barber said politely: "Sire, I suggest that you hold your feet motionless while I am cutting your toenails."• When the beautiful but empty-headed Melancthe tries to seduce Shimrod, he says: "My character is intensely strong, and my will is like iron; still, I see no reason to demonstrate their strength needlessly."Again I shake my head in bewilderment that this charming trilogy can not be acquired by the usual book-obtaining methods. What a shame!Read my other Jack Vance reviews.

  • Jaro
    2019-06-01 16:49

    This is the deluxe limited edition signed by the author. This is 192 of 600 numbered copies.

  • Dave
    2019-06-08 17:40

    Jack Vance has better command of of the English language and its possibilities than any other author I've ever known.Of all his books, this series is my favorite:1) Lyonesse2) The Green Pearl3) Madouc

  • TJ
    2019-05-27 20:25

    Lyonesse: The Green Pearl was first published in 1985 as a hardcover novel. It is currently in print as a trade paperback or hardcover from Spatterlight Press and in a Kindle edition. My out of print hardcover copy has 408 pages of text. In the past few years I have read this twice and rated it a 5 both times. The Green Pearl is the second book in the Lyonesse trilogy, and I highly recommend it and all three books in the trilogy. Although I rated all three novels a 5, I found each one to be even more engaging than its predecessor. Each is a wonderfully written, very engaging, highly creative fantasy novel that totally enveloped me in a fascinating other world. The setting continues to be in the Elder Isles, a string of islands that run from near northern France extending up toward southern Ireland. The Elder Isles are currently divided into ten kingdoms that either cooperate or compete with other Elder Isles kingdoms for survival or control. The time depicted seems to be in the Middle Ages. The powerful and ambitious King Casmir, the current ruler of Lyonesse, wants to conquer or gain control of all other kingdoms in the Elder Isles so that he can be king of all the isles. King Audry II of Dahaut and King Granice of Troicinet have been his main opposition. After King Granice's death his son Aillas becomes king and continues the same policy of trying to keep Casmir in check.The Green Pearl picks up where Suldrun's Garden left off. In the previous novel a green mist came out of Carfilhiot's body after he was executed and made its way to the sea where it manifested itself as a unique green pearl that was subsequently swallowed by a large flounder. In the Green Pearl a fisherman catches the flounder and discovers the pearl. A subplot follows the valuable pearl as it exchanges hands causing each owner to engage in excessive behavior before coming to a tragic end. Eventually the beautiful pearl comes to the attention of Tamurello, a powerful wizard, who covets it and goes to great efforts to obtain it, although he ends up with much more than he bargained for.In another subplot the wizard Tamurello meets with a sorcerer named Vishuume to plot revenge against King Aillas and another wizard named Shimrod who tries to protect Aillas. Tamurello supports King Casmir even though all wizards are prohibited from becoming involved in politics. He also has a vendetta against Aillas because Aillas hanged Tamurello's lover. In addition Tamurello conspires to overthrow Murgen, the most powerful wizard on the Elder Isles who is closely allied with Shimrod. Their plan leads to the kidnapping of Princess Glyneth of Troicinet after she follows a magnificent butterfly into a cottage in the forest. Once she enters the cottage she is transported to another dimension where the bizarre world of Tanjecterly is encountered. Neither Aillas nor Shimrod can enter the world of Tanjecterly to rescue her or they will be lost forever. But Murgen has a plan and creates a hybrid creature from a strange humanoid called a syaspic feroce, combined with a dead pirate called Kul the Killer, and mixed with some blood from King Aillas. (Aillas blood is added to the mixture so the creature created will have his love for Glyneth and other higher level character qualities.) Murgen sends this creature they call Kul to Tanjecterly to rescue Glyneth. There we encounter the bizarre world of Tanjecterly with its very strange inhabitants including Zaxa, "a hybrid creature half-man and half-hespid batrache, with arms like baulks of timber", two legged wolves that hop like kangaroos and will suck blood from a person's chest "through the rasping orifices in the palms of its forepaws", Progressive Goblin Eels that carry spears and cook humans and other creatures in a boiling pot, and many other fantastical creatures and exotic settings.King Aillas in the meantime becomes the king of South Ulfland after the old king dies. As their new king he tries to unite the barons of South Ulfland who have been fighting feuds with each other instead of defending themselves against the invading Ska who claim to be at war with everyone. (The Ska were originally expelled from Norway and then Ireland and are a fierce, highly disciplined, militarized people who want to conquer all of Elder Isles.) King Casmir is angry that Aillas is now king of South Ulfland as well as Troicinet so he tries to undermine Aillas rule by sending a talented spy to South Ulfland to spread false rumors detrimental to Aillas. He also sends a notorious Ska named Torqual who creates an outlaw gang that creates turmoil and instigates conflicts between the barons. The Ska army meanwhile increases its aggression toward South Ulfland so that Aillas is forced to respond in order to maintain respect as the king. During one of the battles with the Ska, Aillas becomes separated from his troops and then lost after riding to capture a Ska woman of nobility who was part of the household that once enslaved Aillas. Initially he intends to make her a slave the way her family did with him, but he learns that she is not the idealized person he had imagined and loses interest in her. Aillas is soon reunited with his troops, and his strategy for combating the Ska continues to be very effective and successful.There are so many interesting adventures, encounters, subplots, characters and scenes that only a few can be briefly mentioned in a review. The novel is infused with a tremendous amount of creativity and imagination, and it was difficult to put down each time I read it. The Green Pearl is very well written, extremely engaging, highly interesting and one of the most enjoyable novels I've ever encountered. I look forward to reading it and the other two Lyonesse novels yet again a few years from now.

  • Bertrand
    2019-06-10 12:49

    Follow-up of a very solid first opus, the Green Pearl continues the first steps of a top fantasy trilogy started with Suldrun's Garden. The Lyonesse cycle is basically a power struggle taking place in an imaginary archipelago located close to Brittany and England and mixing History with fairy tales, Arthurian legends with pure fantasy.We see in the Green Pearl the quick rise of King Aillas from Troicinet who is opposing the domination of his neighbour the King Casmir from Lyonesse. The latter is actively investigating the origins of Aillas and his son Dhrun while being disturbed by an old prophecy foreseeing his grandson to rule the Elder Isles.I'd say this is a very powerful sequel which is capitalizing on the strengths of the first book. The battle between the two kings is fascinating with the twisted plots and spying and betrayals attached to it. Aillas - a real vancian hero - relies on tricks and cleverness to triumph from his rival, hence expanding his empire. The Green Pearl is all about humour, fantasy, nimbleness and light-hearted situations/characters. The mix of fantasy with a historical background is clearly the highlight of this work.Recommended.Suite d’un premier tome haut en couleurs, la Perle verte poursuit efficacement les jalons d’une belle trilogie de fantasy débutée avec le Jardin de Suldrun. On le rappelle, Lyonesse c’est une guerre pour le pouvoir prenant place sur un archipel imaginaire situé au loin de la Bretagne et de l’Angleterre, mêlant Histoire, contes de fées, légendes arthuriennes et fantasy pure et dure.On assiste dans la Perle verte à l’ascension fulgurante du roi Aillas de Troicinet qui poursuit sur sa lancée et s’oppose fermement à la domination de son voisin le roi Casmir de Lyonesse. En parallèle ce dernier enquête dans la plus grande discrétion sur les origines d’Aillas et de son fils Dhrun, alors que Casmir est toujours perturbé par une prophétie prédisant que son petit-fils monterait sur le trône d’Evandig et unifierait les Iles Anciennes. Une suite très efficace donc, qui capitalise sur les points forts du premier volume. Le mano a mano que se livrent les deux Rois concurrents est passionnant et c’est une délicieuse suite de trahisons et coups fourrés que nous propose l’auteur. Aillas, héros vancien s’il en est, redouble d’astuce et de ruse pour doubler son opposant et étendre son empire. On retrouve avec grand plaisir les litres de tendresse, de légèreté, d’humour et d’émerveillement déversés par Jack Vance dans ce roman. Son talent de conteur est évident et la superposition du merveilleux sur un contexte historique est à mon sens la vraie réussite de l’œuvre. La sauce prend !

  • xiny
    2019-06-16 18:49

    La parte de la historia de la perla verde está fenomenal, me ha encantado. Y, en conjunto, he encontrado todo el libro mucho más enfocado y trascendente que "El jardín de Suldrun" (más como la primera parte de este libro, mejor dicho).

  • Tomás Sendarrubias garcía
    2019-05-24 20:52

    Si el primer volumen de la Trilogía de Lyonesse resultó un poco confuso, lo cierto es que La Perla Verde se ha convertido en una lectura más que amena. Una vez hecho al estilo del autor a través de la lectura de El Jardín de Suldrun, adentrarse de nuevo en las Islas Elder para seguir las aventuras de Aillas, convertido en protagonista indiscutible de la novela, ha sido algo muy divertido, y me ha dado la sensación de encontrarme de nuevo con unos personajes muy frescos, a pesar de que a día de hoy, con el ritmo de lectura que tengo en muchas ocasiones, me da la impresión de que de un día para otro se me olvidan libros enteros. En La Perla Verde, seguimos el destino de la perla verde en la que pareció convertirse la malevolencia de Faude Carfilhiot y que nos muestra algunas de las escenas mejor hiladas de la novela, aunque en realidad, el foco de la historia se centra en las maniobras realizadas por los dos grandes contendientes de la trilogía, el rey Casmir de Lyonesse y el rey Aillas de Troicinet, ahora también señor de Ulflandia del Sur. Casmir continúa decidido a todo para convertirse en el alto rey de todas las islas Elder, pero Aillas, que no ha olvidado el dolor que vivieron él y su amada Suldrun a causa del rey, continúa haciéndole frente, mientras tiene que lidiar también con los conflictos de poder entre los propios magos, y con su lucha contra los ska, decidido a poner fin a la guerra abierta entre estos y los habitantes de las Islas Elder. En esta novela, el fallecido Jack Vance nos demuestra de nuevo una gran habilidad para plasmar personajes y situaciones extrañas con unos pocos párrafos, en una historia que espero terminar pronto con la tercera parte de la trilogía...

  • Metaphorosis
    2019-06-16 15:31

    The Green Pearl is a much better book than I recalled it being. Perhaps that's because we spend some time in an alternate world, and Vance is thus freed from the constraints of Earth. Perhaps it's because the storyline is simpler, following primarily Aillas and Glyneth.Aillas, King of Troicinet and South Ulfland, spends a fair amount of time haring about on his own adventures, which requires a certain suspension of disbelief, but credibility is not really a major factor with Vance books. The focus on individuals brings Vance more truly to his own territory of longing and lust, of weird creatures and places.The politics remains from Suldrun's Garden, but here it's more straightforward (Aillas protecting his land) and less obtrusive. The book spends less time describing Lyonesse overall, and more on individual adventures. It's a much better book for it, and much more Vancian.Overall, I'd say it's a 3.5, though I rounded up for the sheer surprise of it being so good, where I had recollected it being more dull. The Lyonesse trilogy is a good introduction to Vance for those who are used to somewhat more traditional narrative. For Vance aficionados, this is not his best work, but it's good.CVIE V

  • Malquiviades
    2019-06-17 16:24

    So, again, following the adventure in the Elder Islands with the irresistible and unique Vance's style. He continues the story as it was left by Lyonesse Suldrun's Garden Lyonesse 1. The tragedy is somehow left aside as new adventures comes up dotted with revenge, conquest, full of amazing and histrionic characters described with the exceptional Vance's style. Again. Humorous, too. Sometimes you may think that the story is not as important as it may seems as long as he keeps on describing sights, people (human or not), motivations, meals, smells, passions and emotions. Sometimes, a mere paragraph describing a very side character just light the page up and you wonder why Vance's just not keep on going, forgetting about the main plot. And this is not a claim against the main plot, which already caught your attention since the previous book, but just an example on how he masters the art of storytelling.

  • Bryan
    2019-06-14 20:31

    Sheer pleasure! Highest possible rating! Jack Vance is a master - his writing has a style of its own. He loves language, and no other author I've read matches his command of English. Humor and action, wit and wisdom, through worlds strange and fantastic. This is a truly enthralling tale, a masterwork to be treasured and reread again and again.

  • John
    2019-05-28 19:36

    I read Suldrun's Garden (then titled Lyonesse), the first novel in Jack Vance's Lyonesse fantasy trilogy, in the mid-1980s. After three decades, I finally return to Lyonesse and its second novel, The Green Pearl.When I read Suldrun's Garden, I was impressed by Vance's readable prose, his skill with incisive and witty dialog and his convincing worldbuilding, but the first half of the novel disappointed me. It amounted to a costume romance, the story of kings and queens and princesses in an alternate but mimetic world, politicking, having love affairs, going to war, betraying each other, and so forth. The setting could just as easily have been medieval Europe. Much of what passes for high fantasy is like this, but not the kind I like. I need fantasy in my fantasy: things unearthly, magical, inhuman, eerie and dangerous. The novel's second half, though, was vastly different, almost a different novel: suddenly the reader is plunged into a world of fairies, trolls, of magic, adventure, wonder, danger, horror. That half of Suldrun's Garden I loved to death, and thought it was one of the best things I'd read in years.I regret to report that The Green Pearl has the same problem with unevenness, and that it's worse.The novel begins with brief stories about the green pearl of the title, a magical item that first empowers and then destroys its possessor, as it passes from one luckless owner to the next. The stories are clever, fast-moving, and entertaining. Then, after about 30 pages, Vance parks the pearl in a forest glade, and forgets about it until near the novel's end. The novel's middle three-quarters or so concerns the political adventures of Aillas, a character from Suldrun's Garden, a newly minted king, who must struggle to consolidate his inherited lands and beat back assaults from neighboring kingdoms. The story is well-told, but almost entirely a drama of war and political intrigue, with few fantasy elements. It has another problem: Aillas has it too easy. He effortlessly surmounts all difficulties and never seems to be in any serious danger. Potentially interesting subplots develop, but Vance tends to step on the climax, or abandons the story and never finishes it in a satisfying manner. Finally, about seventy-five pages from the end, the reader is treated to a brief portal-fantasy-within-a-costume-romance in which a sympathetic character has entertaining, dangerous and wildly fantastical adventures in until the book's end.Vance's use of point of view bears mention. Much of the novel is close to third-person objective, and the reader is left to puzzle out for themselves what the characters are thinking or feeling. Sometimes, though, Vance dips into the thoughts of one character or another, sometimes different characters in the same scene, although never 'head-hopping'. Vance always lets at least a page go by, and subtly moves the focus of the narrative from one character to another (even though both may be in the same room, having a conversation) before he allows the reader into the second character's thoughts. The narrator is never chatty and never wanders away from the scene of the action -- as a Susanna Clarke omniscient narrator might -- has almost no 'voice', and is essentially transparent to the reader. Vance carries this off skillfully, and I doubt the casual reader would ever notice the narrator or the POV. The novel is a tutorial in one way successfully to handle omniscient POV. In summation, although this novel is easy to read and enjoy, and is skillfully written at level of line, paragraph, and scene, it is ultimately frustrating and disappointing. It feels like two quite different types of fantasy novel, cut up and interleaved together. The plot and subplots never develop convincingly. There is a lack of narrative tension.

  • Derek
    2019-06-15 17:43

    The thing about Jack Vance novels, whether they be fantasy or SF, at heart, all they're are adventure stories, there's the cheery side that's open to discovery and vivacious experiences, and there's the side that's running, dodging, fighting against the tides of danger. It's a child's enthusiasm in a work so mature, it leaves you feeling nothing but grateful for the experience and awed. And yes some times it can be frustrating, if you're a reader, cause you find yourself yelling at the characters in the book to get a move on already, "you stupid wench, linger here no longer!"-- sorry Princess Glyneth. Anyway, as someone who writes you appreciate the style and the sadism Vance subjects his characters to, he never lets anyone off easy, at least not until they've proven they're worth their mettle. If there's anything I've learnt from Vance books it's that. Always leave the reader a little frustrated. Reading Vance books is when you get an appreciation for the words, "It kept me on the edge of my seat," But enough about that, The Green Pearl is an object of utter depravity, it being all that remains of Faude Carfilhiot, the being the sorceress Desmei created alongside Melancthe to act as exemplars of all her beauty and grace. The book isn't entirely about this pearl, it starts out that way, then trickles out to more immediate concerns, like King Allias march on North Ulflands. His uniting of the southern Ulflands to wage war against the Ska of the North. King Allias proves himself time and time again, beating the Ska on guerilla warfare alone. And affording within all this turbulent time to garner a dalliance with Lady Tatzel, whom he first makes her slave, and to be honest I was hoping there would grow a romantic attachment, but that's reserved for someone more worthy. Glyneth? Can't wait to see how that pans out, or how King Casmir deals with the looming implication of the prophecy concerning Prince Dhrun and how he'll handle Princess Maduoc, whom he knows is a faery changeling and not his granddaughter. Can't wait to start the next book. Onwards, Onwards!

  • Howard
    2019-06-17 16:50

    This second book in the Lyonesse series was absolutely a joy to read. The series definitely got better with The Green Pearl, and that is saying a lot, since the first book (Suldrun's Garden) was very enjoyable as well. I was constantly amazed by the direction of this story. A good portion of the book dealt with King Aillas establishing order in his kingdoms. That would seem to be an uninteresting topic, but in fact, it was fascinating. Aillas is the good king, doing all the right and wise things in the face of tremendous obstacles. The rest of the story dealt with magical and fantasy events. Jack Vance is such a creative individual. How did he ever come up with the ideas in this series?! It is worth noting that the book reads beautifully. He is such a master of the English language. I couldn't put this book down and I'm eagerly awaiting the final book of the series. Unfortunately, the Lyonesse series is out of print, but the books can be easily found used through online booksellers and there are Kindle versions of the books available through Amazon. Do yourself a favor and read this wonderful series.

  • Peter
    2019-05-25 18:28

    More focussed than the first book of the Lyonesse series. In this book we mostly follow Aillas and his experiences as a statesman, slowly expanding his influence in the Elder Isles, Shimrod, the magician and Glyneth, the once orphan now princess in the court of Aillas.Like the previous novel large parts are focussed on one plot and character before switching over to the next, but overall the book still feels like a whole. We get the same scheming wizards, merchants and royalty as in the dying earth books, but in this series the protagonists are actually nice people.Up to the next one!

  • Andrew
    2019-05-22 12:46

    Absolutely loved the second book in the Lyonesse series. As in the previous Lyonesse book, there are several plots and sub-plots running, all related along with a lot of other stuff going on - Vance fits them all together perfectly and the whole thing is a pleasure to read. Can't wait to get my hands on the third one in the series.

  • Aaron Singleton
    2019-06-16 14:29

    The sequel to Lyonesse: Suldren's Garden. An absolute gem of a book. Continues the stories of the warring kingdoms and wizards of the Elder Isles. Like most Vance, it has humour, adventure, and romance, and that unnameable Vancian quality that is so hard to put into words. If you read book 1, you have to read this.

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-04 14:38

    Three stars for Aillas' story, two stars for Shimrod's story. For an interesting villain in the first book, King Casmir seems pretty ineffectual in this one.I wonder if GRRM found inspiration for Tyrion's "don't tell the Queen" sequence in A Clash of Kings as Aillas uses almost an identical tactic to root out a mole in his inner council?

  • Benthemeek
    2019-06-15 13:36

    I enjoyed this much more than the first book. The story focused mainly on Aillas and the side branches added to the main and were not distracting. Everything went well together and I felt much was explained better in what was introduced in the first one.

  • Raro de Concurso
    2019-05-30 20:37

    Ver la review de la trilogía:

  • Sean Brennan
    2019-06-01 15:35

    Excel;lent as always, one wishes that Jack had written more fantasy! As his Magicians ROCK!!!

  • CriticalTodd
    2019-05-26 12:53

    I enjoyed this one more than Suldrun's Garden, maybe because it concentrated more on characters that I liked and felt invested in than the first book.

  • Terence
    2019-06-16 13:25

    See Lyonesse III: Madouc for the review.

  • Arun
    2019-06-17 14:39

    Another gem from the master.

  • Alejandro Kauderer Navas
    2019-05-23 18:35

    El primer tomo de esta trilogía me gustó más porque pienso que en el hay un poco más de fantasía que en este pero eso no quita que sea una lectura que enganche, con muchas aventuras y sobre todo magia. Si es verdad que no hay tanta fantasía pero eso no quiere decir que SÍ haya, solo digo que pienso que en el anterior hay un poco más.