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The Language of Stones - Robert Carter

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... The plot and characterisation are recycled, the setting is pretentious and it's a bit of a slog, but I can't deny that it's oddly compelling. So, what is 'The Language of Stones'? It's a fantasy novel, set in a world that is almost Britain, but not quite. It almost features Merlin and ... Read review
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The Language of Stones - Robert Carter

The Language of Stones - Robert Carter

Robert Carter's debut fantasy The Language of Stones tackles the magic-haunted Matter of ... more

Britain, not in King Arthur's dark ages but in an
alternative 15th century where the wizard Merlyn
struggles to prevent the Wars of the Roses.
Gwydion, as he's now known, walks through lovingly
evoked countryside with baleful energies
beneath--a network of ley lines and ancient
stones. Once benign, these old powers were warped
by the invading Slavers (to us, the Romans) who
broke the pattern with their inhumanly straight
roads of stone. So "battlestones" that used to
guard our island now sing a different song, of
rage, dissent and war... This lesson is learned by
Gwydion's new apprentice Will, as he follows his
enigmatic master through a land whose very spirit
can erupt from the ground as the giant Alba, where
an erring lord is cursed with a boar's head and
water-hags lie in wait for the unwary. At first
reluctantly, young Will learns the lore of magic,
chivalry, weaponry and medieval hunting
(reminiscent of The Sword in the Stone). But why
does Gwydion call him Child of Destiny, hinting
that he's an incarnation of another promising lad
whom the wizard taught nearly a thousand years
before? Seeking out and dealing with battlestones
is exhausting work--dangerous, too, because
there's powerful opposition. One of the ancient
wizardly order has chosen the dark side and for
reasons of his own wants war. He's tremendously
powerful: there seems no way to block his malign
influence over the key confrontation that in our
world plunged England into 30 years of war. But
this is not our world.The Language of Stones is
full of charm and the magic of landscape. Real
places and features, such as the Rollright Stones
or the Uffington White Horse, are echoed under
other names. There are real people, too: the
author recommends checking the cast list of
Shakespeare's King Henry VI. All this added
texture and depth makes a refreshing change from
standard commercial fantasy and contributes to an
enjoyable read. --David Langford

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Community Level 4DavidBedford


Derivative and Pretentious, Yet Oddly Compelling

AdvantagesExciting plot and some sympathetic characters

DisadvantagesNo much originality; has delusions of grandeur

"...good faith. I enjoy the fantasy genre and am particularly fond of new variations on the Arthur myth, and yet I found this book to be annoying in several different ways. However, despite my irritation, I found that I couldn't put it down - I was hooked against my will. Even as I write this review, I'm not sure whether to recommend it or not. The plot and characterisation are recycled, the setting is pretentious and it's a bit of a slog, but I can't ..." Read review

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Product details

Type Fiction
Genre Fantasy
Title The Language of Stones
Author Robert Carter
ISBN 000716503X; 0007165048; 000716923X


Listed on Ciao since 30/04/2005

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