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The Compleat Enchanter (The Incompleat Enchanter #1-3)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  1,573 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The Mathematics of Magic was probably the greatest discovery of the ages - at least Professor Harold Shea thought so. With the proper equations, he could instantly transport himself back in time to all the wondrous lands of ancient legend. But slips in time were a hazard, and Shea's magic did not always work - at least, not quite as he expected...

This omnibus volume conta...more
Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 12th 1980 by Del Rey Books (first published 1941)
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Remember that Sprague and Pratt wrote this before LORD OF THE RINGS and only a few years after the hobbit. There weren't as many fantasy books to draw upon either.

Great system they set up for how magic works through mathematical formulas. Not too confusing either for people like me who don't care for math either.

The book is divided into three books that cover different mythologies: the first being Norse where Harold Shea, our hero, gets to meet some of the Norse Gods as they travel in to giant t...more

3 stars

Bored psychologist Harold Shea draws on his mentor's work to transfer bodily to the world of Norse mythology, and later to other lands, posing most often as a sorceror, with exciting consequences.

Collecting a series of stories mostly written for magazines in the 1940s, I liked this book better the first time I read it. The first story is best, and the second is good, though the authors ran out of either time or energy and finished in a rush. The last story in the s...more
I enjoyed the multiple literary worlds the characters travel through (Norse Ragnarok, Spenser's "The Faerie Queene," Coleridge's "Xanadu", "Orlando Furioso" and the Irish myths of Maeve and Cuchulain); however, the actual plot was repetitive and juvenile.
What I learned from this book? Yngvi is a louse!

Was looking for this in my brain--couldn't remember title!

Thanks again, Dan.

I gave this the best shot I could, and though each book contained in this omnibus is brief, it never stopped feeling like a chore.

I wanted to read this because I have a great respect for the authors who expanded the genres of fantasy and science fiction past childhood reading, and L. Sprague de Camp is too major a figure for me to never have read before.

Too bad I couldn't stand his protagonist and the story was hackneyed. One could counter that this seems hackneyed because of all the imitations...more
This is the book that put L. Sprague de Camp so high on my list of favorite authors. I found the three novellas in The Compleat Enchanter: The Magical Misadventures of Harold Shea so utterly fun and charming that as soon as I finished the book, I was overcome by a great sadness resulting from knowing that I would never again get that magical experience of reading it for the first time. However, I soon realized that the novellas in this book are so wonderful that they will be just as good upon a...more
Graham Crawford
The first book in this collection was quite fun. There was a section about a wizards meeting which really reminded me of both Pratchett and Rowling - I wonder if they read this when they were younger and then improved the germ of an idea in their far more successful creations.
The later books in the series were pretty dreary. hack writing. I have a feeling that as the series collaboration progessed it became more of Sprague de Camps - and less of Pratts - and I think it was Pratts involvement wh...more
Michael Hall
Three entertaining novellas in one... for the most part. These do contain a young adult naivete that exemplifies classic sword and sorcery fantasy of the pulpy cheesy kind, so they are certainly not epic or full of deep meaning. Things start out a bit awkwardly yet with a touch of whimsy that brings out a certain 1940's mindset, but unfortunately each story got progressively worse in style, content, and interest -- in that order. Not sure if I would be interested in pursuing any other tales in t...more
Fun to read one of the foundational books of fantasy literature, which spawned a whole series of imitators and served as a starting point for a wide number of books. Some of it reflects a 1940's mentality, but it really was a leap forward for the genre with heroes that would think their way through problems much of the time over simply bludgeoning their out of trouble. The conceptual ideas are a lot of fun and the worlds are deeply entertaining for anyone familiar with mythological literature an...more
Keith Davis
An adventurous young man and an old professor discover a way to transport themselves into alternate realities by fiddling with the rules of logic in their "syllogismobile". Pratt was mostly know for his detailed fictional worlds and De Camp was known for humorous adventure fantasy, and the combination makes for excellent reading.
John E
A delightful collection of three long stories of mythic time travel with a single main character. Published first in fantasy pulp magazines in the early 1940, they show much wit and thoughtfulness. The last story was a bit thin. One of the great forefathers of Tolkien's works.
This was the first fantasy book I read that I fell in love with. It is different and an easy read. Will forever have a special place for me.
Eric Orchard
I have to admit I didn't finish this one compleatly..... Something about the tone or style I just don't enjoy.
Linda Robinson
When I donated my books in 2004, this is one I kept. Enchanting. Compleatly.
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Oct 19, 2014
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Lyon Sprague de Camp, (Pseudonym: Lyman R. Lyon) was an American science fiction and fantasy author and biographer. In a writing career spanning fifty years he wrote over one hundred books, including novels and notable works of nonfiction, such as biographies of other important fantasy authors.He was widely regarded as an imaginative and innovative writer and was an important figure in the heyday...more
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