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The Face

(Demon Princes #4)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  919 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Kirth Gersen tracks Lens Larque across several worlds, most notably Aloysius, the desert world Dar Sai and the more temperate Methel. He eventually learns that Larque is a Darsh, born Husse Bugold. He had been deprived of an earlobe and made a rachepol or outcast from his clan for a crime considered "repulsive but not superlatively heinous." He took the name Lens Larque, a ...more
Leather Bound, 224 pages
Published June 28th 1980 by Underwood Books (first published 1979)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  919 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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This book is book 4 of 5 in Demon Princes series.

The plot is like before Kirth Gersen is hunting down one of the Demon Princes who destroyed his family and homeland when he was a boy. Lens Larque is not the weirdest, most dangerous of the villains Gersen has faced in his quest for revenge. He was smart enough be a real challenge though.

What made this book great is the witty, clever way Vances makes fun of human behavior with the Darsh culture and the Methlen culture. The Darsh are ugly people, h
4.5 stars. Book 4 of the excellent, and under-rated, Demon Prince series by Jack Vance. In this installment, Kirth Gersen, our revenge seeking hero, searches out the "demon prince" known as Lens Larque.

Vance is a master story-teller with an incredible imagination and a talent for concise, descriptive writing that immerses his readers in the worlds he creates without needing a lot of pages to do it. Each of the Demon Prince novels are only around 200 pages but every page is so filled with the hi
Kat  Hooper
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Here’s another thoroughly delightful installment (book 4 of 5) of The Demon Princes. The plot is as usual: Kirth Gersen is hunting down one of the Demon Princes who destroyed his family and homeland when he was a boy. There’s no doubt that Gersen will kill Lens Larque; the question is how he’ll kill him and what adventures he’ll have on the way.

The Face distinguishes itself by introducing a couple of cultures which Vance uses to make fun of human behavior.
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time read in Orbit omnibus
Second time in Orbit omnibus (legimus)
Apr 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
I recorded all of Jack Vance's Demon Princes books in 50-55 minute episodes for Golden Hours, my local radio service for blind and reading-impaired listeners. Too bad I didn't make CD copies for myself, since the radio station broadcast the tape versions and then erased them too reuse.

I guess I'll have to re-record them for Golden Hours and this time keep a copy, since Jack Vance has a wicked and sardonic sense of humor that I really enjoy, and this series of books is his absolute best.

I especia
Andrew Hamblin
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What do Heinlein, Herbert and Clarke have in common? Well, lots of things I suppose. But foremost is that None Of Them Are As Cool As Jack Vance. This fourth book of the Demon Princes series is my favorite so far. The three sections relate Gersen's activities across three different planets in pursuit of the elusive Lens Larque, with each featuring Vance's imaginative and absurd world-building. Along the way he participates in the invented game Hadaul (which I'd like to see played in real life) a ...more
David Hill
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My favorite of the Demon Prince series. The ending took me completely by surprise the first time I read the book.
This series belongs to my absolute all time favorites. I think I've read these books ten times or more and they are still interesting, great to read and fun.
For people who would like to try and start reading science fiction: please choose something by Jack Vance.
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Face was first published in 1979 by DAW Books. It is a 194 page novel that is the fourth in the five novel series by Jack Vance called The Demon Princes and was published twelve years after the third novel in the series. It is still in print. Kirth Gersen continues his tracking and killing of the five demon princes who killed his parents and destroyed his colony where he lived when he was a child. Kirth and his grandfather were the only survivors, and his grandfather had Keith trained for ma ...more
Ĝan Starling
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have re-read all five books of The Demon Princes series at least seven times. I own all five in hardbound editions, signed by the author. I would like to give The Face five stars together with the final book of the series.

Of all the characters created by Jack Vance, Lens Larque is one of the most colorful. He is not so much evil as vengeful. Once the reader comes to appreciate this villain's goal and his motivation, one might even like to see some part of the plan reach fulfilment. Yet, our he
Judy Goldich
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: demon-princes
Complex revenge story of man whose family was mostly obliterated during a slave raid on his home planet. Our hero was raised by his revenge seeking grandfather, and trained to do just that; however, that outwardly applied motivation has definite cracks and warps. Gersen kills the bad guy, but actually deprived him of something of great value. Gersen leaves the room as it is happening. This is the first of the demises of the Demon Princes in which a kind of two way vengeance is extracted. The end ...more
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of complex science fantasy
Shelves: re-reads
This is my favorite of the five books in the "Revenge" series by Jack Vance. The premise is simple, but as usual Vance's detail and stylistic voice enriches the book beyond the ordinary.

Any science fiction or fantasy fan must read at least one Jack Vance book, you don't know what you are missing. Or, it might not be for you, I suppose one could call it an acquired taste as well.
Christopher Sutch
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
After getting into a rut Vance continued his series after a dozen years, and the wait was worth it. A terrific thriller.
Stephen Palmer
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My favourite of the Demon Princes novels by this brilliant author.
Florin Pitea
One line made me laugh out loud. The rest of the novel was okayish, but nothing to write home about.
Karolina C
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was hilarious, Jack Vance was a genius
Kevin English
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
JV, cleaver & hilarious as always. ...more
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Delightful ending, totally satisfying. Another great story.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. Each of these books in Jack Vance's Demon Princes series has the same basic formula:

Our hero seeks revenge on one of five bad guys, tracking him across the galaxy. Yet he pines for a quiet life, and falls in love along the way even though he knows he must live a solitary life on the hunt.

Yet each of these stories feels fresh and entertains because of the incredibly rich alien worlds Vance paints, with mesmerizing detail. He describes alien worlds, landscapes, cultures and peoples with
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic-sci-fi
Another fun volume chronicling the quest of Kirth Gerson.

Favorite quotes:

"If religions are diseases of the human psyche, as the philosopher Grimtholde asserts, then religious wars must be reckoned the resultant sores and cankers infecting the aggregate corpus of the human race. Of all wars, these are the most detestable, since they are waged for no tangible gain, but only to impose a set of arbitrary credos upon another’s mind."

"An ancient proverb stipulates that ‘he who sups with the devil sho
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
Re-read for the Xth time this winter. A really great SF read by one of my favorite authors. The style is delightful the dialogue excellent, ironic and dry, sometimes hilarious. The "poem" -- Bagshilly Plain is one of the funniest pieces of verse I have ever read. Vance's the plots are fun and often unpredictable, but it is his style which makes his work unique.
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Demon Princes are fun reads and this is the strongest of them in my opinion. Clever social commentary, inventive world building, engaging intrigue/adventure elements, but best of all a delightful master plan from the villain.
Rich and crunchy with jewels of worldbuilding detail, and elevated by Vance's spare and exacting prose, but also a relatively drab affair that meanders badly in the second half before waking up for an excellent ending. Not the best of the series, but decent; 3.5 stars rounding up.
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, ready
Much better than #3, a Jack Vance's story indeed.
Jeroen Van de Crommenacker
Demon Princes number four. Continually enjoyable. I don't want this to end.
Jim Mcclanahan
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fourth in the Kirth Gerson series. Still chasing down bad guys and barely noticing babes along the way. Chases, fights, deceptions and adventure. What's not to like?
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Book 4 of 5 of The Demon Prince series.

The basic plot of all of these books are much the same: Kirth Gersen, a trained from youth to be the perfect revenge seeking tool - at the hand of his grandfather, seeks one of the five Demon Princes who enslaved and killed his family when he was very young. Each Demon Prince hides his public identity and in each book, Kirth must discover who each Demon Prince truly is so that he may kill him. Kirth will get his man; however, Vance takes the reader on an a
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The Face is rather an ironic title for the fourth novel in The Demon Princes pentalogy. After all, the central thesis of these stories is that the intergalactic outlaws/war criminals on Keith Gersen’s “hit list” are elusive enough to be able to change identities and often appearances at will. In most of these stories, Gersen has to set up the equivalent of double-stings, front companies, and unlikely allies in order to both locate the outlaws like needles in the galactic haystack and then, figur ...more
Ivo Crnkovic-Rubsamen
The fourth in the Demon Princes series was my least favorite yet. Vance makes his biggest effort towards creating an entirely new society with his portrait of the planet Dar Sai, and he falls short. The Darsh live in a dysfunctional, tribal mining society, ruled by Methlen offworlders. Vance clearly intended for his description of Darsh life to be humorous, but I struggled to find amusement in the overdone characters and customs he offers. This book is the longest so far, and much of it seems to ...more
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Aka John Holbrook 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 g

Other books in the series

Demon Princes (5 books)
  • The Star King (Demon Princes, #1)
  • The Killing Machine (Demon Princes, #2)
  • The Palace of Love (Demon Princes, #3)
  • The Book of Dreams (Demon Princes, #5)

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In these strange days of quarantine and isolation, books can be a mode of transport. We may have to stay home and stay still, but through t...
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“If religions are diseases of the human psyche, as the philosopher Grintholde asserts, then religious wars must be reckoned the resultant sores and cankers infecting the aggregate corpus of the human race. Of all wars, these are the most detestable, since they are waged for no tangible gain, but only to impose a set of arbitrary credos upon another's mind.” 21 likes
“The woman behind the bar called out: ‘Why do you stand like hypnotized fish? Did you come to drink beer or to eat food?’

‘Be patient,’ said Gersen. ‘We are making our decision.’

The remark annoyed the woman. Her voice took on a coarse edge. “Be patient,’ you say? All night I pour beer for crapulous men; isn’t that patience enough? Come over here, backwards; I’ll put this spigot somewhere amazing, at full gush, and then we’ll discover who calls for patience!”
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