A Spell for Chameleon by Piers AnthonyA Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony

A Spell for Chameleon

byPiers Anthony

Mass Market Paperback | March 12, 1987

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Xanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled--where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. That is, except for Bink of North Village. He was sure he possessed no magic, and knew that if he didn't find some soon, he would be exiled. According to the Good Magician Humpfrey, the charts said that Bink was as powerful as the King or even the Evil Magician Trent. Unfortunately, no one could determine its form. Meanwhile, Bink was in despair. If he didn't find his magic soon, he would be forced to leave....
Piers Anthony, sometimes called Pier Xanthony, is the pseudonym of a Mundane character who was born in England in 1934, came to America in 1940, was naturalized in 1958, and moved to Xanth in 1977. His first story was published in 1963, and his first novel, Chthon, in 1967. His first Xanth novel, A Spell for Chameleon, won the August D...
Title:A Spell for ChameleonFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 6.8 × 4.19 × 0.91 inPublished:March 12, 1987Publisher:Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345347536

ISBN - 13:9780345347534


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great I read some of the books in this series a long time ago and I still remember that I really enjoyed this one. Highly recommended, full of allegory and puns and just a fun adventure. It reminded me of Harry Potter although I know this book was written before Harry Potter. I want to read this again someday soon as I don't really remember the ending and this was my favourite of the series. I think the first 3 books of the series were pretty good but after that they got to be a bit tedious and I think I only made it to book 6 or so.
Date published: 2017-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique Chameleon I've made it about half way through the Xanth series books so far. With every book there is always numerous new characters that get introduced, sometimes it is hard to keep track of everyone and remember who they are when they reappear a few books later. Chameleon though is one of the most memorable characters Piers Anthony has created so far. This was one of the top books so far in the series.
Date published: 2017-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book I remember reading this book when I was young and being overwhelmed with how good it was. Such a good book.
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Discovered this series by accident. Haven't stopped reading it since. I actually discovered this series by accident while browsing the bargain table at the long since closed Librairie Smith and bought what I later found out was the 23rd book in the series. I then went out and found all the others in the series starting with this book. It's a wonderfully fun fantasy series and I definitely recommend it.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great First of a Series I Really like this book, and have read many further into the series. It's a great start to the series, and I would recommend to anyone that enjoys magic and fantasy to give this series a try.
Date published: 2016-12-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting I did enjoy reading it so it gets a 3 from me for the enjoyment factor but the book has problematic parts (i.e. The trial, certain tropes). I'd like to chalk that up to the time that it was written and the type of world it was set in but that opinion may change if I read more from the author. I will say enjoyed the world Piers Anthony created and the concept of the story, enough so that I would like to read more of this series to at least see where it goes
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great start to a series A spell for chameleon is a great start to the punny universe that is Xanth. Bink is a relatively likable character overall, and the various cast (Such as the Good Magician Humpfrey) give a unique spin to the tale. Xanth itself is quite a bit different from your normal land, but enchanting all the same.
Date published: 2014-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome One of my favorite books, the start of wonderful Xanth!
Date published: 2013-04-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not what I expected When I was a few chapters into this book I almost put it away, it just wasn't what I expected. I ended up reading the whole book and thought about getting book 2 but didn't rush out to do so like I have with others. I read the Adept Series by Anthony and really enjoyed it so thought I would enjoy this one as well. Not so...I may re-read it in time and maybe it will strike me differently but as it sits, I wasn't that impressed with it.
Date published: 2011-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my All Time Favourites! The land of Xanth is vast and inspiring, the characters are great and the story has a unique charm. I read this book and then found myself itching to read more. I especially love the puns-of which there are many-and sarcastic humour. This book also has my favourite villian in it, the Evil Magician Trent. Piers Anthony is an amazing writer and this book is perhaps one of his best books! A definite read for any fantasy fan!
Date published: 2011-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! I have just recently finished a spell for chameleon, and absolutely loved it. I was introduced to the Xanth novels, about a week ago, when I first read Castle Roogna, in my local library. After I had read Castle Roogna, I did some research on the author Piers Annthony, and found that he had like 30 or so more novels about Xanth. I realized Castle Roogna was the 3rd in the series, so I went to the library, and got a spell for chameleon, and the source of magic. I have just started the source of magic, and it is already very interesting. Rumor has it that warner bros, is helping produce the movie, a spell for chameleon, due in 2008 sometime. Isnt that somethiong?!
Date published: 2008-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Recommended Reading When people ask me why I'm not wild about Harry Potter, I make them read A Spell for Chameleon. This book is lush, textured, surprising, whimsical and thouroughly delightful!
Date published: 2002-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Spell For Chameleon This is the best book i have ever read! I'm 12 years old and a girl! Yes! I admit it! I thought harry potter was the best, but this is even better!!! 5++++++++++!
Date published: 2001-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is one EXCELENT book! Even though the setting is created soly by the authors immagination, I found myself forgetting that it was not history. Unlike some authors, Piers Anthony leaves a comfortable ammount of detail to the immagination, but portrays the appeareance of the setting in a compleetly unforgetable way. To sum up,this is an extraordinary novel with an unbeliveable ammount of immaginative liturature
Date published: 2001-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BINK IS THE COOLEST!!!! Piers Anthony is SUCH a good writer!!! Bink is my favorite character! I loved this book. Right now im on the 8th book and all of them are so good. As soon as I finish one I just hafta get the next one! The world of Xanth is so great!!!
Date published: 2000-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A MUST READ This is an amazing book, I have read it numerous times. You are taken to a land of centaurs, unicorns and Magic: the land of Xanth. The main character (Bink) is on a mission to save himself from exile, because he has no magic. He finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime. Including characters such as Cherie and Chester centaur, Sabrina, evil-magician Trent and the ever-changing chameleon. A TRULY AMAZING BOOK.
Date published: 2000-10-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Off to a good start This early Xanth novel is a stepping stone into the magical world. Piers brings his characters to life as well as the land of Xanth. This book is a must for the new Xanth reader as it lays the format for the rest to come.
Date published: 2000-09-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from For All Fantasy Lovers!! A Spell for Chameleon was the first book I read by Piers Anthony and I thought it was an excellent piece of writing. I had a hard time putting this book down. It was filled with surprises and mysteries. I recommend this book to all Fantasy Lovers!!!
Date published: 1999-08-04

Read from the Book

Chapter 1. Xanth   A small lizard perched on a brown stone. Feeling threatened by the approach of human beings along the path, it metamorphosed into a stingray beetle, then into a stench-puffer, then into a fiery salamander.   Bink smiled. These conversions weren’t real. It had assumed the forms of obnoxious little monsters, but not their essence. It could not sting, stink, or burn. It was a chameleon, using its magic to mimic creatures of genuine threat.   Yet as it shifted into the form of a basilisk it glared at him with such ferocity that Bink’s mirth abated. If its malice could strike him, he would be horribly dead.   “Then abruptly a silent moth hawk swooped down from the sky and caught the chameleon in its beak. There was a thin scream of anguish as the lizard convulsed; then it dangled limply as the hawk ascended. The chameleon, despite all its pretensions, was dead. Even while trying to threaten Bink, it had been destroyed by another agency.   This realization continued to percolate through Bink’s emotion. The chameleon was harmless—but most of untamed Xanth was not. Was this some twisted omen, a small suggestion of a dire fate awaiting him? Omens were serious business; they always came true, but usually were misinterpreted until too late. Was Bink fated to die brutally—or was some enemy of his?   He had, so far as he knew, no enemies.   The golden sun of Xanth shone through the magic Shield, striking sparkles from the trees. All plants had their enchantments, but no spell could eliminate the need for light, water, and healthy soil. Instead, magic was used to make these necessities of the vegetable kingdom more available, and to protect the plants from destruction, unless they were overpowered by stronger magic or simple bad luck, like the chameleon.   Bink looked at the girl beside him as she stepped through a slanting sunbeam. He was no plant, but he too had needs, and even the most casual inspection of her made him aware of this. Sabrina was absolutely beautiful—and her beauty was completely natural. Other girls managed to enhance their appearance by cosmetics or padding or specialized spells, but beside Sabrina all other females looked somewhat artificial. She was no enemy!   They came to Lookout Rock. This was not a particularly lofty promontory, but its situational magic made it seem more elevated than it was, so that they could look down on a quarter slice of Xanth. This was a land of multicolored vegetation, small pretty lakes, and deceptively quiet fields of flowers, ferns, and crops. Even as Bink watched, one of the lakes expanded slightly, making itself seem cooler and deeper, a better place for a swim.   Bink wondered briefly about this, as he often did. He had an unruly mind, which constantly pestered him with questions for which there were no ready answers. As a child he had driven parents and friends almost to distraction with his “Why is the sun yellow?” “Why do ogres crunch bones?” “Why can’t sea monsters cast spells?” and similarly infantile prattle. No wonder he had soon been hustled away to centaur school. Now he had learned to control his mouth, but not his brain, and so he let it run on in silence.   Animate spells he could understand, such as those of the unfortunate chameleon; they facilitated comfort, survival, or image for living creatures. But why should inanimate things have magic? Did a lake care who swam in it? Well, maybe so; a lake was an ecological unit, and the community of living things within it might have a mutual interest in promoting it. Or a freshwater dragon might be responsible, luring in prey. Dragons were the most varied and dangerous life forms of Xanth; species occupied air, earth, and water, and a number breathed fire. One thing they all had, in common: good appetite. Pure chance might not bring in enough fresh meat.   But what about Lookout Rock? It was bare, without even lichen, and hardly beautiful. Why should it want company? And if it did, why not make itself more handsome, instead of remaining gray and drab? People did not come here to admire the rock, but to admire the rest of Xanth. Such a spell seemed self-defeating.   Then Bink stubbed his toe on a sharp fragment of stone. He was standing on a cracked-rock terrace, formed generations ago by the breaking up of a pretty-colored boulder and—   There it was! That other boulder, which must have been close to Lookout Rock and of similar size, had been fragmented to make this path and terrace, losing its identity. Lookout Rock had survived. Nobody would break it up, because it would make an ugly path, and its unselfish magic made it useful as it stood. One minor mystery solved.   Still, there were philosophical considerations, his insatiable mind insisted. How could an inanimate thing think or have feelings? What was survival to a rock? A boulder was merely the fragment of a prior layer of rock; why should it have a personal identity if the bedrock didn’t? Still, the same question could be asked of a man: he had been formed from the tissues of the plants and animals he consumed, yet he had a separate—   “What did you wish to talk to me about, Bink?” Sabrina inquired demurely.   As if she didn’t know. But as his mind formed the necessary words, his mouth balked. He knew what her answer had to be. No one could remain in Xanth after his twenty-fifth birthday unless he demonstrated a magic talent. Bink’s own critical birthday was barely a month away. He was no child now. How could she marry a man who was so soon to be exiled?   Why hadn’t he thought of that before bringing her out here? He could only embarrass himself! Now he had to say something to her, or suffer further embarrassment, making it awkward for her as well. “I just wanted to see your—your—”   “See my what?” she inquired with an arch lift of eyebrow.   He felt the heat starting up his neck. “Your holograph,” he blurted. There was much more of her he longed to see, and to touch, but that could come only after marriage. She was that sort of girl, and it was part of her appeal. The girls who had it didn’t need to put it on casual display.   Well, not quite true. He thought of Aurora, who certainly had it, yet who—   “Bink, there is a way,” Sabrina said.   He glanced sidelong at her, then quickly away, confused. She couldn’t be suggesting—   “The Good Magician Humfrey,” she continued blithely.   “What?” He had been on quite a different track, no credit to his willful mind.   “Humfrey knows a hundred spells. Maybe one of them—I’m sure he could find out what your talent is. Then everything would be all right.”   Oh. “But he charges a year’s service for a single spell,” Bink protested. “I have only a month.” But that was not quite accurate; if the Magician identified a talent for Bink, then he would not be exiled, and he would have a year available. He was deeply touched by Sabrina’s faith in him. She did not say what others said: that he had no magic. She did him the immense courtesy of choosing to believe that his magic merely remained undiscovered.   “Perhaps it was that faith that had first attracted him to her. Certainly she was beautiful and intelligent and talented, a prize by any definition. But she could have been much less in all categories and still been his—   “A year is not so long,” Sabrina murmured. “I would wait.”   Bink stared down at his hands, pondering. His right hand was normal, but he had lost the middle finger of his left hand in a childhood accident. It had not even been the result of inimical magic; he had been playing with a cleaver, holding down a stalk of coilgrass while he chopped, pretending it was the tail of a dragon. After all, a boy could not start to practice too early for the serious side of life. The grass had twitched out of his grip as he swung, and he had grabbed for it, and the cleaver had come down hard on his extended finger.   It had hurt, but the worst of it was that because he was not supposed to play with the cleaver, he had not dared scream or tell of his injury. He had controlled himself with extreme effort and suffered in silence. He had buried the finger, and managed to hide his mutilation by keeping his hand closed for several days. When the truth finally came out, it was too late for a restorative spell; the finger was rotted and could not be reattached. A strong-enough spell could have attached it—but it would have remained a zombie finger.   He had not been punished. His mother, Bianca, believed he had learned his lesson—and he had, he had! Next time he played with a cleaver on the sly he would watch where his fingers were. His father seemed privately pleased that Bink had shown so much courage and tenacity in adversity, even in his wrongdoing, “The lad’s got nerve,” Roland had said. “Now if only he had magic—”   Bink jerked his eyes away from the hand. That had been fifteen years ago. Suddenly a year seemed short indeed. One year of service—in exchange for a lifetime with Sabrina. It was a bargain.  

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