Michael Chabons Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, sprang from an early passion for the derring-do and larger-than-life heroes of classic comic books. Now, once more mining the rich past, Chabon summons the rollicking spirit of legendary adventuresfrom The Arabian Nights to Alexandre Dumas to Fritz Leibers Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser storiesin a wonderful new novel brimming with breathless action, raucous humor, cliff-hanging suspense, and a cast of colorful characters worthy of Scheherazades most tantalizing tales.
Theyre an odd pair, to be sure: pale, rail-thin, black-clad Zelikman, a moody, itinerant physician fond of jaunty headgear, and ex-soldier Amram, a gray-haired giant of a man as quick with a razor-tongued witticism as he is with a sharpened battle-ax. Brothers under the skin, comrades in arms, they make their rootless way through the Caucasus Mountains, circa A.D. 950, living as they please and surviving however they canas blades and thieves for hire and as practiced bamboozlers, cheerfully separating the gullible from their money. No strangers to tight scrapes and close shaves, theyve left many a fist shaking in their dust, tasted their share of enemy steel, and made good any number of hasty exits under hostile circumstances.
None of which has necessarily prepared them to be dragooned into service as escorts and defenders to a prince of the Khazar Empire. Usurped by his brutal uncle, the callow and decidedly ill-tempered young royal burns to reclaim his rightful throne. But doing so will demand wicked cunning, outrageous daring, and foolhardy bravado . . . not to mention an army. Zelikman and Amram can at least supply the former. But are these gentlemen of the road prepared to become generals in a full-scale revolution? The only certainty is that getting therealong a path paved with warriors and whores, evil emperors and extraordinary elephants, secrets, swordplay, and such stuff as the grandest adventures are made ofwill be much more than half the fun.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, without a doubt Chabon's best work to date, proved that his unit of composition is the chapter. In that work, as in Gentlemen of the Road, each one ends with a virtuosic flourish of the pen—a moment of exquisite suspense, a satisfying one-liner, a tiny release of narrative tension. In this way, Chabon is as generous to his readers as he is to his characters. Gentlemen of the Road is undiluted pleasure. (Reviewed by Amy Reading).
The New York Times - Susann Cokal
And although the effect can be dizzying and the plot may twist a time or two too many, it's hard to resist its gathering momentum, not to mention the sheer headlong pleasure of Chabon's language.
The Washington Post - Mameve Medwed
…a picaresque, swashbuckling adventure…Chabon's highfalutin writing is an object lesson in style perfectly matched to genre…If any good adventure is all about the journey, there is also, as Amram remarks, "an appeal in the idea of seeing some business through from start to finish."
[An] ebullient yarn that blithely defies probability, while plundering from innumerable semi-literary sources....Ridiculously entertaining.
Starred Review. A significant change from Chabon's weightier novels, this dazzling trifle is simply terrific fun.
Chabon has a humorous, acrobatic writing style that translates rather well to the adventure genre. Highly recommended .
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Jeanne W Can it be good if I didn't like it? Well-written, unusual theme, humor, engaging characters but it did nothing for me. I think there's a core audience for this type of book but it's not me. It might appeal to short-story enthusiasts as each chapter seems to be a story unto... Read More
Khazaria (map) was
an empire founded by
semi-nomadic Turks in the 7th
century. Khazaria was a strong ally
of the Byzantine Empire and
enemies of the Crimean Goths. By
the time of its decline in the
10th century, Khazaria covered
much of what is now southern
Russia, western Kazakhstan,
eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan,
large portions of the Caucasus,
and the Crimea. Between 965 and
969, approximately the time
period of Gentlemen of the
Road, the Khazars were
invaded by Russian soldiers and
subjected to their rule. A short
time later, the Khazars began to
disappear as a culturally
Two aspects of Khazar culture
factor largely in Gentlemen
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