This book caught me a bit by surprise. Nothing Xanth-like in it, and it is clearly written for a bit older of an audience.
In Battle Circle, Anthony constructs a unique post-apocalyptic world. In an unusual fusion of sci-fi and fantasy, he creates a delicately balanced society that is unlike anything else I have read. It has a gritty, down-to-earth quality that gives it an unusually plausible and palpable feel. It reads like a fantasy novel, but it truly is not. It is intriguing, suspenseful, humorous and heartbreaking all at the right moments. The novel takes many twists and turns so it is difficult to predict exactly where he is going with it.
It may not change your life, but it definitely a worth-while read, and shows the versatility of this oft type-cast author.
It has been a century since the "BLAST" that destroyed civilization and threw the human race back to barbarism--that is most of the human race. In the land once known as America a 'civilized' form of barbarism exists, where battles are fought and argumants are settled formally, in a clearly defined circle. It is also a nomadic society, where men and women travel the country, staying in hostels provided by the 'crazies'--the civilized portion of this odd relationship.
BATTLE CIRCLE is an omnibus of three novels chronicling the lives of three warriers who build, destroy, and rebuild empires. When I first saw the book, with its cheap artwork on the cover, I thought "B-Movie". However, since it was Piers Anthony, I had to give it a try. Yes, it had everything you would expect from a B-movie. Picture the CONAN movies, with lots of nudity, sex (though not graphic), blood & gore. But underneath it all there was a good solid story of post-apocolyptic survival tactics and startegy. I am glad I decided to read the book.
Battle Circle incorporates the stories of SOS the rope, Var the stick, and Neq the sword: this is Piers Anthony work orginally published in the early 1970s.
The stories of SOS, Var, and Neq are based in a barbaric world (possibly america), where honour rules supreme, and disagreements are sorted by challenge and battle in the "circle". Each story is vastly entertaining and follows the trials and tribulations of each man fulfilling his destiny and dream/s.
An avid Piers Anthony fan, I believe that this novel is one of his best works and so was surprised that only used books are available for this novel!
Piers Anthony's Battle Circle is original, thought provoking, and evokes emotional interest/empathy with each character (which is something worth mentioning: a truly good author is hard to come by these days!).
Even after over twenty years now - I still remember this book with a patina of fondness. The characters and setting have stayed fresh in my minds eye over time. When my brother-in-law, never a reader, came to me a number of years back and asked me to suggest to him something to read for enjoyment this was the book I gave him. My brother-in-law is now a fairly avid reader.
In my younger days I read a lot of Piers Anthony. Mostly known for his Xanth series with it's outlandish story lines and puns, Anthony is typically type cast as a lightly comic fantasist. Like his Hope Hubris series - Bio of a Space Tyrant - this series does not follow that norm at all. Battle Circle is a post-apopalyptic story full of barbarians who like to settle things with swords and fists. However, the characters here - Sos the Rope, Var the Stick, and Neq the Sword, so named for their choice of weapons - are fully fleshed out heroes and men of principle. The plotlines are engrossing and the story is great. If you like the Conan type you really should read Battle Circle.