The planet Majipoor is shared by humans and several alien races, including four-armed Skandars, three-eyed Liiman, and the native, shape-shifting Metamorphs. All are watched over by the King of Dreams, the labyrinth-dwelling Pontifex, and the priestess of the Isle of Sleep, while the Coronal officially rules from atop Castle Mount.
The Majipoor Cycle begins as young Valentine, a man with no memory, is hired as an apprentice juggler by a group of eccentric performers. While the traveling troupe takes to the road, Valentine's sleep is disturbed by nightmare visions of warring brothers and difficulties on faraway Castle Mount. In a quest to discover who Valentine really is, his wise and peculiar companions resolve to help him claim the rewards of his birth. But another trial awaits Valentine that will test his belief, resolve, and strength of character.
This classic science-fantasy novel by legendary author Robert Silverberg tells the story of a man named Valentine, an amnesiac on the world of Majipoor who must find out who he is and what has been done to him. Given that he shares a name with the Coronal (King) of Majipoor, and the name of the book is
Lord Valentine's Castle, it is reasonable to assume that this man with no memory is the deposed, rightful ruler of Majipoor, and Valentine slowly learns that this is, in fact, the case. Although that plotline was not the most original of ideas even 30 years ago when Silverberg wrote the novel, the brilliance of the story is in the journey, not the destination both in the literal and figurative sense. For Valentine's journey from amnesiac peasant to rightful king does take him on quite a literal journey a fascinating travelogue of the strange, magical world of Majipoor in which Valentine, and the rag-tag troop of jugglers he associates with, eventually uncover the truth of Valentine's heritage.
Some authors write prose that speaks so distinctly that it needs no embellishment from a narrator. Silverberg is such an author, and so Rudnicki, being one of those no-frills narrators who basically acts as a conduit for the listener, is an ideal choice for narrator. His performance is understated but compelling and it is that understated nature of his reading that is largely responsible for his appeal. Rudnicki is not going to dazzle you with his range of voices or other vocal trickery; instead, he keeps things basic, and for the most part just conveys the author's text and keeps out of the way, making listening to an audiobook read by him akin to reading the book yourself.
Some folks just know how to tell a story. And when you get two natural-born storytellers like Silverberg and Rudnicki together on the same project, the result is quite an unforgettable journey. John Joseph Adams
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