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Ecce and Old Earth

(Cadwal Chronicles #2)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  747 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The planet Cadwal has an ecosystem unique in the human-explored galaxy; a thousand years past it was set aside as a natural preserve, protected by law and covenant against colonization and exploitation.

But now the elite Conservator culture that has developed on Cadwal is facing a conspiracy of humans and aliens to open the planet, and its rich resources, to full commercial
Mass Market Paperback, 436 pages
Published September 1992 by Tor Books (first published February 1991)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the second half with Wayness Tamm most; she is definitely one of my favorite female Vance-characters, along with Madouc and Skirlet Hutsenreiter.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: do-not-own
"Lyn" suggested I ought read more Vance. He is right when he said he is a "Master" of the genre. I've read some of his work before, and liked it enough - one from a French translation. But this one in particular had the sophistication of mid-period H.G. Wells. The man is a brilliant writer and I will be reading more of his work or sure. It was, in some ways, much like one of LeGuin's Hainish stories. ...more
Florin Pitea
It was OK.
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ecce and Old Earth was first published in 1991 and is the second of three novels that comprise The Cadwal Chronicles. My copy is 326 pages long making it one of Vance's longer works, although shorter than the first novel in the series, the 554 page Araminta Station. It is also a later work by Vance. This is my second reading of this work and I liked it even better after reading it again. It is not as dazzling a novel as the first in the series, Araminta Station, but it is better written and more ...more
Andrew Hamblin
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
The second volume of the Cadwal Chronicles resumes immediately where Araminta Station left off. Glawen's father has been abducted and the Cadwal Charter is missing. He who controls the Charter controls Cadwal, so after a brief sojourn on the swamp continent of Ecce, Glawen and Wayness individually strike out on their own to track it down with the nefarious LPFers hot on their trails.

As much of the activity takes place on Old Earth, Vance must make do with describing the activities of colorful an
Oct 05, 2010 rated it liked it
First, the Tor paperback edition has the least appropriate cover art imaginable: for this series in particular, Vance has absolutely no interest in the technology that allows his characters to travel the breadth of the Gaean Reach, and there is no description of what happens between the purchase of the travel ticket and arrival at destination.

The entire attitude toward technology was interesting. Despite traveling the galaxy and the remarkable sights--as well as dropped-in comments to the effect
Ivan Stoner
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vance
The great COVID Jack Vance re-read continues! In which I read comforting books to make me feel better about everything being awful.

Ecce and Old Earth is the sequel to Araminta Station. Both are classic late-period Vance. Longer and more intricately plotted than his earlier works, more meditative. The core setting is a nature-preserve planet, featuring the bitter politics of a minute society of hereditary conservators.

Ecce gives us the rare Vancian heroine, Wayness Tamm (Vance had a near 100% ra
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-rev, reviewed
In a sense, Ecce and Old Earth continues the trend of its predecessor, Araminta Station, in that it's more directly a detective story than most Vance books. Its protagonist, Glawen Clattuc, is, after all, a policeman, and the book traces his search in parallel with that of his love interest, Wayness Tamm. But where Araminta Station focused mostly on the planet Cadwal, here we're treated to Vance's gift for creating weird and wonderful landscapes as the two protagonists pursue their separate sear ...more
Darshan Elena
Sep 12, 2009 rated it liked it
After reading a stunning review of Jack Vance's novels in the New York Times, I was compelled to read some of his work. At first, I wasn't super impressed but then... I became enamored with Vance's prose and the dry wit of his main characters! I will soon be reading more of his books... A fine science fiction author! ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
It took awhile for the story to get rolling, but it was okay. I give it 2.5 stars
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Life is unpredictable, Mr. Clattuc. To gain something you must risk something.”

Well life has literally become unpredictable in these times of COVID-19 and I am spending most of my time now working from home, and whenever I get the time, I like to read to escape the miseries of this COVID-19 situation, and Jack Vance is the exact writer whom I turn to each time, whenever I want to read something of fantastic imagination, a world of beauty filled with people of myriad different characters, each w
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ecce and Old Earth was first published in 1991 and is the second of three novels that comprise The Cadwal Chronicles. It is 390 pages long making it one of Vance's longer works, although shorter than the first novel in the series, the 554 page Araminta Station. It is also a later work by Vance. This is my second reading of this work and I liked it even better after reading it again. It is not as dazzling a novel as the first in the series, Araminta Station, but it is better written and more inte ...more
Jeffrey Daniels
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the middle book of a trilogy by renowned master Jack Vance.

A reader will never go wrong picking up a Vance book, if only for the sheer delight of his exquisite use of language, both in expansive diction and crafty composition.

The Cadwal Chronicles is less science fiction and fantasy than many of Mr. Vance's other works and more a mystery wrapped in a sociological exploration.

As with most of Mr. Vance's writings, he builds his worlds and cosmos with precision and detail. His books are no
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This continues the story from Araminta Station. The first part deals with the unfinished plot from that book involving Glawen's father, and the second part follows Wayness in her investigations looking from Cadwal's chart.

Jack Vance has a witty way of writing dialogue, but the plot started to become too repetitive for me. Wayness gets information from someone and goes to a new place and tries to get information from someone else... Then, the writing is very old-fashioned, not just from today's p
Hans van der Veeke
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The second book of the Cadwall Chronicles where Glawen and Wayness travel the galaxy to recover some lost documents. It also shows the second reason why I am so fond of reading Vance; his ability to imagine new worlds with their own flora and fauna, continents, moons and, especially, cultures. So strange and again so natural that it is a pleasure to read. Not only does he describes these anthropological marvels, he also lets them be acted out by the persons in the books. Amongst them is the eart ...more
David Meiklejohn
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The second book in the Cadwal Chronicles, this follows first Glawen as he tries to find and rescue his father, then Wayness in possibly the most boring storyline ever. The documents for the deeds of the planet have gone missing and Wayness tries to track them down. On the plus side there are a few murders on the way, but it’s mainly a paper chase.
However what really makes this book, as with much of Vance’s writing, are the characters and the dialogue. Wayness comes across the most salacious char
Marco Stamazza
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I love to read Vance when I want a relaxing read. I liked the first of the series, Araminta Station, even if I found the author often went off into describing useless scenaries or events. In this second book he does it even more (such as, for example: what do the librarians in Kiev add to the story?) Also, the "treasure hunt" gets ripetitive and the Glawan's expedition at the beginning is a bit too obvious. So, I sometimes got bored while reading it. Having said this, the book is well written an ...more
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
If you liked the first of this trilogy, Araminta Station, you'll like this. I like Vance, a lot. This is about the 6th novel of his I've read in the last few weeks. He loves using exotic color names in his descriptions...and his odd character names are a trademark of his. But it is his innovative cultures and societies that really stand out. ...more
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Soooo goooood. It's been a year or so since I have read this book, so I don't rightly remember which details go with which book, but I loved it. Many unanswered questions in the first book are resolved. If you read the first one, you know Jack Vance so just expect more greatness. ...more
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
First section of book was quite interesting, but later part about searching the charter was only ok, so actually 2.5 would be more accurate rating.
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
A meandering tale full of colourful characters.
Guideaux Hiers
Feb 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book!
Roddy Williams
Part Two of the Cadwal Chronicles continues with the intrigues of the Naturalist Society and the good (and bad) folk of Cadwal.
At heart it is clearly Vance’s attack on those who seek to plunder the Earth’s resources for their own personal gain and for the most part get away with it due to the apathy of the majority of the population.
The planet Cadwal, which lies somewhere toward the tail end of Mercea’s Wisp in the Gaean Reach, is a beautiful planet of temperate and biological diversity with som
Yanik Franken
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The second Cadwal novel is beefy, though it feels more organized than its predecessor.
I think it’s one of Vance’s best works; I’d give it a 4,5.
The book almost feels like it was written in three large steps. The first part is very reminiscent of the 50’s adventure stories. Hostile alien planets, cocky male hero boldly pressing on, pretty fastly paced.
The second part is my favorite and contains some of Vance’s most controlled and well-crafted scenes and dialogue. Wayness is a lovely character set
Ben Hatfield
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful language, conversations and characters. Certainly an enjoyable book to any Vance fan, or for that matter, anyone. A mystery is presented, and luckily no one is in a great hurry to achieve it's solution. I say luckily, because the excellence lies in the details, especially the interactions between characters. Events may not move quickly, but there is a marvelous and consistent pace to the unfolding sequences. I'm always struck by the abrupt harshness of violence in a Vance book, in this ...more
Ed Knadler
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jack Vance is definitely the most efficient user of the English language that I have ever read, he can use fewer words and paint a more complete picture with them than any other writer I've ever encountered. The Araminta Station series is in my opinion one of the best of his output, and introduces unique characters that you can really care about. Vance can create a whole world that is utterly bizarre yet completely believable.
In Araminta Station he introduces several memorable characters but my
Sep 24, 2012 rated it liked it
It had been 20 years or so since I read the first book in this series. In the bad old days I couldn't easily get ahold of the rest of the series, so it fell by the wayside. Good thing then, that this second book still was easy to get into, with only a vague memory of book 1.

The main attraction of book 2 seems to be visits to several cultures, as well as a continuation of the intrigues and powerplays from book 1. As always there's a wealth of interesting characters. Some of the cultures are quit
Rog Harrison
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Following on from Araminta Station I always find this book a little disappointing. It's a good book and I have read it lots of times but it does not quite match the first book. The Ecce part of the story relates to Glawen trying to find his father and is good adventurous stuff but for me the best part of the book is Wayness' adventures on Earth and the fascinating people she meets." was what I wrote on 8 June 2012 when I gave it three stars.

On reading it again I think my earlier review is fair
Peter Greenwell
Jun 22, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There is one singular element in this book that utterly destroys it and I'm afraid no amount of reconsideration will resurrect its carcass.

That element has a name, and her name is Wayness Tamm.

Congratulations Jack, you have invented the most ingratiatingly annoying and prudish non-female woman in the history of SF.

I'm so happy I know you can do better. And repeatedly have done.
Stephen Simpson
Sep 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
I love Vance's style, but I just couldn't get into this one. It was only his style that made this tolerable for me (otherwise it would have been a 2-star review). More of a detective story than his usual works, this felt more like something Asimov or maybe Dickson would have written.

Maybe I'll try it again later and see if I like it, but I'd give this a pass unless you're a hard-core Vance fan.
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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

Cadwal Chronicles (3 books)
  • Araminta Station (Cadwal Chronicles, #1)
  • Throy (Cadwal Chronicles, #3)

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These twelve books are so consistently adored, they have become regulars month after month in our data of most popular and most read books on...
142 likes · 54 comments
“Alexei has created a language of a hundred and twelve thousand words controlled by an elaborate syntax. It is a pity that no one can enjoy it along with Alexei, but he refuses to translate a single word. He has been accused of both narcissism and ostentation, but he is never offended. It is the typical artist, so he declares, who is mad for acclaim and whose self-esteem depends upon adulation. Alexei sees himself as a lonely man, indifferent to both praise and censure.”

Wayness craned her neck. “He is now playing the concertina and dancing a jig, all at the same time. What do you make of that?”

“It is just Alexei in one of his moods; it means nothing.”
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