E. C. "Scar" Gordon was on the French Riviera recovering from a tour of combat in Southeast Asia, but he hadn't given up his habit of scanning the personals in the newspaper. One ad in particular leapt out at him: "Are you a coward? This is not for you. We badly need a brave man. He must be 23 to 25 years old, in perfect health, at least six feet tall, weigh about 190 pounds, fluent English with some French, proficient with all weapons, some knowledge of engineering and mathematics essential, willing to travel, no family or emotional ties, indomitably courageous and handsome of face and figure. Permanent employment, very high pay, glorious adventure, great danger. You must apply in person, 17 rue Dante, Nice, 2me étage, apt. D."
How could you not answer an ad like that, especially when it seemed to describe you perfectly? Well, except maybe for the "handsome" part, but that was in the eye of the beholder anyway. So he went to that apartment and was greeted by the most beautiful woman he'd ever met. She seemed to have many names but agreed he could call her Star. A pretty appropriate name, as it turned out, for the empress of twenty universes. And she sends him on the adventure of a lifetime.
Robert A. Heinlein's one true fantasy novel, Glory Road is as much fun today as when he wrote it after Stranger in a Strange Land. Heinlein proves himself as adept with sword and sorcery as with rockets and slide rules, and the result is exciting, satirical, fast-paced, funny, and tremendously readable - a favorite of all who have read it. Glory Road is a masterpiece of escapist entertainment with a typically Heinleinian sting in its tail.
Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) was the dominant science fiction writer of the modern era, a writer whose influence on the field was immense. He won science fiction's Hugo Award for best novel four times.
©1963 Robert A. Heinlein; renewed 1991 by Virginia Heinlein; 2003 by the Robert A. & Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust; Afterword 1979, 1984 by Samuel R. Delany (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"A triumph."(Chicago Tribune)
"Glory Road maintains a delicacy, a bravura, and a joy that not only are notable, but clearly consign it to his heptology of major SF novels." (Samuel R. Delany, American author and literary critic)
"Enjoyable reading of perhaps Heinlein’s best book"
I first read “Glory Road” in 1963 when it was serialized in “The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction”. I subsequently bought the book in paperback and, carrying it with me around the world, reread it several times. I think “Glory Road” is one of the few Heinlein books that doesn’t suffer quite so much from the author’s penchant for taking a story so far and then not knowing what to do with it while his sometimes obstreperous libertarianism is not quite so grating here. “Glory Road” consists of two distinct parts: the first is a thoroughly fabulous, swashbuckling “Quest”; the second is a rather insightful examination of the mundane, “real-world” consequences of having undertaken and completed The Quest. It spoke directly to me both before and after becoming an expat.
I know the book very well in other words (I have parts of it memorized) and it was with some trepidation that I bought the audiobook version. I was not disappointed. Bronson Pinchot is an accomplished voice actor. (How many people know/remember that he played “Balki Bartokomous” in the mid-80s/early-90s US sitcom “Perfect Strangers”?). His characterizations (especially of the supporting roles) are a joy to listen to. Admittedly his “Star” is not what I imagined her (he makes her sound like a sultry Doris Day) and his Rufo wanders sometimes disconcertingly between Peter Lorre and Pepe Le Pew. Nevertheless his voice acting makes a huge contribution to the enjoyment of this production, which is much more satisfying that any straightforward reading could have been.
Highly recommended as an enjoyable reading of what may be Heinlein’s best book.
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