book cover of The Well-Favored Man

The Well-Favored Man

(The first book in the Kingdom of Argylle series)
A novel by

John W. Campbell Best Book (nominee)
Publisher's Weekly
Willey's first novel is an entertaining, though meandering fantasy strongly reminiscent of Roger Zelazny's Amber books. Lord Gwydion has been ruling the Dominion of Argylle since his mother, Freia, fell into the family's magical Spring during a sorcerous battle. Following that conflict, Freia's grieving brother and husband went into a self-imposed exile, leaving Gwydion and his four siblings without the help of their elders' prodigious magical and leadership skills. Alone they must face numerous tribulations: a gigantic dragon of immeasurable age and magical power who threatens their borders; an untrustworthy cousin from a neighboring realm; and most disturbingly, a young woman who arrives claiming to be a lost sister. Meanwhile, Gwydion stumbles across some highly sensitive secrets--including hints about his mother's true fate--which could exact a terrible price from his family. This book is an occasionally bewildering but interesting amalgam of medieval gentility, high-tech alternate worlds, family drama and the sometimes jarring inclusion of SF elements in a fantasy framework. Willey's characters and their interactions, if a bit derivative, are appealing; her potential as a fantasist makes her atmospheric tale worth reading.

Library Journal
Prince Gwydion faces his first real challenge as ruler of Argylle when a Great Dragon makes an unexpected appearance in his land. This first novel introduces a fantasy world where modern technology coexists with a magic that stems from the Earth itself. Reminiscent of Zelazny's ''Amber'' series, this quirky fantasy adventure takes a lighthearted approach to the genre. A tendency toward overcomplication is a minor flaw in an otherwise entertaining novel. Large libraries should consider this for their fantasy collections.

BookList - Roland Green
This superior first novel is a fantastical coming-of-age story with strong picaresque elements. Young Prince Gwydion is newly on the throne after the disappearance of his father and uncle, and that mystery isn't the only problem he faces. There is a plague of monsters attacking his people, a treaty to be negotiated with an undiplomatic cousin, a mysterious woman who may be his long-lost sister or a spy, and a few other hassles to spice the brew. The whole story is handled with care, intelligence, and frequently an element of humor that almost elevates it to the level of a comedy of manners. Ultimately, it fits into no category except that of good reading.

Genre: Fantasy

Praise for this book

"A compelling tale to rank with Roger Zelazny's Amber novels." - Ellen Kushner

Used availability for Elizabeth Willey's The Well-Favored Man

Hardback Editions

October 1993 : USA Hardback

Title: The Well-Favored Man: The Tale of the Sorcerer's Nephew
Author(s): Elizabeth Willey
ISBN: 0-312-85590-7 / 978-0-312-85590-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Tor Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   

Paperback Editions

September 1994 : USA Mass Market Paperback

Title: The Well-Favored Man: The Tale of the Sorcerer's Nephew
Author(s): Elizabeth Willey
ISBN: 0-8125-1988-4 / 978-0-8125-1988-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   

Kindle Editions

November 2018 : Australia, UK Kindle edition

Title: The Well-Favoured Man
Author(s): Elizabeth Willey
Publisher: Gateway
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU