Interesting to finally read this but it is definitely a one-sided, Puritanical view of Christianity. Very much disagree with the comment that Earth is the terrible enemy. Animal and nature spirits and gifts abound to guide and help us in understanding the meaning of life and the universe. All the answers are here in plain sight but we are destroying it instead.
An unorthodox plot told from the antagonist point of view. The author releases incremental information and allows the reader to believe the antagonist is the protagonist. I agree with the description of a first rate experience from a first rate author. A mixture of mystery, humor, romance and tragedy. I could say more.
A complete falsification of Russian history, completely driven by vitriolic ancestral hatred of the Russian people. Clearly written by a Jew straight out of the Pale of Settlements. Interesting that it starts from Ivan "the Terrible", who was part Tatar and who is hated by the Asiatics because he was the first who managed to push back the Golden Horde (Kipchak Kaghanate) and their grip on Muscovy's Russia.
Love this so much. It's what got me interested in reading stories
This book makes good reading and is good for the mind. It shows that no matter how advanced and openminded your society is, there's always room for prejudice and discrimination. It also shows how discrimination survives, by hiding as a natural rule of law and morality that all should follow.
This is quite a long story, and much of it is overwritten with unnecessary verbiage. That is not to say that it's boring - just that the author is more concerned with flowery language than concise storytelling.
As for storytelling, the author does know how to spin a yarn and maintain reader interest. The epic adventure has many threads, and it takes a little time to tie them together and see what's going on. It would seem the hero is a young boy, but there are other major characters in government and church that command the stage, so in some ways it's hard to say exactly what the story is about without launching into lengthy description. I will attempt to summarize...
In the far future, after five galactic empires have arisen and fallen, the sixth empire is tightly controlled by a humanistic "church" that is dedicated to purifying man - primarily in the physical sense, but psychologically and technologically as well. Though authoritarian, characters don't view the church as evil, most follow its edicts, and a few serve it wholeheartedly.
Henryk, the nominal hero, does not conform biologically to the church's guidelines. The story is basically about what happens to him, with a galactic rebellion thrown in for fun, and many other undercurrent stories woven into the overall tale.
The story has three primary downfalls:
1) I'm neither Catholic nor an expert on them, but I got the feeling throughout the story that the author specifically wanted to marginalize the Catholic church, and religion in general. I find that distasteful.
2) Though there are no explicit sex scenes, the author makes plenty of references to perverted sexual relationships, showing that everyone in the empire is OK with such arrangements. I found that disgusting, and almost kicked the story to the curb because of it.
3) The author drops you off a cliff at the end. A very disappointing "unfinished" ending.
Overall, a most interesting combination of entertainment and disappointment.
For all the build-up and anticipation throughout the book, and after slogging through many laborious pages of description, a very disappointing ending. It ruined the whole book for me
Eight pages of a great work of literature by Ellis Parker Butler.
Favourite line: "Cold!" he said as he entered and began to beat his hands. "Can't you keep this place warm?"
Great reviews for a great book. I have loved this book for almost 50 years... and it never gets old. I am a reader, but this is my all-time favorite book. Charles Reade makes you feel a part of the adventures, of the history of that time period, opening your eyes to life as it was lived, enjoying the depth of strong friendship and the passion of love, and then having your heart broken more than once. It provides an insight into LIFE as no other book has accomplished that I have ever read. (And still, after all these years of telling others, only one person I know has picked it up and read it all the way through...) It is a gem and though hard to explain, it has deepened my understanding of people, their faults, their adventures, their loves, their lives.
Love this book. It is one of my all time favorites since I found it as a school fete in the early 1980's. My old copy is just that and very well read...even before finding my hand. I wish I could find it in reprint.