Lud-in-the-Mist

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Overview

The book that New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman considers "one of the finest [fantasy novels] in the English language"

Between the mountains and the sea, between the sea and Fairyland, lay the Free State of Dorimare and its picturesque capital, Lud-in-the-Mist. No Luddite ever had any truck with fairies or Fairyland. Bad business, those fairies. The people of Dorimare had run them out generations ago—and the Duke of Dorimare along ...

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Lud-in-the-Mist

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Overview

The book that New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman considers "one of the finest [fantasy novels] in the English language"

Between the mountains and the sea, between the sea and Fairyland, lay the Free State of Dorimare and its picturesque capital, Lud-in-the-Mist. No Luddite ever had any truck with fairies or Fairyland. Bad business, those fairies. The people of Dorimare had run them out generations ago—and the Duke of Dorimare along with them.

Until the spring of his fiftieth year, Master Nathaniel Chanticleer, Mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist and High Seneschal of Dorimare, had lived a sleepy life with his only son, Ranulph. But as he grew, Ranulph was more and more fond of talking nonsense about golden cups, and snow-white ladies milking azure cows, and the sound of tinkling bridles at midnight. And when Ranulph was twelve, he got caught up with the fairies, and Nathaniel's life would never be the same.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593600419
  • Publisher: Cold Spring Press
  • Publication date: 3/22/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Hope Mirrlees (1887–1978) was an English writer and scholar. She was a friend of Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot, part of the Bloomsbury literary circle (Mirrlees's poem Paris has been called by some critics an undiscovered treasure of modernism), and a close friend and collaborator of the great classical scholar Jane Ellen Harrison. She and Harrison divided their time between England and France. She became fluent in French and Russian, and later studied Spanish. Lud-in-the-Mist is her best-known work of fantasy.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

4 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Brilliant

    I don't think I'm well-read enough to review this book -- as is the case with many British writers of that period, Mirrlees is far better classically educated than I am, and I'm sure I missed quite a few of her references. However, I now firmly agree with Neil Gaiman that this is "the single most beautiful, solid, unearthly, and unjustifiably forgotten novel of the twentieth century" so I felt I should attempt to review it here in the hopes that I get a few more people to seek it out.

    This is most distinctly not the sort of fantasy novel that would be able to get published today. Tolkien's Shire feels strongly influenced by Mirrlees' Lud, but it's not the Shire that so many fantasy writers and publishers have taken as their model, it's all that pesky questing and evil-battling. There are no epic quests in this novel, and there is definitely nothing as comforting as a black-and-white delineation of good and bad.

    Instead, Lud-in-the-Mist is somehow at the confluence of high fantasy rooted strongly rooted in folktale and a political thriller. It is written in a surprisingly straightforward, earthy style that nonetheless has plenty of room for some of the most beguiling and delightful descriptive passages I've ever read. It uses broad comedy side by side with the melancholy and the bittersweet. It can be read as a parable of class struggle, or as an endorsement of mind-altering drugs (keep in mind that it was published in 1926, so I highly doubt that this was what Mirrlees intended). It is most certainly about balancing the mundane and the miraculous (paraphrasing Gaiman's introduction), which perhaps explains how it came to be all these things at once.

    There are quite a few elements that turned people off (judging from the reviews I've seen online) but every single one of them worked for me: yes, the first third or so was highly episodic; yes, Nathaniel Chanticleer seems a bit of a bumbling fool at first, and isn't exactly likable; yes, it is very British, and quite old, so everyone reads white (though the women come off quite a bit better than in most of the fantasy written by men at the time) and as I mentioned above there are plenty of classical references. If your reading diet is entirely post-Tolkien fantasy, this novel will come as a bit of a shock to the senses. But if you actually enjoyed some of those classics they forced on you in school (things like Gulliver's Travels, for instance, whether you read the satire or not) and want some fantasy with both a brain and a heart, this is absolutely the book for you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2003

    Exqusite. Thought-Provoking.

    This is one of those really rare, beautiful book. Written an eye to irony and an ear for dry humor, it more on the order of a fable than a 'story'. Nonetheless, it is well-paced, with vibrant characters, and tight plot. Imagine 'The Hobbit' as if written by Kurt Vonnegut, and you'll have some idea of the magical quality of this book. Given the time that it was written, and the small amount that is known about the author, it has the aura of mystery and enigma about it. When combined with the fact that this workd is seldom in print, and goes all-to-quickly out of print, I'd consider the hardback.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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