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Ars Magica

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  267 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Magic is still the most powerful seducer of all as young monk Gilbert knows. He risks his soul as a sorcerer's apprentice, only to steal the magic books--and the Head. The Head prophesies the rise of his power, and it is shadowed by death.
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 1st 1989 by Spectra (first published January 1st 1989)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jun 17, 2011 Estara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of early medieval European history
Recommended to Estara by: It's Judith Tarr!
Shelves: ebook, read-in-2011
I love the knowledge Judith Tarr's professional background brings to the historical periods she uses for her historical fantasies. They sound and look authentic to me. And how rare is it for a German to find a historical fantasy set practically at the founding of the Heiligen Römischen Reiches Deutscher Nation.

I wouldn't mind hearing about great-grandfather Heinrich and not just Otto III. Or about Otto's mum - Teophanu's life at the Saxon court, but it was an enjoyable view at church life, at th
Mar 22, 2008 Tess rated it really liked it
This is a historical fantasy of how a young peasant monk rose to be the Roman Catholic Pope in the 10th and 11th century. Ms. Tarr based almost all her characters on real people and real historical events. History also records rumors which said Pope Sylvester II, known to the readers as Gilbert, used magic and the forbidden Arts. Ms. Tarr took this rumor and turned it into a fascinating story of a young monk's rise to power helped by friends, his own resourcefulness and dedication, as well as a ...more
Jul 01, 2007 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: occult-esque
A story of the temptation and corruption of power based on the real-life Pope Sylvester II. It was considerably more entertaining than I'd expected, mostly because the mood of the book was so similar to the Ars Magica game. I don't know offhand which came first. Worth checking out if you have an interest in high magic or medieval history.
Jun 29, 2013 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this for some years, and finally dusted it off. A good read if you like historical fiction with a twist of fantasy. Rumor had it that Pope Sylvester II was a practitioner of magic. This is his story.
Jan 06, 2008 Deirdre rated it really liked it
An interesting history of Gerbert of Aurillac later Pope Sylvester in the years before 1000 ad. About him and magic and politics and it reads like history as most Judith Tarr novels do
Jun 23, 2008 Valerie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy/History buffs
This was a somewhat interesting historical fiction. The author took some actual historical figures and gave them some magical abilities. It was a little hard to follow at times, but I did enjoy it.
Dec 15, 2009 Myra rated it it was ok
Picked this up at a yard sale at a friend's house when they were moving. Not exactly my cup of tea, but it was OK. The story centers around the monk who would become Pope Sylvester II. It tells of how magic (The Art) played such an important role in his life even while the church frowned upon sorcery and magic. The novel follows his education from a young monk and through his life into the early years of his papacy. It is NOT a history, although Pope Sylvester II did exist. It was based on the " ...more
This was a bingo read. I’m not a big fan of historical fantasy, so this is a little outside my normal reading.

This is a very quick read. I didn’t particularly enjoy the book, but I can appreciate the great writing. It felt like every word was chosen to give you a feel of the time, while not losing you in the prose.
I wish I knew more about the time period it took place, I think it would have helped me to enjoy it more. As it is, I feel a little unfair even rating it, but it’s as much for me t
Jul 01, 2009 Mike rated it it was ok
Pretty standard fantasy fare, with at least a slightly new take on magic. Much heavier emphasis on characters and personal struggle rather than battle or adventure. Overall average at best.
Jun 29, 2016 Milele marked it as to-read
Recommended by Doug R
May 01, 2009 Judith rated it it was ok
I normally love her books, but just couldn't get into this one, I didn't even finsih it.
Timothy Boyd
Not a bad historical fantasy story. Good mix of the religion and politics of the day. Recommended
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AKA Caitlin Brennan, Kathleen Bryan.

Judith Tarr (born 1955) is an American author, best known for her fantasy books. She received her B.A. in Latin and English from Mount Holyoke College in 1976, and has an M.A. in Classics from Cambridge University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from Yale University. She taught Latin and writing at Wesleyan University from 1988-1992, and taught at the
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