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Ill Met in the Arena
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Ill Met in the Arena

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  259 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The nobles of Aureity have been breeding their children for psychic powers for generations. Women’s powers are mental, including psychic control and mind-reading, making them ideal rulers. Men have superhuman strength and can teleport to any place they have previously visited. Consequently, young noblemen make their fortune by competing in psychic gladiatorial contests to ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 19th 2008 by Tom Doherty Associates
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Nov 05, 2008 rated it liked it
This reminded me a little of Vernor Vinge's The Witling: an exploration of a society in which everyone has psionic powers. Plus, murder mystery!

Like Dave Duncan's other books, it is not brilliant, but solid.
Nina Usherwood
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good solid novel. Original universe created for the book. An enjoyable read
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Raamatu teeb mõnusamaks asjaolu et ta avaneb väga raskesti, esimesed 50-60 lk. läksid ikka väga üle kivide ja kändude...Suht segane setting ja väljatöötatud süsteem, millest lugejale antakse ainult näpuotsaga ja vihjamisi aga õnneks võib öelda et steveneriksonlisest värdjalikkusest on asi ikka väga kaugel.
Tegemist siis n.ö. science fantasyga, või noh, kes seda täpselt teab aga taevas on igatahes mitu kuud, seega toimub tegevus miskil muul planeedil. Suht keeruline valitsemissüsteem, naised on He
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best fantasy novels I've ever read. The plot is one of the most original concept I've come across. I review books for a popular online website and I only wish this book were just being released so I could review it there.

As it is, I purchased this novel when it was original released, got halfway through it and then moved. The book got shelved in the process and recently, having gone through all the books assigned to me, I was at loose ends reading-wise and went looking for som
Sean Randall
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I bought this book recently and can honestly say it's the best read of the year so far. The complete pervasion of mental powers is a field that doesn't often work for me, and I've often taken a while to get into a Duncan series (which is why I prefer many of his multi-volume works rather than standalone ones). Still, this was a cracking read, slow to start as you'd come to expect but when it gets going it really sucks you in. The political intrigue is as complex and fulfilling as you could hope ...more
Aug 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: John O'Keefe
This book is called Ill Met in the Arena, not Starfolk (that may have been an earlier title).

It is typical (good!) Duncan: a likeable protagonist with some odd powers which fit into an interesting magic system to be revealed over time.

In this case, the world is run by... superheroes. The men have the power to teleport and are telekinetic. Women can cast illusion and control minds (at close range).

This division of powers has led to a female-controlled society that somehow does not eliminate confl
Kel Sta
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys a good yarn
A humanist, if not feminist, fantasy with an endearingly human (while at the same time suitably heroic) male narrator whose qualities include a sense of humour. The arena here is a venue for psychic games presided over by women, yet not so far removed from its gladiatoral Roman namesake. There is still action aplenty. Dave Duncan reveals the story so humbly that there's no distracting aggravation with his cleverness, only enjoyment of the vivid characters, and an increasingly engrossing intrigue ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ill met in the Arena was a dollar store pick up and I would have gladly picked it up in full price paper back. The story builds, at first it starts off slow, establishing the world, but quickly becomes a very intricate whirlwind of mystery and past stories. One thing I enjoyed was that the main character was a man in his 30's and not out of his prime.
Another personal note for me was that it really was one of the first books I enjoyed reading in first person. The way Dave Duncan used it to tell t
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
When I decided to read this book I thought it would be something different. Granted, that was my fault, not the book's, but the truth is that this wasn't a story I would have read without picking it up by mistake.

It was an interesting setting, with most humans having psychic powers and women as the rulers The mystery and the quest to find the culprit of a crime wasn't that interesting to me, not to say that it was badly written but that I never got really invested with the characters. It was oka
Steve Markham
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is my second Dave Duncan and I must say I am impressed.
Occasional humour, deep story lines which aren't made simple for the reader, a strong flowing narrative and a good character all make me recommend this book.

A fantasy world where women rule and have mental powers and the men have physical powers at first made me wonder about reading this book but I am glad I did. The way Duncan creates characters is incredible. Not a 5 star read for me as was a bit to obvious.
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I had trouble getting into this one, in part because the whole first section takes place at one game (think magical field-and-track type games). I eventually reverted to audio. But this book rewards patience, and you get pulled into Quirt's quest. Also, the author does a very good job of hiding various characters' motivations -- one character in particular you are constantly left guessing which way they are going to jump.
Mark Stone
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Duncan's penchant for creating unique worlds and societies pays off big in this action-packed saga of a planet filled with psychically gifted people. Don't look for deep meaning or secret themes imbedded into the plot, just a rip-roaring fun story in the usual Duncan vein. This is for people who enjoyed the 'A man of his word' series.
Sep 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Dave Duncan. I think he is at is best creating a new world for his characters. The basic world here is that the nobility has mental powers. (women have powers allowing them to control minds, shape illusion, and Men have powers allowing them to teleport, along with telekinesis). The novel itself deals with politics and revenge. (for the most part.)
Sep 15, 2008 rated it liked it
It spent a little too much time on explaining how everything works in their world, which is complicated. And not enough time on character and plot.
But I still had fun reading it and I would be thinking about it when I wasn't reading it, which is always a good sign. I hope he writes more in this world.
Aug 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This one was trickier than most Dave Duncan books to get into. Very complicated world building and a lot of names. I persevered and ended up enjoying this book quite a bit. The author has such a talent for appealing heroes and satisfying (if not surprising) endings.
Lynn Calvin
Amazon received
Oct 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
yawners...sigh. I paid good money for this.
Susan Cox
Jul 18, 2015 rated it liked it
A fun fantasy romp they a strange world of a matriarchal royal realm.
Alisa Kester
Jan 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Dave Duncan has a true knack for a walloping good story, and this one was no exception. The world-building was novel and interesting, as well.
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I love the setting for this book. I would love to see more stories in this world.
Apr 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
An enjoyable stand-alone novel by one of my favorite authors. Duncan combines two of my favorite genres: metahuman powers and gladiatorial combat. Well executed with a solid story.
Xenophon Hendrix
This is the weakest novel by Dave Duncan that I have yet read, and I believe I've read all but three of his books. That said, it's still a novel by Dave Duncan, so it's pretty good.
Susie Dancer
I quite enjoyed this story and was happy to see that Dave Duncan is a local author.
May 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
I usually like Dave Duncan, he is witty, and an excellent story teller, but I couldn't finish this book.
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I love all of Dave Duncan's books. He's a great storyteller.
Feb 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Typical Dave Duncan for me - good entertainment, interesting premise, and a smidge of romance.
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Duncan never fails to deliver.
Ron Judenberg
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Aditya /
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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Originally from Scotland, Dave Duncan lived all his adult life in Western Canada, having enjoyed a long career as a petroleum geologist before taking up writing. Since discovering that imaginary worlds were more satisfying than the real one, he published more than 60 novels, mostly in the fantasy genre, but also young adult, science fiction, and historical.

He wrote at times under the pseudonym Sa
“No, she who rides the tiger can never dismount!” 1 likes
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