|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Her most recent book is Points of Departure with Patricia C. Wrede, from Diversion Books. This is a collection of Pamela and Patricia's connected stories from the shared world of Liavek, originally published in the 1980's and 1990's, with some new material written especially for this edition.
What People are Saying About This
Pamela Dean is one of our best writers of fantasy. The Dubious Hills may be her finest work. What more do you need to know?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A highly original fantasy about free will and choice, about growing up, and about the nature of knowledge. Set in the same world as the YA series "The Secret Country" Dean describes life in an enchanted country, where knowledge is parcelled out, each denizen receives a well defined and limited knowledge as their birthright, and beliefs are hard to maintain.Arry is the local Physici - which means that her province of knowledge is pain, and she experience all the pain in her vicinity, in The Dubious Hills only another Physici can experience and know about pain - who at the age of 14 has been responsible for raising her younger siblings since her parents disappeared.When wolves who don't act like wolves appear, and odd things begin to happen, the response of the people in her village falls somewhat within Arrys domain of pain, and she tries to find out what is happening to correct it.The mental and emotional pain caused by the wolves appearance causes her to become uncertain of her own knowledge, and this in turn open her eyes for the emotional pain of her siblings that she feels ill equiped to deal with. Tryeing to learn about it she gains an understanding of the threat the wolves poses to the society she lives in.This book does something that is unusual for a fantasy, it explores big existetial themes, trying to understand the difference between knowledge and experience, and whether free will and peace are mutually exclusive. The book makes an analogy between fairy tale evil and free will which is interesting, and mirrors the genesis story.It takes a while for the story to hit its stride, and the complexity of the setting to shine.The scope of this story is wider than that of a typical fantasy, but this does not make it less of a entertaining novel, with characters to empathise with, and an interesting storyline.
What a wonderful, deep, thoughtful book. Very odd fantasy. What a strange line, between knowing and memory and doubt... I don't think I quite grasped it on my first reading, not until after. This was my third reading.I think most writers telling a tale of this sort would have made escape from the spell the goal, and thus Halver hero, not villian. I'm still not sure. But the society wasn't a bad one, the people not unhappy, mostly, even if they couldn't know it. I suppose the key is the end, with Oonan's "It's not the certain knowledge, the right knowledge, that did us harm, if harm was being done to us. It was refusing to step outside it." And so they didn't know that a mother leaving might cause pain in her children. Until she read about all the cruel mothers.I wonder about the wizards. It says they set up the society to eliminate war, murder, and yet no hint as to why that particular setup would achieve that goal. Perhaps just that no one had the knowledge of killing? Or perhaps the loss of certainty... If they thought war was rooted in certainties, leading to fanaticisms.
Starting to read this it felt very like total immersion science fiction, as I tried to work out what was happening (and discarded various theories as they failed to fit). This book is hard work in the best of ways, it mirrored various aspects of mundane life in a magical world in ways I haven't seen before, and the problems it's protagonist faced were so real as to seem insoluble and I still don't know what the right answers were. Certainly not standard quest fantasy, this has wonderful world building in simple community life. And I loved the profanity.