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The Anvil of the World
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The Anvil of the World (The Anvil of the World #1)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,199 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Kage Baker's stories and novels of the mysterious organization that controls time travel, The Company, have made her famous in SF. So has her talent for clever dialogue and pointed social commentary with a light touch. “Ms. Baker is the best thing to happen to modern science fiction since Connie Willis or Dan Simmons. She mixes adventure, history and societal concerns in j ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Tor Books (first published August 23rd 2003)
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MB
2nd read 11/14/08: Very fun book to read. The subversive humorous touches and surprises are very enjoyable.

I highly recommend that you read this book's prequel "The House of the Stag" first. If you do, this book will make a lot more sense and the humor and allusions will be richer (more obvious).

Note: The House of the Stag was published in 2008 but it is about Lord Ermenwyr's parents and sets up "the world" of this book so many things will be much more clear to you. The House of the Stag is more
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Wealhtheow
I’ve been disappointed with Baker’s work of late (will her Company series never get to the climax? Argh!), and the first two-thirds of this book did little to help. She created a rich, detailed, and varied world to play in, peopled with the highly-capitalist, pagan Children of the Sun (complete with fertility festivals and the ritual saying, “Joyous couplings!’), the vegan, holier-than-thou Yendri, and assorted demons, gods and saints. The first two adventures are nothing special, although they’ ...more
Phoenixfalls
The Anvil of the World is not quite a novel, but rather three novellas, printed chronologically and linked by their cast of characters. I have a minor quibble with Tor in this matter, because the entire volume is divided only by line breaks, with a page break and a graphic of two swords crossing to indicate the start of the next novella, which made finding my page after I had set the book down rather difficult. (I don't use bookmarks.) It also made it less clear that that was to be the structure ...more
Jamie
3.5 stars. A work of fantasy from Kage Baker, who was best known for her science fiction series about The Company. The book seems to consist of three novelettes, but they are contiguous stories and they fit together smoothly. This is quirky and amusing, and has a very slight steampunkish feel since the technology tends towards clockwork and steam power. There are also demons who have magical powers, so this is mostly fantasy.

The first story is lighthearted to the point of frivolousness, and it w
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Alex
I've hit the "Kage Baker" section of my book shelf tonight, so I'm just going to sing her praises as I add her books to this catalog.

Basically Anvil of the World is great because it contains everything that's wonderful about Baker: she's funny, highly imaginative, a clear writer who can break out the style when need be (as in the case of Anvil of the World, where she goes a little bit old school fantasy in her tone), and, most importantly, she can write a novel with a moral message while at the
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Cheryl
I'm not crazy about the cover picture or title, but I love the book and would give it 4.5 stars. A trilogy of novellas.

The critic's comparisons to Terry Pratchett are most evident in the middle book. The pure fantasy adventure is strongest in the first. All three work together to make a satisfying fantasy world, complete with different races that need to learn to get along, living gods and sorcerers and demons, allegorical messages the reader can relate to real-life, romance, and humor both wit
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YouKneeK
I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand the story was usually interesting, the characters were pretty unique, and the book made me chuckle quite a bit. On the other hand, sometimes I thought the story dragged and sometimes it crossed slightly over the line from funny into ridiculous.

This is a fantasy set in a world in which three different species live. You have the Children of the Sun, of which our main character is a member. These are essentially humans, the most numerous species
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Genevra Littlejohn
The funniest, most intelligent fantasy I've read in ages! I'd love to meet Lord Ermenwyr sometime.
(This is also an absolutely excellent book to read aloud with a lover before bed. Not because it's necessarily erotic--it's not, though there are some deliciously sexy characters--but because it's just so wittily written that it'd a delight to share.)
P.f. Bruns
It's a shame Kage Baker is no longer with us. Her The Anvil of the World spoofs elements of hackneyed fantasy (it starts with a caravan, for Heaven's sake) with wonderful dialogue and a culture with some very Pratchett-like elements. A great quick read.
Jim Mcclanahan
My first non-Company novel by Kage Baker. Turned out to be almost three stories in one. The first third was one of those "fantastic journey" segments, replete with conflicts among the denizens of Baker's world: humans, elvish types (the Yendril) and demons (who come in all guises). The hero, Smith, seems an unwitting and sometime unwilling participant in all the goings on while leading a caravan from the mountains to the sea.

In the second segment, demonic happenings occur in something of a murde
...more
Charles
Stuff I Read - The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker Review

I've been meaning to read Kage Baker for a while now, and this seems just the place to start. While wandering the library a bit drunk (and with a cheese in my pocket) with my wife, she actually picked this one up (while I picked up a different book). But in my cunning I employed the old "wait until she's done reading it and then read it" tactic and waited until she was done reading it, then read it. It worked brilliantly. What I found was
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Margaret
The Anvil of the World narrates the adventures of a man named simply Smith, who takes on a job as caravan master after giving up his old job of assassin. On the way from the inland city of Troon to the coastal city of Salesh, he meets a number of bizarre people, from the caravan's cook, Mrs. Smith (no relation) to the demonic half-breed Lord Ermenwyr. When the party reaches Salesh, the story really gets started - up until then, it's a little slow - and turns into a truly rousing adventure told w ...more
Kirsten
I really feel like this book deserves better than three stars, but it's not QUITE a four-star book, mostly because it really doesn't quite hang together as a novel. It's more like three interconnected novellas. I really enjoyed it, though -- Kage Baker may be the first author I've encountered who comes anywhere close to Terry Pratchett's masterful combination of cynicism, sentimentality, and humor. Yet the book does not feel like a direct attempt to copy or riff on Terry Pratchett, except in a " ...more
Darshan Elena
I loved this book. It was political and amusing, intelligent and surprising, while remaining consistent with ye olde generic devices of fantasy. I appreciated the characters and the not-so-subtle references to our own societal failings and concerns. I adored the funny demons, and I was so relieved to read a fantasy where good and evil weren't simple divisions but rather social demarcations that depended upon perspective and experience. Well done!
Marie desJardins
Maybe I was just not in the mood for a fantasy book, but I put this one down after just a couple of chapters. I simply couldn't bring myself to care about the story or the characters. It's all meant to be clever, funny, and tongue-in-cheek, but it just has no depth whatsoever, in my opinion. Pass.
Chelsea
This book has three parts. It went from good to great to oh-my-god amazing. I am awed that Baker was able to make the last section as profound as she made it. There is no pretense to this book, no grasping, no overwrought tropes. It's not perfection incarnate or anything, but it's damned good.
Virginia
Hilarious. I love how fantasy tropes are turned on their heads. Thoroughly engaging and tongue in cheek. Why have I not devoured all of Baker's works?
Yolanda Casica
Surprisingly funny and heartwarming. I went into the story thinking it would just be an average adventure book. I'm glad I was wrong. Everything this book offered was unexpected, but nevertheless appreciated for its fantastic deliverance.

The book cover and synopsis don't do the actual story much justice. Also, as I was reading a strange thought occurred to me. The story was good and fine on its own, yes, but it would have been better suited in the middle or at the end of a series.

Besides that
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Kira Yeversky
The way the story flowed was kind of interesting...in a lot of ways, it felt like three shorter stories tied into one. Maybe it's just the way the plot twists, but I could see three story arcs as I read through. The cast of characters is eclectic and sometimes amusingly named: Smith, Smith's cousin, Mrs. Smith (not Smith's wife) Keyman/Porter Smith, Keyman/Porter Smith the younger...and then we have names like Lord Ermenwyr.

Some of the political/cultural elements reminded me a little of Megan W
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Kari Chapman
The world that this book was set in was interesting. I like the bits of history we got. However, the story had a hard time holding my interest. It seems to have been written as several smaller, related stories. I finished the first one and started the next one, but just put the book down one time and had no interest in picking it up again.

I think I had trouble connecting to the main character. He wasn't really an interesting character - he wanted nothing more than a boring life. That may have b
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Mina Khan
I read this as part of my A to Z Female Fantasy Authors reading challenge. And I loved it!

This is a 4.5 stars read for me only because the story has three separate sections instead of flowing seamlessly as one story. The changes, esp. between parts 2 & 3, did take me out of the story for a bit.

But overall, I'm so glad I read it. Kage Baker is better known for her science fiction, however her first fantasy novel didn't disappoint. It was Terry Pratchett meets Sinbad the Sailor meets Faulty To
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Althea Ann
Genuinely funny fantasy is hard to find (although stupid humor masquerading as fantasy is not), and this book succeeds marvelously.

It reminded me quite a lot of ‘Thieves' World' – which means, I suppose, that I should say it reminded me of Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar, but I guess that places me in my cultural era! However, I found this book to be both wittier and more enjoyable.

It's made up of three linked novellas, following an ex-mercenary named Smith.
In the first story, Smith, having left his pre
...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in April 2011.

The name of Kage Baker was not unfamiliar to me, as I had read several encomiums produced when she died last year. They were sufficiently positive that I tried reading one of her books, without enjoying it much, and being left feeling somewhat mystified by the praise she had received. I did eventually try again, and found The Anvil of the World truly delightful, one of the funniest fantasy novels I have ever read.

Though perhaps it is not really
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Kevin
Smith just wants the quiet life of a businessman. But put in charge of a caravan with a half-demon passenger and a fragile cargo leads to myriad complications. After surviving that, he gives up on travel and opens a hotel, only to have one of his guests murdered. That resolved, he ends up being shanghaied by the aforementioned half-demon to travel by ship - through a wartime blockade - to rescue the half-demon’s sister. Complications ensue.

The characters are the best aspect, though: Smith is a r
...more
pdarnold
I would rate this somewhere nearer to 2.5 stars. It was a bit better than OK but I'm not sure how well I actually "liked" it. It had promise in the beginning. There was plenty of humor and mystery going on. Somewhere along the way it turned into a preachy environmental brain basher. The characters were an interesting lot to be sure! With their own secretive pasts they are thrown together during a trip across the greenlands on a journey to the coast. Trouble ensues along the way and many fingers ...more
Jesse Whitehead
Kage Baker has been on my radar for a while now. She wrote a series of science fiction books about a time travel agency that seem to be popular. I always intended to read her books.

I had no idea that she had written fantasy books as well. In fact I remained completely ignorant of her writing until last year when she passed away rather suddenly. As is so often the case her death reminded me that I hadn’t read any of her books yet. So I dug through my collection of unread books – it’s a fairly sub
...more
Jessica
This was such an interesting book. You find yourself immersed in a world of adventure of not 1 but 3 great tales. It all begins when Smith has to lead a caravan from his cousins town to Salesh-by-the-Sea. All along the way, they are met with difficulties of attacks and wrecks. Though, they finally make it to find that they failed to protect some cargo which gets them all fired. So, the team buys a hotel in Salesh and begin the business there. The next adventure deals with Smith and friends tryin ...more
Kyle
It's always exciting finding a new author whose work you just love. So when I stumbled across a short story called The Ruby Incomparable (which you can read here) by Kage Baker a few years ago that blew me away it took me approximately 2 nanoseconds to see what else she had written. I was immediately drawn to the concepts in her Company series (a company named Dr. Zeus has developed a process of creating immortal cyborgs to safeguard various treasures that may have otherwise been lost in histori ...more
Ward Bond
From Publishers Weekly

Best known for such time-travel novels as Sky Coyote, Baker now turns her hand to humorous fantasy in this picaresque tale of a retired assassin, Smith, who is just trying to stay on the right side of the law, but who continually finds himself knee-deep in mayhem. Smith takes a job as a caravan master, shepherding a cargo of one gross of glass butterflies and a variety of eccentric passengers on a dangerous journey from the city of Troon to Salesh-by-the-Sea. Most notable

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Fantasy Literature
The first thing that should be noted about Kage Baker's The Anvil of the World is that though it focuses on a very small group of characters and one main character throughout and follows them chronologically, this isn't really a novel. Unless it's one with some major transition problems. Rather, it's three novellas with some large gaps of time between the three different adventures. Like any collection of stories, then, The Anvil of the World tends to be a bit uneven.

The first story, which has t
...more
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What's The Name o...: Fantasy novel about a guard of some kind [s] 4 24 Feb 16, 2013 08:14PM  
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Born June 10, 1952, in Hollywood, California, and grew up there and in Pismo Beach, present home. Spent 12 years in assorted navy blue uniforms obtaining a good parochial school education and numerous emotional scars. Rapier wit developed as defense mechanism to deflect rage of larger and more powerful children who took offense at abrasive, condescending and arrogant personality in a sickly eight- ...more
More about Kage Baker...
In the Garden of Iden (The Company, #1) Sky Coyote (The Company, #2) Mendoza in Hollywood (The Company, #3) The Graveyard Game (The Company, #4) The Life of the World to Come (The Company, #5)

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“Don't imagine she trembles over the dissecting table either, Smith. She has nerves of ice. Real Good can be as ruthless as Evil when it wants to accomplish something, let me tell you.” 11 likes
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