Some authors write prose that speaks so distinctly that it needs no embellishment from a narrator. Silverberg is such an author, and so Rudnicki, being one of those no-frills narrators who basically acts as a conduit for the listener, is an ideal choice for narrator. His performance is understated but compelling and it is that understated nature of his reading that is largely responsible for his appeal. Rudnicki is not going to dazzle you with his range of voices or other vocal trickery; instead, he keeps things basic, and for the most part just conveys the author's text and keeps out of the way, making listening to an audiobook read by him akin to reading the book yourself.
Some folks just know how to tell a story. And when you get two natural-born storytellers like Silverberg and Rudnicki together on the same project, the result is quite an unforgettable journey. John Joseph Adams
The Majipoor Cycle begins as young Valentine, a man with no memory, is hired as an apprentice juggler by a group of eccentric performers. While the traveling troupe takes to the road, Valentine's sleep is disturbed by nightmare visions of warring brothers and difficulties on faraway Castle Mount. In a quest to discover who Valentine really is, his wise and peculiar companions resolve to help him claim the rewards of his birth. But another trial awaits Valentine that will test his belief, resolve, and strength of character.
©1980 Robert Silverberg; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I read this book shortly after it's first publication so it's a great pleasure hearing it in audio form. I only need to comment on it's superb, expert narration. Flawless.
this is one of my all-time favourite fantasy books so i was delighted to see it on audible. as expected, i thoroughly enjoyed it, a magical listen and very well narrated. please can we have the other Majipoor books soon!
A penetrating and original re-visitation of the classsic hero's quest. A dreamlike and magical journey through Majipor, world like no other. The narrators deep chocolate tone is perfect and only serves to broaden the listeners pleasure.
This is not Fantasy, nor Sci-Fi, rather a genre all of its own, perhaps Jungian is the world. The only comparison I dare to consider is the work of the British writer Christopher Priest.
Great story, compulsive narrative - highly recommended.
I read this book long ago and I remembered liking it a lot so I decided to get the Audible version to help me get through my daily commute. Rudniki did a great job reading this book and I found it quite enjoyable.
I have read Lord Valentine's Castle in its print form at least seven or eight times, and it is one of my all-time favourite novels, even though I am a hard core sf fan rather than a fantasy fan. Now that my eyesight is deteriorating, I rely heavily on audio books, and the three audio Majipoor books currently available have added a a new dimension to this wonderful series. Superbly done, beautifully read by Stefan Rudnicki, who brings life to the alien voices. Strongly recommended for new Silverberg fans as well as long-time fans.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Lord Valentine???s Castle (1980) is considered a classic SFF novel and, therefore, it???s one I???ve been planning to read (and expecting to love) for years. Indeed, there is much to love about Robert Silverberg???s world of Majipoor ??? it???s a huge hinterlands planet full of jungles, volcanoes, archipelagoes, deserts, long rivers, and sprawling cities populated by alien races and Old Earth humans. Majipoor contains no fossil fuels and few metals and, while there are still some genetically engineered animals and plants, most of Earth???s technology has been lost (though some is still being used by the rulers). Thus, Majipoor reminds me of what I love about Gene Wolfe???s Book of the New Sun ??? an old-world style with hints of unknown technological wonders that we hope to explore in future books.
The premise and the world-building are the strengths of Lord Valentine???s Castle. The plot, though it has so much potential, sometimes seems to crawl under the weight of that huge planet. Valentine plans to go to the castle to confront the imposter, so he goes. It???s a long slow journey which has some obstacles, but they???re all rather easily overcome. Much of the hard work is done in dreams or images as the Lady of Dreams (and, later, Valentine himself) convinces the people around him that Valentine is the true ruler of Majipoor. There???s not much tension and what there is, is quickly relieved.
I listened to Blackstone Audio???s production of Lord Valentine???s Castle which was read by one of my favorite narrators: Stefan Rudnicki. As usual, this was a very nice production and a great way to read Lord Valentine???s Castle.
If you want to explore a vast imaginative world, and don???t mind the leisurely pace, try Robert Silverberg???s Majipoor Cycle.
Imaginative and interesting premise. BIGtime. Heavy handed and slightly ponderous on the execution end. Ditto on the narration. The author was DEFinitely exploring a theme of: "the responsibilities of a ruler to the people".
I HATE reading good scifi or fantasy writing saddled by a smothering theme.
It's like having sheet cake...The WHOLE sheet cake. It's cloying at the end of the day.
Despite the wonderful alien races, simple strong writing, interesting characters, and a great plot. THEN...That crazy wacky King of Dreams. SO much planet-spanning messages to everyone in the night, so many blurry analogies, hidden godly wills, and a mishmash of mysticism and religion.
It just pulled me away from the core of a great novel.
Please understand, religion in fantasy is commonplace. Look at Jordan's Wheel Of Time series as an example of religion woven smoothly into fantasy writing. It works. It strengthens the entire story, and is one of the essential underpinnings of the entire series.
Here, not so much.
I hate that I love this work, and am equally frustrated by it's poorly driven religion. I finished the work, and hoped that this would end in the first novel. Nope. It got worse.
I'm VERY confident that some of you will disagree, and that's okay. This is MY opinion, and I have to be true to myself.
Sorry, Robert, I really tried.
History, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Grand in scope, intriguing potential with highly imaginative topography, alien races and overall story. I just felt the actual banter between Valentine and his various friends to be be shallow to dull which left not one character as someone you really cared about. The fantasy world is huge and extremely creative and I would recommend this to anyone who likes the old formula fantasy with a hint of sci-fi.
I read this book a number of years ago and was happy to find it on Audible. It didn't challenge my intellect or make me want to take up a political cause - it was just a fun futuristic/medieval romp. Sometimes those are the best books.
I liked the narrator - his voice was smooth and he didn't overdo the drama in his voice. It was delightful.
It wanted me to dust off my juggling balls.
"Fun, gentle romp across a fascinating world"
fun fantasy perambulation
I first read Lord Valentine's Castle 30 years ago and really loved it. I found that listening again to the story 3 decades later that my memory of it was as fresh as the day I first read it.
I think it is the mood of the story that sets this book apart. This is no epic fantasy with pitched battles against terrible odds for the very survival of a people. Though the stakes are just as high, here a vagabond troupe of jugglers have the fate of a world of billions in their hands as they perambulate across the planet of Majipoor, muddling through challenges as best they can.
Though there is a great set of quirky characters, both human and alien, in many ways the most interesting character traits are reflections of the highly diverse culture which has managed to maintain general harmony over thousands of years and the seemingly weak forces which make it all work. If you can suspend disbelief that it's possible you're left with the general feeling that this world would be a really nice place to visit or live. And the world of Majipoor is in itself epic in scale, a huge, low density, metal poor planet with vast continents filled with fascinating folk, flora and fauna around every bend in the road.
There is plenty of conflict to keep the story moving along at a typical gentle Majipoorean pace and slowly build to a climax at the end which resolved all the main threads of the novel satisfactorily. In many ways the sub plot of the story of Edeard in Makkathran in Peter F. Hamilton's The Dreaming Void was very reminiscent of Majipoor's low tech science fictional universe with a strong fantasy feel to it.
Probably not for aficionados of Grimdark but if you'd like a fun exploration of a future fantasy world which has a very positive feel and where success is linked more to your ability to inspire others to do the right thing than to the size of the army you can raise then this is the book for you.
It is interesting that while Majipoor has a strong and diverse multi-cultural society there is still a legacy of an aboriginal population which have been very poorly treated, and the very accepting and tolerant but not quite equal treatment of non humans (can you really call people who have lived somewhere for millennia alien?). And there is a sense that Majipoor is a slumbering backwater in an unfashionable part of the galaxy which helps dispel a sense that it is all too perfect to be true.
Well worth a read!
Fantastic narration as I've come to expect from Stefan who really brings the characters to life and who conveys the warmth of the narrative really well.
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