Madouc by Jack Vance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
One should always take a particular pleasure in any tale so well crafted as to resolve nearly a hundred plot threads satisfactorily. And one should always take a great thrill in seeing seemingly minor characters take on such an immense importance and suddenly be revealed to be the single most important thread tying an epic fantasy trilogy together, too!
And not only does it take place in the mythical lands in-between England and a few of the other Isles, but it's steeped in borrowed and made-up mythology, rampant with kings and queens, three whole kingdom's worth, the land of the Fae, and the ending fate of so many heroes and well-established antagonists.
Am I seriously impressed by these three works? Hell yeah. All together, they make one of the richest near-Earth fantasy I've ever read. It's a fictional country dab in the center of the Isles, but everything else is steeped in our history and myths, but it's far from cheap. It's easily one of the deepest and best-crafted fantasies I've ever read.
Yes, there are a few that out-do it, and I'm sure we can all name them, but this one stands nearly as tall as them and should never be overlooked among all the generalized and oft-repeated and overdone photocopies of modern fantasy.
Quality is Quality, and This Is Quality. :)
And we get reunited families, a total breakdown of friendly relations, and an all-out war that destroys and rebuilds the three kingdoms. What more could anyone ask?
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