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Cugel's Saga (The Dying Earth #3)

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  1,708 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
Pity poor Cugel. Not for nothing is he known as the Clever, hero of a hundred mischiefs. But this time the Laughing Magician has triumphed - and Cugel is marooned, penniless, half a world from home. His return to Almery will be extended and exhausting. And Cugel has only his flamboyant resourceful cleverness to rely upon. A lesser mortal might quail, but Cugel.
Mass Market Paperback, 334 pages
Published November 1st 1984 by Baen Books (first published 1983)
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Aug 20, 2013 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
"Without urgent goals, life is insipid!"

After a 17 years pause (so quit complaining fans of Game of Thrones about when the next book is coming out) Jack Vance returns to his Dying Earth universe with another book focused on Cugel the 'not-so-clever-as-he-thinks-he-is' . Vance knew he was on to a good thing whith this completely amoral and accident prone scoundrel and decided to throw him back in the soup as Iucounu the Laughing Magician sends Cugel once more to the farthest corner of the map,
Mark Lawrence
Sep 03, 2011 Mark Lawrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I read this the year it came out and never again. I really must dig the series out because it has stuck with me as rather fine. Cugel especially with his brand of cowardice and amoral innovation has remained a favorite.

The world Vance creates is as compelling as the characters in it, and it's great that he is content to lead us through its ruins without the need to spell it out for us in stultifying detail(*). His prose is sharp enough to cut the ambiance of the place from the stuff of
Kat  Hooper
Aug 13, 2010 Kat Hooper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Cugel “the clever” is one of the scummiest, nastiest, lowliest rogues in all of fantasy literature. He’s got no morals and no respect for women, he’s often a coward, he’s not good looking, nor is he particularly good with a sword. In the words of one of Cugel’s acquaintances, “who could imagine such protean depravity?” The answer, apparently, is Jack Vance. And that's why Cugel is one of my favorite “heroes” — because he belongs to Jack Vance.

Cugel’s Saga,
Cugel’s Saga (1983) is the third book in the Dying Earth series, coming 17 years after The Eyes of the Overworld (1966) and 33 years after The Dying Earth (1950). It’s also the second book to feature that thieving scoundrel Cugel the Clever, who often finds he is not quite as clever as he thinks, as his schemes generally end in failure at the end of each chapter, leaving him penniless and fleeing his enemies until he encounters the next adventure. This book is a similarly picaresque episodic adv ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jack Vance was a fairly prolific Sci-Fi writer, so you have to wonder why it took him so long (17 years!) to come up with a sequel to Eyes of the Overworld, which features one of the great anti-heroes, Cugel the Clever, in all of Fantasy Lit. After reading Cugel's Saga, I figure Vance knew he had a good character, and any revisiting would have marred his amazingly amoral creation. Any return would have run the risk of just being a case of rewriting the original tale. Now there are plenty of genr ...more
5.0 stars. The Dying Earth novels by Jack Vance, of which this is the third, are in a class by themselves. They are classics in the true sense of the word and are as good today as they were when they first came out. As I have siad in my previous reviews of the other Dying Earth books, superb world-building, great characters and tons of fun. Highly recommended.
Cugel tossed over the jewel. "There you have it: all my wealth. Now, please free me from this tentacle."

"I am a cautious man," said Iolo. "I must consider the matter from several perspectives." He set about making camp for the night.

Cugel called out a plaintive appeal: "Do you remember how I rescued you from the pelgrane?"

"Indeed I do! An important philosophical question has thereby been raised. You disturbed a stasis and now a tentacle grips your leg, which is, in a sense, the new stasis. I wi
A re-read of a book in Vance classic Dying Earth series. It is still an imaginative work by one of the best wordsmiths in english letters.

The story of Cugel is so absurd,witty it can be read for how wonderful it is story-wise and if you like quality prose styles, high level language. He is more than a legend in SF,Fantasy, he is a great artist of literature period. Which makes it near impossible for me to write reviews about his best works. The scoundrel Cugel is a great character and one of my
Read in Swedish translation
Once again we follow the adventures of Cugel the "Clever" as he he attempts to return to his homeland and wreak vengeance on his nemesis Iucounu, the Laughing Magician.

This book is a direct sequel to The Eyes of the Overworld following on immediately from where that book left off. Those who read the previous book when it came out only had 17 years to wait for the sequel to find out what would happen to the almost loveable rogue Cugel.

Possibly one of the greatest characters in the fantasy genre,
Roddy Williams
Following on from ‘The Eyes of The Overworld' we rejoin Cugel, who has been transported back across the world to Cutz by the Magician Iucounu and is attempting to find his way back.
Far more Swiftian and satirical than the previous novel this displays Vance’s preoccupation with the absurdities of social rules and customs, such as the island where the men are forced to cover their faces as well as their bodies, lest they arouse the passions of their rapacious womenfolk.
It’s basically a series of m
Aug 09, 2015 fromcouchtomoon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cugel is still an amoral jerk, but the "clever" title is a bit more accurate as his quick, selfish thinking sometimes works. I wish I had read this before Book of the New Sun-- Vance would have taught me not to take Severian so seriously.
Apr 01, 2013 Karl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is copy 402 of 500 signed numbered copies.
Jun 15, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book in Jack Vance's Cugel saga, and third novel in 'The Dying Earth' series, 'The Skybreak Spatterlight' once again follows the rogue Cugel across fantasy wastelands in a world where the sun threatens to extinguish at any moment. Given the book's nature as a sequel, spoilers for the previous novel will follow, as well as light spoilers for the opening chapters.

The novel picks up immediately after where the last book left off, with Cugel deposited on a sandy beach far, far north of hi
Nov 02, 2011 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fic-fantasy
Like its companion novel, Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga is an odd duck of a book, nominally fantasy, but different from most popular fantasy in setting and style. It takes place on a far future Earth, where magic exists, the Sun is about to go out (or so the inhabitants of the world believe), and all manner of odd people, weird creatures, and bizarre societies occupy their own corners of the world. The writing is very tongue-in-cheek, mixing high-minded language and ideas with low humor, a ...more
S.M. Carrière
Oct 10, 2012 S.M. Carrière rated it really liked it
Cugel the clever is a Puck-ish rogue who, at the opening of this book, is in a difficult situation - stranded on the the muddy shores of a far away land - at the hands of his nemesis, The Laughing Magician, Iucounu.

Set in a fantastical world lit by the garnet glow of a dying sun, this book is an amusing romp that amounts to something like a comedy of errors. Poor, poor Cugel just can't do anything right, it seems, despite his obvious knack for schemes and plots.

Jack Vance has written a very dive
Jan 17, 2008 Kirt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I also read more of the Dying Earth novels, two of them: The Eyes of the Overworld and Cugel's Saga.

Unlike Vance's first novel in the setting, these two books focus on a main character: Cugel, a charming but completely amoral man who ends up on a long and complicated quest when he is caught trying to burglarize a wizard's home, and his complicated adventures in attempting to extract revenge on said wizard. Together, both books make up the complete story.

Vance excels at atmosphere; while more coh
Jan 16, 2016 KostasAt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Το τρίτο βιβλίο που συνεχίζει τις περιπέτειες του Μέγα –Πανούργου- Κουζέλ είναι ένα ακόμα διασκεδαστικό βιβλίο από τον Jack Vance αλλά όχι χωρίς προβλήματα.

Παρ’ ότι είναι το μεγαλύτερο βιβλίο της σειράς οι σελίδες, πρέπει να πω, κυλάνε πολύ γρήγορα γιατί, εκτός ότι σε απορροφά αυτός ο «άτιμος» Κουζέλ, οι περισσότερες ιστορίες του εδώ είναι πιο «απλές», σε σχέση με το προηγούμενο ή ακόμα και από το πρώτο βιβλίο.

Αυτό βέβαια είναι ταυτόχρονα και το αρνητικό του βιβλίου καθώς στο πρώτο μισό ο
Jan 30, 2015 kaśyap rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
"Cugel the clever" in here comes off as a bit more likable than the previous book. He still lies, cheats and steals, but more often to those who have wronged him. Also the fact that most of the people he meets are scoundrels shows him in a better light.
Ben Brackett
May 22, 2012 Ben Brackett rated it really liked it
A story about a total dick and amazing use of vocabulary? Count me in.
Jul 29, 2013 Olethros rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
-Siguiendo la estela de “Los ojos del sobremundo”.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. En la costa de Shanglestone, donde le habíamos dejado al final del anterior volumen de la serie, Cugel el Astuto promete venganza contra el mago Iucounu y comienza el viaje de vuelta hasta Almery durante el que tendrá que ser buscador de reliquias a su pesar, competirá por un puesto en un barco, se encargará de los gusanos que propulsan la nave, acabará haciéndose con el propio barco y pasará muchas ot
Víctor L. Briones Antón
De alguna manera, se puede considerar una historia de carretera ya que toda la saga se basa en los viajes de los personajes a través de la geografía de esta tierra imaginaria, recorriendo sus caminos plagados de amenazas y situaciones cómicas; con un objetivo sencillo y reconocible: buscar algo que ha sido arrebatado o que necesitan para volver al hogar. En vez te Thelmas y Louises hay magos y criaturas semihumanas; no hay coches descapotables pero sí palacios voladores y remolinos de transporte ...more
I guess it was a bit better than The Eyes of the Overworld, Vance writing it almost 20 years later and all. But ultimately it's just more of the same. And as I wasn't really converted the first and the second time, the third ended up in a a slog. I struggled every bit as much as Cugel during his meandering peregrinations, and was no less relieved and satisfied on reaching the end.
Jan 01, 2009 William rated it it was amazing
The further adventures of one of my favorite characters in fantasy literature.

This is one of those books that I wish could have gone on forever.

The source of one of my all-time favorite quotes, ""... an acrid stench so vile and incisive that his teeth felt tender in their sockets."
Timothy Boyd
Feb 10, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good a book as the first two in the series but still an entertaining read. Great blend of SiFi and Fantasy. Very recommended
Nov 26, 2016 prcardi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, rated-r, magic, series
Storyline: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing Style: 4/5
World: 5/5

Cugel's Saga picks up right where The Eyes of the Overworld left off. Cugel again treks homeward albeit on a different route (a wise decision on the behalf of both Cugel and Vance). The pages that follow are then filled with episodic and lopsidedly-developed stories like those from The Eyes of the Overworld. I wouldn't recommend reading this immediately after the second in the series because of the similarity in content and structure, but
This third book in the Dying Earth series is by far the longest. It is also the least magical. Figures like Chum the Unavoidable and Magnatz give way to the Soldincks and Twango. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but perhaps represents Vance's shifting interest from the fantastical and strange to the anthropological.

Vance's characteristic style persists in his third volume: precise and recherché diction, extremely dark (read: morbid in the literal sense) humor, elevated tone that focuses not
Apr 05, 2014 Riccardo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
General description
'Cugel's Saga' is the third book of the 'Dying Earth' saga. The plot is basically the same of The Eyes of the Overworld of which this book is a sequel. There is a time gap of 16 years between the publications of these two books. During this long time gap, A Quest For Simbilis,written by Michael O'Shea, has been published as an official sequel of The Eyes of the Overworld. However, when Vance writes 'Cugel's Saga' takes the story to a different direction compared to the one of
Nathan Boole
Jack Vance's Dying Earth series was hyped by the folks at the StarShipSofa podcast, so I have read the first three books on their recommendation, and I hate to say it, but I don't really agree with how highly they rated this series.

I enjoyed the first book in the series, although the stilted language with its often very odd word choices and sparse description does not appeal to me very much. Still, the characters were good in the first book, and the stories, though often slow-paced, were interes
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Why is Jack Vance so awesome? 1 10 Sep 02, 2013 03:35AM  
  • Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honour of Jack Vance
  • Nifft the Lean
  • Swords Against Wizardry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #4)
  • The Spiral Labyrinth: A Tale of Henghis Hapthorn (#2)
  • Zothique
  • The Sword and the Stallion (Corum, #6)
  • The Citadel of the Autarch (The Book of the New Sun #4)
  • Viriconium Nights
Aka 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 grea
More about Jack Vance...

Other Books in the Series

The Dying Earth (4 books)
  • The Dying Earth (The Dying Earth, #1)
  • The Eyes of the Overworld (The Dying Earth, #2)
  • Rhialto the Marvellous (The Dying Earth, #4)

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“I will say little more. Cugel, you have small acquaintance with the trade, but I take it as a good sign that you have come to me for training, since my nethods are not soft. You will learn or you will drown, or suffer a blow of the flukes, or worse, incur my displeasure. But you have started well and I will teach you well. Never think me harsh, or over-bearing; you will be in self-defeating error! I am stern, yes, even severe, but in the end, when I acknowledge you a worminger, you will thank me."
"Good news indeed," muttered Cugel”
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