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Publisher's Summary

Long ago, the wizards had vanished from the world, and all knowledge was left hidden in riddles. Morgon, prince of the simple farmers of Hed, proved himself a master of such riddles when he staked his life to win a crown from the dead Lord of Aum.But now ancient, evil forces were threatening him. Shape changers began replacing friends until no man could be trusted. So Morgon was forced to flee to hostile kingdoms, seeking the High One who ruled from mysterious Erlenstar Mountain. Beside him went Deth, the High One's Harper. Ahead lay strange encounters and terrifying adventures. And with him always was the greatest of unsolved riddles - the nature of the three stars on his forehead that seemed to drive him toward his ultimate destiny.

Listen to more in the Riddle-Master trilogy.
©1976 Patricia A. McKillip (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    37
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Performance

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    56
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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

The riddle master of hed

I first read this book when it was published in the 70s.
I listen to it now because of a childhood memory.
The audio recording is good. The narrator does a great job, however the story is a beginners effort in my opinion. her next two books in the series go over much better

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Book 3 is better, but do start here

I found my mind wandering a bit, but I hung in there and was glad I did, because book 3 was worth it. I liked the relationship development in book 3. Poignant. There are some scenes of high-octane, adrenaline-pumping survival and grim death across the series, but these books feel more like old-fashioned classic fantasy (whatever that is). The pace feels slightly slower, more mystical, more nature-based, and not as non-stop bloody action-packed as some fantasy series.

This book ends on a cliff. This series includes numerous twists, so it's best to make no assumptions about events or characters.

The audio narration by Simon Prebble was not bad, but nor did it enhance the story. I could barely hear a difference between voices for Ohm, Danan, Har, and Deth, for example.

As with many fantasies, invented names for characters and places are hard to differentiate and remember via audio. In this case, I found it hard to hear the difference between similar-sounding words of one or two syllables: An, Aum, Ohm, El, Iff, Nun, Tel, Tol, Hed, Har, Hel, Herun, Hlurle, Heureu, Rood, Rork, Ymris, Yrth, etc. To better comprehend, I referred to a VERY helpful website: wizzley (dot) com (slash) riddle-master

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Favorite Series

I love this series. About a quarter of the way through this first audio book, I bought the rest of the trilogy, knowing that I wouldn't be able to stand any waiting between them.

What I loved about this series:
There is a lot of back story and history to this world. Past events are constantly referred to, but don't mean anything to you, until later in the series. It creates a rich environment the encourages re-reads.
The magic is awesome. In this world, magic is common, but not possessed by all. It has many variations that tend to follow bloodlines, or is restricted by rules. The major element of magic here is a thing called land rule, which is sort of akin to kings passing on their crown to the next heir, only that depending on the region, that 'crown' embodies a multitude of magics and powers specific to that kingdom. It turns out to be a rather clever device, and without giving anything away, I found my self more pleased then I could have imagined with the ending.

To stray down a side path, the series has interesting combination of ephemeral (where magic and events happen in vague terms that purposely give the reader strange dual imagery that does and doesn't contradict itself, but instead tells the reader to accept it peacefully) and very specific concrete information. This duality was unexpected, but I must admit that McKillip pulled through in every way.

In short, this was well weaved, and the journey to the conclusion was just as wonderful as the final delight of everything coming together. Listen to this series! I already have over and over again!

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • Denver, Colorado, United States
  • 03-04-11

Riddle master of Hed

I own this book in paper and I still bought this to listen to. I am happy that I did this, even in spite of the fact that I have read this in paper multiple times.
This is the first book in a three part trilogy by Patricia A. McKillip. This is her 'amazingly epic' trilogy, inspired by the Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, where the LOTR trilogy tends to focus more on the action sequences between Orcs/goblins and heroes, this book focuses instead on the interpersonal relationships between the main characters, only using the villainous shapeshifters out of the sea rarely and to great effect in advancement of the plot. This is defiantly a distinct trilogy and one of my favorites.
Also the narrator did a pretty good job. I would recommend this.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I don't understand why this book has good reviews

The book is hard to follow and generally boring. More than anything else, though, I can't figure out why history/mythology questions are called "riddles."

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • FAIR OAKS, CA, United States
  • 01-27-16

Not Sure if I liked it

Any additional comments?

Not sure how much I actually enjoyed this story. At times I found it quite interesting, while at other times I was bored. And I got tired of it in the last few chapters particularly.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good but dated

Audible's advertising caught me. I was curious about a book that Sanderson would describe as his inspiration. While I'd be this was pushing new ground in the 70's, it felt very dated to me. The events, storyline, and characters were not developed to my liking. For the most part it seemed the protagonist just wandered from place to place running into monarch after monarch--each who had some amazing skill to teach him, in under 24hrs.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Blah, Blah, blah

Blah, blah, blah, riddle. Bllllaaaahhh, Blllaaaaahhhh, BBBBBlllllllaaaaaahhhh, prince.
Blah, etc.

If the first paragraph grabs you then by all means get the book. This book is nothing but talk, talk, talk. I can sometime handle that from King, Card, or Asimov, but McKillip makes my mind wonder to grass growing.

69 of 86 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jennie
  • Shingletown, CA, United States
  • 03-21-11

Splendid and engrossing

I was delighted to find one of my favorite fantasy books available for download. Simon Prebble's reading is well paced, beautifully pronounced and absorbing. Well done and recommended.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

It ended too soon

I wish the story had gone on longer. It was disappointing to have it end so suddenly.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-13-12

Fantastic trilogy

This is a fantastic trilogy, one of my all-time favourite fantasy books. I was so delighted to discover that it is available as an unabridged audio book, and read by the wonderful Simon Prebble, that I downloaded the entire trilogy and immediatly started listening to it.

This is not to be missed - a great story that keeps you on the edge of your seat right up to the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Michael Clark
  • 05-06-18

Not what I expected. Fairly disappointed.

I got this book because of its good reviews but I finished the book rather disappointed.

The story boils down to a guy wondering about a lightly described fictional world accomplishing very little. The only interesting thing about the book came at the end where a big twist happens.

Compared to other audiobooks I’ve listened to this book has little description of the environment, leaving much to the imagination. In comparison, I feel other authors take time to describe/introduce places to the reader/listener. If there is an unpleasant city the author will describe exactly why/how it is unpleasant, whereas this book only gives the slightest, smallest description of something then whisks the main character off to a new location.

Similarly, it felt like there were so many non-essential characters introduced that very little time was spent building the main characters. I understand this book is part of a series and some of these characters might return with greater significance but I was left not invested at all in the main characters. So much so that I will not be listening to the sequels.

Finally, I might be splitting hairs or just crazy but it felt like the word “said” was used a lot. Few other verbs were used when in dialogue.

The narration was clear and audible but it was monotone at times. So many characters and very little differentiation in the voice made it difficult to tell who was talking.

I found this book rather disappointing after seeing such positive reviews. Be wary when reading.