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The Prince in Waiting (1970)

de John Christopher

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: The Sword of the Spirits (1)

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343657,694 (3.54)1 / 19
Thirteen-year-old Luke has no reason to suspect that anything will ever change in the primitive society of the future in which he lives.
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Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Finally got my own copy after owning the second two books in the trilogy since I was a child so have begun a re-read. Another young adult/children's dystopian trilogy from John Christopher, although this time the cataclysm had natural rather than extraterrestrial origins. England has been destroyed by volcanic activity and is ruled by independent city states, each lead by a Prince, but governed in reality by the Seers, priests of Spiritualism who purport to commune with the spirits that rule the world. The rather unlikeable protaganist, Luke grows from a child to a young man ruled by pride but caught in both in the intrigues of the palace and the plottings of the Seers to restore the broken world.
  Figgles | Jul 8, 2018 |
same guy who wrote the tripod trilogy. Post apocalyptic world, after natural disasters. City states. Follows the rise of Luke, a 13 yearold who’s father is a soldier who is elevated to Prince of Winchester. Well written. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
This is the first volume in John Christopher’s “The Sword of the Spirits” trilogy, which is aimed at young adults. I count Christopher’s Tripods trilogy among the best young adult science fiction I’ve ever read, so I was interested to see him do fantasy. The story begins with Luke, a young man, visiting a colony of dwarves who work with arms and armour at a great forge. We learn some more about the city where he lives, a medieval-sounding place with a Prince and his captains, wagons on the roads, horses in the fields, etc. Before the chapter is out, Luke idly traces the faint outlines of old words written on a piece of wood: RADIO & TV DEAL.

Surprise! This is another post-apocalyptic story, which is kind of a shame, because it ends up echoing a lot of the ideas in the Tripods trilogy. The city itself is Winchester, which is also where the protagonist in the Tripods trilogy comes from – I suppose it’s Christopher’s hometown. The book follows Luke as Winchester’s ruling Prince is deposed by the gods known as the Spirits, and Luke’s own father is raised in his place. A number of campaigns and events and battles come and go, and without spoiling the ending (which is clearly just the end of the first part in a series, anyway) Luke eventually leaves the city.

I didn’t enjoy this as much as The White Mountains, the first book in the Tripods trilogy, but I was probably about 15 when I last read that. When I re-read that trilogy, which is on the to-do list, maybe I’ll now see the same flaws present in The Prince in Waiting – wooden characters, and Christopher’s oddly stiff narration. This is just his style, I think – it was definitely present in The Guardians and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it when I revisit the Tripods trilogy. It’s a strange style of prose, not so much in how it cleanly lays out the circumstances on the table and analyses the characters’ emotions, but the way it does so in a polite, refined British manner. There are echoes of it in The Death of Grass, Christopher’s brutal apocalyptic novel for adults, though not as much – maybe he felt the need to spell things out a bit more for kids.

One thing that sets this book apart from Christopher’s others is how unlikeable the protagonist is. Luke is arrogant, proud, lacks curiosity about the world around him, and is often cold:

I was too bitter and wretched to realise what he was offering: having weathered his own grief and disappointment he would still go into exile with me as a companion to me in mine. Later I understood. Friendship meant much to him, more than it could ever do to me.

Beyond that, however, I felt that The Prince in Waiting rehashed too many elements from The White Mountains – the ruins of a great civilisation, a young protagonist going in to exile, and (most blatantly) a secret organisation that remembers the old ways. And in comparison with its predecessor, this book suffers from having a static setting and an larger cast of ancillary characters. The White Mountains had only three major characters, undertaking a road voyage. Characterisation is not Christopher’s strong suit, and I lost track of who was who to some extent towards the end of The Prince in Waiting.

I was fairly ambivalent about The Prince in Waiting and have no doubt this will be an objectively weaker series than the Tripods trilogy. But I’ll read the next two books nonetheless, because they’re not big or time-consuming, and I’m interested to see where Christopher goes with it. ( )
1 vota edgeworth | Apr 14, 2013 |
(Yet another overdue review in which I actually don't remember tons about the book. Sorry.)

Really enjoyable young adult book that I should really just find a copy of. Great fantasy-ish setting. (Is it spoilery to note that a 40 year old book that's a trilogy starts out as fantasy and then turns out to be post-apocalyptic scifi?) ( )
  epersonae | Mar 30, 2013 |
This is an interesting, and in many ways prophetic, look at a post-apocalypse England which has been devastated by volcanoes and earthquakes. Machines are blamed for the devastation and are banned, there are genetic mutations (called 'polymuf'') in animals and crops, which are viewed with suspicion, people worship the spirits as interpreted by seers and and there are few books. This first book is a sophisticated and sobering look at how society might evolve after an apocalyptic event.

The central character, Luke Perry, lives an almost medieval life, in the ruins of Winchester. He wants to be a warrior, a captain, like his father - the various scattered settlements spend their time fighting for territory and food. Luke is an engaging narrator and as the book progresses Christopher charts how Luke's changing circumstances affect his friendships and his relationship with his half-brother, Peter.

This is a sophisticated and thought provoking book, which nicely sets up the second book in the trilogy. ( )
1 vota riverwillow | Jun 8, 2009 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
John Christopherautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Kidd, TomAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lavis, StephenAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Petrov, AntonAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Schongut, EmanuelAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Stubley, TrevorAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Thirteen-year-old Luke has no reason to suspect that anything will ever change in the primitive society of the future in which he lives.

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