The Longest Way Home [NOOK Book]


"What wonders and adventures he has to tell us," is how Ursula K. LeGuin characterized the world of Robert Silverberg, and in The Longest Way Home, he takes readers on another dazzling odyssey.

Joseph, just fifteen and alone in the land known at Getfen, awakens to an attack on the Great House in which he is visiting. Narrowly escaping with his life but still pursued by enemies who wish to see him killed, Joseph must journey across a dark, unfamiliar world in his quest to return to his home of Helikis…and his ...
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The Longest Way Home

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"What wonders and adventures he has to tell us," is how Ursula K. LeGuin characterized the world of Robert Silverberg, and in The Longest Way Home, he takes readers on another dazzling odyssey.

Joseph, just fifteen and alone in the land known at Getfen, awakens to an attack on the Great House in which he is visiting. Narrowly escaping with his life but still pursued by enemies who wish to see him killed, Joseph must journey across a dark, unfamiliar world in his quest to return to his home of Helikis…and his father. He has thousands of miles to travel and much to learn, about this perilous alien world in transition, and about himself.

"What the greatly changed Joseph might find at the end of his journey, and how he might react, are questions that I came to care deeply about." -- New York Times Book Review

"One of the world's finest stylists and storytellers." -- San Antonis Express-News

A New York Times Notable Book 
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The prolific Silverberg (Starborne, etc.) offers a familiar odyssey spanning half a planet, two years and the gap between a child who knows everything about how his world works and a man who knows how to question it all. Destined to rule over an estate of Folk"a race he knew to be gentle, hardworking and not overly bright"15-year-old Joseph, one of the noble race of Masters, has left his home in the south to visit cousins in the north continent, High Manza, of a future Earth known as the Mother World. When the Folk of the north unexpectedly rebel, they kill all Masters and loyal servants they can find. Thrust out into the wilderness and forced to survive by his wits, Joseph tries to get home. Along the way he's loved, despised, held captive, educated and traded as a commodity. While neither the protagonist of this bildungsroman nor his transformation is remarkable, the land that our young hero journeys through and the exotic creatures that inhabit it testify to the author's rich imagination. The solid presence of the noctambulo, a being with different personalities by day and by night who leads Joseph for a time, establishes the otherness of the Mother World. As Joseph passes through many villages of the alien Indigenes, with their puzzling philosophy of indifference, their behavior toward him evolves, subtly demonstrating the distance Joseph has traveled toward maturity. Fans won't find much that's new or challenging, but they should enjoy the ride. (July 9) FYI: Silverberg's previous novel was the concluding volume of his Majipoor cycle, The King of Dreams: Book Three of the Prestimion Trilogy (Forecasts, Apr. 30, 2001). Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Fifteen-year-old Joseph Master Keilloran is accustomed to life at the top of the food chain. Born a Master, the race that came to Homeworld and subjugated the Folk who had taken the planet from the Indigenes, Joseph's duties and place in life seem clear to him. When the servile Folk revolt while he is visiting relatives on a distant continent, Joseph begins a journey toward his ten-thousand-mile-distant home. He comes first into contact with a semi-sentient Noctambulo, who helps him survive injury and wilderness. Joseph next serves as village doctor for a procession of Indigenes, learning why these seldom-encountered people never seemed to care that their planet was invaded by offworlders. Finally, he spends time with the Folk, the people most like the Masters but understood perhaps the least of all. Silverberg's story is solid and well told, as expected from a master writer. Unexpected is the tale's lack of punch. It reads like a travelogue, as Joseph learns of the flora and fauna of his world and the societies of its peoples. Naturally, he also learns about himself, whether by questioning his place in the world or through his first sexual experience, which is graphically but realistically portrayed. Joseph might be morally upright and tenacious as befits a hero, but his greatest triumphs are learning and simply surviving. For all that, the tale is strangely lacking in urgency. Although packed with social issues, this novel is otherwise a by-the-numbers, coming-of-age story without a clear payoff. Readers looking for a stronger resolution might hope for a sequel. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P A/YA (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Adult and YoungAdult). 2002, Eos/HarperCollins, 294p,
— Lisa Martincik
Library Journal
Caught in a rebel uprising while visiting his relatives in House Getfen, 15-year-old Joseph, heir to House Keilloran, flees a massacre and undertakes a journey across his world to reach his home. In danger from pursuing rebels, Joseph also finds himself exposed to the unfamiliar world of the Indigenes, a race of nonviolent sentient beings who coexist with the dominant human race. The latest novel by sf veteran and master raconteur Silverberg (The Majipoor Chronicles) relates the coming-of-age of a young man raised in luxury who learns resilience and compassion in the face of adversity. A good choice for most sf and YA collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-A coming-of-age story set on a distant planet. Joseph has been trained all his life to be the next Master of his House (a sort of feudal state). The indigenous species and the humans seem to have worked out a stable, amicable system for sharing the planet, but while Joseph is visiting relatives on a faraway continent, "the Folk," a human worker caste, suddenly rebel, killing all the Masters. Joseph flees to the forest, determined to find his way home. He is aided (and sometimes hindered) by the planet's sentient species, including free Folk who are concerned with neither Masters nor revolution. Most of what Joseph thought he knew is called into question, and he gains a new understanding of his world. From his training, he has the confidence and nobility to deal with a variety of situations. From his friends along the way, he receives metaphysical instruction, sexual initiation, and an introduction to political philosophy. In one memorable episode, a starving Joseph-once a spoiled princeling who thoughtlessly hunted-must club a friendly animal; here, Silverberg masterfully conveys the reality of death, and all of the emotional pain and ethical conflict that such a choice presents to a person of conscience. At the end of Joseph's journey, readers will be left wondering how he will deal with the dilemma of being in charge of a social system that he now understands cannot last. This engaging, entertaining book is a fast read with many thoughtful themes.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A coming-of-age yarn, the first independent novel from veteran writer-editor Silverberg since The Alien Years (1998). Centuries ago, the tall, thin, technologically advanced Masters invaded and subdued the squat, muscular Folk of Homeworld, parceling out the planet into huge estates and pressing the Folk into service while the intelligent native Indigenes remained aloof and indifferent. Now, Masters learn three languages-Master, Folk, and Indigene-as a matter of course. Fifteen-year-old Master Joseph, heir to House Keilloran on the southern continent Helikis, pays an extended visit to House Getfen on the northern continent High Manza. One night, suddenly and astonishingly, the Folk rise in rebellion and set about slaughtering all the Masters. Joseph escapes with the assistance of a kindly, loyal servant woman. He flees into the wilderness hoping for aid at a neighboring House, but injures himself. A native noctambulo brings him to an Indigene village. The Indigenes possess no medical skills whatsoever, and thus Joseph's meager aptitude for dressing wounds and straightening fractures is greeted with awed acclaim. Eventually, he learns that the neighboring estate was also destroyed in the rebellion, which seems to have engulfed most of the continent. Joseph resolves to walk home-a mere 10,000 miles. Among his further adventures: servant Folk and Folk who serve no Masters; near-starvation; first love; capture and interrogation as a spy. Worse yet: will he have a House and family to return to? Silverberg handles his protagonist's absorbing material and spiritual odyssey from naive youth to weary journeyman with quiet, precise wisdom.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781497632370
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 211
  • Sales rank: 333,518
  • File size: 784 KB

Meet the Author

Robert Silverberg is one of science fiction’s most beloved writers, and the author of such contemporary classics as Dying Inside, Downward to the Earth, and Lord Valentine’s Castle. He is a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the winner of five Nebula Awards and five Hugo Awards. In 2004 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America presented him with the Grand Master Award. Silverberg is one of twenty-nine writers to have received that distinction. 
Robert Silverberg is one of science fiction’s most beloved writers, and the author of such contemporary classics as Dying Inside, Downward to the Earth, and Lord Valentine’s Castle. He is a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the winner of five Nebula Awards and five Hugo Awards. In 2004 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America presented him with the Grand Master Award. Silverberg is one of twenty-nine writers to have received that distinction. 
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Read an Excerpt

The Longest Way Home

Chapter One

The first explosions seemed very far away: a string of distant, muffled bangs, booms, and thuds that might have been nothing more than thunder on the horizon. Joseph, more asleep than not in his comfortable bed in the guest quarters of Getfen House, stirred, drifted a little way up toward wakefulness, cocked half an ear, listened a moment without really listening. Yes, he thought: thunder. His only concern was that thunder might betoken rain, and rain would spoil tomorrow's hunt. But this was supposed to be the middle of the dry season up here in High Manza, was it not? So how could it rain tomorrow?

It was not going to rain, and therefore Joseph knew that what he thought he had heard could not be the sound of thunder'could not, in fact, be anything at all. It is just a dream, he told himself. Tomorrow will be bright and beautiful, and I will ride out into the game preserve with my cousins of High Manza and we will have a glorious time.

He slipped easily back to sleep. An active fifteen-year-old boy is able to dissolve into slumber without effort at the end of day.

But then came more sounds, sharper ones, insistent hard-edged pops and cracks, demanding and getting his attention. He sat up, blinking, rubbing his eyes with his knuckles. Through the darkness beyond his window came a bright flash of light that did not in any way have the sharpness or linearity of lightning. It was more like a blossom unfolding, creamy yellow at the center, purplish at the edges. Joseph was still blinking at it in surprise when the next burst of sound erupted, this one in several phases, a low rolling roar followed by a suddenemphatic boom followed by a long, dying rumble, a slow subsiding. He went to the window, crouching by the sill and peering out.

Tongues of red flame were rising across the way, over by Getfen House's main wing. Flickering shadows climbing the great gray stone wall of the façade told him that the building must be ablaze. That was incredible, that Getfen House could be on fire. He saw figures running to and fro, cutting across the smooth, serene expanse of the central lawn with utter disregard for the delicacy of the close-cropped turf. He heard shouting and the sound, unmistakable and undeniable now, of gunfire. He saw other fires blazing toward the perimeter of the estate, four, five, maybe six of them. A new one flared up as he watched. The outbuildings over on the western side seemed to be on fire, and the rows of haystacks toward the east, and perhaps the field-hand quarters near the road that led to the river.

It was a bewildering, incomprehensible scene. Getfen House was under attack, evidently. But by whom, and why?

He watched, fascinated, as though this were some chapter out of his history books come to life, a reenactment of the Conquest, perhaps, or even some scene from the turbulent, half-mythical past of the Mother World itself, where for thousands of years, so it was said, clashing empires had made the ancient streets of that distant planet run crimson with blood.

The study of history was oddly congenial to Joseph. There was a kind of poetry in it for him. He had always loved those flamboyant tales of far-off strife, the carefully preserved legends of the fabled kings and kingdoms of Old Earth. But they were just tales to him, gaudy legends, ingenious dramatic fictions. He did not seriously think that men like Agamemnon and Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan had ever existed. No doubt life on Old Earth in primitive times had been a harsh, bloody affair, though probably not quite as bloody as the myths that had survived from that remote era suggested; but everyone was quite sure that the qualities that had made such bloodshed possible had long since been bred out of the human race. Now, though, Joseph found himself peering out his window at actual warfare. He could not take his eyes away. It had not yet occurred to him that he might be in actual danger himself.

All was chaos down below. No moons were in the sky this night; the only illumination came from the flickering fires along the rim of the garden and up the side of the main wing of the house. Joseph struggled to make out patterns in the movements he saw. Bands of men were running up and down the garden paths, yelling, gesticulating furiously to each other. They appeared to be carrying weapons: rifles, mainly, but some of them just pitchforks or scythes. Now and again one of the riflemen would pause, drop to one knee, aim, fire into the darkness.

Some of the animals seemed to be loose now, too. Half a dozen of the big racing-bandars from the stable, long-limbed and elegantly slender, were capering wildly about, right in the center of the lawn, prancing and bucking as though driven mad by panic. Through their midst moved shorter, slower, bulkier shapes, stolid shadowy forms that most likely were the herd of dairy ganuilles, freed of their confinement. They were grazing placidly, unconcerned by the erupting madness all about them, on the rare shrubs and flowers of the garden. The house-dogs, too, were out and yelping: Joseph saw one leap high toward the throat of one of the running men, who without breaking stride swept it away with a fierce stroke of his scythe.

Joseph, staring, continued to wonder what was happening here, and could not arrive at even the hint of an answer.

One Great House would not attack another. That was a given. The Masters of Homeworld were bound, all of them, by an unbreakable webwork of kinship. Never in the long centuries since the Conquest had any Master struck a blow against another . . .

The Longest Way Home. Copyright © by Robert Silverberg. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    exciting coming of age science fiction adventure

    Fifteen years old Joseph Keilloran has lived a life of privilege with his destiny of one-day becoming the Master of House Keilloran. Currently Joseph is ten thousand miles from home visiting relatives at Getfen House when a massive civil uprising occurs against the local Masters. Bewildered by the uprising of the Folk, Joseph feels foolishly safe since he belongs to another House far distant from the revolution led by estate Foreman Jakirrod. Chambermaid Thustin persuades Joseph to flee if he wants to live because Jakirrod¿s followers are killing all the Masters and anyone loyal to them. <P>Joseph treks through a wilderness that is as alien to him as anything he has encountered, but he knows that if Jakirrod¿s troops find him he is dead. The youth struggles to find food and shelter in the wilds after spending his life always being pampered and served. He meets strange beings, traveling THE LONGEST WAY HOME in order to survive. <P>Though he offers nothing radically new, Robert Silverberg provides science fiction fans with an exciting coming of age adventure with a teen hero who must adapt 180 degrees if he is to survive his quest home. The story line is action-packed and provides just enough description and references to support the alien life forms that Joseph will encounter on his journey. This epic trek will please the myriad of Mr. Silverberg¿s fans while sending new readers on a trek to find other novels by one of the genre¿s Masters. <P>Harriet Klausner

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    Posted November 3, 2014

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    Posted November 25, 2012

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