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The Legend of Broken

3.13  ·  Rating Details ·  668 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
“A sprawling fantasy saga . . . Caleb Carr boldly goes where he’s never gone before.”—USA Today

Legend meets history in this mesmerizing novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Caleb Carr. Demonstrating the rich storytelling, skillful plotting, and depth of research he showcased in The Alienist, Carr has written a wildly imaginative, genre-bending saga that redefine
Hardcover, 653 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by Random House (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Chris Bauer
Jan 18, 2013 Chris Bauer rated it it was ok
I very much enjoyed Carr's earlier works and was eagerly looking forward to reading his latest book, "The Legend of Broken" as well. As a medievalist (from many years ago) I was immediately drawn to the first several chapters of the book and dove in head first. But unfortunately it wasn't long before my head struck the bottom of the pool, about 1/3 of the way through.

The dust cover does a great job of explaining what the book is about so I'll not bother with a synopsis, only stating that this bo
Nov 10, 2012 Tiffany rated it really liked it
Shelves: caleb-carr
A military historian at his finest...

"Because war is not a thing separate from the mind, like the hammer or the blade... It is an expression of the mind, one used to achieve a certain object, yes, but one that bespeaks the nature of the collective mind of that people." - part three, chapter 7 (p 523, hardcover)

The first two words that came to mind after finishing this novel were: magnum opus.

Our anonymous narrator plunks us down in Germany, between the fifth and eighth centuries, amidst a confl
Clif Hostetler
Mar 13, 2013 Clif Hostetler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This book is a pretty good fantasy novel populated with characters typically found in fantasy-lit: melancholic warriors, small forest people, cave-dwelling mystics, an occasional enchanted animal or bird. It's a shame that the author decided to weigh it down with make believe documentation from "one of our major universities" where the "Broken Manuscript" (i.e. this book) was found. BOGUS! I'm convinced there is no manuscript. I guess there are no rules for fantasy, so pretending it's all based ...more
Dec 25, 2012 Skip rated it liked it
Little history exists about Northern Germany in the period from 500-800 AD so Caleb Carr writes a novel about a fortress city named Broken, run by a religious sect and the merchants. Less than desirable people are banished to the forest. When both are threatened by a virulent disease, military leaders have to ignore orders and work together to save both people. The writing is ponderous, in old English, making reading the book a chore, but there are some excellent characters with strong moral com ...more
Dec 28, 2012 Pamela rated it it was amazing
I have greatly enjoyed this book, even in all of its' complexity. The place of this 'legend' in history is readily captured. It is a study of the evolution of a particular culture: individuals, social structure, economics, philosophy, and religion; all are embedded in a compelling story.
There is nothing new under the sun, to borrow a phrase. In addition, no culture is free from the influence of other cultures. There is human response and reaction that are the building blocks of an evolutionary p
Jim Leckband
Feb 05, 2017 Jim Leckband rated it really liked it
One of the weirdest books I've ever read. Not because of the story - a straightforward medieval clash between hobbits and a citadel with a wizard saving the day (hmmm.....), but the tension between what the author was most interested in and what the reader is most interested in. To be fair, that tension is mostly in if the reader is tempted to read the voluminous endnotes. Don't read the endnotes - don't pick fights with the author...

The reader does not pick up a 700 page densely written book wi
Mar 02, 2013 Dbaltaxe rated it it was ok
I'd like to give this 2.5 stars. It was a great universe that Carr created and a fairy interesting story, but I found the storytelling to be disappointing. Told in second person present tense by an undefined mystic (I think) with a secondary and ultimately non-additive character who apparently found the memoir that is the text. The storyteller/storytelling became a significant element of the reading experience which I found, over time, to be cumbersome and unnecessarily tiring. Copious notes at ...more
Dec 12, 2012 Rose rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned, e-book
I am clearly not afraid of a thousand page plus end note tome... But. We are lucky enough to live in a time where being fans of genre fiction does not relegate us to stories about morally simple characters doing implausibly convenient (slash lucky) things to win the day. And while the premise of this book is killer, that makes the follow through that much more disappointing. I LOVED that my ebook had hypertext links to the end notes (is someone working at similarly integrating maps and other app ...more
May 01, 2013 Chris rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
I'm a horrible person. See my friend goes to his school's library and searches though the new book section and pick this up for me.

And I can't reach page 100. Carr's writing in terms of style is great. I still want to read the Alienist, but this. I mean honestly, why not simply write a AD&D manuel and be done. The conceit wears thing because (1) he goes overboard and (2) other authors have done it better - think Mary Gentle and A Secret History.
Richard Stueber
Sep 28, 2013 Richard Stueber rated it it was amazing
This book is a monumental achievement. Unlike The Lord of the Rings an Game of Thrones, Which take place in realms that are not our own, this one takes place in our past. There are no supernatural beings, sorcery or witchcraft. Some of the animals herein have powers of communication with humans that we don't see nowadays.
The legendary Kingdom of Broken existed in North Central Germany from the Fifth through the Eighth centuries. A large manuscript describing it was found in the papers of the emi
Jason J.
Aug 14, 2013 Jason J. rated it really liked it
To properly enjoy this book, the first thing you must do is NOT think of this as a book by Caleb Carr, author of 'The Alienist' (one of the best novels in the past few decades). Think of Caleb Carr instead as an author with a fantastic attention to historical detail and a great command of the English language.'The Legend of Broken' cannot, and should not, be compared to 'The Alienist. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed 'the Legend of Broken'. It is a rousing tale of adventure and intrigue, f ...more
The plot is pretty huge, and I don’t want to give away too much of it, so now I will commence gushing about all the things I loved about this book. First, there are tons of thinking characters in this book – men, women, soldiers, servants, good guys, bad guys, short, tall, crippled, healthy. Next, nature plays a big, big role as these folks lived very close to it. In fact, spoiled grain leads to one of the overwhelming illnesses. Also, the ‘wizards’ are able to converse with wildlife. Caliphestr ...more
Oct 09, 2013 Christine rated it it was ok
This book was really a struggle to get through.

The writing is intelligent and very well done. However, the immense background information and world-building quickly becomes tedious. Every new word introduced has a giant long history of footnotes at the back of the book (which comprises a ridiculous amount of the book itself).

You truly have to sift through the tremendous amount of strange words, history, and backstory to get to the actual reason you read the book- the characters and plot. The f
Mar 05, 2013 Steve rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reading
I have thoroughly enjoyed other of Caleb Carr's novels, and was pleased when I saw this one on the shelf in the library. The set up for the story seemed interesting enough, but I decided to quit reading after 285 pages. Enough is enough! I don't think I would ever get to page 651 much less read the notes which are at the back of the book and in even smaller type. I don't know if Carr was writing this book as some type of allegory or as a metaphor of current society's ills. It certainly wasn't wr ...more
Jun 17, 2014 Jenni rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book. I enjoy Caleb Carr as a novelist and I respect him as an historian. I thought he might be hitting his sweet spot with epic fantasy -- he gets to use his tremendous historical knowledge and apply it in a world of his own making, right? But man, this book is awful. His editor should be fired for letting something like this go to print. The diction is phony, the characterization is cliche to the point of absurdity, the plot is ridiculously predictable. I forced my ...more
Jan 23, 2013 Paul rated it liked it
My feelings about this book are as deeply mixed as its reviews. On the one hand, the characters and setting are fascinating, and the story is engaging and compelling. On the other hand, reading this book is a slog! It is over-long and the prose is bombastic. I'm willing to put up with all this for a genuine, OMG-this-is-a-masterpiece, but TLoB doesn't qualify. Structurally, the lost manuscript wheeze doesn't add to the book and the endnotes, while occasionally interesting, were mostly a time sin ...more
Feb 25, 2013 Laura rated it did not like it
I hate abandoning a book after I've already invested the time to read over 200 pages, but I just couldn't find anything to make me want to pick up this book again. To say this book is verbose is an understatement. I found the only way to get through some of it was to skim. And I never skim. Then just as the story would start to move along and get mildly interesting, it would come to a screeching halt. Like an amusement park ride that keeps stopping to let on more passengers.
Jan 15, 2013 David rated it liked it
I know this book got mixed reviews, in fact several reviewer truly hated it, but I like, Elizabeth Hand in the Washington Post, found this book fascinating and engrossing. It is an interesting study of mis-guided, organized religion vs science and the understanding of the natural world. I would have liked a cleared picture of the rulers of Broken but that was the only short-coming i found. The characters, especially the Bain foragers, Baster-kin and the Arnems were will drawn.....
Pam Curtis
Jul 14, 2013 Pam Curtis rated it liked it
I listened to all 27 disks of this novel--there are 30 disks in all, but the last ones are "scholarly notes" added by Carr to lend verisimilitude to the story. This is the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, or any other power for that matter, with some fantasy thrown in. It was very interesting and thought provoking in parts, but loooong!
Willo Font
Nov 21, 2013 Willo Font rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
I have read two of his books and they have been on my favorite lists for many years. So when I saw this title I inmediatly grabbed it, to be dissapointed and bored . Extremely long and too slow.
Apr 12, 2013 Mark rated it it was ok
Overwritten and tedious. There's a good story in there somewhere.
Jan 07, 2013 Donna marked it as to-read
I may come back to this one. I could not get into it at all.
Jan 11, 2017 Alyssa rated it it was ok
This was the lamest thing I've ever read. Never read this.
Oct 06, 2015 Rick rated it it was ok
At its core, this book offers a fairly standard and occasionally interesting fantasy novel. Carr develops a world in which a large, wealthy, 'civilized' city exists in dialectical relationship with its generations of physically impure outcasts, who reside in the surrounding forest. Sympathetic characters from both sides move towards a crisis point, at which the 'villain' becomes apparent, the two sides unite, and then move to rectify societal problems. As a fantasy novel, it has some strengths - ...more
Nov 27, 2012 Michele rated it it was amazing
I was surprised to see how many people did not like (and actually hated) this book, but my theory is that this is such a departure from Caleb Carr's other books that perhaps those disliking this one a. did not get what they expected, and/or b. just don't like this genre. I found this book to be very enjoyable and well-written. Many felt that the book was too convoluted, and the characters too hard to keep straight. I sympathize with this problem in books, but did not find it to be the case with ...more
Sep 15, 2013 BCMUnlimited rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013

Carr's has created a incredible world and story filled with well-written characters and conflicts that actually make sense within the overall plot. I truly enjoyed Keera's characters in particular, as well as Sixt's wife...a woman faced with conflicts in her family, a plague, and a determination to follow her own faith. The characters are believable in their roles, making their conflicts and interactions seem almost natural for the world in which they live. As they are focused with a plague that
Sep 14, 2013 Helen rated it did not like it
Everyone has that one relationship. The one that starts off so good, you think it's going to last forever. You like the same things. You finish one another's sentences. You're such an open book, it's spooky.

But then things change, almost over night. All of a sudden, he starts acting differently. Talks in a way that makes him seem like a completely different person. You feel betrayed. Hurt. Confused.

Which is exactly how I felt reading this book. This is not the Alienist. Or Killing Time. Shoot,
Mar 17, 2014 Ned rated it really liked it
I went back and forth between loving this story and being irritated by it.

This was a library book that I picked up on impulse. My library allows 6 renewal periods of 3 weeks each. I had just renewed this book for the final time and I had not read it. So, I decided to at least read a few pages before I returned it to the library unread.

It started off badly, and I was going to read about 30 pages and then abandon it. Then I recalled that I had read other works by Caleb Carr -- (The Alienist was e
Charles Deremer
Feb 25, 2014 Charles Deremer rated it liked it
The pacing of this book was Tolkienesque, which is not a intended as a compliment. Much editing could have made this book a very good read. I still mostly enjoyed it, but the pacing for the first third was plodding and for the second third was deliberate and for the final third satisfactory. I did not grasp how the interludes of fictional correspondence between Edmund Burke and Edward Gibbon added to the tale. I believe that Carr meant this story as a kind of allegory and the correspondence was ...more
Apr 04, 2014 bkwurm rated it did not like it
Not impressed. Did not like the book.

The attempt to depict this as a historical account found in old manuscripts is a very old device found in early SF/fantasy novels like John Carter of Mars. Which is fine, except that the author then forgets that since it purports to be a transcription of one character’s POV, then some explanation is necessary for how this individual managed to record events that were clearly secret.
Also, if you decide to place this in an actual historical setting of Dark Ages
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Does anyone know if this is another in the Alienist series? 7 48 Sep 24, 2013 11:04AM  
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Caleb Carr is an American novelist and military historian. The son of Lucien Carr, a former UPI editor and a key Beat generation figure, he was born in Manhattan and lived for much of his life on the Lower East Side. He attended Kenyon College and New York University, earning a B.A. in military and diplomatic history. He is a contributing editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History an ...more
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