The Valkyries: An Encounter with Angels

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Overview

A Magical Tale About Forgiving Our Past and Believing in Our Future

The enchanting, true story of The Valkyries begins in Rio de Janeiro when author Paulo Coelho gives his mysterious master J., the only manuscript for his book The Alchemist. Haunted by a devastating curse, Coelho confesses to J., "I′ve seen my dreams fall apart just when I seemed about to achieve them." In response, J. gives Coelho a daunting task: He must find and speak with ...

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Overview

A Magical Tale About Forgiving Our Past and Believing in Our Future

The enchanting, true story of The Valkyries begins in Rio de Janeiro when author Paulo Coelho gives his mysterious master J., the only manuscript for his book The Alchemist. Haunted by a devastating curse, Coelho confesses to J., "I′ve seen my dreams fall apart just when I seemed about to achieve them." In response, J. gives Coelho a daunting task: He must find and speak with his guardian angel. "The curse can be broken," he replies, "if you complete the task."

Rising to the challenge, Paulo and his wife, Cristina, drop everything, pack their bags, and take off on a forty day adventure into the starkly beautiful and sometimes dangerous Mojave Desert where they encounter more than they bargained for. A masterful blend of the exotic locales, dramatic adventure, and magical storytelling, for which Coelho's fictional works are renowned, this true-life account is at once a modern-day adventure and a metaphysical odyssey.

"In this autobiographical tale, we follow Coelho and his wife Chris on a 40-day spiritual journey through the Mojave Desert in search of the eternal feminine. Translation has an uncertain feel and suffers from too much editing, pruning, and rearranging of the original as well as occasional misreading"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.

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Editorial Reviews

NAPRA Review
A book that delights, fascinates, frightens, and enlightens all at once... A delightful read that leaves you pondering eternal truths long after you put it down.
San Mateo Times
Coelho's gripping tale of his adventures...reads like a suspense novel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062513342
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 212
  • Sales rank: 131,696
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, is one of the bestselling and most influential authors in the world. The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Valkyries, Brida, Veronika Decides to Die, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, The Winner Stands Alone, Aleph, Manuscript Found in Accra, and Adultery, among others, have sold 150 million copies worldwide.

Biography

His books have been translated into 56 languages, topped bestseller lists throughout the world, and scored him such celebrity fans as Julia Roberts, Bill Clinton, and Madonna; yet for Brazilian publishing phenom Paulo Colho, the road to success has been strewn with a number of obstacles, many of them rooted in his troubled past.

As a youth, Coelho was expected to follow in the footsteps of his father, a professional engineer. When he rebelled, expressing his intentions to become a writer, his parents had him committed to a psychiatric hospital where he was subjected to electro-shock therapy. He left home to join the 1970s countercultural revolution, experimenting with drugs, dabbling in black magic, and getting involved in Brazil's bohemian art and music scene. He teamed with rock musician Raul Seixas for an extremely successful songwriting partnership that changed the face of Brazilian pop -- and put a lot of money in Coelho's pockets. He also joined an anti-capitalist organization called the Alternative Society which attracted the attention of Brazil's military dictatorship. Marked down as a subversive, he was imprisoned and tortured.

Amazingly, Coelho survived these horrific experiences. He left the hippie lifestyle behind, went to work in the record industry, and began to write, but without much success. Then, in the mid-1980s, during a trip to Europe, he met a man, an unnamed mentor he refers to only as "J," who inducted him into Regnum Agnus Mundi, a secret society that blends Catholicism with a sort of New Age mysticism. At J's urging, Coelho journeyed across el Camino de Santiago, the legendary Spanish road traversed by pilgrims since the Middle Ages. He chronicled this life-changing, 500-mile journey -- the culmination of decades of soul-searching -- in The Pilgrimage, published in 1987.

The following year, Coelho wrote The Alchemist, the inspirational fable for which he is best known. The first edition sold so poorly the publisher decided not to reprint it. Undaunted, Coelho moved to a larger publishing house that seemed more interested in his work. When his third novel (1990's Brida) proved successful, the resulting media buzz carried The Alchemist all the way to the top of the charts. Released in the U.S. by HarperCollins in 1993, The Alchemist became a word-of-mouth sensation, turning Coelho into a cult hero.

Since then, he has gone on to create his own distinct literary brand -- an amalgam of allegory and self-help filled with spiritual themes and symbols. In his novels, memoirs, and aphoristic nonfiction, he returns time and again to the concepts of quest and transformation and has often said that writing has helped connect him to his soul. While his books have not always been reviewed favorably and have often become the subject of strong cultural and philosophical debate, there is no doubt that this self-described "pilgrim writer" has struck a chord in readers everywhere. In the 2009 edition of the Guiness Book of World Records, Coelho was named the most translated living author -- with William Shakespeare the most translated of all time!

Good To Know

Few writers are able to accomplish what Coelho can in just two to four weeks -- which is how long it takes for him to write an entire novel.

Before become a bestselling novelist, Coelho was a writer of a different sort. He co-wrote more than 60 songs with Brazilian musician Raul Seixas.

Coelho is the founder of the Paulo Coelho Institute, a non-profit organization funded by his royalties that raises money for underprivileged children and the elderly in his homeland of Brazil.

In our interview with Coelho, he shared some fascinating facts about himself:

"I have been practicing archery for a long time; a bow and arrow helps me to unwind."

"In writing, I apply my feminine side and respect the mystery involved in creation."

"I love almost everything about my work, except conferences. I am too shy in front of an audience. But I love signings and having eye contact with a reader who already knows my soul."

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    1. Hometown:
      Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 24, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    1. Education:
      Left law school in second year
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Prologue

"Something that is of great importance to me?" J. thought for a few moments before responding. "Magic."
"No, something else," Paulo insisted.
"Women," J. said. "Magic and women."
Paulo laughed.
"They're important to me, too," he said. "Although marriage has slowed me down a bit."
It was J.'s turn to laugh.
"A bit," he said. "Just a bit."
Paulo filled his master's glass with wine. It had been four months since they had seen each other, and this was a quite special night. Paulo wanted to talk for a while longer, build the suspense, before giving J. the package he had brought.
"I used to imagine the great masters as people who were far removed from the world," he said to J. "If you had answered me that way a few years ago, I think I would have abandoned my apprenticeship."
"You should have done that," J. said, sipping at his wine. "And I would have found a beautiful woman disciple to take your place."
They drank the entire bottle of wine as they sat talking in the restaurant located on the top floor of J.'s hotel. They spoke of work, magic, and women. J. was euphoric about the huge contract he had just negotiated for the Dutch multinational for which he worked. And Paulo was excited about the package he had brought with him.
"Let's have another bottle," Paulo said.
"In honor of what?"
"Your coming to Rio de Janeiro. . . . The beautiful view from the window over there. . . . And the present I've brought you."
J. looked out the window to see Copacabana beach sparkling below. "The view deserves a toast," he said, signaling to the waiter.
When they were halfway through the second bottle,Paulo placed the package on the table.
Looking at J., he said, "If you were to ask me what is important to me, I would say: my master. It was he who taught me to understand that love is the only thing that never fails. He who had the patience to lead me along the intricate paths of magic. He who had the courage and dignity, despite his powers, to present himself always as a person with some doubts and with certain weaknesses. He who helped me to understand the forces that can transform our lives."
"We've had a lot of wine," J. said. "I don't want to get serious."
"I'm not talking about serious things. I'm talking about joyful things. I'm talking about love."
He pushed the package to J.'s side of the table. "Open it."
"What is his?"
"A way of saying thank you. And of passing on to others all the love you taught me."
J. opened the package. It contained almost two hundred typed pages, on the first of which was written "The Alchemist."
Paulo's eyes were gleaming.
"It's a new book," he said. "Look at the next page."
There was an inscription written in longhand: "For J., the alchemist who knows and uses the secrets of the Great Work."
Paulo had anxiously awaited this moment. He had been able to keep completely secret the fact that he was writing a new book, even though he knew that J. had really liked his previous book.
"This is the original manuscript," Paulo continued. "I'd like you to read it before I send it to the publisher."
He tried to read the expression in his master's eyes, but they were impenetrable.
"I have meetings all day tomorrow, J. said, "so I'll be able to read it only at night. Let's have lunch two days from now."
Paulo had been expecting a different reaction. He thought that J. would be happy, and moved by the inscription.
"Let's do that," said Paulo, hiding his disappointment. "I'll be back in two days."
J. called for the check. They walked silently to the elevator. J. pushed the button for the eleventh floor.
When the elevator stopped at his floor, J. pushed the Emergency button to hold the door open. Then he approached Paulo and said, "May the Lamb of God protect you," making a sign on the forehead of his disciple.
Paulo embraced his master and said good night. Resetting the button, J. stepped out of the elevator.
"Why didn't you make copies of the original?" he asked, as the door began to close.
"In order to give God the chance to make it disappear, if that was his will."
"Wise decision," Paulo heard J. say as the door closed. "I hope that the literary critics never discover where it is."
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    awesome

    I'm trying to find the book in Spanish for my mother. I'm a big fan of Paolo Coehlo's The Alchemist. I'm on my way to having read all of his books. I always take something away from his "teachings'. He is an amazing talent.

    I always felt I had a guardian angel, but this book totally convinced me that when I thank my guardian angel....he hears me. I can picture him, so I know he's there.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2008

    Spectacular

    I just bought this book out of boredom to have something to read in the plane, to my amuzement I couldn't put it down, and upon arrival reread it once more. It is truly inspiring...made me apply many symbols to my own life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2005

    Possibly the best one yet

    I think this just may be my favorite Paulo Coelho book. Either this or The Pilgrimage. This was the most satisfying book I have ever read and one of the most spiritually awakening. It really makes you want to drive out to the mojave desert and have an expirience like Paulo Coelho had. It is truly a masterpeice!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2005

    Can't stop reading Coelho's Books...

    Books are like Art, some people loves it or hates it...It's up to you, you choose it, in the case of books you have to read it to like it or not. Honestly, I recommend each of Coelho's books. Simple and easy reading that gets in your soul. Try it, it's worth it. Books get in your life (way) for some reason....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    Anonymous 8/132 Anonymous

    Well written, but with

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    A must read.....more than once..or twice

    Great as always. Very enlightening and eye opening

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  • Posted June 13, 2012

    Interesting

    Interesting concept for a book but I wasn't excited about reading it...am hopeful if I read other books written by him, I'll enjoy them more.

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  • Posted June 9, 2012

    Check it out

    This reads like a very good si-fi but it's a true story. It's about facing our inner demons that stop our growth. I look forward to reading the rest of this authors books as soon as I can find good translations. I have recomended the book to my brother because I knew he and his wife would find it very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2012

    Not that good

    It just a story and just an ok story. Read it for the story. Little information is offer, just someone's quest. I would not add this book to my "A" reading list.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2011

    Spiritual adventure

    Top 5 favorite books of all time.

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