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The House of the Stag (The Anvil of the World #2)

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  498 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Before the Riders came to their remote valley the Yendri led a tranquil pastoral life. When the Riders conquered and enslaved them, only a few escaped to the forests. Rebellion wasn't the Yendri way; they hid, or passively resisted, taking consolation in the prophecies of their spiritual leader.

Only one possessed the necessary rage to fight back: Gard the foundling, half-
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ebook, 352 pages
Published November 10th 2009 by Tor Books (first published September 16th 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,026)
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Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Kage Baker’s The House of the Stag is a stand-alone novel set in the same world as The Anvil of the World and The Bird of the River. In this story, the pacifist Yendri tribe has been enslaved by cruel invaders, and the half-demon foundling named Gard is the only one who will fight back. When he’s exiled from the tribe, Gard is captured by mages who live underground and set to work with their bound demon slaves. With some advice from his fellow slaves, he r
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Amaha
It's always an event when I buy a new book in hardcover; there are only a handful of authors that merit this honor, especially since I became a broke-ass student. Kage Baker deserves it. House of the Stag is the best fantasy novel I've read since Swanwick's Dragons of Babel. It takes place in the same setting as Baker’s Anvil of the World, though it's been so long since I read AOTW that I couldn't tell you how they overlap and diverge. Like AOTW, HOTS is considerably less plot-driven than the bo ...more
Althea Ann
I thought this was a sequel to 'Anvil of the World', but it's actually a prequel, telling the story of the parents of 'Anvil''s protagonist.
My first thought, starting the book, was that it was much too earnest. The tale of an innocent agrarian society living in Edenic peace until attacked by violent slavers wasn't bad, but also wasn't what I was expecting. 'Anvil'' was just much funnier.
But as the book progressed, I was caught up by the story of Gard, a foundling raised by the peaceful Yendri wh
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Shaun Duke
Every once in a while you come across a book that raises the bar, that blows the competition out of the water. Some years back, that book was Harry Potter (or books, to be more accurate); now, Kage Baker’s The House of the Stag has done what few books can ever do.

The House of the Stag is a modern fairytale that chronicles the struggle of a young man after his people, the Yendri, are invaded by a barbaric, horseback-riding people called the Riders. As his people are rounded up and killed or turne
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MB
10/1/08 First Read: I loved it! Why? Because it was witty, with a wry but kind humor to it. Because I couldn't guess where it was going in anyway shape or form and the ending was a complete surprise to me. (For me, this is unusual.) Because it incorporated all sorts of strong interesting characters and points-of-view and a unique "world". Because it was such an interesting take--almost a gentle send-up--poking fun at the typical male-oriented fantasy novel! Because I loved the give and take betw ...more
Virginia
Don't let the cheesy cover and the stupid title fool you. This book is AWESOME. I put off reading this book for so long. (Yes, yes, I know. Don't judge a book by its cover and whatnot. Well, I did. Fie on my stupidity. Don't let me idiocy be yours!)

Fantastic world and story. Utterly engrossing and satisfyingly self-contained. Plus, if you are accustomed to high-fantasy tropes, you will be delighted by the humor and in-jokes.

I am sad because Baker has passed away so there will be no more new st
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Jim Mcclanahan
I've read all the "Company" novels and liked them a great deal. I also read The Anvil of the World and was not quite as impressed. So it took me a while to get to this one. It turns out to be a prequel to "Anvil". But what a wonderfully crafted tale it is. From the saga of the half demon child, Gard, to the emergence of the female Yendri Saint, Ms. Baker's unfailing literary instincts and background make this prose often appear as poetry. And, after a rather grim set of opening events, her usual ...more
Clay
Now that the long Company saga has ended, Kage Baker turns from the paradoxes of time travel to the familiar tropes of fantasy -- and for the most part, switches gears smoothly. "The House of the Stag" (Tor, $24.95, 350 pages), however, shifts the ground of the traditional outline, though Baker still opts for the pre-industrial, magical society with demons and half-breeds thrown in for extra spice.

To talk much about the plot would spoil the fun of the book, which tweaks the fantasy formula, but
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Phoenixfalls
I think this is the first Kage Baker novel I've read whose jacket description properly captures its feel (though the description for The Anvil of the World comes close). The first paragraph (and the first section of the second paragraph) sound exactly like at least half of the heroic fantasy novels being written today, and in broad strokes, this novel follows that very popular story arc. But throughout the story, and coming to the fore at the end, is the sort of wry humanism that is so at odds w ...more
Johne
I was saddened to read about the passing of Kage Baker, and when I read that she wrote two more novels in the universe she created with Anvil of the World, I immediately bought both those novels without any further research.

I was astonished by this work. I expected more of the black humor of The Anvil of the World, but this was a straight-up Fantasy, which tells perhaps the coolest, strangest love story in recent memory. I love how she mines the richness of Fantasy without any Tolkienesque overt
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Wealhtheow
The prequel (though best if read after) to the excellent The Anvil of the World. Gard is a foundling raised by the remnants of a pacifistic enslaved race. When the race's Messiah comes to save them, Gard rejects his pacifism and is exiled. Dread mages trapped under a mountain for generations catch him, and he begins to realize he has gifts beyond those of his adopted people.
Meanwhile, the Messiah and his successor are not having an easy time themselves.
This is the second of Kage Baker's series
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Julianne
This book was...disjointed.

It was written oddly, not only in its organization but the writing itself. Baker's use of commas is odd and makes reading a bit confusing sometimes. I often had to reread sentences to understand them because they weren't structured properly.

The book itself is written oddly too. It starts out with one character, who you get invested in, and the completely switches to another. It pulls them together eventually but I think it takes too long with one or the other in the be
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Jacqie
This book didn't have the wry humor that I've come to love in Kage Baker's books. It's a prequel to "Anvil of the World", a fantasy series of short stories in a world that I hope she continues- but not like this.
I put the book down after about 180 pages of character development of Gard, the demon king of "Anvil." Nothing especially wrong with the book, but it didn't have spark.
John Wiswell
The House of the Stag has one of the best prologues I’ve ever read and I happily would have bought it as a short story. Set an undetermined period before the novel, it details a Fantasy tribe’s struggles with raiders who keep kidnapping them as slaves. One brave tribesman makes a pact with the demons of the world for power to fend them off, but threatens corrupting the soul of his tribe and sets him at odds with his family. It reads like folklore from the cusp of ugly Colonialism, and is written ...more
V. Briceland
Though its series predecessor, The Anvil of the World, hewed fairly close to Kage Baker's usual modis operandi of surrounding a fairly sane character with a cast of zanies, The House of the Stag is a far more sober fantasy. Fairytale-like in tone and narrative, its look at two unlikely opposites and the long paths they tread toward a mutual love is more like one of Lois McMaster Bujold's domestic science fiction novels than anything we might have expected from the author of the free-wheeling, ab ...more
Jared Millet
For the sake of my book club, I'm starting this series out of order, but House of the Stag, as a prequel, stands nicely on its own. I'm sure that some big plot reveal in book 1 has been spoiled for me, but from the high quality of this volume, I know I'll be reading the other two.

I've never read Baker before, but she's clearly a master of tone. The story begins among a primitive, forest-dwelling people just on the edge between a mythical, edenic past and their future as an honest-to-gods civiliz
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Eric
I personally think the book "The House of the Stag" is very good entertainment. The story contains interesting plots and characters and even settings that matches the natural feeling that you get from reading this book. The theme of this book is to keep your head up even though everything in your life is breaking apart. In this story, the main character named Gard, a half-demon who was just living a normal life as a villager. Gard was known for his natural brute strength. He lived in a village f ...more
Brownbetty
I'm not entirely sure to what extent this is a good book, and to what extent I just really enjoyed it. It ought to have annoyed me, but it didn't.

Prequel to the The Anvil of the World, (which, btw, I think we can agree is a pretty awesome title, roughly as hardcore as Jesus riding a T-Rex) this book gives the origin story of the that story's villain. Well, not truly the villain, and even in the The Anvil of the World it is obvious that Baker has plenty of back-story for him, waiting off-stage.

Sp
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Matthew
Apparently this is part of a series. Didn't know it and wasn't interested. The first part was decent, but then Baker kept switching to new characters which confused me and stopped me from continuing my investment in the first character. If you want to hook me with other characters, do it early. Maybe this would have been different if I had known I was walking into the second book, but there was no indication and so I have no interest in starting from square one.
Erin
A great, absorbing read with really fascinating changes in tone -- one moment dark fantasy, the next witty and satirical humour. The humour came as a surprise and relief to me, since nothing about it was telegraphed by the cover art or blurb (though the back copy did perfectly spoil pretty much every major plot element, so if you can avoid reading it, do). I could have done without a particular device near the end, and for that I'm knocking off a star (it really annoyed and distracted me through ...more
Fantasy Literature
Kage Baker’s The House of the Stag is a stand-alone novel set in the same world as The Anvil of the World and The Bird of the River. In this story, the pacifist Yendri tribe has been enslaved by cruel invaders, and the half-demon foundling named Gard is the only one who will fight back. When he’s exiled from the tribe, Gard is captured by mages who live underground and set to work with their bound demon slaves. With some advice from his fellow slaves, he remakes his own image and ends up styling ...more
JW
This book rests lightly on its rails, so when it goes flying off into the wilderness, it's not too surprising. The main story is told in three parts and takes a while to get going. Once it does it's really entertaining and humorous without being one of those irritating comedy fantasy novels. The second part is the best, although uneven, and the third part is the one that goes spinning out of control.

Unfortunately this book has a prologue and two interludes that are written in some kind of devoti
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Alethea
Kage Baker is always an adventure, and this I think is one of her best works to date. It is, if I am not much mistaken, her first self-contained novel that is not part of the Company series, The Anvil of the World being effectively a collection of three linked short stories. This book, like so many of her others, offers a linked set of stories (set here as chapters, with different and sometimes not entirely effective framing devises), but it is really a novel-length story rather than a collectio ...more
Sarah
Another very enjoyable read from Kage Baker. Her fantasy world gets more fleshed out with each book, and her characters are quirky, lively and believable. In this one, we get to see the story of the Master of the Mountain and how he attained Dark Lord status--an important part of the mythology that is only touched on in other books in the series. My only complaint about this one was that there were occasional sections that served as momentary "asides" addressing the reader, dropping in informati ...more
Emily Stone
I gave up once I reached the sentence "His skin was like sunset". I mean really, I felt like this guy was just flipping through a dictionary picking random words to describe things in a hope to sound "arty" and "deep" - when in fact, it was just really, really vague.
Lisa
I really enjoyed this book - it's a prequel to The Anvil of the World. Of the two, I prefer Anvil. Stag is a bit slower and much less funny. Also more spiritual and meandering. But still great, because Kage Baker is great.
Ruth
c2008: FWFTB: foundling, Riders, vengeance, slave, commander. Well, GR managed to lose my original thoughtful commentary (ha ha ha - heavy sarcasm) so in brief; anachronistic plotting, fairly entertaining, reviews on the back of the book all relate to an earlier work (**warning** - this is always a dead give away but unfortunately I don't always get to see the back of the book before I order), 2 great side kicks - Grattur and Engrattur; some subtle humour. The graffiti artist was busy providing ...more
Victoria
Kage Baker is one of those authors who deserve enormous kudos for writing smart, funny, interesting SFF that goes places no one else is willing to go. Her Company novels are brilliant and inimitable, and I loved the first of her fantasy novels, the quirky and very funny Anvil of the World.

That said, this book - despite being set in the same universe as Anvil - just didn't do it for me.

Parts of it are funny, clever, presenting fascinating characters and new worlds - but those parts are much the m
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Emily Ellis
This was an excellent book. I really enjoy her science fiction so I was pleasantly surprised that she wrote fantasy as well. It is a good blend of serious themes with some comic elements. The best part is the "epic theater" episode. It remided me of the use of stock characters in ancient Greek/Roman theater. The way the characters improvised the plots based on variations was reminiscent of Joseph Campbell's "Hero with a thousand Faces" in the way that every stody was new yet had the same events. ...more
Melissa
This book went from being all right to amazing to insufferably boring and back to pretty good by the end, so it's kind of hard to review it. Gard's story was beautifully written and totally absorbing, but the random tales of the rest of the forest people before Gard is banished and after he escapes the ice mountain are exceedingly dull. I almost threw the book against the wall at one point when I just wanted to get past how dull it became and get back to this well written piece of the story wher ...more
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53193
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
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