The Green Pearl by Jack Vance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
And now that we've entered firmly into the mid-eighties Fantasy, I'm startled by just how much a giant like Vance was either influenced by or was the influencer of such notable works as many, many of the D&D compendiums. After all, hasn't he been around so much longer? Ah, but never mind that.
What we've got is not dwarves and elves in a fantastic other-realm, but a continuation of the Gaelic isles, the Elder Realm, the lost continent near Avalon, with christian priests still blackmailing, kingdoms still plotting, and parentages still not known to all the pertinent peoples.
The plots are delightful and adventuresome, when they're not political and crafty, and when they're not adventuresome, they're still magical (Ten Realms, so much so,) and full of confidence games, tricksters, and Fae. And even kings play these same games.
Most impressively, at least for me, is the clever and clear and pertinent retellings of old fairy tales, yet again, including the redoubtable Green Pearl that enhances greed and bad luck, various old tales of mistaken identities, and yeah, I'm looking at you, Murgen, and so many other interspersed tales that I cannot even begin to crow about, because they should all be savored and enjoyed.
This may take place hundreds of years before Arthur, but it is no less delightful or lacking in any way when it comes to the sheer weight of myth, great characters, and sheer enjoyment.
Anyone looking for some great fantasy?
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