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The Spiral Labyrinth: A Tale of Henghis Hapthorn (#2)

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3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  185 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
It was bad enough when Henghis Hapthorn, Old Earth's foremost discriminator and die-hard empiricist, had to accept that the cosmos was shortly to rewrite its basic operating system, replacing rational cause-and-effect with detestable magic. Now he finds himself cast forward several centuries, stranded in a primitive world of contending wizards and hungry dragons, and witho ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Night Shade Books
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(showing 1-30 of 357)
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Dan Schwent
A case involving missing persons sees Henghis Hapthorn flung centuries into the future, where magic rules instead of reason and the five most powerful magicians of the age are looking for him. Can Henghis survive long enough to return to his own time?

The Henghis Hapthorn books feel like they're written with my tastes in mind. While clearly influence by Jack Vance's Dying Earth and space operas, they are essentially mysteries with a lot of Wodehousian language both in the dialogue and the writing
...more
Paul Weimer
Matthew Hughes is an under-appreciated writer. For years he has been toiling in a mainly Jack Vancean sort of vein, turning out stories and novels set in a world where science is just about to turn over to magic, but not quite yet. Old Earth, with a baroque and dizzying array of ancient cultures, is a rich field for Hughes to explore. On an even larger scale, Old Earth is itself but one planet in "The Spray", Hughes's answer to Jack Vance's Oikumene. A dizzying array of planets of even more dive ...more
Kat  Hooper
Jun 09, 2014 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature. http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

Henghis Hapthorn, who we met in Majestrum, is back. Actually, he’s not really back, he’s forward, because after solving the mystery of the disappearance of a man who went to look at a spaceship for sale, Henghis finds himself in a future Dying Earth where magic has replaced the role of reason in the universe. It seems he’s been drawn there by some malevolent force that wants something from him. In this future Earth,
...more
Bruce
May 20, 2012 Bruce rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf-fantasy
First and foremost, I gave the previous book in this series 3 stars, so why did I bother reading this? Only mortal, after all I'm afraid. If you really dug Magestrum, then you will possibly really dig this. But if you thought Magestrum was mediocre, as I did, DO NOT give Mr. Hughes another chance. Such was my error.

The beginning of this book moves slowly. Many paragraphs are consumed advancing the plot not at all, and delivering only information that the protagonist is a conceited dick, in what
...more
Scot
Dec 20, 2015 Scot rated it liked it
Second book in this trilogy--see my earlier reviews of the short stories about Henghis Hapthorn and that earlier novel. I was a bit irritated when I saw the plot of one the stories had become the basis for a major section of the first book at first, but I liked the way the author developed it, so to see it connected in here yet again, resonating across centuries and dimensions in a profound manner, made me glad the appropriation was done. Another compelling plot with some wonderful engagements i ...more
Ryn
Jun 06, 2011 Ryn rated it did not like it
I misunderstood what kind of book this was, I think. It had some funny moments (I enjoyed the style of writing used), but I didn't like the characters and thought the split personality thing could have been used to a greater degree, and the magic and time-travel...

Long story short: It was mostly cold, stiff and boring. However, it was another one that I couldn't get into and didn't read very much of, so I could be utterly wrong.
Alison C
Mar 12, 2015 Alison C rated it really liked it
Matthew Hughes is an sf/f writer with a couple of ongoing series that he juggles; I picked up The Spiral Labyrinth because I thought it dealt with the characters of one series but found that it actually tells a story from the other series, that of Henghis Hapthorn, a master "discriminator" living and working in the very far future. A "discriminator" is a detective, more or less, and Hapthorn is the foremost practitioner in the world, a sort of Sherlock Holmes of his times. He is aided in his wor ...more
Aelvana
Dec 18, 2014 Aelvana rated it really liked it
Hengis Hapthorn did not have an easy life as a discriminator, but at least mysteries were subject to his immense powers of reasoning. But a new age is dawning, the age of sympathetic association, and Hengis has been unwillingly enlisted. Thrown forward several centuries into a new world ruled by magic, Hengis must make his way, alone. He does not know what has sent him here, or how he may return. But he is determined to find his way back to a rational universe.

The combination of dry wit, incredi
...more
Robert Runte
Jul 04, 2012 Robert Runte rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian-sf-f
The Spiral Labyrinth is the latest novel in the chronicles of Henghis Hapthorn, Matthew Hughes' master detective, but to get the most out of it one needs to have first read Majestrum, (and perhaps the six Hapthorn stories originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and subsequently collected in the Gist Hunter and Other Stories, though one can manage the novels without them.) Anything by Matthew Hughes is in the "must read" category, so if you are unfamiliar with the se ...more
Deana
Mar 29, 2008 Deana rated it really liked it
I rather enjoyed this book, although I must admit, the author has a bit of a pretentious writing style, and the book itself is extremely confusing. The characters live in a world very much unlike our own, and have names for things that are very unlike names we use, and the named things are very much unlike things we have names for. However, no explanation is given of any of this... which, in a way is kind of neat because it doesn't ruin the illusion that someone is just telling a tale (why would ...more
Fantasy Literature
Apr 12, 2014 Fantasy Literature rated it really liked it
Henghis Hapthorn, who we met in Majestrum, is back. Actually, he’s not really back, he’s forward, because after solving the mystery of the disappearance of a man who went to look at a spaceship for sale, Henghis finds himself in a future Dying Earth where magic has replaced the role of reason in the universe. It seems he’s been drawn there by some malevolent force that wants something from him. In this future Earth, Henghis contends with warring wizards, fire-breathing dragons, and a very nasty ...more
Jobie
Aug 03, 2014 Jobie rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2014
I almost didn't get past the first couple of chapters of this book.

The word choice, the characters, and the dialogue all are stiff and archaic. The plot seems a bit contrived. However I was intrigued by what seemed to be a Sherlock Holmes-esk character set in a fantasy world, future earth. I love a good mystery so I kept on with the story.

I did finish it and on the whole the story was original. However the writing style and the characters never really loosened up . That stiff style constantly d
...more
Lord Humungus
Feb 05, 2016 Lord Humungus rated it really liked it
More Vancian joy from author Matthew Hughes. I can't recall exactly, but I think this book begins immediately after the events in Majestrum.

I read this book while awaiting jury duty and it made the hours pass quickly. Thoroughly creative, amusing and entertaining. My only complaint would be a few instances where it felt as if several important expository scenes had been skipped. I was able to piece together what happened from later explanations, but this led to some confusing scenes. The gaps se
...more
Greg Ragland
Nov 06, 2007 Greg Ragland rated it really liked it
This is the direct sequel to Majestrum, which follows the adventures of Henghis Hapthorn, an investigator in the far future, near the cusp of a shift from science to magic. As his other works, the writing style and setting are strongly reminiscent of Jack Vance, particularly his Dying Earth stories.

Hughes' works to date have felt to some degree like journeyman efforts, with Spiral Labyrinth showing the most polish to date. I look forward to reading his next book, "The Commons," which follows the
...more
Milli Linnea
Aug 30, 2011 Milli Linnea rated it really liked it
Just like when I had read the first book in this series (Majestrum), I find myself hesitating over what rating I should give this book. I think I like it. It's definitely interesting. The setting is fascinating, and the characters are - different. The plot - I'm not sure about that, but still, after reading the book, I have to say I can recommend it.
John Hendricks
Mar 16, 2010 John Hendricks rated it really liked it
Shelves: faves, read-2010
The 2nd book in the Henghis Hapthorn saga is about a world, not unlike Britain, where magic is in ascendancy and reason and science is in decline, and people tell their tale in the manner of Wodehouse. This installment is set more in the magic side, complete with wizard battle. It's complex enough to intrigue and leaves you wanting more...
Stephen
Apr 09, 2008 Stephen rated it liked it
It took me a bit of time to get comfortable in the world of Henghis Hapthorn, but I did and I enjoyed the journey.

I enjoy the drool language of Bertie Wooster in Wodehouse's stories of Bertie and Jeeves. Matthew Hughes likes to play with language in a similar way. If you enjoy Wodehouse, you may enjoy Hughes as well.
Francis
May 07, 2015 Francis rated it really liked it
Science Fiction no make that Fantasy or better yet Fantasy and Science Fiction, no, no, to be more specific, humorous Fantasy and Science Fiction with maybe a little twist of Detective.

Yep, that's it and I may as well add, fun to read. OK, that sum's it up.
Mohammed
Dec 16, 2012 Mohammed rated it really liked it
Reading this story of Hapthorn and his integrator is fun,weird read. This novel was clear improvement on the first one with the characters, the witty dialogue and the way it portrayed the Old Earth.
Rif Saurous
Nov 22, 2013 Rif Saurous rated it really liked it
More good times with Henghis Hapthorn. If you like Jack Vance and wish there were more, read it. It's also got more than a trace of [what I imagine] Wodehouse [to be like].
Andrew Reynolds
Andrew Reynolds rated it liked it
Sep 22, 2016
Nuxi
Nuxi marked it as to-read
Sep 20, 2016
Jesse
Jesse rated it really liked it
Sep 17, 2016
Edie Ishii
Edie Ishii rated it it was amazing
Sep 05, 2016
Fraser
Fraser marked it as to-read
Sep 04, 2016
Atit Patel
Atit Patel rated it it was amazing
Aug 14, 2016
Malban
Malban marked it as to-read
Jul 04, 2016
Jason Weiss
Jason Weiss rated it liked it
Jun 26, 2016
John Towle
John Towle rated it really liked it
Jun 26, 2016
Mauricio
Mauricio rated it liked it
Jun 09, 2016
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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
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