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Sean Russell (born 30 January 1952) is a Canadian writer of fantasy, and of historical novels featuring the Royal Navy.
World Without End (1995)
- All page numbers from the mass market first edition published by Daw Books
- I am a trained empiricist, sir. Superstition is not compatible with my pursuits.
- Chapter 4 (p. 40)
- Roderick has been known to have titles and estates granted to those in his circle for accomplishing nothing more than constant agreement with his opinions, but those he has not befriended could save the kingdom and hardly receive a note of thanks. It is the way of the court and courtiers. But not everyone is so blind.
- Chapter 4 (p. 51)
- Dandish was the ideal empiricist. Pushing back the borders of ignorance, that was his only reason for living.
- Chapter 5 (p. 64)
- Ironically, or so it seemed to Tristam, the day was perfect and the green countryside rolled past in ordered tranquillity, the death of a single man having shockingly little impact on the larger world.
- Chapter 5 (p. 67)
- “Tristam,” the old man said softly. “If I may be completely candid, you are the poorest liar. Lack of experience, no doubt—which is to your credit.”
- Chapter 7 (p. 104)
- No man of the first rank is ever satisfied with his accomplishments, no matter what others make of them.
- Chapter 9 (p. 127)
- Observations interpreted by reason. Few, if any, ideas have had such impact on the lives of men.
- Chapter 9 (p. 139)
- “Well, perhaps you have begun your journey toward wisdom, Mr. Flattery,” Kent said seriously. “We have such a short time and the journey is so terribly long. One cannot begin too soon.”
- Chapter 11 (p. 158)
- The carriage, Tristam realized, was becoming the metaphor for this period of his life: he neither owned, drove, nor directed one in any way but was simply carried along.
- Chapter 12 (p. 164)
- “They say wine will kill you slowly.” He nodded his head solemnly. “But that’s all right, we’re in no hurry.”
- Chapter 12 (p. 173)
- If sleep sought him, it was spectacularly unsuccessful.
- Chapter 22 (p. 298)
- If a man’s deeds do not outlive him, of what value is a mark in stone?
- Chapter 24 (p. 341)
- “My older cousins teased us—my sisters and brothers—with tales that Erasmus Flattery was a mage. We were all struck dumb in his presence, terrified that he would practice some enchantment upon us. In truth, we always hoped to see some magic, but of course we never did.” She laughed again. “Children do love to believe such things.”
- Chapter 24 (p. 343)
- “We continue to negotiate the treaty, endlessly apparently, to everyone’s continuing loss.” He smiled wryly. “You know how such things go. We no longer debate to gain real advantage but to come away from the table having created the perception that we have somehow won. ‘Politics,’ this is called.”
- Chapter 28 (p. 389)
- There was no question in Tristam’s mind now that if one stared into the semidarkness long enough one would find whatever one sought. What the eye could not locate the mind would manufacture.
- Chapter 34 (p. 479)
- I do not want to end up like Stern, Tristam thought: the dutiful servant, silently chewing his resentment, hoping, pitifully, that his sacrifice would one day be rewarded.
- Chapter 35 (p. 501)
- Wood is a gift from the world of nature to we undeserving men...One should be thankful for such gifts, take no more than we need, and waste none of that.
- Chapter 36 (p. 517)
- “Never,” he said firmly, “be intimidated by a person because of the size of house in which they were born.”
- Chapter 38 (p. 544)
- “It is terrible bad luck. Owls are often augurs of death, Mr. Flattery. There is no surer sign.”
“Not even the cessation of breathing?” the viscount asked, but neither Tristam nor Beacham laughed.
- Chapter 39 (p. 557)
- There were no sounds of men, here; only the whisperings of the world of nature, which men often called silence.
- Chapter 39 (pp. 562-563)
Sea Without a Shore (1996)
- All page numbers from the mass market first edition published by Daw Books
- To wait for life is the pathway to death.
- Chapter 6 (p. 73)
- Their superstitions will allow them to believe things without much critical thought.
- Chapter 6 (p. 76)
- It was difficult to believe these things had taken place such a very long time ago. The events seemed distant, as though he had only read about them and not experienced them at all. He knew that at this point his death was far closer, far more tangible. That was something he could almost touch. One could feel one’s mortal form progressing slowly to ruin, like that old abbey—the signs were undeniable. Things went wrong inside a man and did not come right again. That was the truth that hung over one’s head like a blade. Injuries and illnesses were no longer easily repaired. And as with some part of a painting that he could never get right, the great danger was to see nothing but what was wrong. The trap of age.
- Chapter 7 (p. 89)
- Experience taught him that the future was uncertain and one could prepare for it only by learning indifference to disappointment and loss.
- Chapter 8 (p. 99)
- Man, he suspected, had a particular genius for complicating things, for creating social hurdles that one must leap or be thought lacking.
- Chapter 8 (p. 100)
- Not only had he become adept at predicting the behavior of others, but he could predict his own behavior just as well. He no longer surprised himself. It was one of the saddest things about aging.
- Chapter 13 (p. 181)
- Perhaps she was not really so perfect, but he had made her so in his mind. People did this; he had seen it. As though the world of humans was created from their desires as much as their perception—an issue the empiricists tried to deal with in their natural philosophy.
Although he realized this was a trivial truth, still, trying to comprehend the reality of a situation was his constant activity. He could not necessarily trust the word of ministers, who all had their own purposes; nor what his mother might think, for her own perception was colored by her desire to see people in certain ways. One did not trust the periodicals, certainly, and pamphleteers were never disinterested. Everyone seemed to see the world and events a little differently, depending on their own personal mixture of desire and pragmatism. In history there were any number of rulers whose perception of events was so far removed from reality that it led to calamity. Prince Wilam did not want to be one of those—at any cost. Even if it meant giving up the world as he desired it to be.
- Chapter 26 (p. 352)
- “I have tried to find some explanation that does not rely on logic, but once the borders of rationality have been removed I cannot imagine what should take their place. How does one begin to measure? What standards should one apply?”
The prince understood what she meant. Once reason was no longer your guide, you were like a man stranded in a featureless landscape. There were no landmarks to use. One direction was as likely to yield results as any other.
- Chapter 26 (p. 353)
- Men who were used to subordinating others to their wills were invariably surprised by rebellion—as though this imaginary prison they created was, in fact, real.
- Chapter 32 (p. 460)
- The only thing of which we can be sure—time passes—everything else is vanity.
- Chapter 33 (p. 475)
- Soldiers, Your Highness. Men trained not to think for themselves.
- Chapter 34 (p. 488)
- They fear others—that is why they sought positions of power. Their greatest dream is to have a King who dances when they move the threads: and for Massenet, to marry his child to the heir of Entonne, and sit his grandson upon the throne. The ordinary desires of those who rise to such positions. In their appetites, they are not men of great originality. Though they will do enormous harm in spite of that.
- Chapter 37 (p. 526)
- If men were only as wise as they are clever...
- Chapter 38 (p. 550)
- “One of the lessons of age,” he said softly. “Do not waste what time you have in regret.”
- Chapter 38 (p. 551)
- Tristam stood and raised his glass. “May life be kind, and friends loyal. Ventures profitable, children plentiful, and age like a slow turning of the leaves in autumn; grand, beautiful and tranquil.”
- Chapter 40 (p. 583)