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Madouc (Lyonesse #3)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  1,433 ratings  ·  51 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
Hardcover, 426 pages
Published 1990 by N.Y.: ACE, Book Club Edition (first published January 1st 1989)
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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
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
Kat  Hooper
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
David Meiklejohn
The last of the Lyonnesse trilogy cuts away from the broad picture of struggle between nations and mostly concentrates on the story of the fairy mistaken for a princess, Madouc. We hear how she is taunted by the other girls because she has no pedigree, so she goes out in search of it, along with her stable-boy, who she names Sir Pom-Pom.

As usual with Vance's books the characters are darkly entertaining in their self-interested ambitions, the dialogue is joyful and while the plot focuses on the c
Another amazing work by Jack Vance. Madouc is such a fascinating character. Forget the plot (which is pretty fine in its own right), this book is worth reading just for Vance's quirky dialogues & rich descriptions (especially those involving feasts). I will just leave this snippet from the book here. This is vintage Vance.

"As the notables moved from place to place, silks and satins swirled and caught the glow of light; the room swam with color, so vivid and rich that each hue displayed a vit
Another thoroughly enjoyable Vance novel - once again it's more Alice In Wonderland than Lord Of The Rings, as the titular Madouc encounters a string of ingratiating grifters and eccentric monsters. The dialogue is, as ever, arch and hilarious.
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 wrapped up all the loose ends from Suldrun's G
In which Jack Vance chronicles the life of Madouc, the changling girl swapped for Prince Drune through her upbringing in Lyonessetown then suddenly loses in the whole series and summarily wraps up 3 books worth of plot lines in like... 25 pages.
Enjoyed the series very much, and even came to like Madouc despite earlier misgivings. Aillas did not disappoint. Would that there were more...
Clay Brown
Jack Vance’s extravagant Lyonesse Trilogy ends with Madouc.

In this the last book of the series Madouc the Fairy baby switched at birth with Suldrun’s true baby is the Fairy Madouc, a strong willed girl in the midst of Royalty.

It’s interesting that these books aren't nearly as popular as the George RR Martin books, Game of Thrones… Martin was surely influenced by these… indeed many elements of his books were first writen of by writer Vance.

Vance is far more ‘fanciful’ in this work than the ‘Meat
Rick English
Jack Vance is one of my all time favorites. His style is unique and very entertaining. This is a great series.
A fine finish to the trilogy, both more straightforwardly modern in its story structure (fairly faithfully following Princess Madouc from childhood to adulthood) and more indebted to older fairy stories in its episodes (cf. the gift-giving monster-host, etc.). Again, a pretty great blending of different forms, with the consequent shifts in attention--some momentous occasions (war and death) may get a line or a few pages, with little to no fanfare (read: description), while other times the narrat ...more
This third in the trilogy was the best yet, and I read the last page with deep satisfaction and a smile on my face.
I enjoyed this 3rd book of the Lyonesse Trilogy the most. Jack Vance saved the best for last.
Paul Raven
Nog twee hoofdstukken... en dan is het afgelopen, helaas. Ik zou nog veel langer willen doorgaan met lezen.
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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 gr
More about Jack Vance...

Other Books in the Series

Lyonesse (3 books)
  • Suldrun's Garden (Lyonesse, #1)
  • The Green Pearl (Lyonesse, #2)
The Dying Earth (The Dying Earth, #1) Tales of the Dying Earth Suldrun's Garden (Lyonesse, #1) The Eyes of the Overworld (The Dying Earth, #2) 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.” 2 likes
“Shimrod gave the boy a copper penny. 'Bring me now a goblet of good tawny wine.'
By a sleight of magic Shimrod augmented the acuity of his hearing, so that the whispers of two young lovers in a far corner were now clearly audible, as were the innkeeper's instructions to Fonsel in regard to the watering of Shimrod's wine.”
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