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The Face

(Demon Princes #4)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  957 ratings  ·  52 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  · 
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 ·  957 ratings  ·  52 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
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
After a 12 year hiatus, Vance returns to the Demon Princes with the forth installment, TF, in 1979. Pretty amazing after all that time and other things written that Vance does not miss a beat getting back into the grove. If you have followed the series so far, you know that Kirth Gersen is going after the five Demon Princes, who collectively led a raid on Gersen's homeworld, enslaving or killing everyone but little Gersen and his granddad. Gersen has now come of age and, honed to a fighting edge ...more
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)
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
David McGrogan
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. Only Jack Vance could write a 200-page SF novel set across three perfectly realised but totally different planets, which is mainly about trying to buy shares in a company, and in which you don't even truly encounter the villain until the last 3 pages, and pull it off. He does it with aplomb. Even if at times I started to wonder where this litany of apparently haphazard events was leading, all of those moments were worth it for the final payoff - which is a perfectly judged and truly u ...more
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.
Frank McGirk
I think this volume has the strongest new and interesting culture yet for which Kith Gerson to track down the fourth Demon Prince in his quest for revenge. Vance is always creative in thoughtful ways, but often his ideas are almost one-offs...his rich developement of the Darsh from their entertainment to their food I think will stick with me longer than most "alien" races.

What is also interesting is how Gerson reflects at the pattern/rut he has gotten into in this find the guy/kill the guy seri
Kevin Phyland
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kirth Gersen is tracking down the five Demon Princes, entities outwardly human but prone to evil of all varieties, including the murder of Gersen’s family. On the planet Dar Sai Kirth tracks down number four on his list - going by the name Lens Larque - and finds that he is the known perpetrator of a huge theft of duodecimates (ultraheavy elements) which has left an ore company’s shares seemingly worthless. When Kirth’s first subterfuge fails spectacularly and Larque escapes, Kirth decides to in ...more
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
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space-opera
A complex revenge story that leads the protagonist on an indirect route to vengeance. Very typical of the author, who prefers imaginative conflicts, interesting characters, and a colorful setting.

Slightly too long: I found my interest wandering midway through, as the story's momentum was blunted by the protagonist's soul-searching and meandering. It had a shaggy-dog story feel to it, as the protagonist is led from clue to clue and goal to goal until the meet-up became inevitable.

The ending is a
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.
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Delightful ending, totally satisfying. Another great story.
Apr 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the compulsively readable Demon Princes novels, The Face is another strong volume that nevertheless shows signs that Vance was flagging in his interest for the core principles of the Macguffin-like "revenge plot" that motors the protagonist, Kirth Gerson, along his way among the stars. Here, Vance has a lot of fun with the clash of cultures between the Darsh and the Methlen, representing extremes in dirty and clean cultures (think The Raw and the Cooked and you'll have a few moments of fun), ...more
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. ...more
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastical
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.
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. ...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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44 likes · 12 comments
“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.” 22 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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