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Madouc (Lyonesse #3)

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  1,717 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
The World Fantasy Award-winning third volume of the Lyonesse trilogy brings attention to the faerie changeling Madouc. Where princess Suldrun once meekly endured the proprieties of Castle Haidion, Madouc defends herself with rotten fruit. Vexed, King Casmir arranges a contest to marry her off, but Madouc has other ideas, and enlists the stableboy "Sir Pom-pom" on an improm ...more
Paperback, 426 pages
Published August 1st 1991 by Ace Books (first published January 1st 1989)
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World Fantasy Award Winners
23rd out of 47 books — 251 voters
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienWatership Down by Richard AdamsThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
Highbrow Fantasy Books
138th out of 373 books — 558 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,764)
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Sep 18, 2016 Brad rated it it was amazing
One should always take a particular pleasure in any tale so well crafted as to resolve nearly a hundred plot threads satisfactorily. And one should always take a great thrill in seeing seemingly minor characters take on such an immense importance and suddenly be revealed to be the single most important thread tying an epic fantasy trilogy together, too!

And not only does it take place in the mythical lands in-between England and a few of the other Isles, but it's steeped in borrowed and made-up m
Apr 26, 2015 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

We are vagabonds, and each of us follows a dream.

What an apt one line review for the whole series: it captures the rambling style of presentation, the numerous characters setting out on quests and the mythical, otherworldy setting of the Elder Isles, home to Arthurian knights and fairy shires or ‘shees’, powerful wizards and ambitious kings.
I am talking about the whole series, because that is the best way to experience the journey, starting with the story of Suldrun, following the curse of the
Mar 30, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it
Jack Vance delivers!

Finishing his Lyonesse trilogy started as a bit of a chore but Vance made the final stretch all down hill with beer at the finish line.

Wrapping it all up nicely from his 1989 vantage point, this novel had the whimsical, light hearted feel that the previous two (1983’s Suldrun's Garden and The Green Pearl published in 1985) lacked. Both vintage fantasy products and both making an interested reader stay at least mildly curious, but Vance was holding something back, neither had
Each of the three Lyonesse books has some aspect that makes it my favorite. This last book is slightly more straight forward than the first two books, which are more erratic in structure. This takes away some of the strangeness and wonderful complexity that permeate those books, but in turn it has the charming and willful Madouc and her quest to find her pedigree, which is just sparkling with Jack Vance’s witty humor. Every other page I couldn't help but chuckle or on occasion burst out in pure ...more
Kat  Hooper
May 08, 2009 Kat Hooper rated it it was amazing
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Well, here's the finale of Jack Vance's Lyonesse, and I'm sorry to see it end. This novel was about Madouc, the changeling princess of Lyonesse, and her interactions with Casmir, Sollace, Aillas, Dhrun, Shimrod, Throbius, Sir Pom-Pom, Umphred, Twisk, et al.

Madouc maintains the quality of this excellent trilogy — it's filled with clever prose, charming characters, and lots of imagination. Jack Vance's careful planning produced a tight plot and Madouc wrappe
Jan 20, 2009 Terence rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I first read the Lyonesse trilogy in the early ‘90s (Suldrun’s Garden, The Green Pearl, Madouc) and enjoyed it, especially the first book, as I recall. The “Lyonesse” entry on Wikipedia offers a very thorough plot summary, though with spoilers galore (

The trilogy is vintage Vance. Full of his usual sardonic wit, odd characters and wonderful writing, a sample of which I reproduce below. The scene is from chapter 12 of The Green Pearl; Aillas and his capti
Apr 26, 2015 Bryan rated it it was amazing
An amazing read! I really didn't want this trilogy to end. I would happily continue to read this for years and years, with little humorous side jaunts here and weird strangenesses taking place there, ad infinitum.

If you've not yet read Jack Vance, you need to know that there is no other writer like him. Although many say it takes a bit to get used to the eloquency of his prose, it is infectious. Beside Vance, all other authors seem pedestrian in their vocabulary and turns of phrase.

Personally, e
I liked Madouc more this time than the first time I read it. Still, it failed to work the usual Vance magic on me. Effectively, it mostly provide more of the same (as was in the first two books). Usually, with Vance, that's more than enough.

I'm not sure why I was ... not dissatisfied, but complacent. This book leaves most of the politics that made the first book a little slow, and concentrates more on human stories. Perhaps it's simply that I didn't take much to Madouc herself, though it's not s
Andrew Hamblin
Apr 04, 2016 Andrew Hamblin rated it it was amazing
This series was fantastic. Vance's prose is beautiful and subtly hilarious; his imagination is astonishing. I got into Vance through Dying Earth but where that series is a bit hit-and-miss this one was excellent from beginning to end. By the time I was only halfway through the trilogy I was already looking forward to reading it a second time.
Feb 24, 2016 Jaro marked it as read-in-other-edition-to-reread  ·  review of another edition
This is the deluxe limited edition signed by the author. This is 192 of 600 numbered copies.
May 18, 2016 Flavia rated it really liked it
"Lyonesse", "La Perla Verde", "Madouc", tre romanzi per quello che è in sostanza un lungo racconto, una lettura piacevolissima per la quale è doverosa una precisazione: pur essendo una trilogia ambientata in un mondo fantastico, popolato da creature magiche, nel quale i protagonisti si muovono per portare a compimento la quest di turno, quella di Lyonesse non è una saga fantasy. Non aspettatevi personaggi iper-caratterizzati, scenari descritti fin nel minimo dettaglio, trama e sottotrame solide, ...more
Noel Coughlan
Sep 13, 2016 Noel Coughlan rated it really liked it

In many ways, the Lyonesse Trilogy consists of three threads which connect sometimes very tangentially. There is the competition between the various kingdoms, the conflict between the mages, and the quests into 'fairyland'. Each of these stories is dispersed through the novels in varying doses.

In the final volume, it felt at times like Vance had left himself with too much to do. Every now and then, he hit the fast forward button and events whiz by almost in summary. At other times, tangential an
Madouc is the third book of the Lyonesse trilogy, and it does a fantastic job of wrapping up a lot of the storylines/ends from Suldrun's Garden and The Green Pearl.

Vance tells his story with such a dry delivery, that at first, you might not catch the humor if you aren't looking for it, or, if you don't like that kind of sardonic telling, you might just not enjoy it.

This whole book is so silly, so hilarious, fast and fun... but you aren't being told that it's hilarious and silly, which makes me l
Dec 09, 2010 Derek rated it really liked it
Shelves: high-fantasy
This style of medieval epic suits Vance very well. It restrains his more outré tendencies in character and setting while encouraging his flourishes of languages. Nobody writes of the arcane doings of wizards quite like he does, and his approach to the faerie court is marvelous in its characterization and felt very true to the fairy tale basis.

Madouc herself had the unfortunate role of being a passive, resistant element in her own story: her task appeared to be to block or resist the machinations
Jim Mcclanahan
Aug 28, 2016 Jim Mcclanahan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The third in the Lyonesse series, this book is a worthy conclusion to the first two. Taking the title character from a potential fairy "practical joke" and imbuing her with both intelligence and determination against considerable odds. As is usual with a Vance story, it is told with great panache and detail. I will forego a synopsis and simply say that anyone embarking on the first or second book of this trilogy should not fail to finish the job.
Aug 22, 2009 Nick rated it it was amazing
After 3 volumes and a thousand pages, I was tragically sorry to see this epic end. It's fabulous fun, once you get past the first couple hundred pages of book one, and both the supporting stories and the lead character, the faery-child Madouc, are wonderful. I almost missed the plane on the way home from the beach because I was finishing Madouc.
Newton Nitro
Apr 11, 2016 Newton Nitro rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
No último volume da trilogia Lyonesse do mestre Jack Vance, dois reis entram em uma guerra para a unificação das Ilhas Antigas, enquanto uma princesa com sangue de fadas parte em uma busca pelo Cálice Sagrado junto ao seu covarde mas leal cavalheiro.


Ě muito interessante ver que, em um dos últimos livros da obra de Jack Vance, ele resolveu contar uma história focada em uma protagonista feminina em uma jovem jornada de amadurecimento e uma busca de indentidade.

"Madouc" é uma conclusão dive
Mar 29, 2007 Dave rated it it was amazing
Jack Vance has better command of of the English language and its possibilities than any other author I've ever known.

Of all his books, this series is my favorite:
1) Lyonesse
2) The Green Pearl
3) Madouc
The beauty of Jack Vance novels is you always know you're not going to get your heart broken, despite how frustrating they usually are. This was a delight, and a fulfilling climax to the Elder Isles Triology.
Jan 07, 2015 Benthemeek rated it really liked it
This was the best of the three I think.

The story was endearing and cohesive. I felt like the author really began to explore his characters with depth beginning in the 2nd book and finishing with this.
David Sierra
La primera parte cae en los errores del primer libro, la segunda se parece más al segundo, pero mantiene en general el buen tono de la trilogía.
Mark O'Neill
Jul 09, 2016 Mark O'Neill rated it it was amazing
“Out of curiosity, then, what might be your plans?”

Torqual said tonelessly: “I will take command of these mountains, through devastation and terror. Then I will conquer both Ulflands, North and South. I will rally the Ska once more to war. First we take Godelia, then Dahaut, and next all the Elder Isles. Then we attack the world. There never shall be such a conquest nor so wide an empire! That is my scheme.”

Cory spoke in a subdued voice. “Your plan has, if nothing else, the merit of grandeur.”
Jun 03, 2011 Howard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
You know it's a great book when you finish and feel sad that the adventure has ended. I absolutely loved this book and I feel a little lost and sad that my Lyonesse days are over. Madouc is a grand adventure story, bringing the entire Lyonesse series to a perfect conclusion. It has everything - magic, adventure, suspense, good guys you can't help but love and root for, and bad guys who make you cringe. I knew just by the title of this book that it would be great. Anyone who has read the first bo ...more
May 28, 2010 Bertrand rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, high-fantasy
Madouc concludes the Lyonesse trilogy in an enjoyable way. A real tour de force, mixing stereotypes of fantasy literature and a historical context. This made the trick as the reader gets a feeling of reality in a world which is in fact purely fictious.
The structure of Madouc is very much in line with the two previous novels of the cycle. There is an enchanting interlude of about 100 pages where Madouc searches for her fatherhood, an episode I found much better put than what was included in the
Raro de Concurso
Apr 18, 2013 Raro de Concurso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantástica trilogía más cercana a las historias épicas y de fantasía, que a la ciencia ficción, en la que Jack Vance es un reputado escritor. Basadas en leyendas celtas, en un contexto preartúrico, se desmarca de las historias caballerescas aportando mayor realismo, menos idealización y sobre todo mucho más humor. Aquí hay hadas muy hijaputas, que se divierten tocando las narices de los viajeros por mera diversión, como también hay duendes sátiros, que son capaces de cualquier cosa por tirarse a ...more
Aug 04, 2015 Dorian rated it it was amazing
This is one of very few books I've sat down and read from cover to cover without a break. Maybe it won't be for everyone, but I love the sly humour and the bewitching and whimsical fantasy/fairytale world Vance creates. This third book is my favourite of the trio, but I would unreservedly give five stars to the series as a whole. The fluency and quality of Vance's prose alone puts on a different level from almost any other work in this genre.
Oct 31, 2014 Nigel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
And the brilliant conclusion. What Vance succeeds in doing in this series is the melding of myth, folk-tales and legend into a rich, vibrant setting and a broad, epic narrative. One could easily imagine cycles of fire-side and bed-time tales about the adventures of good king Aillas and clever magician Shimrod and the wild and fey Madouc and evil King Casmir. Lots of sharp little stories where the good outsmarted the bad and won through as much with brains and boldness as well as brawn, and somet ...more
Jan 06, 2013 Brandybuck rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
It had been a long while since I read a series of books that I really, truly enjoyed from the very beginning to the very end. Then I was introduced to this gem of a trilogy written by the highly underrated Jack Vance, and from page one of the first book (Lyonesse: Suldrun’s Garden) I was hooked. Throughout the entire trilogy the characters remained entertaining, the storylines intriguing, and the tone quirky yet clever. I enjoyed every page of the Lyonesse trilogy, as it is a whimsical and fun y ...more
Alex Jackl
Dec 25, 2015 Alex Jackl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the few books I did not finish once started. I decided to read it since it is a well-known fantasy classic./ However, it did not hold me at all and it was getting more and more difficult to read and halfway through I decided I was not enjoying it enough to continue reading. I found it slow and pointless- maybe I should stick to it and "all will be revealed" but I fid if I have read several hundred pages and still see nothing it is time to give up.

I don't want to put in any spoile
Jul 31, 2013 Matt rated it it was ok
No I'm sorry, this one just does not work for me.

The political machinations and the magicians' war are the most interesting parts of this trilogy. I really could not give two hoots about the appallingly tedious Madouc and her blasted parentage, although it's pretty clear who her father had to be.

If only he had not skimped on the action with Shimrod in his bid to attack Torqual (that all petered out after a chapter or so) and the final war with Casmir (also a mere couple of chapters) and the batt
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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

Lyonesse (3 books)
  • Suldrun's Garden (Lyonesse, #1)
  • The Green Pearl (Lyonesse, #2)

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“I am not partial to folk who are grim and austere. I prefer fanciful folk who make me laugh.” 4 likes
“I live in a constant flux; I am unable to make fixed plans.” 3 likes
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