Majestrum: A Tale of Henghis Hapthorn (Tales of Henghis Hapthorn Book 1)

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I hate to always fall back on the old Jack Vance comparison because Matt's work, while inspired by Vance, is wholly his own. His characters are more prone to self-examination and there are no super-capable characters like in Vance's work. Matt's characters have many flaws and this only makes them more interesting to read about.

Regarding Vance, I will say that if you enjoy the work of one, you will enjoy the work of the other. I cannot recommend this book, and all of Matthew's work, strongly enough. I have enjoyed his stuff since when I made his acquaintance on the Jack Vance MB and look forward to much more of it in the future. Now get reading! August 5, - Published on Amazon. Another good Night Shade publication. I am reaching the point where I just buy their list without discrimination, everything I have actually read has been very good.

This does allow the author to tell a story unencumbered by the need to explain why anything can be done technologically, and it works very well here. This mystery is enhanced by giving the protagonist schizophrenia, as his magically-aspected persona has manifested as a separate entity and is waxing in his own slow rise to dominance over the currently rationality-based persona and world.

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A few questions do see unanswered at the end of the story, at least as I caught it. The read familiar with Jack Vance may find echoes of much of his work from the 60s and 70's in this effectuator's tale, and the unsuspecting might be persuaded that this is an unpublished title by the same author. Am I wrong? Edit - I have read an interview with the author, and he comes right out and says this is set one eon before the Dying Earth and that " I write the kind of story I like to read, and what I like to read is a Jack Vance story. June 25, - Published on Amazon.

Matt Hughes (writer) | Revolvy

I've read a hundreds of scifi novels and hundreds of mysteries and never have I seen an author so cleverly combine the genres. The writing is superb. He deftly tackles a complex plot filled with mystery and magic and brings it all to a satisfying conclusion. Henghis Hapthorn has become, at least for the time being, my favorite character in all of fiction.

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Supremely capable and quite vain, yet insecure and fearful of a future he has no power over. As soon as I'm done writing this review I plan to start reading the next novel in this trilogy. Buy these books now and enjoy! September 14, - Published on Amazon. The author is often compared with Jack Vance. I feel the apprentice to Vance here surpasses the master.

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The reader needs to know that they most invest a bit of intellectual effort to get the most out of this series. The reader also needs to know that the effort will be rewarded with a batch of pleasant memories of the galaxy of Henghis Hapthorn. Go to Amazon.

Discover the best of shopping and entertainment with Amazon Prime. Hapthorn finds himself cast forward and stranded several centuries in the future. This new world of contending wizards and hungry dragons is a difficult one to assimilate, and Hapthorn must do so without his magic-savvy alter ego.

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Verified Purchase. Matthew Hughes is an under-appreciated writer. For years he has been toiling in a mainly Jack Vancean sort of vein, turning out stories and novels set in a world where science is just about to turn over to magic, but not quite yet.


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  • Old Earth, with a baroque and dizzying array of ancient cultures, is a rich field for Hughes to explore. A dizzying array of planets of even more diversity than Earth itself, Hughes' fiction allows the reader to experience a full and inexhaustible range of cultures, environments and characters. His prose brings these environments and characters to life, transporting the reader to areas both familiar and absolutely alien for all of their humanity. In the Spiral Labyrinth, we continue the adventures of Henghis Hapthorn, previously seen in a couple of short stories as well as Majestrum.

    As a freelance discriminator private investigator he is a late-age-of-Earth Sherlock Holmes, with a number of twists. Thanks to the results of previous adventures, his integrator, a semi-sentient computer, has been transformed from a device to a fruit-craving unique creature. Also, his sense of intuition, an invaluable compliment to his finely honed sense of reason and logic, is in fact now a full fledged sub personality within his brain that he can converse with, named Osk Rievor.

    Even with these handicaps although he would insist they are advantages , Henghis is the foremost discriminator on Old Earth. In the Spiral Labyrinth Henghis once again gets plunged into situations far beyond his ken, surviving by applications of luck, verve, reason and intuition. Hughes likes to put his characters through the wringer. The keystone event of Spiral Labyrinth, for example, has Henghis, thanks to the titular device, accidentally transported several centuries into the future--and past the point where the rules of the universe finally change from science and magic.

    Worse, he has been transported here without Osk Rievor who knows a little theory of magic , and so he must survive on reason alone, in a land without reason. How does Henghis survive in a world of dragons and spells, and how he manages to get home are the meat and potatoes of the book. And, like previous novels and stories, Spiral Labyrinth stands alone, but continues to build the life, career and nature of its main character.

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    You certainly can start here, Hughes does a good job enfolding previous events into the narrative in an organic way. However, this does not mean the stories are episodic. I have no doubt that the adventures of this book, and their impact on Hapthorn, will continue to resonate through the next If you are a Jack Vance fan, or simply enjoy picaresque adventures in a baroque series of settings with an engaging main character, the Henghis Hapthorn stories of Matthew Hughes, including the Spiral Labyrinth, are definitely for you.

    One person found this helpful. Based on the number of reviews, this seems to be a an undiscovered book. This is a shame, as it is a very entertaining short novel which left me wishing it had a rather greater number of pages my highest compliment - it was TOO SHORT!


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