review The Stars' Tennis Balls 103

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The Stars' Tennis Balls

Find out just what hell it is to be one of the stars' tennis balls  For Ned seems a blissful year handsome popular responsible and a fine cricketer life is progressing smoothly for him if not effortlessly When he meets Portia Fendeman his personal jigsaw appears complete What if her left wing parents despise his Tory MP father Doesn't that just make them star crossed lovers And surely in the end won't the Fendemans be won over by their happiness  But of course one person's happiness is another's When Alexandre Dumas wrote The Count of Monte Cristo in 1844 he almost certainly did not have thirteen year old American boys in mind as his prime audience But when I first read the classic in the summer of 1963 I knew for certain that I too was living the horror of Edmond Dantes life Dantes a good and innocent man was cruelly implicated in treason by three friends who envied Dantes pending ship captaincy and marriage to the beautiful Mercedes Dantes is sent to the notorious Chateau d If by Villefort when the prosecutor discovers that a letter Dantes was carrying was to be delivered to Villefort s father a secret Bonapartist My own predicament was only slightly less dire than that of Dantes I was being cruelly imprisoned for the summer in the home of my aunt great aunt and grandmother deep in the hinterlands and five hundred miles from my friends who were experiencing the joy of the beach and girls in bikinis every single day I empathized with Dantes even if I secretly knew that I would be freed at the end of August in time for the new school yearDecades later I had passed the phase of devouring 19th Century classics My tastes ran to things like say the BBC s Jeeves and Wooster The writing was inspired the humor classic Alexandre Dumas Old school Very old school Then last year while browsing my local library s book sale I picked up a copy of Stephen Fry s 2000 novel Revenge I was vaguely aware that Fry best known in America for films such as Peter s Friends and Gosford Park was also a writer but I had never read any of his works When I picked up Revenge last week and started reading the book it took me about sixty pages to realize that I was immersed in The Count of Monte Cristo The story line has been updated the action begins in 1980 rather than 1813 Ned Maddstone is seventeen Oxford bound head boy at his private school and head over heels in love with Portia whom he met at a Hard Rock Caf in London But his very success makes other around him envious and they set out to put an obstacle in his charmed life by planting drugs on him and alerting the police When Maddstone is arrested though something else is found a letter containing a list of names of prominent Britons together with a code phrase used by the IRA to authenticate its actions prior to acts of terror Just as the letter being carried by Dantes was entrusted to him by his dying captain together with the letter s whispered addressee so Maddstone has no idea of the contents of the letter he has been given by the dying Irish captain of a boat on which he had been crewing When Maddstone divulges the name and address of the intended recipient of the letter to the detective uestioning him wheels are set in motion to get rid of Maddstone in such a way that he will never be heard from again Yep same bookThe rest of the story of meticulously plotted revenge updates Dumas with late twentieth century trappings The role of Abbe Faria the Italian priest and intellectual imprisoned for his political views is played by Babe a one time British intelligence agent who secreted away a fortune in MI 5 funds before being found out Instead of a treasure cache on the island of Monte Cristo the loot is in a Swiss Bank There are some very clever bits that underscore Maddstone s fifteen years in captivity he arrives in the world of 1995 never having seen a cell phone or a personal computer and the internet is beyond his comprehension But none of this detracts from the awful reality that Ned Maddstone was deprived of his life He is now fabulously wealthy and knows who set him up for the horror he has endured He sets out to exact that retributionFry departs from Dumas s story only at the end I m still pondering if it is better ending or simply one with a modern sensibility Perhaps it is something in Fry s character that he chose the denoument that he did All this is my way of saying that this is a good book Yes it is than a decade old probably sold poorly in America and is likely out of print But I note it is available in a Kindle edition I read it in two days and thoroughly enjoyed it Deception Island responsible and a fine cricketer life is progressing smoothly for him if not effortlessly When he meets Portia Fendeman his personal jigsaw appears complete What if her left wing parents despise his Tory MP father Doesn't that just make them star crossed lovers And surely in the end won't the Fendemans be won over by their happiness  But of course one person's happiness is another's When Alexandre Dumas wrote The Count of Monte Cristo in 1844 he almost certainly did not have thirteen year old American boys in mind as his prime audience But when I first The Family read the classic in the summer of 1963 I knew for certain that I too was living the horror of Edmond Dantes life Dantes a good and innocent man was cruelly implicated in treason by three friends who envied Dantes pending ship captaincy and marriage to the beautiful Mercedes Dantes is sent to the notorious Chateau d If by Villefort when the prosecutor discovers that a letter Dantes was carrying was to be delivered to Villefort s father a secret Bonapartist My own predicament was only slightly less dire than that of Dantes I was being cruelly imprisoned for the summer in the home of my aunt great aunt and grandmother deep in the hinterlands and five hundred miles from my friends who were experiencing the joy of the beach and girls in bikinis every single day I empathized with Dantes even if I secretly knew that I would be freed at the end of August in time for the new school yearDecades later I had passed the phase of devouring 19th Century classics My tastes The First Partition of Poland ran to things like say the BBC s Jeeves and Wooster The writing was inspired the humor classic Alexandre Dumas Old school Very old school Then last year while browsing my local library s book sale I picked up a copy of Stephen Fry s 2000 novel Revenge I was vaguely aware that Fry best known in America for films such as Peter s Friends and Gosford Park was also a writer but I had never The Hero of Varay read any of his works When I picked up Revenge last week and started Palestrina and Other Plays reading the book it took me about sixty pages to Blackmailed By Daddy realize that I was immersed in The Count of Monte Cristo The story line has been updated the action begins in 1980 उरलं सुरलं [Urla Surla] rather than 1813 Ned Maddstone is seventeen Oxford bound head boy at his private school and head over heels in love with Portia whom he met at a Hard Rock Caf in London But his very success makes other around him envious and they set out to put an obstacle in his charmed life by planting drugs on him and alerting the police When Maddstone is arrested though something else is found a letter containing a list of names of prominent Britons together with a code phrase used by the IRA to authenticate its actions prior to acts of terror Just as the letter being carried by Dantes was entrusted to him by his dying captain together with the letter s whispered addressee so Maddstone has no idea of the contents of the letter he has been given by the dying Irish captain of a boat on which he had been crewing When Maddstone divulges the name and address of the intended Cock Tales recipient of the letter to the detective uestioning him wheels are set in motion to get Son of the Hero rid of Maddstone in such a way that he will never be heard from again Yep same bookThe The Alien Jigsaw rest of the story of meticulously plotted Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Human Learning revenge updates Dumas with late twentieth century trappings The The Illusion of Gods Presence role of Abbe Faria the Italian priest and intellectual imprisoned for his political views is played by Babe a one time British intelligence agent who secreted away a fortune in MI 5 funds before being found out Instead of a treasure cache on the island of Monte Cristo the loot is in a Swiss Bank There are some very clever bits that underscore Maddstone s fifteen years in captivity he arrives in the world of 1995 never having seen a cell phone or a personal computer and the internet is beyond his comprehension But none of this detracts from the awful Folk Tales From The Soviet Union reality that Ned Maddstone was deprived of his life He is now fabulously wealthy and knows who set him up for the horror he has endured He sets out to exact that Not The Hot Chick retributionFry departs from Dumas s story only at the end I m still pondering if it is better ending or simply one with a modern sensibility Perhaps it is something in Fry s character that he chose the denoument that he did All this is my way of saying that this is a good book Yes it is than a decade old probably sold poorly in America and is likely out of print But I note it is available in a Kindle edition I Pegged and Plugged at the Club read it in two days and thoroughly enjoyed it

characters The Stars' Tennis Balls

We are merely the stars' tennis balls struck and bandiedWhich way please them The Duchess of Malfi by John WebsterEverything about Stephen Fry's new novel including the title will be a surprise The Stars' Epubperhaps even a shock The only thing that can be guaranteed is that it will be his next earth movingly funny bestseller And we are still pretty confidently saying it will not be about earthworm migration patterns in East DevonThis is the story of Ned Maddenstone a nice young man who is about to Ooo this had so much promise at the beginning I got so excited when I saw it at the library and got it home I ve enjoyed Fry s other novels so much and this one started so interesting between the diary and the love letter and then fell into this straight narrative style that not only was conventional but it seemed that Fry stopped trying The first two thirds were not bad but that last act was just awful I didn t like the protagonist Never saw any real fire or passion for his revenge and the actual set ups were so hacky and contrived I know Fry is a big supporter of Free speech who isn t but the whole internet thing was just poor I guess I was expecting a complete recontextualizing of the Count of Monte Cristo instead I just got a modern version that replaced hand delivered notes with e mail I ll take the Napoleonic version any time

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Jealous spite And spite is about to change Ned's life forever  A promise made to a dying teacher and a vile trick played by fellow pupils rocket Ned from cricket captain to solitary confinement from head boy to political prisoner Twenty years later Ned returns to London a very different man from the boy seized outside a Knightsbridge language college  A man implacably focused on revenge Revenge is a dish he plans to savour and serve to those who conspired against him and to those who forgot him since the beginning of this project I have projected Stephen Fry as my choice of english author ah this book reminded me why I don t read blurbs I did not realize until 200 pages into the book that I was reading a retelling of the count of monte cristo yes I realize I should have realized sooner but I saw the movie once in a theater almost 8 years ago and the book is very different from the movie a lot of which I know of and was excited to see which Fry chose to follow Now that I have ruined the experience of not knowing for everyone else I urge you not to discount it and read Dumas instead perhaps read book although Dumas stole his plot from Jacues Peuchet so I suppose if you really insist on going back to basics at least do it correctly I thoroughly enjoyed this book I thought the plot was surprising and inventive at least until I realized it was stolen perhaps explaining why such intelligent people have stolen it A long stay in a mental institution is far interesting then figuring things out uickly and living happily ever after also comes off as through The plot also makes a strange comment on sociopathy being that the Cristo character always becomes a one after having been such a nice unobtrusive stupid boy I infact enjoy Fry thoroughly and suggest the book weather or not you have read Dumas The book has even made me a bit interested in reading Dumas which historically I never have been


About the Author: Stephen Fry

Mrs Stephen Fry as a pseudonym of the author.



10 thoughts on “The Stars' Tennis Balls

  1. says:

    At the outset this is late twentieth century rendering of The Count of Monte Cristo If you don't know that story please don't read on any further it will be spoiler ridden and maybe you are from another planetWe all know what happens in The Count of Monte Cristo Edmond Dantès first mate of the ship Pharaon who has recently been granted the succession of his captain Leclère is trapped in a false intrigue by a group of p

  2. says:

    My students seem at times to be wholly obsessed with “getting back” at people who have done them wrong I try to calm th

  3. says:

    Ooo this had so much promise at the beginning I got so excited when I saw it at the library and got it home I've enjoyed Fry's other novels so much and this one started so interesting between the diary and the love letter

  4. says:

    With The Stars’ Tennis Balls Stephen Fry gives us a kind of modern retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo with a comedic twist and highly entertaining it is tooIf I had one criticism it would be that he occasionally slips a little too close to a somewhat adolescent revenge fantasy but that’s a minor uibble at most; don’t let i

  5. says:

    When Alexandre Dumas wrote The Count of Monte Cristo in 1844 he almost certainly did not have thirteen year old American boys in mind as his prime audience But when I first read the classic in the summer of 1963 I knew for certain that I too was living the horror of Edmond Dantes life Dantes a good and innocent man was cru

  6. says:

    Stephen Fry's book Stars Tennis Balls aka Revenge was possibly one of the best books i have ever readThe story's incorporation of a similar plot to The Count of Monte Cristo with its wicked sophisticated and distur

  7. says:

    Revenge is a modern re telling of The Count of Monte Cristo It is very well done because Fry manages to take the elements o

  8. says:

    A modern update of the Count of Monte Cristo revenge tale set in England between 1980 and the present day A wel

  9. says:

    since the beginning of this project I have projected Stephen Fry as my choice of english author ah this book reminded me why I don't read blurbs I did not realize until 200 pages into the book that I was reading a retelling of the count of mont

  10. says:

    I need to catch up on my Stephen Fry I mean aside from my marathon sessions of watching I episodes on youtube a shout out here to Nickfromfulham for posting them all I read The Liar and The Hippopotamus many years ago and found them both to be brilliant; I read his memoir Moab is My Washpot and was less favorably impres

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