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Lord Valentine's Castle (Lord Valentine #1)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  7,144 Ratings  ·  237 Reviews
Valentine, a wanderer who knows nothing except his name, finds himself on the fringes of a great city, and joins a troupe of jugglers and acrobats; gradually, he remembers that he is the Coronal Valentine, executive ruler of the vast world of Majipoor, and all its peoples, human and otherwise...

Lord Valentine's Castle was the first of Robert Silverberg's novels about Maji
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Unknown Binding, 466 pages
Published March 1st 1980 by Harper & Row (NYC) (first published 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lyn
Jun 28, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lord Valentines Castle, Robert Silverberg’s brilliant 1980 publication that won the Locus Award and was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel is a superb mix of fantasy and science fiction.

Beginning with a seemingly obvious theatrical irony, Silverberg invites his reader along for a very entertaining visit to his world creation – Majipoor.

Aside from an engaging and well-written conflict involving the amnesiac Valentine regaining his past, Silverberg’s Majipoor is the real protagonist –the
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Apatt
Apr 21, 2016 Apatt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Robert Silverberg is one of the greats of sci-fi literature, he is, to my mind, criminally underrated today, several Hugo and Nebula wins notwithstanding. I always start my Silverberg reviews along this line. If you have read any of those, this kind of intro must be getting old. So enough of that then!

“And then, after walking all day through a golden haze of humid warmth that gathered about him like fine wet fleece, Valentine came to a great ridge of outcropping white stone overlooking the city
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mark monday
Valentine finds himself outside the city of Pidruid one afternoon, completely bereft of memory, as the city makes ready for the arrival of Lord Valentine - one of the four great Powers of the mega-world of Majipoor. what's a man to do in such a situation? why, join a traveling band of jugglers, of course. travel a lot, meets lots of new people and see lots of new things, have a bunch of trippy dreams, and eventually reclaim a fabulous destiny. that's what i'd do too.

i reread this due to a group
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Mike (the Paladin)
I read this years ago, maybe the year it was published (1980). The thing is I didn't recall much about the book...at all. I was in a period of upheaval about then (not an unusual situation in my past as it happens) so I sort of "lost" the book I suppose.

So, that said I have been meaning for some time to go back and pick it up. It was a rewarding experience. The plot if described may sound like a version of one you've seen before. That could be misleading however as the twist on it is at least so
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Christian
Jun 15, 2009 Christian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: My enemies
Recommended to Christian by: The back of another Silverberg book I never read
Shelves: science-fiction
A peculiar book, since no matter how bored or frustrated I was with the infuriating characters and slogging pace, I still wanted to finish it. And I did, to my disappointment Trite and more or less predictable, the book is really no more than a tour of Majipoor Silverberg's made-up planet of far-away pseudo-magic and leftover bits of science. There is some cleverness and creativity, but creating an unproven fantasy ecosystem is nothing new. Majipoor brings a few tasty tidbits to the table, but a ...more
Stephen
4.0 to 4.5 stars. I really debated whether to give this book 4 or 5 stars. The world of Majipoor created by Robert Silverberg is very well thought out. It is both complex enough to provide an endless supply of stories and yet defined enough in this first book to give you an excellent understanding of how it is governed and the composition of the world. I am a big fan of world-building so my favorite books usually have that as a component (Scott Lynch's Gentlemen Bastards, China Mieville's New Cr ...more
A. Dawes
Apr 23, 2016 A. Dawes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Silverberg was a huge sensation in the 80s and his most famous works - outside of some exceptional short stories - were the Majipoor Chronicles, of which Lord Valentine's Castle is the first complete novel. These works may have dated but at the time they were part of a 70s-80s zeitgeist, which blended sci-fi and fantasy. Think of Jack Vance's Lyonesse and Dying Earth, and Gene Wolfe's Books of The Old Sun and New Sun series. Silverberg was the easiest of these writers to read and his foll ...more
Jareed
"Conquest over self was the finest of victories."(467)

It pains me that this book is languishing in undeserved obscurity.

Lord Valentine's Castle follows the journey of Valentine, devoid of any semblance of identity and perhaps irretrievably deprived of indescribably defining memories, living a wanderer’s life, joining a band of jugglers, learning the trade in the only way it was meant to be learned, by heart and soul, and comes to the realization that he has fallen from the highest possible st
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Wanda
"Valentine, a wanderer who knows nothing except his name, finds himself on the fringes of a great city, and joins a troupe of jugglers and acrobats; gradually, he remembers that he is the Coronal Valentine, executive ruler of the vast world of Majipoor, and all its peoples, human and otherwise..."


This book may be 35 years old, but the political issues that it deals with still resonate strongly today. Majipoor is a very multicultural world, supporting many different races, including a persecuted
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Ian
Nov 14, 2011 Ian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"You may not pass!" the ugly, stupid guards thundered.

"Huh. Yikes. I really need to get by you, guys," Valentine said.

The guards considered this briefly. "Well, you may not!" they again thundered, just as stupidly and uglily.

Valentine had a momentary crisis of faith. He doubted himself. How could he ascend to his rightful throne on Castle Mount (thirty miles tall, home to the Fifty Cities, but plausible because the planet of Majipoor is enormous but very low-density, you see, so the gravity is j
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Becca
Aug 14, 2007 Becca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kat  Hooper
Mar 20, 2011 Kat Hooper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
3.5 stars, audio version

ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Valentine has been wandering the planet of Majipoor for a couple of years, but has almost no memory of where he’s been or what his life was like before. When he discovers that he has a talent for juggling and joins a troop of entertainers, he becomes more connected to his world and aware that something is wrong with him. After experiencing some “sendings” in dreams and hearing about the dreams of others, he begins to realize that he
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Metaphorosis
Feb 11, 2012 Metaphorosis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2013-rev
This may have been the first Silverberg story I read. Almost certainly the first novel, and I think it's the best work of his that I've read (and a clear step above others in the series). I still have the paperback I bought around the time this first came out - despite the fact that I foolishly left it out, and some SOB apparently showed off by ripping it partly in half. I don't know what s/he learned. I learned never to leave books around people who can read, but are too foolish to want to. (No ...more
allegra
Aug 31, 2007 allegra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i first read this when i was less than half my current age, re-read it many times over the next ten years, and still remember it fondly. i was immersed in the setting of majipoor, loved the vaguely implied science fiction framework around a fantasy tale, liked the feel of the character interactions, felt like i would recognize the strange flavors of the foods silverberg described. i bought a few extra copies to give to others, when i discovered that they needed to read it, too. i don't have any ...more
Kerry
Dec 02, 2012 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, 9, fantasy, reread, 2012, 2007
REREAD #1: 9/10 (26 October 2007 - 2 November 2007)

Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg

Come to the magical planet of Majipoor. Follow Valentine as he joins a motley band of jugglers to seek the secret of his lost past across a wide and wondrous world. In the shattered city of the Shapeshifters, in the temple of the Lady of Sleep and the Isle of the King of Dreams. From the depths of a dying emperor's dark domain, to the destiny that awaits him high atop Lord Valentine's Castle.

I first re
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Joe
Jan 04, 2010 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful pulp scifi novel done in a very literate style. I think I was just in the right mood for its innocent epic hero quest storyline, but let me tell you, so many books long to attempt even a tenth of what this book accomplishes. It covers so many emotions and so many of what Joseph Campbell refers to in Hero of a Thousand Faces, and it does so in a manner that effortlessly goes back and forth between chilling and lightheartedness that it left me aghast. The book centers on a lost ...more
Miramira Endevall
May 25, 2010 Miramira Endevall rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one.
Recommended to Miramira by: Isaac Asimov, after a fashion
Shelves: own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill
Jan 02, 2012 Bill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm finding this very uninteresting. And I hit a spoiler in my review searches!
(I suspected anyways)

At the 50-page mark I am ungripped. This is the first Silverberg that I didn't care for, and loved the others so I will definitely read him again.
Kevin Xu
Feb 11, 2011 Kevin Xu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
More people should read this book, its amazing.
Scribble Orca
Sep 24, 2012 Scribble Orca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this an inestimably long time ago. The stars are in memory of my memory.
Mariah
Jun 12, 2008 Mariah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was literally shoved into my hands by my fiance with an exhortation of “You have to read this!” After reading, I have to say, he did me a favor! It takes place on Majipoor, a large planet that was long ago colonized by Earth and races of other planets. Much of the technology has been lost, and Majipoor is at a feudal, agricultural level of development and something of a galactic backwater. But overall, it is a peaceful and prosperous world.

Here we find Valentine, a young man who has fo
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Shawn Thrasher
A feast for the senses as well as the intellect, Silverberg has created a vast world of wonder, part science fiction, part fantasy, part fairy tale, with a just enough of a touch of 1970s sci-fi sexiness. The audio is impeccably narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, whose deep, rich tones are the perfect pairing for a deep, rich novel. Silverberg is a master world builder; you will find few points to quibble on in his gigantic world. What's nice about this series (at least the first three in the series; ...more
Blake Charlton
richly rendered epic fantasy with a scifi twist, which is reminiscent of jack vance. the characters are sympathetic if not compelling, the plot has a flavor of the protag slowly leveling up but still moves quickly enough. a recommended read for fans of the classic SFF epics of the 70s and 80s.
Timothy Boyd
I know this is supposed to be one of the classics of modern SiFi but I just could not get into the book. The story seemed to drag and never pick up for me. Not recommended
Daniel Roy
This one is a strange but otherwise pleasant beast. It's a great little adventure romp in the hybrid realm known as science fantasy, which is to say it borrows both from the science fiction and fantasy genres. Although mostly formulaic despite the genre breeding, its protagonist is nevertheless engaging enough to keep the storytelling fresh throughout.

The mix of science fiction and fantasy is more mongrel than clever crossbreed. Although the world-building lies firmly within the purview of scien
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Tim
Aug 05, 2014 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Challenging the White Spaceman's Burden

Robert Silverberg's Lord Valentine's Castle is not as good a book as I had thought when I was 16. It's rags-to-riches, amnesia-to-ambrosia, throne-reclaiming plot is a little too adolescent wish-fulfilment for my taste these days. The love interest is something of a cypher, which back then would have counted in its favour too, but nowadays rather less so. And we have the usual SF/fantasy conflation of species with characterisation.

That said, it's aged rathe
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Perry Whitford
Jan 23, 2012 Perry Whitford rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I wouldn't even wish this on a Terry Pratchett fan.
Two questions, the answers to which I find unfathomable, dominate my thinking about this terrible book:

1) How can Robert Silverberg, an interesting and occasionally excellent writer of countless science fiction and fantasy novels, sometime prose artist of vivid skill and imagination and creator of memorable, generally avaricious or morally dubious characters, write and publish such a childish, asinine piece of vacuous drivel as this book?

2) How in the name of Bilbo Baggins and Gully Foyle did it
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Buck Ward
Jan 15, 2016 Buck Ward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, wwend-2016
A book named Lord Valentine's Castle is not a title I would normally pick up. I read it because of its author, Robert Silverberg, whom I have come to esteem. Silverberg tells an engaging story, an epic adventure-quest fantasy. Silverberg's style seems to differ from novel to novel, but always is good. In this one, he reminded me of Ursula K Le Guin and the story was a little bit like her Rocannon's World, but much longer.

I heard the audio book, read by master narrator Stefan Rudnicki. There are
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Tony
Mar 29, 2012 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this one in a thrift shop in Houston when I was living there on sabbatical and read it there.
Jefferson
Aug 16, 2016 Jefferson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
"And Can You Juggle as a Skandar Can?"

“And then, after walking all day through a golden haze of humid warmth that gathered about him like fine wet fleece, Valentine came to a great ridge of outcropping white stone overlooking the city of Pidruid. It was the provincial capital, sprawling and splendid, the biggest city he had come upon since--since?--the biggest in a long while of wandering at any rate.”

That's the charming, mysterious start to Robert Silverberg's sf-that-often-feels-like-fantasy n
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Robert Silverberg is one of science fiction’s most beloved writers, and the author of such contemporary classics as Dying Inside, Downward to the Earth and Lord Valentine’s Castle, as well as At Winter’s End, also available in a Bison Books edition. He is a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the winner of five Nebula Awards and five Hugo Awards. In 2004 the Sc ...more
More about Robert Silverberg...

Other Books in the Series

Lord Valentine (3 books)
  • Majipoor Chronicles (Lord Valentine, #2)
  • Valentine Pontifex (Lord Valentine, #3)

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“Why do you think the Divine is fair? In the long run, all wrongs are righted, every minus is balanced with a plus, the columns are totaled and the totals are found correct. But that’s in the long run. We must live in the short run, and matters are often unjust there. The compensating forces of the universe make all the accounts come out even, but they grind down the good as well as the wicked in the process.” 2 likes
“In dealing with people who are enormously touchy on matters of honor and pride, I think it’s wisest to be accommodating to their needs, especially if they’re eight feet tall and provide you with your wages.” 2 likes
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