The Book of Atrus (Myst, #1)

ISBN: 0786881887
ISBN 13: 9780786881888
By: Rand Miller Robyn Miller David Wingrove

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About this book

Based on the best-selling CD-ROM game, a fantasy novel fills out the lives of the game's characters, tracing the strange apprenticeship of Atrus to his father, Gehn, who wields the power to create worlds. Reprint.

Reader's Thoughts


as an original Myst fan, I couldn't wait top get my hands on the first book. I read this book many many years ago, and several times since. I actually have two copies of it just in case the one I read falls apart. there is so much in this book that paved the way for the games that followed the original. I even still play Myst Online.


** spoiler alert ** One of my favorite books ever!I was a late comer to the Myst series of games, but I fell in love with them at first play. When I discovered that there was actually a book series, I was both ecstatic, and a bit apprehensive. My previous experience with game (or at least, movie) based books was not very good. They seemed to lose something in the translation.Not so with the Myst books! My favorite part of the book was Ana, Atrus' grandmother. She was wise, and kind, old and yet adventurous. She was the kind of person I wish could have been my teacher in school. Instead of simply repeating the facts of Writing (and life, science, etc) to young Atrus, she encouraged him to form his own theories and opinions, often asking him "What do you see?". In her, we see the development of Atrus' kind personality, and his love of learning.Then along comes Gehn. Ah, Gehn, how I love to loathe thee! The antithesis to Ana, Gehn swoops in to take his son (Atrus), and spirit him away to teach him the Art of Writing. But Gehn is twisted, and his knowledge incomplete. He is insane and tyrannical, ruling Atrus' life with an iron fist. Perhaps the most heartbreaking scene was when Gehn threw the Inception book (Atrus' first world) into the fire, declaring it worthless. We see the terror that is Gehn, and we learn to hate him, just as the protagonists of the series do.


I read this book as a kid and went back to see how it held up.The first half was intriguing enough, especially if you're a fan of the games, but the last half felt very rushed. Nonetheless, it was fun reading the origin of Atrus as well as his relationship with Gehn.If you're a Myst fan, I'd say it's worth it (and a very easy read). If not, you're not really missing out.

Taylor Kinnicutt

Once again I find myself drawn to the series of Myst. Its lore, its wonder and the shear, mind bending thought of how someone thought of this in the first place. The book opens in the sandy deserts and the life of a young Atrus, still a boy and far from the happenings of the first Myst game. After a loving, peaceful life in the desert presided over by his grandmother, Anna, a strange figure appears at their quiet desert home. A tall, pale man who claims to be Atrus's father, Gehn. After 14 years, he has come to take Atrus to the fabled city of his heritage,D'ni. After Atrus's first impression of his father he decides to descend into the earth with this man, leaving all hes known behind. Once in the great city all Atrus knows is replaced with the lost culture. The language, the alphabet even the day cycle. It is then that his father reveals the real purpose of bringing him here. He is to learn the Art of Writing, a powerful and incredible art of writing worlds(known as Ages) into existence! Amazed by this science, Atrus begins to learn his father's ways, "to become gods" as he says. But its all to soon the Atrus realizes that What his father knows is a corrupt and evil shadow of what the art is. Instead of writhing Ages that he envisions, he takes phrases he likes from ancient D'ni text and tacks them together, creating worlds that are unstable and doomed to destruction. The "Mad God" Gehn, is not what Atrus wanted him to be. So with the help of a girl named Cathrine, a local of one of Gehn's Ages, he plots to trap Gehn and rid the world of his disregard for what the Art stands for.Atrus, weather he knows it at the time or not, gets puled into a man vs. man conflict, centering on his problems with his father. While Gehn wants Atrus to rule by him as a god and rebuild the D'ni empire as an empire of 1,000 slave worlds, he is unsure of how it goes against what his grandmother had taught him. While he tries to understand his father and learn what he teaches, what he teaches is evil and soulless. When Atrus comes to the realization that bis father's knowledge is corrupt he attempts to fix what he has done, only to find that he was being used all along, a tool to save Gehn time. With Atrus's struggle comes the importance of his observations, and the way the Miller writes the scenes is spot on. You imagine it just as he draws it every few pages. His vision instilled on the whiteness of the page as if it were the window in a Linking Book. As with the other books in the series the point of view changes can be confusing at points, but overall it is an flawless crafted series. I completely recommend it to anyone who wants to swim among the stars or be lord of a thousand worlds.

Déborah Muñoz

Reseña completa y más en www.escriboleeo.blogspot.comLa verdad es que es un libro muy entretenido, tanto por su originalidad como por sus personajes. Está todo muy bien pensado, aunque en principio es un poco desconcertante porque no entiendes qué pasó antes. Me gusta el personaje de Atrus, aunque me parece demasiado infantil e inocente para la edad que se supone que tiene. El padre es odioso desde el primer momento y Anna, aunque me cae bien, me parece algo extraña.La idea de acceder a otros mundos mediante la escritura de libros especiales me parece fantástica y original, casi diría uqe brillante.En cuanto a la forma de escribirlo, me ha parecido magnífica, aunque algunos cachos se me hicieron algo pesados por la falta de acción.


On a gut level, I really enjoyed this book. I read it back when it was new and the game was all the rage, and I had fond memories of it, which a rereading didn't belie. However, if I'm honest, I can't give it any higher than five stars. It has an incredibly slow beginning. About a third of the way into the story, a new character is introduced, and that is when the emotional drama picks up speed. So that's one star off. And the book does rather depend upon the reader's affection for the game and its universe, so that's another star knocked off.But what the hell, I still liked it, and I'm looking forward to the other two, although it will probably be a while before I get to them.

Diego Garcia

Para aquellos que llegaron a jugar Myst por aquellos dias del Windows 3.11 este libro tendrá mucho mas significado.(view spoiler)[Nos muestra con mayor detalle la civilización de los D'ni, una raza de seres intraterrestres que ademas de ser excelentes mineros cuentan con el Don de la escritura. Pero estos seres no escriben libros normales, desarrollan un amplio sistema descriptivo que en conjunto con una tinta especial, desarrollan libros que al tacto los transporta a los mundos ahi descritos.Pero para escribir estos libros no basta con estar inspirado, conlleva una educación ardua que comienza a los 3 años por que la descripción es un arma peligrosa tambien. Cualquier cosa descrita asi sea un sol a punto de extinguirse sera el destino de dicho libro.Pero esto también los lleva a lugares inimaginables sin limites del espacio o del tiempo.Este libro comienza con el relato de como hace contacto con los D'ni la primer humana y como esto los lleva a un gran desequilibrio y llegan casi a su extinción (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


my dad & I read this together and still quote it to each other. I suspect it's really as good as I remember.

Juan Valera

There are fantasies that contain entire worlds; geography, character backgrounds, and invented language syntax are all accounted for and invented in regards to the story. All are meticulously crafted and engineered by Rand Miller. Myst is one such story; the sheer depth of the story and the characters is astonishing; this is a case of the iceberg principle where the vast majority of the interactions between the characters involve aspects of them that the reader doesn't even know. Miller has fleshed out the character and knows why the character acts or speaks a certain way, and the reader only ever sees the product of all this character work, not necessarily why. Entire governments, systems of organization, even machinery and engineering concepts are included behind the scenes of the book. You as a reader do not need to see all the background research that went into making the book so detailed, but you as a writer need to take a page out of Miller's book and create your world thoroughly. It may seem like too much work with too little gained for it, but your readers will notice that there is more than meets the eye, and this is the mark of a truly imaginative and detailed book.

Colleen Venable

Fans of Shadow of the Winds and Inkheart would LOVE this book. This sort of book kills me: Books based on something that existed before but are themselves STUNNING, yet will never get credit due to being a "product" of something. I read this since it was a friend's all-time favorite book. I am not a lover of fantasy, nor have I ever played the MYST games (somehow made it through the 90's being a total nerd but never playing). It took me a good halfway through to understand and appreciate the beauty of what I was reading. I've been warned not to read the next two books, but this as a stand-alone SHOULD be considered a true stand-alone. A really great read.


For me, this was a very nostalgic kind of read as, at that time, I was very much emersed in Cyan Worlds M.M.O (UruLive) which visited some of the places mentioned here in the book. Specifically, (The Cleft). I found myself transfixed on the story and lost at times. It was also interesting to see Atrus's back story. I knew this novel had come out prior to the second game in the MYST franchise (by name Riven) but I didn't realize how much insight it gave on the history between Gehn (Atrus's Father). Overall, if you are a fan of MYST or want to know a bit of history before playing the games, this is a great read. I give it a solid 3 Stars.


I feel like this book will only make sense to those that have played both the Myst and Riven computer games. If you liked the games, you'll love the books. If you've never played the games, you'll probably feel very under-whelmed.Now after re-reading this I feel that I need to dig out my cd-rom of Myst. Some of the timelines don't seem to make sense in this trilogy, especially in relation to the plot of the videogames. (Wasn't the plot of Myst based on Atrus' two sons? And you play as Catherine in the game? I can't even remember the storyline of boot up the games then ey?). But, good background info and extra plot material for those of us who love the D'Ni world.Now, onto Book 2.


I bought this book because I enjoyed the Myst computer game and thought it might be fun to read more about the world. Unfortunately, several years passed between playing the game and reading the book, so the connections are a bit fuzzy.I enjoyed the book enough to want to play the game again, and to want to read the other books in the Myst series.However, as a fantasy book on its own, there are too many unanswered questions and too many gaps in the story for it to really succeed.I found Anna and Atrus to be interesting characters, although the reader gets to know Atrus more fully than Anna. Gehn is intriguing but, again, not fleshed out as completely as I would have liked. And Katran/Catherine is so mysterious... Like the story as a whole, the characters captured my interest but did not satisfy my curiosity (except Atrus). Too much missing information.I love the concept of "writing" an Age (a world) into existence, and the authors do a credible job of describing both the intricacies and the pitfalls of the process.This book is a quick read. I hope the other books in the series are better, but for now, I'd have to say that the Millers (Rand & Robyn) are better game developers than novelists.

Adam Boudreau

It really seems only fitting that a video game about books would have a series of books published in its name. For some reason when such books were first coming out I was sort of skeptical about their quality. I truly am glad I overcame this and decided to pick up the Myst books. I was an early enough adopter to be able to get all the hardcover texts and they are all beautifully designed. It's strange that a lot of books don't adopt this kind of method, because it really is eye catching and I'm glad the makers of Myst picked up on that. In terms of binding, it technically is rather cheaply done to support the mass market interest in this series. Rather than have a truly older styled binding, they have the typical style with embossed paper wrapped over the hard cover. The paper is of excellent quality and is embossed in sections, which adds a tinge of making it feel artificially handmade. I've had mine for many years now and there is barely any wear on it. However, when one inspects the design you can tell it is merely paper glued over the normal hardcover pressing and it is merely there for aesthetic appeal. The books in the game have a very old styled feel, which they should since they're all handmade books, but the makers wanted to keep that atmosphere alive with printing these books. Despite my inspection of the edition, I must say it was a great marketing idea and wish more publishers would do this rather than just adopt the typical dust jacket. That being said, the current editions more readily available to readers are the regular paperback and now the collected edition which was recently printed. I wasn't sure what to really expect from this book when I first got it. I had beaten the game "Myst" and the game was pretty well written. However, the game had a lot of unknown elements in its story, and I'm sad to report that "The Book of Atrus" doesn't fill in all the gaps. It certainly fills in quite a bit, but not everything. This book acts as both a prequel to "Myst" and a bridge to "Riven". It's an interesting story in that regard because it tells about Atrus' childhood and goes into why the age of Riven is in dire need of our help! At the end of Myst we find Atrus sitting at a desk in a deep cavern in place known as D'ni. We are transported there with him once we escape the island of Myst, but we are never told why he is there; just that he needs to make a decision concerning his sons. This is all well and good, but there are so many holes and questions, thus the novelization seeks to explain them. At one time Atrus lived with his grandmother, Ana, in a desert region. "The Book of Atrus" goes into detail about his life and learning there. It's almost an ideal childhood until one day his father, Gehn, returns and seeks to take him back to D'ni. See they are from a race of people who lived underground until they were all of a sudden destroyed. Ana, Gehn, and Atrus are the only decedents we are made aware of from this great society. So when Gehn was old enough he returned to the world of D'ni in search of its secrets, to see if he could find it and possibly rebuild it. Needless to say he sort of succeeded. Gehn understands how to write in the books and knows the secret D'ni language to make different ages to create portal links between his world and others. However, he does not wield this power intelligently, but he doesn't want the knowledge to die with him, so he seeks out his son. He teaches Atrus everything, but Atrus has a keener mind for creating ages. Most of Gehn's worlds are unstable and if a world has inhabitants Gehn insists on be treated as a God. Needless to say Atrus' kindly nature has the better of him and he seeks to change this. In this we get to see the bridge to Riven's story line. Riven had been an age linked to by Gehn, but the world was vastly unstable. So he and Atrus sought to fix it if they could. Gehn, being the overbearing man that he is, did not think most of Atrus' ideas were good ones. However, one thing would change Atrus' life forever when he got to Riven, he met Catherine there. Yes, the girl he references frequently in the first "Myst" game. Eventually she would bear his two sons Sirrus and Akenar, so as you can tell, I knew Atrus would succeed even during reading this, so I don't feel I am giving anything away. The book doesn't go into detail about the two sons growing up, so you never really know how everything started with them. Anyway, there is a solution to Atrus' problem, but I'll let the readers find that out for themselves. When we get to "Riven", the video game, there are further complications based around this story... I'll leave these mysteries to be discovered for yourself. I don't feel I am spoiling very much of the book because it is riveting in itself. Most people who read this will undoubtedly have played the video games and already know the stories' outcomes before reading this. As any Myst player knows the interesting factor is in the details, I have left every part of these out. The book is a fascinating page turner and I really couldn't put it down at all. This book leaves a lot more mystery to the reader in the end and left us looking forward to the follow up text, "The Book of Ti'ana." I especially recommend this to any Myst fan who wants to delve deeper into the story line and world of Myst. I don't think many people would pick up Myst if they didn't already enjoy reading books to find out what new worlds they would be brought to. In that spirit these books are clearly written!

Zack Jackson

Honestly, I think this is one of the most underrated science fiction books out there. The computer game that inspired the books was hugely successful, but the books never really caught on despite the deep characters and fascinating world. I go back to this book when I want to feel inspired by a world of limitless creativity and possibility.

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