Read Durdane by Jack Vance Free Online
Book Title: Durdane|
The author of the book: Jack Vance
Date of issue: 1999
ISBN 13: 9783404232192
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 398 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.1
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The Anome is the first book of the three part Durdane series. It was first published in 1971 under the title The Faceless Man as a two part serial in The Magazine of Science and Science Fiction. It was released as a novel under the current title in 1973. The Anome should be read first, followed by The Brave Free Men. It does not work well as a stand alone book. The Anome and The Brave Free Men should really be considered one book with The Asutra as a sequel. This is the second time I've read this series and I liked it even better this time. Although I do not find it to be the very best Vance has written, the Durdane series is well worth reading by both the general reader and Vance fans. Those who enjoy reading about the customs and cultures of unusual societies and alternative worlds should definitely explore this series. The protagonist in The Anome is Gastel Etzwane who was originally named Mur but chose his new name just prior to entering an all male religious community called the Ecclesiarch. They rule the Chilite people who live in the country of Shant on the planet of Durdane. Etzwane lives with his mother with whom he is very close. He never knew his father, who is a very famous wandering musician, and his father does not even know he exists. One day an old man gives Etzwane a stringed musical instrument called the Khitan and Gastel begins to love playing music. Durdane is ruled by an anonymous, authoritarian ruler called the Faceless Man. Different Faceless Men have ruled the country for over a thousand years and during their rule there has been no war and very little crime. But there is a high price to pay. When each citizen becomes of age, he or she is forced to wear a ring or "torc" around the neck. The torc will explode if an attempt is made to remove it. Each torc is specially coded so that the Faceless Man can locate every person in the country who wears one and can also punish the person by exploding the torc. If a person commits a crime and is identified, then the Faceless Man can impart justice by exploding the torc which usually results in decapitation of the persons head. All citizens may petition the Faceless Man for a hearing or decision on issues of concern. The Faceless Man usually does not interfere with city governments and local laws, but does respond to all petitions and has zero tolerance for crime. Etzwane does not find the religious order to his liking and decides to strike out on his own and become a musician even though it means leaving his mother, sister and home town. His adventures include his development as a musician, petitioning of the Faceless Man for his mothers freedom, meeting his father who does not know he even exists and dealing with the increasingly murderous creatures called Roguskhoi who attack his hometown. He also meets a man named Ifness from Earth (a much more technologically advanced world) who is visiting Durdane undercover as a Research Fellow for the Historical Institute. His role is to observe the people and events like a cultural anthropologist but not to intervene in any way unless there is some threat to Earth and prior permission is granted. But Ifness finds that never getting involved is not always the ethical or prudent thing to do. Ifness is an interesting and rather mysterious character who plays a significant role in all three novels. There is little resolution at the end of The Anome, however, so you should immediately begin reading The Brave Free Men for a satisfactory continuation of the story. Rating 4.
The Brave Free Men
The Brave Free Men was first published in 1972 in digest form in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Released in 1973 as a novel, this is the second book in the three volume Durdane Chronicles. It is a continuation of the story begun in The Anome and should be read after that book and not as a stand alone novel. This is the second time I have read this series and I liked each of the books even better after rereading. Although the three books are not the very finest Vance has written, I found them fascinating, easy to read and entertaining and recommended them to all Vance fans. The first book, The Anome, introduced most of the characters and had interesting revelations about the government, customs and culture of Slant. The Brave Free Men is more action oriented, continuing the story but focusing more on getting the corrupt government to work properly and motivating the citizens to actively defend themselves against the invading Roguskhoi. In The Brave Free Men the main protagonist, Gastel Etzwane, now has control over the Faceless Man and the government. He and his supporters must mobilize the entire country to defend themselves against the Roguskhoi who keep increasing the frequency and intensity of their attacks on the people of Shant. The Roguskhoi invade towns, killing all men and children and kidnapping the women. The citizens of Shant do not know where these monstrous humanoid creatures came from but suspect that a neighboring country might have created them from cloning to use as a weapon against the Shant. A single Roguskhoi can handle ten equally armed men in combat, but the Roguskhoi have only simple weapons such as clubs so the challenge is to invent and manufacture new more technologically advanced weapons that can turn the odds in the fight against the Roguskhois. Slant has also been without any wars for over a thousand years and has no military or combat trained citizens. The whole country must now mobilize to defend against the invading Roguskhoi. Rallying the citizens proves to be very difficult, however, because the people are extremely passive and have only known the dictatorial, highly centralized and controlled government of the Faceless Man who had total control over their lives but also protected them and kept things peaceful and crime free. When scientists, for example, are asked to invent new more advanced weapons to supplement their swords and crossbows, the scientists want to know exactly what weapons the Faceless Man wants. They are not use to thinking independently or being innovative or creative and expect detailed instructions on how to proceed. The citizens are use to the total control and protection of the Faceless Man and do not know how to take initiative, organize or defend themselves. Many of them are in situations similar to indentured servants with such low wages and high expenses that almost no workers ever pay off their debts to earn their freedom. The Brave Free Men is easy to read, interesting and bristling with action. There is enough resolution at the end of it that the third volume, The Asutra, could be considered optional reading. But I found The Asutra to be an intriguing continuation of the story and the most satisfying of the three books so advise reading it next. I think the Durdane Chronicles are underappreciated by some Vance fans because Vance created some marvelous works of genius that tower over almost everything else in the genre. I rated The Brave Free Men at a 4.
The Asutra was first published in digest form in The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy in 1973. It was released as a novel in 1974. This is the third volume of the Durdane Chronicles and builds upon the first two novels. These two initial books in the series (The Anome and The Brave Free Men) should be read one after the other because they are really one novel in two books. The Asutra is best read after reading the other two, but I read it the first time (this is my second reading of the series) as a stand alone novel, and it made sense by itself because the beginning of The Asutra briefly summarizes the previous two novels. The Asutra was for me the most interesting of the three novels although I enthusiastically recommend all three to any Vance fan. In The Asutra the main character, Gastel Etzwane, has withdrawn from public life to devote himself to playing music, but becomes restless for some new adventure. He again encounters Ifness, the visitor from Earth, and learns more about the Asutra, an intelligent, alien creature that controlled the Roguskhoi soldiers who had attacked Shant. It appears that the Asutra, a technologically advanced species, could have used very sophisticated weapons but were experimenting by using the Roguskhoi with their primitive weapons. The home planet of the Asutra and the reason for their experiments are unknown. Etzwane hears rumors from mariners that on a continent called Caraz a large horde of Roguskhoi have reportedly appeared. He and Ifness decide to use a power vehicle from Earth to visit Caraz to investigate. A new adventure begins involving nomadic desert tribes, strange kidnappings, creatures called the Ka, and a risky rescue attempt that involves advanced alien cultures and other planets. It is difficult to discuss anymore without giving too much away. I found The Asutra to be the most intriguing and complex of the three novels in the Durdane Chronicles. Each time I read it I liked it even better and noticed new details that made it more fascinating. The Asutra also brought a more satisfying conclusion to the Durdane Chronicles. What seemed like an ending after The Brave Free Men was actually only an intermission before the storyline took some twists and continued to develop until the underlying mystery was finally revealed and we arrived at a more complete resolution. I am well aware that some Vance fans think the Durdane Chronicles are not among his very best writings. I won't argue with that because some of Vance's novels reach pretty lofty heights. But I have found the three books in this series to be well worth reading and like them even more upon rereading them. I rated The Asutra a 5.
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Read information about the authorAka John Holbrooke Vance, Peter Held, John Holbrook, Ellery Queen, John van See, Alan Wade.
The author was born in 1916 and educated at the University of California, first as a mining engineer, then majoring in physics and finally in journalism. During the 1940s and 1950s, he contributed widely to science fiction and fantasy magazines. His first novel, The Dying Earth, was published in 1950 to great acclaim. He won both of science fiction's most coveted trophies, the Hugo and Nebula awards. He also won an Edgar Award for his mystery novel The Man in the Cage. He lived in Oakland, California in a house he designed.
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