Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon
A Tale of Adventure

68%

18 Critic Reviews

a forgettable trifle from an author who might have too many enthusiasms and not enough patience.
-AV Club

Synopsis

Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, sprang from an early passion for the derring-do and larger-than-life heroes of classic comic books. Now, once more mining the rich past, Chabon summons the rollicking spirit of legendary adventures–from The Arabian Nights to Alexandre Dumas to Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories–in a wonderful new novel brimming with breathless action, raucous humor, cliff-hanging suspense, and a cast of colorful characters worthy of Scheherazade’s most tantalizing tales.

They’re an odd pair, to be sure: pale, rail-thin, black-clad Zelikman, a moody, itinerant physician fond of jaunty headgear, and ex-soldier Amram, a gray-haired giant of a man as quick with a razor-tongued witticism as he is with a sharpened battle-ax. Brothers under the skin, comrades in arms, they make their rootless way through the Caucasus Mountains, circa A.D. 950, living as they please and surviving however they can–as blades and thieves for hire and as practiced bamboozlers, cheerfully separating the gullible from their money. No strangers to tight scrapes and close shaves, they’ve left many a fist shaking in their dust, tasted their share of enemy steel, and made good any number of hasty exits under hostile circumstances.

None of which has necessarily prepared them to be dragooned into service as escorts and defenders to a prince of the Khazar Empire. Usurped by his brutal uncle, the callow and decidedly ill-tempered young royal burns to reclaim his rightful throne. But doing so will demand wicked cunning, outrageous daring, and foolhardy bravado . . . not to mention an army. Zelikman and Amram can at least supply the former. But are these gentlemen of the road prepared to become generals in a full-scale revolution? The only certainty is that getting there–along a path paved with warriors and whores, evil emperors and extraordinary elephants, secrets, swordplay, and such stuff as the grandest adventures are made of–will be much more than half the fun.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Michael Chabon

See more books from this Author
Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Model World, Wonder Boys, Werewolves In Their Youth, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Final Solution, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Maps & Legends, Gentlemen of the Road, and the middle-grade book Summerland. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.
 
Published December 18, 2008 by Del Rey. 204 pages
Genres: History, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Gentlemen of the Road
All: 18 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 8

Kirkus

Good
on May 20 2010

In his ongoing crusade to reanimate tales of adventure set in days of yore, Chabon...offers an ebullient yarn that blithely defies probability, while plundering from innumerable semi-literary sources...Ridiculously entertaining. If the movie people don’t snap this one up, somebody’s asleep at the switch.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Susann Cokal on Oct 28 2008

Some phrases may sound jarringly contemporary...

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Mark Hemming on Dec 06 2008

...massive type including big illustrations. Add to that the swift, gory plot and simply drawn characters and you wonder whether Chabon is hoping Hollywood is looking on.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Alfred Hickling on Nov 28 2008

If the historical context appears baffling, don't worry, the heroes often seem to be no less confused...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Christopher Taylor on Nov 02 2008

...currents of strong feeling aren't easy to navigate when it's hard to tell what's parody, what's pastiche and what's something Chabon wants to let us know.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Bonnie on Nov 15 2008

Reading it was very much like "going off on a little adventure" of my own, and who doesn't need an occasional adventure?

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Ted Gioia on Nov 11 2008

...Chabon continues to charm with the scope of his imagination, the sparkle of his writing, and his willingness to sabotage the pieties of serious fiction.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Richard Marcus on Nov 06 2008

Gentlemen Of The Road is a wonderful book, with great characters, a fun story, and best of all not an insult to anyone's intelligence.

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Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on Jan 22 2011

...Chabon's novel bursts with life and, yes, with adventure.

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AV Club

Below average
Reviewed by Donna Bowman on Dec 12 2008

a forgettable trifle from an author who might have too many enthusiasms and not enough patience.

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Entertainment Weekly

Below average
Reviewed by Mark Harris on Oct 26 2008

...if you think 200 pages of affectionate pastiche of a so-so subgenre sounds like heavy going, sit this one out.

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The Seattle Times

Good
Reviewed by Mark Bromberg on Feb 16 2013

One element that makes the novel a pleasure to read...is that Chabon tells his story without irony or tongue too firmly in cheek.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Excellent
Reviewed by David Abrams on Oct 29 2008

Chabon is smart enough to make sure the Story remains of prime importance and never lets the vocabulary or the often confusing tapestry of history tangle up the breakneck pace at which he unspools his yarn.

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About.com

Below average
Reviewed by Mark Flanagan on Feb 16 2013

Applaud Michael Chabon for his bold passage through the adventure genre, but reach for one of his other novels instead.

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About.com Bestsellers

Excellent
Reviewed by Mike Sullivan on Feb 16 2013

...I loved the characters Chabon came up with for this one.

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Esquire

Below average
Reviewed by Sean Gibson on Oct 18 2008

Reading it is a bit like watching a flamboyant hibachi chef so enthralled with flipping knives and creating fireballs that he neglects the food itself...

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Baby Got Books

Excellent
on Feb 16 2013

It’s all very well done.

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Teen Ink

Excellent
Reviewed by Patrick S. on Feb 16 2013

Michael Chabon has earned his place in my mind as one of the greatest writers alive.

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Reader Rating for Gentlemen of the Road
68%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 196 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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