Majestrum (Henghis Hapthorn Series #1)

Majestrum (Henghis Hapthorn Series #1)

by Matthew Hughes


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Sherlock Holmes meets Jack Vance’s Dying Earth in Majestrum, the explosive new novel from Matthew Hughes, acclaimed author of Black Brillion, Fools Errant, and The Gist Hunter and Other Stories.

The scientific method and a well-calibrated mind have long served freelance discriminator Henghis Hapthorn, allowing him to investigate and solve the problems of the wealthy and powerful aristocracy of Old Earth, and securing him a reputation for brilliance across The Spray and throughout the Ten Thousand Worlds. But the universe is shifting, cycling away from logic and reason and ushering in a new age of sympathetic association, better known as magic.

This change is evidenced by the unexplained transformation of Henghis Hapthorn’s personal electronic integrator into a small fruit-eating creature. Odder still, Hapthorn’s personality has been cleaved into two distinct beings sharing one body: himself, familiar and appropriate to the rational old order; and the other, strange, intuitive, and obsessed with an arcane and untranslated tome, appropriate to the new.

When Hapthorn is hired by Lord Afre to investigate the motives of his daughter’s new companion, a young man of indeterminate circumstances, he takes the job expecting it to allow him the opportunity to explore and understand his changing universe. Little does Henghis Hapthorn realize, but the path of discovery will lead to deeper questions, a mysterious assignment from the Archon himself, and the ancient and powerful secret name... Majestrum!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597800891
Publisher: Night Shade
Publication date: 08/01/2007
Series: Henghis Hapthorn Series , #1
Pages: 226
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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Majestrum 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
SaintBrevity on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sherlock Holmes in the far flung future, with humanity set on several thousand worlds, including "Old Earth", which is ruled by ironclad customs and history. A little weak in a few areas, but I'll be getting more by this author, as it was a delight to read, with some really funny lines and an intriguing plot.
ragwaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So first off I was a bit surprised that this was a sci-fi novel. Sometimes when I pickup a book I like to be surprised so I don't really read about it first. Not sure why I thought it was fantasy but then it turned out to have fantasy elements in it anyway.It started off very interesting and promising then got boring and extremely repetitive. It did seem to have a kind of british humor but I only laughed outloud once. The pot was very confusing the ending was kind of "deus ex machina", the characters were boring and overall I'd say it was a waste of time.
BobNolin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book's tone of voice, which is that of the narrator, Henghis Hapthorn. Very droll, amusing, even funny at times. Majestrum is a science fantasy, I guess, but first of all it's a mystery, and I don't go for those much. I like to solve puzzles on occasion, and I love to read sf/fantasy, but mixing them together seems to be not such a good idea. Henghis has no friends, though, so without an intricate puzzle plot to drive things along, what would we have left? Really, the tone of voice kept me reading, just for the love of hearing the words in my head. Hughes is a very good writer. I think he overdid the mystery aspect of it, though. At least as a mystery n00b, I really couldn't follow the connections. It was too subtle for me, perhaps. In fact, "subtle" describes the book quite well, and that's part of it's charm, as with the work of Gene Wolfe. Think of Wolfe with a sense of humor (as he nearly does in Wizard and Knight). Yet, also think of the highly cerebral Sherlock Holmes. As with the Conan Doyle stories, things build steadily to a head, with our hero only barely breaking a sweat. This book could have ended with a great epiphany for our hero, who lives in his head, and finds that his magical alter ego is taking over said head as the Great Wheel turns and the age of rationalism gives way to that of magic. Instead he whines that soon he will be relegated to a dusty back corner, his life effectively over. This is an interesting device Hughes employs, and it does give him an additional main character (even if that character is, actually, part of Henghis himself). But my point is this: here we have this very self-satisfied guy, whom we like very much, but still, he's quite full of himself. He has no friends, no family. When his interrogator (far future Earth's equivalent of a PIM) turns into a familiar with a fondness for fruit, we see how Henghis really doesn't like having to put up with other's differences and quirks. No one seems worthy of his time or respect, basically. And no one deserves an answer to a question, either. It's always "It would be premature to say." It's funny, but there it is. So the world this man has built his life and reputation on is changing drastically. The rules he follows will no longer apply. In fact, we see he is literally being turned out of his own mind by his alter ego, which belongs to the world coming into being. And he whines about it. He isn't happy about it. The finale comes, his alter ego saves the day, and Henghis is finished. Out of a job, and at the end of his life. (The finale is a bit unsatisfying, but that's possibly because I didn't tie all the threads together, and so it didn't seem like things were taking their course; they just seemed to come to an end. But as I say, that's probably because my mystery-reading muscles are weak.) For the mystery fans in the house, this was probably a terrific ending. But for me, it was a let-down. Perhaps because I didn't quite get it, but also perhaps because there wasn't enough wonder and awe, enough, er, magic. Just a lot of flimsy metaphysical mumbo-jumbo barely making any sense. Perhaps I'm not enough of an "intuitive" to enjoy this sort of thing, eh? I like my fantasy to play by the rules, and I want those rules spelled out. Scenes like this just rub me the wrong way. "So you projected yourself into our realm," my other self said. "Yes. Since Majestrum had my name, I was connected to the fragment of him that had taken refuge in the realm connected to our old universe by the interplanar device. He, in turn, could connect with the fragments of his flesh that had survived." This sort of chewing-gum construction just sounds weak to me. I'm okay with a guy like Sauron withdrawing for eons to rebuild his strength, returning through his nine Nazgul to re-conquer Middle Earth. That works for me. You kill the big guy, but he's really powerful, and so he's not really dead. This is kind of what goes on in Majestrum, except there's
maggie1944 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I finished reading [Majestrum] for my next book group meeting. I probably would not have picked it up on my own and probably would not have finished reading it were it not for the book group. But I hate going and saying "I didn't finish it, did I miss anything important?"Henghis Hapthorn is a set in the future private detective but this author really, really likes playing with "the Queen's English" and makes up words with meanings the reader must assume or puzzle out. So Hapthorn is called a "discriminator' and he is accompanied by another internal version of himself who has a different world view and a different methodology for solving mysteries. He might be schizophrenic or just talented, it is not clear at first. He also has a familiar who helps him in many ways.I didn't particularly like the author's language games, nor the protagonist, but I did like the familiar who is a pet just like I would like to have.The book's plot is a relatively straight forward mystery however made complex through the weird creative language and some disorienting world building. I can see how some sci fi fans would love the author and his series. Not my cup of tea.
Shrike58 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you turn to the page in the dictionary with the phrase "witty and amusing," you'll probably note the addenda" "See Matthew Hugehs." There is very little of this novel that I don't like. I like the character of Henghis Hapthorn, who manages to be arrogant and put-upon at the same time. I like the world depicted, with its atmosphere of ancient history and inexorable cycles. About the only point holding me back in terms of giving all five stars to this story is that I have sense that the plot is a little too rounbabout for its own good, though it certainly allows Hughes to give you a good tour of his universe. Some readers might also become impatient with the conceit of how the protagonist has literally become of two minds; one posssessed of a hard-knuckled rationalism, the other fitted by temperment to thrive in the coming return of magic.
JayDugger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I judge this book a second-rate imitation of Jack Vance's style and form. Majestrum lacks real merit and real flaw.
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a mix of science fiction, steampunk, and fantasy, all rolled into a far out future where humans have colonized thousands of planets. Its a great story, with great dialogue, mostly between a man, his alter ego, and his Artificial Intelligence/Familiar. A few things - the dialogue can take a little bit to get used to, it has a Victorian Times feel to it, but it really grows on you. There are also a number of characters that blend in together. Its mostly that the names are hard to follow. Hengis Hapthorn himself is a great character in line with Sherlock Holmes, he's a detective, or maybe better yet, a private investigator. He is well respected in his field, but he is not perfect - he has a few weaknesses, namely his ego, and bouts of depression when he can't figure something out. It makes his character interesting. There a few other characters, The Archon is an interesting figure, but we don't know much about him, beyond a cursory introduction of how he runs Old Earth. The world this story is set in is quite fantastic, you have a very rounded world, complete with history and interesting places. But, like all good authors do, the settings is described as part of the story. Its also complex enough that it lends itself easily to sequels. I would love to visit this place - Too bad its only fiction :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable hybrid of mystery, sci fi, fantasy, and regency era-ish expression!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imaginative, entertaining, thought provoking--the perfect trifecta of specfic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The writing is a bit too elaborate. Somewhat similar to Jack Vance, but here the author maintaints the same degree of floweriness throughout.