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Publisher's Summary

Author John Dickinson's debut novel is a welcome addition to the flourishing genre of medieval fantasy. Phaedra, a young noble, has reached the age of marriage, and is waiting for the man who appears in her dreams. When he finally arrives, she leaves her home and family to join him. But Phaedra is unprepared for the consequences her new union brings.
©2004 John Dickinson; (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC
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Critic Reviews

"Dark and intelligent; for the sophisticated fantasy reader." (Kirkus Reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Sue Schreiber on 12-18-06

The cup of the World

When I first started reading this book I was anoyed by the slow deliberate reading of the narrator. However after listening for a while I realized that is what makes the story so intriging. Some of the words and terms are not politicly correct fot the time period. Sometimes the details seemed a little much but once I got into the story I was glad of the details and understood why it was necessary.
The story is spellbinding and the narration is flawless. The pauses, of the narrator, make the tension of the storyline greater. I found myself listening for hours at a time. I did not want to turn it off because I had to see what happened next.
It is a very good "listen" and completely intertaining. A really good escape from the everyday.
I highly recommend this book if you are into fantasy.
I intend to read the second book I can only hope it is half as good

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By James on 03-01-08

Slow and dull....

I kept losing interest in this book, frequently having to rewind it after my mind had wandered.

"The Cup of the World" is, for the most part, a thin account of the few things that happen to a passive young woman named Phaedra. The plot covers a lonely few years around the time of her marriage to a man who is not what he seems and is rarely at home. Phaedra's world is decorated with the usual medieval fantasy elements, such as formal dialogue, swords and castles, along with an engaging mix of the less usual, including angelic names, pagan bloodlines and witch trials.

Despite what might be an interesting milieu, the book never really gets going. Phaedra herself is the problem. She has few desires and rarely takes action on her own. The writer might have compensated with interesting secondary characters or points of view, but chose otherwise. Instead, he limits us to Phaedra's viewpoint, then leaves her out of important events. We only hear about the doings of active characters afterward, from letters and stilted conversations. These are mixed with Phaedra's own ruminations as she moves aimlessly about her husband's castle or is led about by the few other characters she knows.

In short, this moody little novella was set adrift in the wider waters of the novel form, where it foundered. As a dark fairy tale, the story more or less works the way other heroine-in-a-castle tales work. Cut by two thirds, it would even have been passable--if only for the writer's style. The text is well-written, with a writerly sense of detail; it just isn't engaging.

The audio recording is passable. The reader has a clear and expressive voice, but the reading is marred by her habit of pausing for any punctuation as if it were a full period. Until growing used to it, a listener is likely to mistake the ends of sentences.......only to be unsettled later when they start up again.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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