Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining....
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An adult "Faerie" tale of a long-ago world where magic and humanity mingle in extraordinary ways; with fantasy illustrations by the artist who produced "The Books of Magic".Review:
The versatile Neil Gaiman is best known for scripting upmarket graphic novels, most famously the lengthy Sandman cycle. Stardust was a joint project with artist Charles Vess, a short novel of fairyland enriched by at least one sumptuous painting on every page. This edition contains only the (slightly rewritten) text, alas. Gaiman's story looks back to days before commercial genre fantasy, to Lord Dunsany's and Hope Mirrlees's visions of Faerie as a misty country which is at the same time temptingly close and "over the hills and far away". The simple tale is new but has a twice-told familiarity, crafted like a mosaic from many traditional elements. Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest. Stardust is by turns knowing, poetic, comic and grisly and exudes considerable charm. If only we had those full-colour Vess paintings too. --David Langford
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