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Spangle (Spangle #1-3)

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  571 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
A nineteenth century circus troupe, including a beautiful aerialist, a lion tamer, a strongman, a gypsy fortune-teller, and a sideshow, tours the post Civil War South and the courts of Europe.

"Of the things I might expect to see coming along on the heels of a war, a circus sure ain't high on the list..."

So spoke Zachary Edge, a colonel in the cavalry of the Confederacy, wh
Hardcover, 869 pages
Published October 28th 1987 by Atheneum Books (first published 1987)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jennifer B.
Aug 28, 2016 Jennifer B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At 1,278 pages, this book didn't feel that long. I was a bit unsure at first, but before I knew it, I was digging it. I mean, how many historical fiction books about the circus had I read before? Exactly none. The descriptions of circus life and living were very detailed and for all I can surmise, accurate as well.

Some of the characters have long names which get annoying to read again and again, but so many of them come and go that it doesn't matter. Indeed, there are so many characters, and so
Aug 16, 2015 Abc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bellissimo libro, che conferma la stima che nutro nei confronti di Jennings, davvero un abile narratore!
Ho apprezzato particolarmente il personaggio di Florian, il pater familias di questo gruppo circense che gira l'Europa partendo dalla lontana America. Personaggio scoppiettante, grande affabulatore, ricco di risorse, capace anche di imbrogli, ma molto umano e sempre disposto a venire incontro alle esigenze di ogni singolo componente del suo circo, perchè "bisogna risolvere i problemi man mano
I really, really wanted to like this book; it is, after all, about the circus, but Jennings somehow managed to suck all the life out of my favorite subject. The book is a huge time-investment - clocking in at almost 900 pages - and yet with all that length, Jennings does not manage to engender any feeling for the characters. He is an incredibly detail-oriented writer, and I could practically envision the boxes of index cards that must have contained all the factoids he included. The characters ...more
Feb 13, 2015 William rated it it was amazing
La edición en español Lentejuelas, es uno de los mejores libros que he leído.
Me sorprende como Gary evoluciona la historia de los diferentes personajes a través de una historia circense con tal profundidad.
En mi opinión esta obra es aun mejor que Azteca, ya que en Lentejuelas hay una mayor variedad de culturas, que incluso te hace sentir estar en varios de esos lugares.
Desde América hasta París, este libro brinda un viaje increíble, y aunque alguna que otra parte se me hizo tediosa, en general c
David Koblos
Feb 08, 2014 David Koblos rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Jennings is such a disappointment! I was actually looking forward to reading this book, and getting a glimpse into the mysterious world of late 19th century Europe, along with all kinds of anecdotes, interesting connections of people and places, and above all, the inner workings of a traveling circus. The latter part was okay, but it did not make up for the horrendous historical, geographical, and linguistic errors. Province of Slovakia? Yugoslavia? And let me not start on some of the ...more
Jorge Arnulfo
Mar 24, 2014 Jorge Arnulfo rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill Friedrich
Jan 02, 2015 Bill Friedrich rated it it was ok
Aztec was amazing, Journeyer was OK, but this was boring. The characters had some promise in the beginning, but by page 500 there was so little plot that I couldn't continue. It was like reading the transcript of a 24 hour reality show.
Apr 16, 2010 Stephanie rated it it was ok
While being cheap, tawdry, and superficial, Gary Jennings' novel Spangle is to be commended for teaching me a little about the inner workings of a nineteenth century circus.
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Apparently this is 3 books in one. I liked the first part of this mammoth story, but the rest I just felt lacked so much. Not that great in my opinion.
Dec 16, 2011 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
more like [9/10] but WOW ! what an amazing journey across continents, historical events, civilizations and into the complexities of human motivations and relationships. The wealth of material here is staggering, the author must have lived and breathed in the circus world for years. I think I have read on Wikipedia that he joined no less than 8 different circus acts on the road. I feel saturated now, after the last page in eclectic terms designed to confuse the "rube" or "josser"- that is the ...more
Lorenzo Lliteras
Sep 21, 2016 Lorenzo Lliteras rated it really liked it
Muy buen Libro!!!! No considero que sea el mejor de Gary Jennings pero vale la pena leerlo! como siempre un narrativa muy buena y atractiva!
Jan 17, 2009 Reza rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Justin Lantier-Novelli
Gary did his homework obviously. The attention to detail was astounding. I've never been to most of the places he described, but he knew street names and what specific buildings looked like. He also utilized his time with various circuses to his advantage, explaining in sometimes excruciating detail how people dressed, acted, the lingo, and the behind-the-scenes working of a traveling troupe.

However, those were the only good things about this novel. If you are a fan of historical fiction that p
May 20, 2013 Stephen rated it it was amazing
A sprawling epic of a traveling circus by the author of Aztec. Spangle is a tome and a half yet I was so enthralled I often found myself worrying it would end too soon. There are so many memorable characters. Florian, Edge and Clover Lee would be the stars but the supporting cast is just compelling. As the circus travels across post Civil War America and finally on to Europe they are joined by new acts. I don't think it's a spoiler to point out that there are always openings as performers are ...more
Juan Navarro
Sep 24, 2015 Juan Navarro rated it really liked it
Well, Gary Jennings tried to stray away a little in this historical fiction and really the book is quite good, however is inferior compared to Aztec or Raptor. The US part was very very slow but when the troupe lands in Italy, Weeks , even months are eliminated with the word ''later'' . I can only think that the first part was Edge and Yount learning to do circus stuff. Also a little weird is kind of a tragedy lapsus. Somebody dies then everything gets better until the next tragedy comes. Also ...more
Sep 09, 2015 Bryce rated it it was amazing
I read this one last of the Gary Jennings books as I wasn't that interested in circus plot or the late 1800s timeframe. I put this one a close second after Aztec, I wouldn't hesitate to say some may like it more.

It is a bit less depressing then Jennings other books and I found it more uplifting from the camaraderie and circus atmosphere. Fear not Gary's trademark debauchery is here as well as a staggering bodycount to rival his other books. The Florian character is my favourite in all his books
May 13, 2008 Doug rated it liked it
I liked this book but I didn't feel like it measured up to Aztec or the Journeyer (haven't read any of his others yet). The setting was vivid and the information about the circus was fascinating, but I didn't feel like I made a connection with any of the characters. Unlike the other two Jennings works I've read, it felt more like I was reading a reporters account of the journey rather than living it with one of the characters. In fact, I couldn't identify the main character if pressed (Edge or ...more
Maria Isabel
May 06, 2015 Maria Isabel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biblioteca
Aquest llibre va anar a para a les meves mans de casualitat... Estava per casa, no sé d'on el deuria treure ma mare, i vaig decidir llegir-lo. Crec que ha estat una de les millors sorpreses literàries que he tingut mai...
Ara, en el moment d'escriure això, ja fa temps que el vaig llegir i no puc recordar fil per randa tota la trama. Però sí recordo la sensació de satisfacció en acabar-lo, com sempre que dones per acabat un molt bon llibre, sentint que no has perdut el temps, tot el contrari.
Mar 15, 2015 Shio rated it liked it
primer libro que leo de este autor y acerca de un circo. inicia bien indicando las dificultades y penurias de los artistas y soldados en el final de la guerra de secesion pero decae al detallar como causalmente (asi lo decide el autor) el circo logra progresar tanto en personal, infrestructura y $$$, quizas para enfocarse mas en narrar la travesia de america hacía europa dejando en segundo plano las tramas de los personajes (...siempre tenia en mente carnivale ).
May 23, 2012 Cameron rated it really liked it
Another adventure brought to life by Gary Jennings. Spangle is the story of a traveling circus we join near Appomattox just after Lees surrender to Grant. We throw in out lot, and horses, with the fascinating troupe; on our way to the crowned heads of Europe.
Another tremendous work of historical research, organization, and writing.
Thomas Switek
Jan 16, 2015 Thomas Switek rated it really liked it
Started off very interesting, got lost through the middle and had a tough time getting through but it ended very strongly. Glad I got to the end, it redeemed my opinion of Jennings work. Loved Aztec, Journeyer, and Raptor.
Nov 11, 2011 Mac rated it it was amazing
No one does better research for a novel than Jennings. I never would have looked at a story about a 19th century circus if it wasn't for previous enjoyment from Jenning's other novels. He didn't let me down! An amazing read!
vicki honeyman
Jul 09, 2010 vicki honeyman rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this 3-book series that follows a circus from the end of the civil war to pre-war europe. Fascinating story, incredibly informative, strong character-development. Big recommendation from me!
Jun 01, 2010 Angela rated it really liked it
Humorous and historical, an interesting combination, but it works well. Fun to read. I previously had no interest in circuses, but this novel was much more than about a simple circus. It takes you through Europe at a time of political unrest, seen from the eyes of travelers from America.
Val Wilkerson
Aug 25, 2009 Val Wilkerson rated it liked it
Have started Spangle, which has come recommended by a good friend. Its rather a historical tale of the circus, and I love Gary Jennings books.
Sep 05, 2007 Lou rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: fiction
Just when I thought Aztec was the best book I'd ever read, I picked up Spangle.

Go get it!

Michael Gleich
Sep 12, 2012 Michael Gleich rated it really liked it
This is a great way to see early American circus history, and the people that worked them. An engrossing read.
Jan 10, 2011 Scott rated it really liked it
I love this book as it is sexy and provocative and according to what I known very historically accurate
Eric rated it it was amazing
Aug 22, 2012
Brian rated it it was amazing
Aug 10, 2011
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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
More about Gary Jennings...

Other Books in the Series

Spangle (3 books)
  • The Road Show (Spangle #1)
  • The Center Ring (Spangle, #2)
  • The Grand Promenade (Spangle, #3)

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