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Gary Jennings

Doubleday, 1992
Barnes & Noble


The main character of Raptor, Thorn, is a Goth who was born with both male and female genitalia. Jennings spends a great deal of time dwelling on that, often with extremely graphic detail. So if off-beat, graphic, sexual situations bother you, you will probably want to give Raptor a miss. That said, Raptor is a fine novel by an excellent storyteller. The tale is framed by notes from a fictional translator, a good tactic for providing the reader with some much-needed background information. Thorn, passing either as a male or a female as the situation demands, travels widely both inside and outside the borders of the fifth-century Roman Empire. Eventually Thorn meets Theodoric of the Ostrogoths, whom s/he serves as the king becomes Theodosius II, Emperor of the Eastern Empire. The story winds through various cultures and levels of society, viewing each from male and female perspectives as Thorn switches his/her gender roles. The effect is an action-packed narrative that creates a rich tapestry of life in the early fifth century. An initial map helps orient the reader in the lands of the Burgundians, with an insert showing the abbeys and village where Thorn spends his/her early life. A new map appears at the beginning of each section, covering the territory through which Thorn travels in the next few chapters. These aids are wonderfully drawn and incredibly useful, especially for readers who are unfamiliar with the various regions in the early fifth century. The last two pages of the book are an impressive list of acknowledgements. So while some readers may find Raptor offensive, the story is quite engaging. Jennings has produced a unique character who provides us with a multifaceted portrait of the early fifth century Roman world. Linda A. Malcor 10/99

- Linda A. Malcor, 12/2/2005

The author of the New York Times bestseller Aztec has come up with a story that Publishers Weekly calls an "intoxicating narrative." It's the fantastic tale of an abandoned waif, his unorthodox sexual awakening, and his exciting journey across the Roman Empire in search of his people. -Amazon.com

- Amazon.com , 12/2/2005

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