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The Death of the Necromancer by [Wells, Martha]
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Length: 544 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Language: English

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Product Description

Product Description

First published in hardcover by Avon Eos in 1998, and was a nominee for the 1998 Nebula Award.

Nicholas Valiarde is a passionate, embittered nobleman with an enigmatic past. Consumed by thoughts of vengeance, he is consoled only by thoughts of the beautiful, dangerous Madeline. He is also the greatest thief in all of Ile-Rien. Under cover of darkness on the streets of the gaslit city, he assumes the guise of a master criminal, stealing jewels from wealthy nobles to finance his quest for vengeance: the murder of Count Montesq. Montesq orchestrated the wrongful execution of Nicholas's beloved godfather Edouard on false charges of necromancy, the art of divination through communion with spirits of the dead, a practice long outlawed in the kingdom of Ile-Rien.

But now Nicholas's murderous mission is being interrupted by a series of eerie, unexplainable, fatal events. Someone with tremendous magical powers is opposing him, and traces of a necromantic power that hasn't been used for centuries appear. And when a spiritualist unwittingly leads Nicholas to a decrepit old house, the truly monstrous nature of his peril finally emerges.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1814 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Martha Wells (11 November 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #170,208 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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By Samrosie TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 April 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Great characters
A marvellous plot
A greatly underrated author
Prequel to the series The Fall of Il Reine ( and why they're not on Amazon I don't know :thank god I have the hardcovers)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars 81 reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting mix of genres 8 January 2001
By Michael L. Dennis - Published on
Nicolas Valiarde is a thief; but is he a thief with a noble purpose? His true goal is to discredit and eventually lead a Count to execution in vengeance for the wrongful death of his foster father. Meanwhile, unexplained deaths are discovered in Vienne--deaths which may have something to do with Nicolas's foster father's experiments into necromancy.
Wells's narrative immerses the reader into her world. The world of Ile-Rien is painstakingly designed and researched, a world not unlike late 19th century Europe. She invokes all of the senses to realize the ruined noble houses, the depths of the sewers, and the activity of the streets.
I can only describe this novel as a mixture of Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, with a bit of sorcery thrown in for good measure.
Wells reveals hidden information about her characters throughout the novel, thus revealing their motivations and personalities like peeling back an onion. It's not until the end of the book that the reader sees into their core.
I probably would not have picked up this book on my own since I usually read books in the space opera or pure fantasy genres, but this was selected for my SF Book Club. I'm glad I didn't miss this one.
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hot setting, tepid character development 3 January 2000
By R. Todd Ogrin - Published on
Have you read "The Alienist" by Caleb Carr? Add magic, and an imagined world as textured and rich as our own, and you end up with "The Death of the Necromancer."
First, the good: Wells creates a fantastic setting that strikes closer to home than most fantasy offerings. Instead of knights and dragons traipsing around castles, she presents us with ghouls chasing gentlemen in the depths of a prison catacomb or the heights of society in a setting resembling the late 1800's. Everything good can be said about the author's ability to construct a fantasy world and populate it with interesting ideas, magicks, and a fearsome grimoire.
Now, the less-than-adequate: Nothing happens to the characters. Not quite true (they do have some exciting things happen to them), but on an emotional, spiritual, or psychological level the cast remains virtually unchanged at the end of the book. I understand that this is an adventure book, and as such I shouldn't compare it to "The Great Gatsby", but I would've liked more character development, not just characterization (which was excellent, by the way). For example, the lead character Nicholas begins the story with a cool head and a predatory disposition, and he ends the story the same way. The only thing he seems to learn from 300+ pages is that revenge is bitter.
Ultimately, I am trying to find something wrong in a book that is exceedingly original and well-written. The humor in the book is exceptional and dry, and the plot is paced like a freight train. Despite my one complaint, I highly recommend this book to lovers of fantasy, mystery, and horror.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the Best Fantasies of the Decade 19 January 2004
By not4prophet - Published on
I've previously read three of Martha Wells' other novels and thoroughly enjoyed them all, but she really outdid herself in "The Death of the Necromancer". This is the one of the most fast-paced, unpredictable, and exciting books ever written in any genre. The hero Nicholas is a thief in the Victorian-era city of Vienne. He and his gang of associates are working on a complex plot to bring down Rive Montesq, the criminal overlord who killed Nicholas' foster father. However, in this story little ever goes as planned. For instance, during the very first chapter, our heroes attempt a carefully organized robbery of a noble house during a party, but things go awry because some other seemingly supernatural force want to carry out a robbery in the same house on the same night. Virtually every plot event in the book has a twist of that sort, thus keeping you truly on your toes for the length of the book.
And how 'bout those characters, eh. Like George R. R. Martin, Wells has the ability to sketch unforgettable personalities in just a few strokes, rather than wasting long passages on character development. Her characters are suave, confident, and sexy, while at the same time being unquestionably real. For instance, leading lady Madeleine is a famous actress, and her experience in the theatre helps her work with disguises and assume different roles as she navigates the intrigues of Vienne. The relationship between Nicholas and Madeleine isn't a typical fantasy coupling where the characters swoon for each other and never experience any problems. It is, rather, and real relationship, complete with bickering and arguments, but there's real love there as well. Wells does a magnificient job with the minor characters as well. I particularly like how Reynard, who is gay, isn't treated as some sort of joke or curiosity, but rather as a three-dimensional human character.
Let's all hail Wells for getting the details right. Descriptions are short and effect, infodumps are nowhere to be found. Martha Wells understands that the reader doesn't need lengthy lectures, and that supernatural elements are actually more creepily effective if they aren't fully explained. Dialogue is sharp, and lines that are supposed to be funny actually are funny. Fantasy, you see, need not be entirely ponderous multi-thousand page bricks of clichéd characters and trite sayings. It is, in fact, possible to have fun with imaginative novels. And though the number of authors with the courage to do so may be small, that can't stop us from enjoying books like "The Death of the Necromancer" when we find them.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moriarty, The Shadow and Batman 2 January 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Don't judge this book by its title or cover. I read one other review that was "disappointed" because there was no true horror in the book, as well there should not be because this is a hero, or perhaps anti-hero book. What can I say, it is one of my favorite books read this year, but I would not have picked it up if I hadn't just read the other Wells' books and been impressed with them too.
Our main man came from the wrong side of the tracks years before and when his adopted father was killed, began using all of those old skills in an adopted identity to avenge the death (hello Bruce Wayne). Moving through society and having a loyal set of helpers who he has "saved" in various manners through the years (hello Lamont Cranston), he has a noble heart, but uses whatever methods work for him.
In his role as the great dark figure of the underworld (Moriarty), there is only one inspector who has gained his respect over the years (hello Sherlock) and who he might be willing to grudgingly cooperate with.
Now, someone is using devices very similar to those invented by his late adopted father, and he may have to choose between revenge for the past and justice in the present?
Strong characterization and a gothic (Gotham?) setting, with some magic and mystery thrown in, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mission Impossible in 19th century Europe 30 August 1999
By jolie moon - Published on
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READ THIS BOOK! It is so fun! This book combines Mission Impossible, Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson, Scotland Yard, sorcery, magic -- absolute non-stop action and adventure from beginning to end. The dialogue was great -- wit and sarcasm abound. Characters were developed well -- I connected even with the minor characters. And I swear I could actually smell those sewer tunnels. The Prefecture/Magistrates courtyard riot and prison escape scenes were some of the best action I have read ever. Thank you Martha Wells for a great experience. This book would make a great movie.

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