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Prince Ombra

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  601 ratings  ·  90 reviews
The World has found its new hero.

The problem? Bentley Ellicott is only a kid.

Bentley has secret powers. And he's going to need them. Bentley is a hero - the thousand and first to be exact - in a long line of heroes that has stretched all the way back to antiquity. Heroes like Arthur and Hercules.

And now: Bentley.

That's because there is an evil in the world that never dies
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 19th 2002 by Starscape (first published 1982)
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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  601 ratings  ·  90 reviews

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Apr 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mature children (12 or so) through adults
Recommended to Melanie by: My mother
THE CURRENT VERSION IS ABRIDGED! ONLY READ THE OUT OF PRINT EDITIONS. I bought the current edition for friends and was disappointed and saddened to learn they really didn't like it. But after discussing the book with them, things started to sound fishy. I checked out the edition I had bought for them and realized it had been abridged and bowlderized to make it into "children's" or "young adult" fiction. While the original book is not inappropriate for young adults, it is not written as young adu ...more
Ron Grunberg
Jan 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I've read this book probably three times. I still have it, might well read it again.

Nothing like it.

Kids communicating in ways you only dream is possible, or might hardly not remember. Sub-verbal. With genius.

Great drama. Life-defying twists. A real sleeper. Who knows about this book?

Otherwise, the guy's a political writer from Washington, D.C. Go figure.
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i don't know how I heard about this book, but I had it requested out of the library and in my hands within a week. And it sat in my library bag for almost three weeks while I read through my ever-enjoyable Jacqueline Carey series, a couple mangas, and even a romance novel. Finally, I only had this strange book, Prince Ombra, left to read. The cover on the copy I had showed a rocky shore with two ospreys in the foreground, and very tiny off in the distance two people sitting on the rocks. The sto ...more
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read it in high school (thanx Michelle) I have purchased more copies of this book than any other book (I loan it out and never seem to get it back). Top 5 of the greatest books I have read..... ever!
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
I found this in the clearance room of my local bookstore for a quarter.

At first the cover grabbed me; even though the description on the back seemed flimsy.

This was a pretty awesome read.

Essentially it is the age old war of good and evil. Ever so often a hero is born into the world, when the hero finds the stone of Ra, he must battle Prince Ombra, the nightmare lord. Each time Ombra embodies the warrior's deepest fear. This time around the hero is just a nine year old boy. Can a nine year old b
Steven Bell
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it's stunning to read a book that's this good and yet is out of print and not exactly well known.

To some degree, it's easy to understand why it wasn't terribly successful... it's a book about children that isn't really for them. I realised early on that this book in many ways reminded me of Stephen King, but the first thing that struck me was that it approached writing about children the same way he does. It's a book for adults who still remember what being a child was like.

It's like S
Aug 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-and-reread
Bentley Ellicot is and will probably forever be, my favorite hero of all time. He is an unlikely hero, in that he has learned spells from the crabs, and is able to speak to animals, however most people, see him as a cripple. He is young and kind and helpful, and he is born knowing many things, specifically, his destiny.His heart has been that of a thousand different heros, including King Authur, and Homer, and that with this gift he has been given, he must defeat the essence of evil in the world ...more
K.S. Thompson
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Someone once loaned me a copy of “The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth” by James N Frey. It was one of those books that I devoured in one sitting. I recently added it to my eReader and look forward to reading it again.

The reason I bring up James Frey’s book in this review is because that is EXACTLY what “Prince Ombra” is. DAMN GOOD FICTION that utilizes the power of myth to tell a familiar story in a contemporary setting.

I still remember the first time I saw this book.
i found a really old copy of this book at a garage had this crazy bright opalescent cover and looked like a completely trashy airport buy that would live next to all the Sword of Shanara books. But it's one of the most interesting looks at heroes and evil I have ever read. It even held up under re-readings. It's like the last Harry Potter book before Harry Potter was even written...
May 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fantasy/arthurian legend lovers
There are some books that just resonate deep inside of you. This is one such book for me. It incorporates arthurian legend and you can never go wrong with that.
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
WARNING: DO NOT read the 2002 edition with the brown-haired boy on the cover. It has been badly edited and "sanitised" for children, to the point that many parts of the story no longer make sense. Find an older edition of the book, if you can.

Bentley Ellicott is the stuff of legends. You wouldn't know it to look at him, though. To most of the people who know him, he appears to be a fairly ordinary eight-year-old boy growing up in small town New England. Perhaps a little more thoughtful than most
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa H.
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I still have my original paperback of this book. (The white background is iridescent. Pretty cool, but then, I'm easily amused.)

Read Prince Ombra before I'd ever even heard of Joseph Campbell and The Hero With a Thousand Faces - I don't know whether MacLeish knew Joseph Campbell at Sarah Laurence, or whether he just read Hero, but the path of his eight-year-old character Bentley Ellicott is absolutely the one Campbell wrote about: Bentley initially rejects the idea that the strange things that s
Robert Hookey
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I still remember reading this book as a boy; it blew me way and took me to places I had never dreamed of visiting. The darkness of the human condition was still a mystery to me, but not for long...

I still love this book.

Apparently the current edition has been "softened" - significantly - but hopefully the edition that is circulating out there still has the "bite" of the original.

The concept of the reluctant hero is certainly nothing new, but MacLeish brings us a hero who has fought the same batt
George Johnston
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up in my twenties and it lay about for a while unread, I kept putting off reading it until one day when i had nothing else at hand to read. And discovered what turned out to be one of my favourite books ever,an unlikely child hero Bentley who it turned out was the latest incarnation of a long line of heroes such as Gilgamesh Arthur etc who defend the world against evil as manifested in Bentley's time as Prince Ombra.Just as i'm writing this i think i must dig out the book and ...more
Dec 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who believe that good can triumph over evil
I have read this book so many times I have lost count. But everytime I re-read it, it's like reading it for the first time all over again.
I found bought this book for a dollar at a second hand bookstore, and it has been one of my most treasured finds. Everyone should read this book. It is a sad thing that not more people know about this wonderful jem.
Stephanie Carrin
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best young adult fantasy books ever... IF YOU READ THE OUT OF PRINT EDITIONS! Be warned that the latest edition heavily edits and censors the book, which I'm sure is making poor Roderick spin in his grave.
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book when I read it a long, long time ago. I loved this book when I reread it a long time ago. Now I am a bit jaded and tired of all the stories about kids saving the world. But this is still a fucking awesome book.
Jackie Cheung
Jun 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book because of the face that its kind of like Harry Potter. The character Bently, does not know he has powers. His powers will be used when Prince Ombra arrives. I found this book really interesting.
oh, WOW. I just found this book again completely by accident. I know I LOVED it as a teenager but couldn't remember anything about it except the cover, which I copied for an art project in high school. I'll have to track down a copy and re-read it.
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
this book is magic - that's a quote from one of it's reviewers and it has always stuck with me. the author blends together ancient stories and mythologies into this incredible tale about a young boy who must face the embodiment of 'evil.' i read it when i was about 13 and have never forgotten it.
Ellen Hing
Jan 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
scary how similar to current time this book is, since its supposed to take place in the 80's.
Apr 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book incredible. I still have my copy from high school...dang, I think I shall read it again!
Cynthia Egbert
Jul 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the favorite books from my youth. A great discussion book as you try to engage young people in learning what their personal mission might be...

I found that I had to revisit this one. I had forgotten how much I love it. The use of so many hero myths and the battle between good and evil. It is imperative that folks read the original version from 1982 and not the edited version that came out in 2002.

Here are the quotes that I love:

"Then, since the soul is immortal and often born, having see
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A revisit to a book I read back in the early 80s... I've seen in the other reviews here that there is an abridged version, but this one is the original I picked up at a drugstore 30+ years ago. This was "Young Adult" before such a genre existed. Perhaps the new abridged version dumbs it down a bit.. or removes some of the uglier bits. There are some allusions to sex, infidelity and sexual assault that probably wouldn't make it in today's "YA".

This book was written around the time of a re-surgenc
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was my first time reading Prince Ombra as an adult. It had been my favorite book of all time since around age 12 when I picked it up for the first time. Prince Ombra sparked my interest in world religions and mythology, it helped form many of my first spiritual thoughts on a personal level, and it asks interesting questions that I had never thought of before. One of my favorite aspects of the book is its style of omniscient narration. It brings the characters and the plot together in a uniq ...more
lora baccus
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
this one is an updated version which I haven't read (I'VE heard rumbling of many very unsatisfied readers over the abridged version!!). the review I am writing is for the original ombra. One of the best books i have read, this book will always be in my top 5-10. I read it in 1990...and I still think about it!! just ordered another one today...lost my Orig copy...time to re read it. Read this book, be challenged...It's worth it!!

funny thing. I'm a big book buyer...garage sales, used book stores..
Marta Martinez Abreu
I have the 1983 pink paperback edition. My 6th grade teacher had it on our reading challenge list for that year. I loved it so much and read it so many times that at the end of the year she gave it to me. That was 1986. It's still one of my favorites and one of the very few books I will read again. Roderick MacLeish creates an imperfect and magical world that perfectly mirrors an imaginative and isolated child's point of view. And of course, every child needs to know that they have hidden stores ...more
Robert Weinstein
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good friend gave me this book in high school. I'm not sure why she gave it to me or why she thought I'd like it but she ordered me to read it so I did.

I loved the book at the time and read it again a few years ago and still loved it. I didn't realize the updated version had been edited, so that was disappointing but the story still sucked me in. Bentley's a fine hero and the psychiatrist is all mystic and crap but the idea of a hero having to confront [redacted so as not to give it away] is a
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first stumbled upon this book in a neighborhood used book shop as a teenager in the 80's. I couldn't put it down. MacLeish created a rich hero in the form of a 9 year old boy, thrust too soon into the pressures of literally trying to save the world. I've read this book several times since it has become an old friend and is easily one of the top 5 books I'd want to help pass the time if stranded on a deserted island. I hope someone makes this into a movie someday. Preferably in a style closer t ...more
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“There are seasons vaster and subtler than the cycles of the year. After a time of harmony the world begins to darken.” 2 likes
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