Princess Inos lived an idyllic life in her fathers' sleepy, backwater kingdom, and she was best friends with her childhood companion, the stableboy, Rap. But when a prophecy seemed to say Inos should be married, she was exiled to the Impire to learn to be a lady. She was far away when Rap's magical talents began to emerge, and it was he who told her of the fate awaiting them both.
©1990 D.J. Duncan (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Doc in the Box
In the book format, this was a series I could fall back into time and time again. The audible version has great narration that is flawless, I fell in love with the characters all over again and am looking forward for the rest of the books to come out.
Nothing really compares to the Man of His Word series, I compare other series to it. I guess you could compare Robin Hobb or Trudi Canavan, this is Dave Duncan's strongest work.
This is the only book on Audible that I've heard Mil read, he does it like he's been doing it for years. He sounds like the voice in my head.
Magic, true love and an adventure that you will never forget.
Try this out, you won't be disappointed.
Although the book might sound typical, with a princess, a castle, a magical history, and an stableboy as an unlikely hero , they way author Dave Duncan sets up the rules of the world is interesting. Magic Casement introduces you to the players, and starts to introduce the world to the characters, and to the reader.
The first thing that you notice are that there are no "humans" as a separate race. There are Imps, and Jotnar, and Elves, and Goblins, and Gnomes, and others, all of which are just people.
Second, there is magic... the kingdom of Kagaznagar where the story takes place was created by a powerful wizard... But there are rules to magic, and it all centers on "Words of Power", and the great Warlocks and Witches in the capitol of the Impire. But these are things that the residents of remote Kagaznagar care little for, and know even less about.
But when the king Holindarn becomes ill, it sets in motion an incredible adventures for the Princess Inosolan, and he childhood friend, and stable-boy, Rap. As Inosolan is introduces to fine living, and the expectations of royalty, Rap is thrown into the disgusting and horrid world of goblins. As they experience more of the world around them, they begin to understand how precarious their kingdom, and even their lives, actually are.
This is the first book or 4, so it does start a little slow, and it seems to end rather abruptly. On its own, it would need to be longer. As part 1 of 4... its a good opening, and a worthwhile listen.
Mil Nicholson does a good job of keeping the voices and accents separate and distinct, and her British accent lends an aura to this reading. She does the ladies' and boyish voices well, but seems to be a little lacking in some of the men's voices.
I first read this series long ago. I have been waiting for ages for it to come out in audio format. It is as good as I remember. I couldn't put it down. I am hoping for the last book to come out soon. This is one I could listen to over and over.
I hold a BA in History from York University of Toronto; a 3yr Diploma in Computer Networking from Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario. I have been "reading" audio books sinces the late 80s and a member of Audible back to 2004. What a really like is a good long story preferable over 30 hours. :)
For me Dave Duncan worlds always are set somewhere in our own world then expanded by a touch of magic. Actually in this case much more than a touch. Here is a mostly Celtic set at the high of the another Empire (much like later Rome Imperim).
I liked the main character - cheering for many. None are too sweet and they believable flawed. The book is wonderful and if the story is not totally original it is satisfactory told.
For Duncan normal habits are broken a bit - told story is told from a couple of character views; magic is a much bigger deal than in the Venise or Seventh Swords series. But the magic is clearly understandable rules and in keeping with general modern ideas of Celtic magic.
My only problem with the book is that it ends so quickly that one feels that there should be a second download not another book. Not totally cliff hanger just rather incomplete ending.
I enjoyed the book and I'm looking forward to listening to the second, however - This recording is missing the last paragrah of the story. The way it ended seemed a little off so I checked an online version of the full bood and there is a very important part missing.
Cliff-hangers can be frustrating. I felt that this book ended just before a climax and ended awkwardly.
The story is interesting, and hooks you from the beginning. If I didn't have the next book in my library, I would have gone bonkers. I decided to give the next book in the series a chance to see if it moves the story along better, and ends on a better note. That will decide the series for me.
I don't know that I will recommend this book - just be aware that if you decide to read this book, you will definitely not be satisfied with the ending unless you have the next book handy - reader beware!
I'm a web designer in Southern California that loves a good thick book - especially epic fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary thrillers. My favorite authors include Stephenson, Erikson, and Sanderson.
I'm not really sure what it was about this book - it's been recommended to me by several people, but after reading through about half of it, it just dragged on and on without anything of substance ever happening that warranted enough interest for me to keep reading.
I might come back to this one, but there just didn't seem to be an engaging plotline; In several hours of listening, nothing happens besides following an adolescent girl through an exceedingly boring court life, listening to her whine about how boring it is, and then following the plot line of an unremarkable stable boy that was gaining magical powers (although they very well may be the more dull magical powers ever to grace the written page).
Something more modern...
The narrator was fine, really. No complaints there.
The entire first half of the book.
Nope. This isn't bad writing, it just wasn't my preference. Perhaps I'm just desensitized by more modern fantasy writing that includes more structure, world building, and conflict.
Loved the book when I first read it. Great world, interesting development.
But the sibilance in every sentence with an 's'!!! Dropped me right out of the story a number of times. The rest of the books appear to be from the same team, so I'll tough it out eventually, but I'll work through most of my library first!
I am a lover of fantasy novels with exciting action, complex plots, and unforgettable characters.
Personally, I am a fan of dark or militaristic fantasy. Lighthearted feel good fantasy does not usually appeal to me, but there was something about this book that kept me reading. I am not sure if it was Duncan's well written prose, his loveable characters, or the interesting plot, but i finished the book in less than two days. I must say i thoroughly enjoyed the listen. The narrator did a good job enhancing the story with his different and entertaining voices as well. Overall, this novel was definitely worth reading and i have already bought the second book in the series.
A trilogy. Say it in three. Done.
I enjoyed reading this fantasy, and eventually the whole series. Actually, I read and listened, alternatively. To me, Nicholson's narration sounded a bit fuzzy at times, not always crisp enough to easily distinguish words.
3rd person POV (my favorite for fiction) set in a medieval world called Pandemia. Plot involves a variety of races of humans/humanoids: humans, elves, goblins, dwarves, djinn, imps, pixies, faeries, trolls, mermen, gnomes, etc.
Magic centers around words of power: 1 word makes a genius, 2 words makes an adept, 3 words makes a mage, 4 words makes a sorcerer, etc. Words are highly coveted and guarded. There are ways to get words and ways to share words. It's not clear where the words come from, but Rap speculates on the subject.
So, Duncan's magical fantasy series begins here, with a stable boy, a princess, magical words, politics, and several mysteries. There is tension between the four ruling warlocks and between the Imps (organized, socially savvy, elegant) and the Jotun / Jotnar (rough seafaring Viking types from Nordland). Goblins also play a big role in this series, as do the Djinn from Zark (much like Arabia, stereotyped).
No sex or swearing, but it does get grisly at times, especially in goblin land. It's also fairly heartwarming at times, and occasionally just mildly amusing. A thread of romance runs through it -- a stableboy yearning for a princess.
I enjoyed the plot. Not crazy about the princess, but I'm rooting for Rap, the stableboy who grew up by the end of this first book. Hooray also for Fleabag the wolf. I am also strangely attached to Little Chicken, the goblin.
Good map in the book -- even higher resolution map at the author's website.
Quibble: Duncan writes very well, but IMO, he uses too much anachronistic language in this series which yanks me out of the medieval setting.
Key Characters to make listening easier:
Holindarn, King of Krasnegar, his sister Aunt Kadolin (Kade), his daughter Princess Inos (Inosolin), Rap (Raparakagozi), factotum Foronod (a Jotnar / Jotun), stable-master hostler Hononin, Guard Master Thosolin, psychotic killer Thane Kalkor of Gark (a Jotnar pirate raider from Nordland), Duke Angliki in Kinvale, duchess Ekki, chaplain Mother Unonini, Djinn sorcerer Rasha aq'Inim Sultana of Arakkaran, Imperor Emshandar, Yggingi Pronconsul in Pondague, Little Chicken goblin from Raven Clan.
There is also a charismatic imp named Andor, Jalon the half-elf minstrel, Darad the Jotun ogre, Dr Sagorn the old scholarly Jotun, and Thinal the thief, an imp.
The Four Warlocks: Bright Water goblin sorceress of the North, Lith'rian elf sorcerer of the South, Olybino imp of the East, and Zinixo dwarf of West.
I read this series and the follow-up series "A Handful of Men" which also features Rap as hero.
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