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Black Brillion

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  122 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Boro Harkless has devoted his life to the service of the Archonite Bureau of Security, the force tasked with keeping the peace among and within the city-states of Old Earth. He comes to the city of Sherit seeking the criminal, Luff Imbry. Luff Imbry has devoted his young life to the enjoyment of wealth. A gourmet, a charmer, and an ever-so-stylish fop, he has come to Sheri ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Tor Science Fiction
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Jack Vance didn't invent the "dying earth" setting (Clark Ashton Smith's "Zothique" cycle predates by decades), but in terms of influence Vance cast an indelible stamp on the subgenre. Others have expanded and duplicated, but I think it takes a special vision to see Vance's Dying Earth and rewind the chronology to a slightly earlier epoch, the Penultimate Age.

The people of the Archonate are losing interest in their immeasurable history, as they have lost interest in the conflicts and strivings t
Ursula Pflug
The following review appeared in The Peterborough Examiner in December, 2004 and was reprinted in The New York Review of Science Fiction in June, 2005.

Black Brillion is the third novel in Canadian Matthew Hughes’ Archonate series, a science fantasy trilogy, the first two titles being Fools Errant and Fool Me Twice. Baro Harkless is a recent graduate of the Bureau of Scrutiny, kind of a cross between CSIS and an old school detective agency. As unwilling partner to his first catch, Luff Imbry, co
A bit weak for Matthew Hughes. An Archonate book, but the hero's character seems a bit too stretched, and the end is a bit unsatisfactory.

At 3 *, I wouldn't re-read this.

Lord Humungus

This book takes place in roughly the same world as Jack Vance's Dying Earth. After reading Majestrum, which I liked quite a bit, I wanted to read more in the same vein.

The book starts off with a conventional "unlikely duo" premise, and the back and forth between the two characters was very entertaining. Somewhere mid-book, an alternate setting is introduced, initially only as an experiment for one of the characters. Quite a bit of the book focuses on this new setting, and what began as a brief a
This book sat by my bedside for many months. I would read a few pages before bed when I was in the mood.

It never spurred my interest to go for a more concerted read. Eventually I found I had lost track of some of the plot and characters. I skipped ahead to the end, read that, and was unimpressed.

Very Jack Vancey, in a too much way. Not enough of the humour that made the Gist Hunter entertaining.
Aaron Singleton
This was the first work I ever read by Matthew Hughes after I had talked to him on the Jack Vance MB. He was such a nice guy I thought I would give his stuff a try. Am I ever glad I did! So far, Matt has a perfect record with me. I have honestly enjoyed everything he has written (at least in the SF/F genre) and look forward to many more great hours lost among the streets of Olkney on Old Earth.
I'm not sure why I don't like the Commons-oriented books as much as Hughes's other books, but I don't.
So much of the book is oriented around "The Commons", which I never found that interesting.
Interesting but meandering story of illness in the Archonate.
The book really made the 'ancient earth' background work.
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Born in Liverpool, his family moved to Canada when he was five years old. Married since late 1960s, he has three grown sons. He is currently relocated to Britain. He is a former director of the Federation of British Columbia Writers.

A university drop-out from a working poor background, he worked in a factory that made school desks, drove a grocery delivery truck, was night janitor in a GM dealersh
More about Matthew Hughes...
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