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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,203 ratings  ·  60 reviews

An abandoned waif, the blond, gray-eyed Goth was called simply Thorn. From his unorthodox sexual awakening in a monastery and a convent to his exciting journey across Europe in search of his people, he would learn a warrior's skills and the
Mass Market Paperback, 917 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Bantam (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

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This was one of those books I couldn't put down and suffered at work the next day for it. The story and characters have stuck with me these 9 years since I have read it. One of my friends made off with my paperback copy, so I just recently decided to replace it with a first edition hardcover.
This isn't really a spoiler, but there are many graphic scenes of sex, violence, incest et al. The main character is an intersexed person (hermaphrodite, for the non-PC among us)and s/he uses what s/he's go
I loved the fact that the book is very narrative. Throughout the passages you learn about different cultures and customs adopted by different civilizations such as goths, ostrogoth, ect. It talks about the adventures of the character Thorn, who is brought up and raised as a boy in a monistry to later learn he was a girl and sent to a convent to really find out she/he didn't really fully fit in one world but in both.
Read this with a map to chart the course of the Danube and also learned of the cities and passes in the Alps, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Tirol and so on. From the high mountains and open spaces in Alsace, the crumbling ruins of once mighty Rome, the deep forests around Lake Geneva, the rush of the water at the Iron Gate, or the cheers in a colosseum in Sofia, this author takes you there. c. 480-510 AD
Oct 28, 2007 Amy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Trash-tacular yet compelling. Still, Gary Jennings novels are always despite my better judgment. How can a guy be so punctilious about his historical research and yet not learn that a hermaphrodite is not "fully functional"?
Sep 05, 2007 Lou rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
Not quite as good as his other books. Probably as good as Aztec so the story is outstanding in any case!

Go get it and read it!

Raptor will always be a fond favorite of mine. It was the first “taboo” book I’d ever read, and incidentally, one of the first characters—aside from Lyra Belacqua in Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy—whom I identified with. I credit Gary Jennings for opening my eyes to a world beyond one-dimensional heroes and heroines. In that same vein, Jennings had this incredible ability to take a simple thread and weave it into a complex, colorful tapestry—applying both to his well-rounded characters and ...more
Greatly enjoy Jenning's writing and Thorn's character. Throughout the book I felt Thorn maintained his base personality in being adventurous, inventive, curious and mischievous. And occasionally clumsy.

For the most part I greatly enjoyed this book. Towards the end there were times I was a little bored. I had to give it five stars because I felt there was so much in this book. It is a long book, but it's not just adventures and mischievousness, there's insight about the times and about Thorn's c
Aldo Ojeda
Gary Jennings tiene una cierta obsesión con el sexo, pero todos lo sabemos y así es como lo queremos; aun así, cuando el protagonista es un hermafrodita (totalmente funcional, que en realidad no existen en la naturaleza, pero digamos que hubo ciertas libertades artísticas), en las primeras diez páginas el autor explora ya con gusto todo el potencial sexual de su personaje.
El protagonista, Thorn, con todo esto, ha de ser uno de los personajes más interesantes escritos por Jennings. Pero Halcón fa
this is one of those novels i forgot that i read until just recently. it's breathtakingly unique and astoundingly different -- it tells the story of an intersexed Visigoth -- and while you may be going, "...Did I just read that correctly?" I assure you that you did and that it is a wonderful and complex story. Like most of Jennings' novels, not recommended for the faint of heart.
Read these Runes !!!

On the whole I enjoyed this novel: the [fictitious] memoirs of the hermaphrodite Thorn. I hated in the first Part: "In the Ring of Balsam" the drawn-out, graphic first sexual experiences of the intersex hero/heroine, Thorn, in both a monastery and a convent, In fact, anything of a graphic nature from then on I skipped over. I almost quit reading completely because of Part I, but am really glad I persevered after the first 70-80 pages. Thorn had been left at the monastery as
Nothing is as it seems. This book show that their is always the woman in the man and the man in the woman.
What a story. It takes place in like the first century or something which automatically makes it more interesting to me, being historical and all. The descriptions of the various lands, how people dress, and how much variety there is in the different tribes and groups of people that the main character interacts with is so vivid and described so perfectly. Jennings has great style without having the style itself stand out or keep you from picturing yourself right there with the character. Thorn's ...more
A fascinating premise utterly ruined by its execution. The story is about a hermaphrodite, a person with characteristics of both sexes who becomes the right-hand "man" of King Theodoric of the Goths, conqueror of the Roman empire. The main character Thorn mostly acts like a man, but if he puts on a dress, he becomes a woman and the story is about his/her peregrinations through the empire of the Goths as witness to history of the era. It is a really interesting idea that had a lot of potential to ...more
Sharon Zink
This is a good book, but too long. I enjoyed the history of the beginning of the Dark Ages. The story was improbable in many places and lewd in many other places. It is about the coming to power and the reign of Theodoric the Great, King of the Goths; although he is not the main character. Many historical novels get bogged down in descriptions of battles, but this one did not.
David DeMar
I enjoyed this book, although not as much as Aztec. The format is much the same though. There's no unifying plot, just a man (in this case a hermaphrodite) telling his life story. While his character is fictional he does interact with real historical people and events and the author goes into much detail describing these. Sometimes the pacing gets a little bogged down with seemingly endless infodumps consisting of descriptions of kings, cultures, and places that don't really have much to do with ...more
Excelente novela histórica de Gary Jennings, en la que el godo Thorn, vive grandes hazañas y aventuras a lo largo de toda Europa, junto a su amigo Wyrd. Muchas referencias históricas y una historia muy entretenida.
Romanzone storico in linea con gli altri di Jennings che mi è capitato di leggere: cambia l’ambientazione storica, ma c’è sempre un protagonista avventuroso e scaltro che attraverso le proprie vicissitudini riesce a raccontarci un po’ del suo mondo. In questo senso ho trovato il Predatore molto simile all’Azteco, ma dato che sia il tempo che il luogo sono totalmente diversi alla fine qualche ripetizione narrativa si perdona facilmente, splecialmente se ci si sofferma un attimo a considerare tutt ...more
Stefan McElvain
900 plus pages - it's a very long story. I must admit the shear size intimidated me. The book is divided into sections that can be read in order. The story could have been published as a series of independent books.
The language is olde-world and the setting is at the end of the Roman Empire. The story is very interesting, but extremely gory at times and pretty explicit. The book is not for the faint of heart.
I'm afraid to admit, I did skip some pages!
Jorge Arnulfo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charlene Gordon
Thorn was a very complex and interesting character. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Read in 1993.
David Koblos
Having read Aztec by the same author, I came with very high expectations to this book, which it didn't quite meet. I thought that early medieval history, particularly of the Goths and Theoderic the Great offered just enough known sources to supply ample information to illustrate 6th century life, while leaving sufficient blank spots to be filled with various lore and legends, to make an exciting reading. Unfortunately Jennings failed in both of these points. Both the informational content, and t ...more
Patrick Bättig
Mannfrau wird guter Feund und Berater von dem grossen Theoderich
David Montes

Excelent book in a medieval time
Ich hatte mir etwas historisches in der Art von Bernard Cornwell erhofft, aber der Autor kommt nicht entfernt an Cornwell heran: die Figuren zu holzschnittartig, die Handlung eher im Stile eines Groschenheftes. Nach 150 Seiten wußte ich noch nicht annähernd wohin die Reise überhaupt gehen wird und der Wälzer hat über 800 Seiten - näh danke. Vielleicht irgendwann nochmal, wenn ich sehr verzweifelt bin und sonst nichts zu lesen habe.
I think Jennings writes more for men.. I've read this and Aztec by him and found them both good reading, but lost interest several times in the battles and such.. If a book is this long it will usually capture my unconscious somehow so that I dream about the book.. this did NOT happen with Raptor.. But, it is a good book.. and I would recommend it as such....
just not one of my favorites.
I'm probably being a little harsh here given the amount of effort it must have taken to write this 914-page, size-4-font tome, but I found myself reading faster toward the end, like picking up your pace when you can see the finish line just to get the race over with. The highs weren't very high and the lows weren't low. Everything was just sort of flat. Aztec? Yes! Raptor? No.
this is an amazing book. i've never seen so many twists and turns. i won't give away the "secret", but think crying game + historical fiction.
don't be scared by the length...this is a fast read.
i wish i was the main character, because like so many characters in jennings' novels, our protagonist is quite irresistable to those of the opposite (and sometimes same) sex.
As a Jennings' fan, I had to find this one, even if it's out of print. So I found a used copy in the States. Aztec remains Jennings' masterpiece, followed by the Journeyer. Raptor was as well documented as the others, but I had a sense of dejà-vu. A must read for the fans, but for the others I would rather recommend Aztec.
I read this a long time ago (I checked it out of the library when I was in high school... in the nineties) and it's truly bizarre, completely readable, and has stuck with me. And is probably why at present I don't watch or read Roman stuff because it probably traumatized me! lol
Overall, I enjoyed this one much more than Jenning's other novel, Journeyer. Would have been better with more blood, sex and gore than all the Roman politics. All the history about the settlement of Eastern Europe was pretty interesting, if you're into that sort of thing.
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Gary Jennings led a paradoxically picaresque life. On one hand, he was a man of acknowledged intellect and erudition. His novels were international best sellers, praised around the world for their stylish prose, lively wit and adventurously bawdy spirit. They were also massive - often topping 500,000 words - and widely acclaimed for the years of research he put into each one, both in libraries and ...more
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