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Lord Valentine's Castle  By  cover art

Lord Valentine's Castle

By: Robert Silverberg
Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
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Editorial reviews

This classic science-fantasy novel by legendary author Robert Silverberg tells the story of a man named Valentine, an amnesiac on the world of Majipoor who must find out who he is and what has been done to him. Given that he shares a name with the Coronal (King) of Majipoor, and the name of the book is Lord Valentine's Castle, it is reasonable to assume that this man with no memory is the deposed, rightful ruler of Majipoor, and Valentine slowly learns that this is, in fact, the case. Although that plotline was not the most original of ideas even 30 years ago when Silverberg wrote the novel, the brilliance of the story is in the journey, not the destination — both in the literal and figurative sense. For Valentine's journey from amnesiac peasant to rightful king does take him on quite a literal journey — a fascinating travelogue of the strange, magical world of Majipoor in which Valentine, and the rag-tag troop of jugglers he associates with, eventually uncover the truth of Valentine's heritage.

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

Publisher's summary

The planet Majipoor is shared by humans and several alien races, including four-armed Skandars, three-eyed Liiman, and the native, shape-shifting Metamorphs. All are watched over by the King of Dreams, the labyrinth-dwelling Pontifex, and the priestess of the Isle of Sleep, while the Coronal officially rules from atop Castle Mount.

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.

What listeners say about Lord Valentine's Castle

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a perfect listen

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!

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb

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.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Magic!

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.

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8 people found this helpful

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A dreamy stroll down memory lane.

Valentine of the title, is a deposed ruler, and one of the four balancing powers who govern the massive planet of Majipoor. But when we meet Valentine, his memories have been stolen, and freed of them, he wanders the world in a kind of happy daze -- a man without a care in the world. A kind and innocent man, he is invited to join a traveling juggling troupe. Un-tethered from his true self, he sees it only as a great adventure.

As memories of his true self return, Valentine faces a deep ambivalence about returning to a life of responsibility, and questions whether or not he would rather be a wandering juggler instead. The book is infused with Valentine's gentle kindness and willingness to go along for the ride, and is a meditation on how our lives might change if we should find ourselves suddenly freed from all responsibility.

The world of Majipoor is among the most beautiful and creative landscapes of any world I've ever read in the Fantasy or Sci Fi genres. Many alien species are introduced, and they are casually described in a matter-of-fact way that provides a quick sketch of their otherness, and then lets them be absorbed into the story, just like any other citizen of the world. Rather than emphasizing their differences, Silverberg allows them to be more real and sympathetic even as they quickly become only one of several who band together for a common purpose.

I read this book for the first time back in the early 80s, and it still moves me with it's lovely dreamlike tone. Since it is a tale in which dreams are a pivotal plot point, it's easy to see why it's still considered a masterpiece. But note that this is a Fantasy quest story, (probably the first I ever read) -- so, if you're looking for Sci Fi, keep looking -- this isn't it.

But if great Fantasy is your thing, too, you may enjoy traveling along with the juggling troupe, over the many varied continents of Majipoor, with it's fantastic cities, plants and animals, and an endless variety of alien citizens.

Everything about this story is satisfying.


Stefan Rudnicki is fantastic! His voice has so much color in this performance, and with so many characters to manage, he does an amazing job bringing Majipoor and all it's denizens to life.



Highly Recommended to Fantasy lovers. This is a classic masterpiece and shouldn't be missed.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Majipoor

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.

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Help! I'm Drowning In Poorly Written Mysticism!

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.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

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.

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Rudnicki's Masterful Reading of Silverberg Classic

Stefan Rudnicki here gives an intelligent and evocative reading of one of my favorite novels. Rudnicki does voices for the various characters and brings Silverberg's richly imagined world to life. This novel is an adventure story and a voyage of discovery at the same time. The explorations are not only of Majipoor and its many life forms, intelligent and less so, but gentle philosophical explorations of what it might mean to be a good leader, as well as a good human being. In other words, Robert Silverberg has created a world that you can get lost in, but what happens in this book can still be seen as relevant to our world. The language is somehow elegant, spicy, and vivid all at the same time, and Rudnicki's woody voice gives it texture, density and feeling. This is my favorite audio novel so far.

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fascinating world. Rudnicki has limitless range

As is true with every novel being read to me, I find myself dozing off but with this one I dozed less. not necessarily because of the action (although there is plenty of this) or the intrigue (plenty still). it is because of the richness of the characters being introduced who are included till the very end and the narrators ability to not only keep their voices true but also the depth of their charactor and attitude toward life and the others around them in the story. I found myself romping around with them on their quest.

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25 Years Later

It took me 25 years to find this book again and I LOVED the audio version! It made me laugh, cry and celebrate along with the characters. Stefan Rudnicki - nicely done!

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