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Publisher's Summary

"In Quillifer, Williams has presented us with a picaresque novel in the grand tradition of Fielding's Tom Jones, big as life and three times as amazing and affecting." (Locus Magazine)

From New York Times best-selling and award-winning author Walter Jon Williams comes an adventurous epic fantasy about a man who is forced to leave his comfortable life and find his fortune among goddesses, pirates, war, and dragons.

Quillifer is young, serially in love, studying law, and living each day keenly aware that his beloved homeport of Ethlebight risks closure due to silting of the harbor. His concerns for the future become much more immediate when he returns from a summery assignation to find his city attacked by Aekoi pirates, leading to brigands in the streets and his family and friends in chains.

First he has to survive the night. Then he has to leave his home behind and venture forth into the wider world of Duisland, where he can find friends and allies to help avenge his losses and restore Ethlebight to glory. His determination will rock kingdoms, shatter the political structure of Duisland, and change the country forever.

©2017 Walter Jon Williams (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

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The opposite of George R R Martin (in a good way)

Walter Jon Williams is a legend in science fiction and fantasy, and writes pretty much the opposite of grimdark swords and sorcery, an excellent tonic when you have read too many depressing fantasy novels. That isn't to say that there aren't rogues and ambivalent characters (Quillifer himself is not exactly a standard hero), but his books are full of adventures, wit, and warmth - and Quillifer is his best book in ages, perhaps ever.

The story is set in a kingdom during quasi-Elizabethian times - there are knights and lords, but also cannon and playwrights and guilds and all of the other trappings of early modernity. There are many parallels to our own world as well, but not everything matches exactly, including the fact that the world of Quillifer had some magic in the past. The story itself is a coming-of-age story of the really likable rogue that is Quillifer - adventurer, scoundrel, and pawn of fate - as he makes his fortune in trade, wars, love,, and the court. I won't give away much, but it is always engaging, the detail level is terrific, and the language sings.

I strongly recommend this book if you like good old-fashioned swashbuckling fantasy with a slight twist. The reader becomes stronger throughout, and this is the first book of a planned series, so I am eagerly awaiting the next!

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Ralph Lister Puts the Shine on a Turd of a Story.

Woof! I'm just striking out left, right and center with my reads lately. QUILLIFER it's yet another book that I just couldn't get through. Maybe it's me. I just don't know anymore.

I got about three quarters of the way through this beast before finally throwing in the towel. After the fifteenth time that I put this book down I feel l finally decided not to pick it back up.

QUILLIFER tells the story of a fop who stumbled he's way from good fortune to good fortune while making a good deal of enemies along the way. It was well written and I actually enjoyed the fop quite a bit. The problem for me was the storyline itself. It was just all over the place. For having so many enemies, tragedies and drive Quillifer's story lacks urgency. He basically drifts from plot point to plot point and for me it got old after a while.

I usually give DNFs a straight one star rating but I'm giving this a extra for Quillifer's likability.

RECOMMENDATION: Probably Pass On It.