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Cugel: the Skybreak Spatterlight (The Dying Earth #3)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,795 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
"For the second time, Iucounu the Laughing Magician has magicked Cugel the Clever to the farthest reaches of The Dying Earth. Beset by thieves and schemers whose cunning almost equals his own, Jack Vance’s most incorrigible rogue must fight the long way back to Iucounu’s manse, where he means to exact a comprehensive and memorable revenge before the old red sun goes out fo ...more
ebook, 289 pages
Published August 31st 2012 by Spatterlight Press, LLC (first published 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
"Without urgent goals, life is insipid!"

After a 17 years pause (so quit complaining fans of Game of Thrones about when the next book is coming out) Jack Vance returns to his Dying Earth universe with another book focused on Cugel the 'not-so-clever-as-he-thinks-he-is' . Vance knew he was on to a good thing whith this completely amoral and accident prone scoundrel and decided to throw him back in the soup as Iucounu the Laughing Magician sends Cugel once more to the farthest corner of the map,
Mark Lawrence
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I read this the year it came out and never again. I really must dig the series out because it has stuck with me as rather fine. Cugel especially with his brand of cowardice and amoral innovation has remained a favorite.

The world Vance creates is as compelling as the characters in it, and it's great that he is content to lead us through its ruins without the need to spell it out for us in stultifying detail(*). His prose is sharp enough to cut the ambiance of the place from the stuff of
Mark Lawrence
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It has been an awfully long time since I read this book. Thirty years probably :o

However, the fact that I can even attempt a review from memory speaks to how ... memorable ... the book is.

I think I read this the year it came out and never again. I really must dig the series out because it has stuck with me as rather fine. Cugel especially with his brand of cowardice and amoral innovation has remained a favorite.

The world Vance creates is as compelling as the characters in it, and it's great tha
Kat  Hooper
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Cugel “the clever” is one of the scummiest, nastiest, lowliest rogues in all of fantasy literature. He’s got no morals and no respect for women, he’s often a coward, he’s not good looking, nor is he particularly good with a sword. In the words of one of Cugel’s acquaintances, “who could imagine such protean depravity?” The answer, apparently, is Jack Vance. And that's why Cugel is one of my favorite “heroes” — because he belongs to Jack Vance.

Cugel’s Saga,
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jack Vance was a fairly prolific Sci-Fi writer, so you have to wonder why it took him so long (17 years!) to come up with a sequel to Eyes of the Overworld, which features one of the great anti-heroes, Cugel the Clever, in all of Fantasy Lit. After reading Cugel's Saga, I figure Vance knew he had a good character, and any revisiting would have marred his amazingly amoral creation. Any return would have run the risk of just being a case of rewriting the original tale. Now there are plenty of genr ...more
Cugel’s Saga (1983) is the third book in the Dying Earth series, coming 17 years after The Eyes of the Overworld (1966) and 33 years after The Dying Earth (1950). It’s also the second book to feature that thieving scoundrel Cugel the Clever, who often finds he is not quite as clever as he thinks, as his schemes generally end in failure at the end of each chapter, leaving him penniless and fleeing his enemies until he encounters the next adventure. This book is a similarly picaresque episodic adv ...more
5.0 stars. The Dying Earth novels by Jack Vance, of which this is the third, are in a class by themselves. They are classics in the true sense of the word and are as good today as they were when they first came out. As I have siad in my previous reviews of the other Dying Earth books, superb world-building, great characters and tons of fun. Highly recommended.
Cugel tossed over the jewel. "There you have it: all my wealth. Now, please free me from this tentacle."

"I am a cautious man," said Iolo. "I must consider the matter from several perspectives." He set about making camp for the night.

Cugel called out a plaintive appeal: "Do you remember how I rescued you from the pelgrane?"

"Indeed I do! An important philosophical question has thereby been raised. You disturbed a stasis and now a tentacle grips your leg, which is, in a sense, the new stasis. I wi
A re-read of a book in Vance classic Dying Earth series. It is still an imaginative work by one of the best wordsmiths in english letters.

The story of Cugel is so absurd,witty it can be read for how wonderful it is story-wise and if you like quality prose styles, high level language. He is more than a legend in SF,Fantasy, he is a great artist of literature period. Which makes it near impossible for me to write reviews about his best works. The scoundrel Cugel is a great character and one of my
Read in Swedish translation
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2014-rev

Cugel: the Skybreak Spatterlight
Jack Vance
Dying Earth, #3
5 stars

This is Vance at his classic best. The dastardly Cugel once again must fight his way back across the Dying Earth, over hostile regions, past weird and unnatural creatures, and, worst of all, through the endless shades of human culture and habit. Vance is at his literary best, with beautiful, original language sketching characters and actions from base to idealistic, with the would-be urbane Cugel taking it al

Once again we follow the adventures of Cugel the "Clever" as he he attempts to return to his homeland and wreak vengeance on his nemesis Iucounu, the Laughing Magician.

This book is a direct sequel to The Eyes of the Overworld following on immediately from where that book left off. Those who read the previous book when it came out only had 17 years to wait for the sequel to find out what would happen to the almost loveable rogue Cugel.

Possibly one of the greatest characters in the fantasy genre,
Roddy Williams
Following on from ‘The Eyes of The Overworld' we rejoin Cugel, who has been transported back across the world to Cutz by the Magician Iucounu and is attempting to find his way back.
Far more Swiftian and satirical than the previous novel this displays Vance’s preoccupation with the absurdities of social rules and customs, such as the island where the men are forced to cover their faces as well as their bodies, lest they arouse the passions of their rapacious womenfolk.
It’s basically a series of m
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Second verse, same as the first.

When last we left our hero(?), Cugel the Clever, he had once again been taken from his native Almery and dropped unceremoniously upon Shanglestone Strand due to his dealings with Iucounu, the Laughing Magician. Now we get to follow along once again as he makes his way southward; this time, by an entirely different path along which he will have numerous encounters, all entirely different, but equally menacing and/or ridiculous as those on his previous journey.

And o
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cugel is still an amoral jerk, but the "clever" title is a bit more accurate as his quick, selfish thinking sometimes works. I wish I had read this before Book of the New Sun-- Vance would have taught me not to take Severian so seriously.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is copy 402 of 500 signed numbered copies.
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book in Jack Vance's Cugel saga, and third novel in 'The Dying Earth' series, 'The Skybreak Spatterlight' once again follows the rogue Cugel across fantasy wastelands in a world where the sun threatens to extinguish at any moment. Given the book's nature as a sequel, spoilers for the previous novel will follow, as well as light spoilers for the opening chapters.

The novel picks up immediately after where the last book left off, with Cugel deposited on a sandy beach far, far north of hi
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fic-fantasy
Like its companion novel, Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga is an odd duck of a book, nominally fantasy, but different from most popular fantasy in setting and style. It takes place on a far future Earth, where magic exists, the Sun is about to go out (or so the inhabitants of the world believe), and all manner of odd people, weird creatures, and bizarre societies occupy their own corners of the world. The writing is very tongue-in-cheek, mixing high-minded language and ideas with low humor, a ...more
S.M. Carrière
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cugel the clever is a Puck-ish rogue who, at the opening of this book, is in a difficult situation - stranded on the the muddy shores of a far away land - at the hands of his nemesis, The Laughing Magician, Iucounu.

Set in a fantastical world lit by the garnet glow of a dying sun, this book is an amusing romp that amounts to something like a comedy of errors. Poor, poor Cugel just can't do anything right, it seems, despite his obvious knack for schemes and plots.

Jack Vance has written a very dive
Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I also read more of the Dying Earth novels, two of them: The Eyes of the Overworld and Cugel's Saga.

Unlike Vance's first novel in the setting, these two books focus on a main character: Cugel, a charming but completely amoral man who ends up on a long and complicated quest when he is caught trying to burglarize a wizard's home, and his complicated adventures in attempting to extract revenge on said wizard. Together, both books make up the complete story.

Vance excels at atmosphere; while more coh
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

'Cugel's Saga' continues the adventures of the notorious - Master of Cunningness - Cugel in another entertaining book from the great Jack Vance; though not without its flaws.

Although the book is quite bigger than 'The Eyes of the Overworld' the pages, I must say, flow really fast as - besides that the "infamous" Cugel absorves you entirely - most of the stories here are much "simpler" compared.
That, of course, can become at the time and the book's biggest dissadvantage as Vance has Cugel d
I guess it was a bit better than The Eyes of the Overworld, Vance writing it almost 20 years later and all. But ultimately it's just more of the same. And as I wasn't really converted the first and the second time, the third ended up in a a slog. I struggled every bit as much as Cugel during his meandering peregrinations, and was no less relieved and satisfied on reaching the end.
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
"Cugel the clever" in here comes off as a bit more likable than the previous book. He still lies, cheats and steals, but more often to those who have wronged him. Also the fact that most of the people he meets are scoundrels shows him in a better light.
Ben Brackett
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story about a total dick and amazing use of vocabulary? Count me in.
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, rated-r, magic, series
Storyline: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing Style: 4/5
World: 5/5

Cugel's Saga picks up right where The Eyes of the Overworld left off. Cugel again treks homeward albeit on a different route (a wise decision on the behalf of both Cugel and Vance). The pages that follow are then filled with episodic and lopsidedly-developed stories like those from The Eyes of the Overworld. I wouldn't recommend reading this immediately after the second in the series because of the similarity in content and structure, but
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I've read this in the omnibus Tales Of The Dying Earth. Cugel's adventures continue in his own saga now, following The Eyes Of The Overworld. Here he again has to work his way back to reality, to get even with Iucounu, the magician who tricked him a second time.

Cugel experiences many adventures, gains wealth, has to bust his ass off for it, but only works enough to get the money (terces) and then continue his journey. He also encounters people that provide him with food, shelter and so on, but a
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
-Siguiendo la estela de “Los ojos del sobremundo”.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. En la costa de Shanglestone, donde le habíamos dejado al final del anterior volumen de la serie, Cugel el Astuto promete venganza contra el mago Iucounu y comienza el viaje de vuelta hasta Almery durante el que tendrá que ser buscador de reliquias a su pesar, competirá por un puesto en un barco, se encargará de los gusanos que propulsan la nave, acabará haciéndose con el propio barco y pasará muchas ot
Mar 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Cugel's Saga' is the third book in the 'Dying Earth' series by Jack Vance. Like the previous book ,'The Eyes of the Overworld', the story tells of the journey of the thief and grifter, Cugel, to escape exile and return to his home to gain revenge on Iucounu the magician who sent him to exile twice.
In broad outline the two books are the same, but this time Cugel is a much more sympathetic character than in 'The Eyes of the Overworld'. Here Cugel is almost a lovable loser as in several adventures
Víctor Antón
De alguna manera, se puede considerar una historia de carretera ya que toda la saga se basa en los viajes de los personajes a través de la geografía de esta tierra imaginaria, recorriendo sus caminos plagados de amenazas y situaciones cómicas; con un objetivo sencillo y reconocible: buscar algo que ha sido arrebatado o que necesitan para volver al hogar. En vez te Thelmas y Louises hay magos y criaturas semihumanas; no hay coches descapotables pero sí palacios voladores y remolinos de transporte ...more
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perfect in style, world characterization , dialogues and anything else. Still, unlike anything I read before from Vance, it did not thrill me much. Vance books usually are cause my "mouth to fall" and this time was I just nodding and saying ok ok. Edit ( Honestly after sometime I still get great and fond memories of this book so I raised its rating. )
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Why is Jack Vance so awesome? 1 10 Sep 02, 2013 03:35AM  
  • Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honour of Jack Vance
  • Nifft the Lean
  • Swords Against Wizardry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #4)
  • The Spiral Labyrinth (Henghis Hapthorn #2)
  • Zothique
  • The Sword and the Stallion (Corum, #6)
  • The Citadel of the Autarch (The Book of the New Sun #4)
  • Viriconium Nights
Aka John Holbrooke Vance, Peter Held, John Holbrook, Ellery Queen, John van See, Alan Wade.

The author was born in 1916 and educated at the University of California, first as a mining engineer, then majoring in physics and finally in journalism. During the 1940s and 1950s, he contributed widely to science fiction and fantasy magazines. His first novel, The Dying Earth, was published in 1950 to grea
More about Jack Vance...

Other Books in the Series

The Dying Earth (4 books)
  • The Dying Earth (The Dying Earth, #1)
  • The Eyes of the Overworld (The Dying Earth, #2)
  • Rhialto the Marvellous (The Dying Earth, #4)

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“I will say little more. Cugel, you have small acquaintance with the trade, but I take it as a good sign that you have come to me for training, since my nethods are not soft. You will learn or you will drown, or suffer a blow of the flukes, or worse, incur my displeasure. But you have started well and I will teach you well. Never think me harsh, or over-bearing; you will be in self-defeating error! I am stern, yes, even severe, but in the end, when I acknowledge you a worminger, you will thank me."
"Good news indeed," muttered Cugel”
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