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The Redemption of Althalus
     

The Redemption of Althalus

4.1 149
by David Eddings, Leigh Eddings
 

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Mythmakers and world builders of the first order, the Eddingses spin tales that make imaginations soar. Readers have thrilled to The Belgariad and The Malloreon, magic-filled masterworks chronicling the timeless conflict between good and evil. But with those sagas brought to their triumphant conclusions, fans were left hungry for more. Now at last the

Overview

Mythmakers and world builders of the first order, the Eddingses spin tales that make imaginations soar. Readers have thrilled to The Belgariad and The Malloreon, magic-filled masterworks chronicling the timeless conflict between good and evil. But with those sagas brought to their triumphant conclusions, fans were left hungry for more. Now at last the wait is over. With The Redemption of Althalus, the Eddingses have created their first-ever stand-alone epic fantasy . . .

It would be sheer folly to try to conceal the true nature of Althalus, for his flaws are the stuff of legend. He is, as all men know, a thief, a liar, an occasional murderer, an outrageous braggart, and a man devoid of even the slightest hint of honor.

Yet of all the men in the world, it is Althalus, unrepentant rogue and scoundrel, who will become the champion of humanity in its desperate struggle against the forces of an ancient god determined to return the universe to nothingness. On his way to steal The Book from the House at the End of the World, Althalus is confronted by a cat--a cat with eyes like emeralds, the voice of a woman, and the powers of a goddess.

She is Dweia, sister to The Gods and a greater thief even than Althalus. She must be: for in no time at all, she has stolen his heart. And more. She has stolen time itself. For when Althalus leaves the House at the End of the World, much wiser but not a day older than when he'd first entered it, thousands of years have gone by.

But Dweia is not the only one able to manipulate time. Her evil brother shares the power, and while Dweia has been teaching Althalus the secrets of The Book, the ancient God has been using the dark magic of his own Book to rewrite history. Yet all is not lost. But only if Althalus, still a thief at heart, can bring together a ragtag group of men, women, and children with no reason to trust him or each other.

Boldly written and brilliantly imagined, The Redemption of Althalus is an epic fantasy to be savored in the reading and returned to again and again for the wisdom, excitement, and humor that only the Eddingses can provide.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Highly recommended . . . Featuring a cast of engaging characters, some fanciful plot twists, and a light-hearted atmosphere that should appeal strongly to fans and first-time readers alike."
--Library Journal

"The story takes off. The interactions between characters, straightforward plotting, and doses of wry humor keep the tale humming."
--Booklist

"An engaging young reprobate hero . . . [A] magical realm of good-natured fun."
--Publishers Weekly

"A compelling, involving story."
--Science Fiction Chronicle

bn.com
Our Review
A Fun-Filled, One-Volume Epic
The Redemption of Althalus is the first stand-alone, single-volume high fantasy saga written by the bestselling husband and wife team of David and Leigh Eddings. Their previous beloved series include the Belgariad, the Malloreon, and the Elenium, and although Althalus is bursting with all the daring escapades their multitude of fans expect, it is also an engaging departure for the authors. Althalus is a grand adventure that is bound to enthrall readers of the authors' previous, multivolume epics, but it features a precision of plot and language that can be achieved only by having an actual resolution.

Althalus is a young thief and occasional killer known for his skill and incredible luck. A number of capers end without much monetary reward for him, until he stumbles into a shrine built to the fertility goddess Dweia. Soon afterward he meets with the wizard Ghend, who hires him to steal the Book, a magical tome that can be found in the bizarre House at the End of the World. There, Althalus discovers Dweia in the form of a black cat and learns that she has chosen him to aid her in a war against Ghend and her evil brother, the destroyer god Daeva. Together Althalus and Dweia use the power of the Book and gather together a small team of questionable heroes who must battle Ghend's supernatural forces and armies. The thief Althalus can only hope his luck holds out for this one last task, since the very fate of humanity is at stake.

A stand-alone epic fantasy is a rarity in the modern-day publishing world and a concept that should be embraced more often. The Redemption of Althalus gives us all the action, sorcery, humor, and soaring imagination of a grand series but doesn't leave any loose threads, fractured subplots, or loss of momentum. A great deal of fun action and generally good-natured exploits are punctuated by the authors' usual satire on religion and high society. In one clever turn, Althalus enters a city where the wealthy are forced to hide their riches and live even worse than the poor in order to avoid taxation. Althalus is well-polished and smoothly constructed, with real storytelling muscle and a gratifying finale. The Eddingses should be praised for their willingness to put a cap on this particular story in an effort to offer other wonderfully developed worlds to their readers.

--Tom Piccirilli

Tom Piccirilli is the author of eight novels, including Hexes, Shards, and his Felicity Grove mystery series, consisting of The Dead Past and Sorrow's Crown. He has sold more than 100 stories to the anthologies Future Crimes, Bad News, The Conspiracy Files, and Best of the American West II. An omnibus collection of 40 stories titled Deep into That Darkness Peering is also available. Tom divides his time between New York City and Estes Park, Colorado.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As the first stand-alone one-volume epic fantasy by the popular Eddings team (whose series include The Belgariad; The Malloreon and The Elenium), this hefty saga about Good trouncing Evil plumps an engaging young reprobate hero into the arms of a--literally--divine feline heroine. A professional thief and occasional murderer, Althalus accepts a commission to steal a supernatural tome known as the Book. When he arrives at the mysterious House at the End of the World, a lissome black cat with emerald eyes turns out to be the fertility goddess Dweia. Together they enlist a Mission Improbable team to out-sorcel the assorted villains marshaled by the sorcerer Ghend, who is bent on converting this medieval-like world from the worship of Dweia's good god-brother, Deiwos, to awful servitude under their wicked sibling Daeva. Plenty of derring-do spices up the first two-thirds of this jolly romp, and some zingy flashes of wit home in neatly on stuffy human institutions like overorganized religion and landed aristocracies. Unfortunately, the Eddingses can't resist a lengthy time-traveling reprise, which drags the story down into so-so conventionality. Though the Eddingses' multitudinous fans will likely feel right at home here in their safely magical realm of good-natured fun, this circle of would-be faerie has been trodden so often that here it yields very little deep-rooted literary greenery to munch on or to savor, still less to ruminate upon. (Dec. 26) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
Good versus evil and epic quests are typical themes in books by the Eddings duo, and this one is no exception. Althalus, a thief and liar, has been chosen by the goddess Dweia to help her with the ongoing argument between her two brothers, Deiwas, Creator of All and Lord of Light, and Daeva, Destroyer of All and Lord of Darkness. Daeva wants to plunge the world into nothingness, and it is up to Althalus to stop him. Dweia sends Althalus on a quest to find the dark book of Daeva so it can be destroyed. Along the way, five special companions join him. With their help, he is able to win the battles, but the war itself actually comes down to a confrontation between him and Ghend, Daeva's puppet. At the final confrontation, Ghend refuses to turn against Daeva, and consequently is pulled through a magical doorway into nothingness, taking the evil book with him. Although a good book and a fun read, Redemption is a bit of a disappointment. The characters all seem like duplicates of those in the authors' Belgariad series, with Althalus being Belgarad and the others in similar visages. The names have changed but the characters and the basic story have not. Libraries that have the Belgariad series in their collections might not need this one. Nevertheless those libraries with many fans of the Eddings will want to give this book a try. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P J S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2000, Del Rey, 726p, . Ages 14 to Adult. Reviewer: Vicky Burkholder SOURCE: VOYA, June 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 2)
Library Journal
Inexplicably down on his luck, the notoriously successful thief Althalus accepts employment by a mysterious stranger who wants him to steal a book from the House at the End of the World. When Althalus reaches his destination, he meets a goddess in the form of a cat and discovers his true mission in life--to save the world from the machinations of a deity bent on destroying creation. The authors of a number of best-selling fantasy series, including the "Belgariad" and the "Mallorean," have created a stand-alone, one-volume "epic" fantasy that features a cast of engaging characters, some fanciful plot twists, and a light-hearted atmosphere that should appeal strongly to fans and first-time readers alike. Libraries should consider multiple copies to fill the probable demand for this title. Highly recommended. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345440785
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/30/2001
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
800
Sales rank:
231,983
Product dimensions:
4.21(w) x 6.87(h) x 1.28(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Althalus the thief spent ten days on the road down out of the mountains of
Kagwher to reach the imperial city of Deika. As he was coming out of the foothills, he passed a limestone quarry where miserable slaves spent their lives under the whip laboriously sawing building blocks out of the limestone with heavy bronze saws. Althalus had heard about slavery, of course, but this was the first time he'd ever actually seen slaves. As he strode on toward the plains of Equero, he had a little chat with his good luck about the subject, strongly suggesting to her that if she really loved him, she'd do everything she possibly could to keep him from ever becoming a slave.

The city of Deika lay at the southern end of a large lake in northern
Equero, and it was even more splendid than the stories had said it was. It was surrounded by a high stone wall made of squared-off limestone blocks,
and all the buildings inside the walls were also made of stone.

The broad streets of Deika were paved with flagstones, and the public buildings soared to the sky. Everyone in town who thought he was important wore a splendid linen mantle, and every private house was identified by a statue of its owner-usually so idealized that any actual resemblance to the man so identified was purely coincidental.

Althalus was garbed in clothes suitable for the frontier, and he received many disparaging glances from passersby as he viewed the splendors of the imperial city. After a while, he grew tired of that and sought out a quarter of town where the men in the streets wore more commonplace garments and less superior expressions.

Finally he located a fishermen's tavern near the lakefront, and he stopped there to sit and to listen, since fishermen the world over love to talk.
He sat unobtrusively nursing a cup of sour wine while the tar-smeared men around him talked shop.

"I don't believe I've ever seen you here before," one of the men said to
Althalus.

"I'm from out of town," Althalus replied.

"Oh? Where from?"

"Up in the mountains. I came down to look at civilization."

"Well, what do you think of our city?"

"Very impressive. I'm almost as impressed with your city as some of the town's rich men seem to be with themselves."

One of the fishermen laughed cynically. "You passed near the forum, I take it."

"If that's the place where all the fancy buildings are, yes I did. And if you want it, you can take as much of my share of it as you desire."

"You didn't care for our wealthy?"

"Apparently not as much as they did, that's for certain. People like us should avoid the rich if we possibly can. Sooner or later, we'll probably be bad for their eyes."

"How's that?" another fisherman asked.

"Well, all those fellows in the forum-the ones who wear fancy nightgowns in the street-kept looking down their noses at me. If a man spends all his time doing that, sooner or later it's going to make him cross-eyed."

The fishermen all laughed, and the atmosphere in the tavern became relaxed and friendly. Althalus had skillfully introduced the topic dearest to his heart, and they all spent the rest of the afternoon talking about the well-to-do of Deika. By evening, Althalus had committed several names to memory. He spent another few days narrowing down his list, and he ultimately settled on a very wealthy salt merchant named Kweso. Then he went to the central marketplace, visited the marble-lined public baths,
and then dipped into his purse to buy some clothing that more closely fit into the current fashion of Deika. The key word for a thief who's selecting a costume for business purposes is "nondescript," for fairly obvious reasons. Then Althalus went to the rich men's part of town and spent several more days-and nights-watching merchant Kweso's walled-in house. Kweso himself was a plump, rosy-cheeked bald man who had a sort of friendly smile. On a number of occasions Althalus even managed to get close enough to him to be able to hear him talking. He actually grew to be rather fond of the chubby little fellow, but that's not unusual, really.
When you get right down to it, a wolf is probably quite fond of deer.

Althalus managed to pick up the name of one of Kweso's neighbors, and with a suitably businesslike manner, he went in through the salt merchant's gate one morning, walked up to his door, and knocked. After a moment or two, a servant opened the door. "Yes?" the servant asked.

"I'd like to speak with Gentleman Melgor," Althalus said politely. "It's on business."

"I'm afraid you have the wrong house, sir," the servant said. "Gentleman
Melgor's house is the one two doors down."

Althalus smacked his forehead with his open hand. "How stupid of me," he apologized. "I'm very sorry to have disturbed you." His eyes, however,
were very busy. Kweso's door latch wasn't very complicated, and his entryway had several doors leading off it. He lowered his voice. "I hope my pounding didn't wake your master," he said.

The servant smiled briefly. "I rather doubt it," he said. "The master's bedroom is upstairs at the back of the house. He usually gets out of bed about this time in the morning anyway, so he's probably already awake."

"That's a blessing," Althalus said, his eyes still busy. "You said that
Melgor's house is two doors down?"

"Yes." The servant leaned out through the doorway and pointed. "It's that way-the house with the blue door. You can't miss it."

"My thanks, friend, and I'm sorry to have disturbed you." Then Althalus turned and went back out to the street. He was grinning broadly. His luck was still holding him cuddled to her breast. The "wrong house" ploy had given him even more information than he'd expected. His luck had encouraged that servant to tell him all sorts of things. It was still quite early in the morning, and if this was Kweso's normal time to rise,
that was a fair indication that he went to bed early as well. He'd be sound asleep by midnight. The garden around his house was mature, with large trees and broad flowering bushes that would provide cover. Getting inside the house would be no problem, and now Althalus knew where Kweso's bedroom was. All that was left to do was to slip into the house in the middle of the night, go directly to Kweso's bedroom, wake him, and lay a bronze knife against his throat to persuade him to cooperate. The whole affair could be settled in short order.

Unfortunately, however, it didn't turn out that way at all. The salt merchant's chubby, good-natured face obviously concealed a much sharper mind than Althalus expected. Not long after midnight, the clever thief scaled the merchant's outer wall, crept through the garden, and quietly entered the house. He stopped in the entryway to listen. Except for a few snores coming from the servants' quarters, the house was silent. As quietly as a shadow, Althalus went to the foot of the stairs and started up.

It was at that point that Kweso's house became very noisy. The three dogs were almost as large as ponies, and their deep-throated barking seemed to shake the walls.

Althalus immediately changed his plans. The open air of the nighttime streets suddenly seemed enormously attractive.

The dogs at the foot of the stairs seemed to have other plans, however.
They started up, snarling and displaying shockingly large fangs.

There were shouts coming from upstairs, and somebody was lighting candles.

Althalus waited tensely until the dogs had almost reached him. Then, with an acrobatic skill he didn't even know he had, he jumped high over the top of the dogs, tumbled on down to the foot of the stairs, sprang to his feet, and ran back outside.

As he raced across the garden with the dogs snapping at his heels, he heard a buzzing sound zip past his left ear. Somebody in the house, either the deceptively moon-faced Kweso himself or one of his meek-looking servants, seemed to be a very proficient archer.

Althalus scrambled up the wall as the dogs snapped at his heels and more arrows bounced off the stones, spraying his face with chips and fragments.

He rolled over the top of the wall and dropped into the street, running almost before his feet hit the paving stones. Things had not turned out the way he'd planned. His tumble down the stairs had left scrapes and bruises in all sorts of places, and he'd managed to severely twist one of his ankles in his drop to the street. He limped on, filling the air around him with curses.

Then somebody in Kweso's house opened the front gate, and the dogs came rushing out.

Now that, Althalus felt, was going just a little too far. He'd admitted his defeat by running away, but Kweso evidently wasn't satisfied with victory and wanted blood as well.

It took some dodging around and clambering over several walls, but the thief eventually shook off the pursuing dogs. Then he went across town to put himself a long way from all the excitement and sat down on a conveniently placed public bench to think things over. Civilized men were obviously not as docile as they appeared on the surface, and Althalus decided then and there that he'd seen as much of the city of Deika as he really wanted to see. What puzzled him the most, though, was how his luck had failed to warn him about those dogs. Could it be that she'd been asleep? He'd have to speak with her about that.

Meet the Author

David Eddings published his first novel, High Hunt, in 1973, before turning to the field of fantasy and The Belgariad, soon followed by The Malloreon. Born in Spokane, Washington, in 1931, and raised in the Puget Sound area north of Seattle, he received his bachelor of arts degree from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, in 1954 and a master of arts degree from the University of Washington in 1961. He has served in the United States Army, has worked as a buyer for the Boeing Company, and has been a grocery clerk and a college English teacher.

Leigh Eddings has collaborated with her husband for more than a dozen years.

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Redemption of Althalus 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 149 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In a choice that only proves the Gods work in mysterious ways, the Goddess Dweia selects a thief, who has committed murder, as humanity's champion. ALTHALUS is proud to be one of the top ten thieves, a top five liar, and an occasional killer when the need is there.

His latest client, Ghend, a servant of the destroyer God Daeva, hires ALTHALUS to steal a book in a house at the edge of the world. He arrives at his destination, finds the book, and meets Dweio disguised as a cat. Dweio teaches ALTHALUS to read and use the book before the pair ventures back into the realm of mankind. The latest battle has just begun between good and evil with many dying on both sides, but the final victory resides with THE REDEMPTION OF ALTHALUS.

David and Leigh Eddings have been writing exciting epic fantasy for years, but THE REDEMPTION OF ALTHALUS is their finest hour. Readers will liken the work to that of Tolkien and Brooks yet see much originality in the fast-moving story line. Fans will believe in chattering cats speaking 'humanese', magical houses, and godess manifestations as everyday occurrences. This acceptance allows the audience to concentrate on the interpersonal relationships that turn this epic fantasy into quite an achievement for this writing duet.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
I first came across Eddings' work several years ago while I was at a point in my life where all there was to do was read or lift weights (some of you will understand that, others won't). Eddings work as always been slightly above average, however......this one was a slight disapointment. The end result of reading 'The redemption of Althalus' was an over powering desire to go back and re-read 'The Belgariad' series and start the whole ride all over again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When you first start off reading the book it is ok. Then u get to the middle where it's talking about all this war stuff and it's really kind of boring to me. I'm not a big war person, even with strategies and all. But towards the end it gets really facinating! I think everyone should read this book. It's really different and unexpected!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderful combination of wit, humor, romance, and action. It has a compelling storyline, and in depth characters. A absolute masterpiece.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So good it is worth buying a second time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starts great...continues that way for about 250 pages. And then it turns into mindless chaotic chatter among all the various characters as they plan the wars, battle, victory, future, etc etc. I do not know why the Eddings did all the "cutsey" stuff, but the story lost the cohesion of earlier chapters. I like most of their books (Belgariad, Malorean etc) but something was lost in the second half of this one, sorry.
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Having found this book through other Edding's books, I was not disappointed to find that his ability to take cliche tropes and make them fun and exciting again had not been lost. I've read this book three or four times, and they will not be my last. Definitely worth a read, particularly if you're a fan of the Belgariad and Mallorean, as you'll find Althalus to be similar to Silk.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read this book before many years ago. I still have the paperback copy, but the years and humidity got to it. I totally enjoyed reading it before and am enjoying it all over again. I highly recommend this book to Eddings fans. Truly worth the expense! There were funny parts; there were serious parts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read this book more times than I care to count...and I'm still amazed with what I find. A fun story, beautifully written, with believable and easily related to characters that you can't help but love. Granted, its not as good as the belgariad or mallorean, how could it be without being a series? Still, a definite re read for years to come
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Well written and humorous tale woven like a living legend. The plot turns in funny and smart ways as you follow the cutpurse while he outsmarts the forces of evil.
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