Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

photo_10618_20091215I read somewhere that some books are “comfort reads”, you know, those books you reread a hundred times and end up purchasing more than once because you wear your copy out.  Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings is a “comfort read” for me.  The first time I read it was in high school, I remember purchasing it at a bookstore, at random, and devouring it within two days (no mean feat considering the size of the novel). I have destroyed two paperback copies and am now working on destroying a hardbound copy (give me time and I am sure I will end up with a copy on my ereader as well).  I reread the series at least once a year, if not more.

Publisher: It all begins with the theft of the Orb that for so long protected the West from an evil god. As long as the Orb was at Riva, the prophecy went, its people would be safe from this corrupting power. Garion, a simple farm boy, is familiar with the legend of the Orb, but skeptical in matters of magic. Until, through a twist of fate, he learns not only that the story of the Orb is true, but that he must set out on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger to help recover it. For Garion is a child of destiny, and fate itself is leading him far from his home, sweeping him irrevocably toward a distant tower—and a cataclysmic confrontation with a master of the darkest magic.

Pawn of Prophecy is the first book in the Belgariad Series, a collection of five novels.  The novel begins with a boy, Garion, living on a farm with his aunt raising him.  One night, he and his aunt are forced to leave in the middle of the night to meet up with others, chasing someone who stole something but no-one will tell Garion exactly what and who they are chasing.  Garion slowly starts to realize that his aunt and the group they have met up with are very important politic figures and that what they are chasing after will change the course of history.  There is magic but it is all carefully bound by rules, which appeals to my logic nature (how you can have something as powerful as magic without careful rules to control it?!).

David Eddings does a fabulous job of giving each of the lands in the novel their own culture and history.  The world Eddings’ created is influenced by the seven Gods that exist, with each of the different lands ruled over by a specific God and taking on the characteristics of that God.  For example, the God Nedra loves gambling and chance so his followers are always making deals with each other, their God, and their culture revolves around money.

His characters are very distinctive and very witty.  Eddings cohesion of the history of the land, its people and the impact of that history on the ongoing story is unparalleled.  It is like reading Tolkien without all the boring parts (I mean really, do we really care what EVERY tree looks like in Tolkiens’ world?!).  I highly recommend it and give it a rating for violence, not sex.

Rating: 2

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Author Spotlight: Barbara Cartland

bio-sketchOne of the world’s most prolific writers, Barbara Cartland is listed in the Guinness World Record for writing 723 novels and leaving 160 unpublished manuscripts upon her death in 2000.  She survived two World Wars and was awarded the Bishop Wright Air Industry Award at Kennedy Airport USA for her help in devising and creating the first aeroplane-towed glider.  Barbara gathered thousands of white wedding dresses available for rent by women getting married to service men during WWII so they could have a wedding dress to wear to the ceremony.  Barbara was made a Dame of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours List by Her Majesty the Queen, for her contribution to literature and for her work for the Community.

Most famous for her romance novels, Barbara also created cookbooks and wrote several biographies.  Born in 1901, Brabara was raised in England and published her first book in 1923.   She is considered the “Queen of Romance” for her contributions to the romance genre. Barbara Cartland’s books have been made into several movies including The Lady and the Highwayman starring Hugh Grant (which I own and laugh through even if it is slightly cheesy).

article-1022081-03AC33CE0000044D-697_468x613I think I read my first Barbara Cartland book when I was about thirteen.  My mother would read them first (to make sure it was clean enough for me to read) and then she would give them to me.  It wasn’t long before I was reading them faster than she was (I know, having five children and working full time doesn’t excuse her from not reading fast enough).  Mom and I both realized that all her books were safe for me to read and I would estimate that I have read at least a hundred of her books.  Most of them take place in Victorian England and involve a beautiful naive girl and a jaded rake.  I love them all!

In my collection of books (which is vast) I have one bin of books just for her because I have so many. (Someday I will have a real library but for now an organized Rubbermaid storage bin is the closest I come.)  Rereading one of her books is like coming home.  I spent long hours in the living room of my parent’s chaotic house curled up in the sun reading (or hanging upside down on the couch, I can’t figure out now why I loved to read upside down so much).  Anyone who asked my mother what she would recommend to read was handed a Barbara Cartland.

Barbara Cartland’s daughter is in the process of getting her unpublished manuscripts finished and published, they can be purchased through the link below at BarbaraCartland.com.  I highly recommend her books and they can be found at any used book store that carries romance novels (see my previous post regarding my experience with used books stores). I hope you pick one up and let me know what you think.

BarbaraCartland.com

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Author Spotlight: Georgette Heyer

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Ask any romance author or reader who their favorite author is and Georgette Heyer’s name will be mentioned.  Credited with inventing the Regency England genre of  novels, Heyer is still being published today.  I have to admit I own all of her romance books and most of her mysteries.  Georgette Heyer (August 16, 1902-July 4 1974) wrote her first novel, The Black Moth, at the age of 21 as a story for her brother.

Heyer was a very private person and spent most of her life refusing interviews.  Most of  Heyer’s novels take place during the same time period as Jane Austen’s but Jane Austen was writing contemporary fiction and Heyer was writing historical novels.   Heyer was incredibly prolific and wrote numerous historical and mystery novels.

Heyer also wrote several novels about famous historical figures including An Infamous Army about Duke Wellington and The Conqueror about William the Conqueror.  Heyer carefully researched and collected facts about the time periods she wrote about, even claiming that she only wrote what Duke Wellington wrote or said.

While I have yet to read a Heyer novel that I don’t love my two favorite are Sylvestor, or the Wicked Uncle and The Grand Sophy.  There are numerous websites and discussion groups out there but I have listed a few here:

www.georgette-heyer.com and www.georgetteheyernovels.com

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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Upon first hearing of this book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, I figured it would either be an absolute riot or the worst book ever written.  I was correct, this book is a riot!  I giggled through the whole thing.  I am a huge Pride and Prejudice fan. I have lost count of the number of times I have read the book and I own three different versions of the movie.  Starting the book, I was expecting an exact replica of the original story with zombies added but, was surprised with the first conversation that the author updated the language.  I have to admit this threw me for a minute and I had to stop and think about if I really wanted to finish the book.  (I know I shouldn’t start a book with preconceived notions but when it comes to this book, I didn’t even realize I had done it until I started the book.) I pressed on and immediately started giggling.  The author went far beyond just the potty-humor I was expecting.  The characters refer to the zombies as “unmentionables”, showing the author’s keen grasp of English Society during this time.

I will admit there was a moment where I felt like it was Pride and Prejudice meets Indiana Jones but, that scene aside,the warrior Elizabeth was fantastic, adding another layer of strength to this already complex character.

The author followed the themes and plot of the original story but he did diverge from the original in the consequences of the protagonists, such as Wickham and Liddia.  I admit, I loved the consequences.  I think it is the bloodthirsty streak in me but it seemed much more fitting than the original’s just sending them off to the North country.

I give this book a rating of three, based on the gore and nothing else.[amazon-product]1594743347[/amazon-product]