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The House of the Stag

(Lord Ermenwyr #2)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  801 ratings  ·  90 reviews
It begins with a tragedy. 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. Only one of them possessed the necessary rage to fight back: Gard the foundling, half-demon, who began a one-man guerrilla war against the Riders. But his struggle ended in the loss ...more
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published September 16th 2008 by Tor Books
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  801 ratings  ·  90 reviews

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Kat  Hooper
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
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
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
MB (What she read)
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
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
Shaun Duke
Jul 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kage Baker is one of my favorite fantasy authors- especially for the Company series. House of the Stag is part of a different series, which includes the Bird of the River and the Anvil of the World. This world is populated with Children of the Sun (reddish skinned human types), Yendri (greenish skinned human types), demons, mages, and others. Anvil is my favorite of the series- it is more light hearted and has some hilarious parts- it occurs much later in time than Stag. Stag tells the story of ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
i am enjoying this series; lots of capers, plots, clever dialogue, humor, some magic, traces of darkness. some sex but it's not ridiculous or overly-descriptive. if you enjoyed the Locke Lamora series, you'd probably enjoy this.
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was a prequel to the first book in the trilogy, The Anvil of the World. Whenever I hear that a series has a prequel, my first question is always: Should I read the prequel first or should I read the books in the order they were published? In this case, I don’t think it matters too much, because the stories are only loosely related. However, I would lean toward reading this book, the prequel, first. The prequel centers around two characters who aren't seen much in The Anvil of the World ...more
Clay Kallam
May 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
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
Jim Mcclanahan
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
He's the half demon, ex-slave gladiator Dark Lord; she's the sheltered but immensely powerful essence of moral clarity and truth in the world. They're plainly made for each other, and are among the finest characters created by a writer who really had a gift for crafting characters.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
This is a prequel to the first book. It focuses more on Yendri history and on demons. The characters are sympathetic, and it has the potential to be a lot darker than it actually was ((view spoiler)). However, the book easily moves over that.

It's a easy read; slightly longer than the first book. I would say the first book was better, though.

2.5 stars
May 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Just didn't do what i wanted it to do or go where i would've liked and it was too slow doing anything and so i can't go on. I'm sorry cruel world... goodb-*BANG*
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wish she’d do more of the humour bits.
Jennifer Custer
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This book is actually about Ermenwyr's parents. How they grew up, lived, met and fell in love.
Jun 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.

Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
John Wiswell
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jared Millet
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I actually liked this book a lot and I loved the way the author told the story and the narration. And I much enjoyed the main character Gard. The first apx. 3/4's of this book were really really awesome. I was all set to make one of my new favorite books.

However the last section of this book is so abrupt and incongruous with the rest of the story. I found it very unconvincing and disappointing. While the plot itself is not inconceivable I thought it was written in a clumsy and rushed manner, the
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
The story of the Yendri liberation from slavery, and their goddess's marriage to a demon lord. The House of the Stag has a slow start, one too epic, archetypal, and, frankly, predictable: it reads as parable more than a human story. But as the characters develop, the book improves. Baker has a knack for combining heavy-handed with surprisingly subtle. While less exuberant than Anvil, it benefits from that book's humor and varied worldbuilding; the politics are too clear-cut, but the interperson ...more
Gillian Robinson
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reading this after reading The Anvil of the World--and falling in love with it--was like a sudden, loud record scratch right towards the end. Does the author (spoiler alert)


...actually invoke the whole 'rape is love' scenario? I mean, there's the Saint's capture, then it skips ahead and she's talking about how love had a different face for her that night and that she's going to be the mother of his child regardless and he's all apologetic and fumbling--he's supposed to be the evil 'Ma
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Meredith Sessions
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 16, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Feb 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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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

Other books in the series

Lord Ermenwyr (10 books)
  • The Anvil of the World (Lord Ermenwyr, #1)
  • The Bird of the River (Lord Ermenwyr, #3)
  • Mother Aegypt and Other Stories
  • Year's Best Fantasy 5
  • The Best of Kage Baker
  • Wizards: Magical Tales From the Masters of Modern Fantasy
  • Year's Best Fantasy 8
  • Best American Fantasy
  • The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy