A pavane is a stately dance, one with all its steps set out, with a clear beginning and a foreseen end. To my ear, the word itself sounds. Pavane [Keith Roberts] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A classic of alternate history, this novel is set in a twentieth century where the. Pavane [Keith Roberts] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

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Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? A classic of alternate history, this novel is set in a twentieth century where the Roman Catholic Church controls the western world, and has done so so Queen Elizabeth was assassinated in Read more Pavwne less.

Add both to Cart Add both to List. One of these items ships sooner than the other. Buy the selected items together This item: Ships from and sold by Amazon. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. The Man in the High Castle. Old Earth Books December 15, Language: Start reading Pavane on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don’t have a Kindle? Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention alternate history science fiction catholic church queen elizabeth brother john keith roberts short stories elizabeth i was assassinated white boat corfe gate alternative history jesse strange spanish armada lady margaret six measures twentieth century lords and ladies assassinated and the spanish neil gaiman highly recommended.

Showing of 57 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. It is Anno Domini Over a hundred years earlier, inQueen Elizabeth was assassinated. Technology has stagnated, with discoveries like electric power outlawed by the Church, leaving the book effectively proto-steampunk.

As the twentieth-century progresses, the Church maintains a firm grip on Western society, limiting technological and scientific development. Pavane takes its name from the processional dance from Renaissance-era Europe, and much like that dance the novel is complex, obscure, and stately, a slow but calculated read with a dark and mysterious undertone. It remains a classic of science fiction, though an obscure one due to its cerebral material and the fact Roberts never reached the same success as other authors from the same period.

On the bright side, it has continually been reprinted and is very easy to find. Read it, grasp at its brilliance, and be ready to come back again to revisit and ponder the deeper meaning.

Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. The title is a brilliant reflection of the diversion-point from reality for this alternate-history novel see footnote 2. With the English Queen dead, Catholic Phillip brought his armada from Spain to conquer England in the wake of the chaos that followed. The Anglican church was thus suppressed; the Catholic Church is a major political power in the world, and industry is organized to serve the purposes of evangelism first.


The story is told from the point-of-view of several characters, one for each “measure,” whose lives converge. Each of the measures can be read as a stand-alone story, but together they form a serious examination of the consequences of religious-ruled society in which internal combustion engines were until very recently banned as the work of the Devil, electricity is still under the Papal ban, and everyone tithes to the Vatican on pain of death.

In “The Signaller,” Rafe is a fortunate youngster whose obsession over the signal towers that form the single non-Church power network in England is rewarded when a childless officer in the Signaller Guild “adopts” him into the Guild. His luck vanishes when his first solo assignment runs afoul of the Church’s ancient opponent in England.

This measure is the most mystical and fantastical of the six. She can stay in her southern coast village, which is already under suspicion because of an unexplained incident with a mad monk named John in her father’s time, or she can swim out to the ship she sees off-shore, and escape her rural fate. Alas, the white boat is no innocent craft, but a smuggler’s vessel from Bermuda.

Pavane by Keith Roberts

Its cargo is strange indeed. Haunted by the memory, he rejects the Church and begins to preach the need pavaen reform throughout southern England. In “Lords and Ladies,” Margaret Strange toys with a wealthy young man whose world is alien to hers. Her heritage as a hauler’s child daughter of Margaret the barmaid and Jesse Strange’s younger brother bars her from consideration as wife of the heir to Corfe Gate, the south-coast castle.

But her confidence as heir to the Strange Haulage empire gives her an advantage the “ladies” of the castle do not have. The final measure, “Corfe Gate,” ties together the threads of reform that are woven through the first five stories, as the Church clashes with a revolt they themselves have fueled with punitive tithes and Inquisitorial torments.

The world of “Pavane” described in these six measures is rich, strange and familiar by turns. If it feels medieval, this is perhaps a natural result of pavae of involvement keitj the Catholic Church in every facet of civil life, and the anti-science focus the Church’s power has taken.

I found the “Coda” pavsne an epilogue named in the same dance-piece theme as the “measures” a let-down after the growing power of Pavane’s measures. It is worth reading it to see the direction the author keth for his tale, but it comes off as an afterthought. Ravel often complained that too many pianists played his pavane too slowly.


Paavane doesn’t show up on a lot of “best S. Having just finished it, I would rank it with some of the best S. The writing is really first-rate, certainly as good as it gets for S. The story line shares the quasi-steampunk themes of books like Lest Pavanf Fall and The Dragon Waiting, while being truly unique. Atmosphere is more important than plot – in some sense the atmosphere is the plot, and it’s truly immersive.

My main criticism of the book is not really that – it’s simply that it’s a very British novel, so some of it will be lost on any non-Brits such as myself. On the other hand, this is again part of its atmosphere, so keithh I didn’t understand some of the allusions, i still appreciated them. One person found this helpful. A well known work and a nostalgic second read for me.

Pavane – Keith Roberts

As excellent as I remember, this series of stories is focussed on certain characters and places set in a parallel history of England, one where Queen Elizabeth I was assassinated.

The Roman Catholic Church remained in control; world-wide technological progress was delayed as was social and political development. This alternative history is depicted in a wonderfully crafted way, but the stories are of characters and events, the historical background is solid and believable but skilfully kept second to the tales being told by the author.

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