This book was a typical classic SF and fantasy treat for me fast reading, engaging and quick. Plus, it was a nice look at some of roots of the tropes of the fantasy genre and roleplaying games. Besides, where else can you find the origin and composition of the grue?
Whats it about? Well, I suspect Wikipedia can do a better job of summarizing than I, but the gist of it is one Cugel the Clever (also the greedy, treacherous, cowardly, lecherous, lazy, etc., etc.) is sent on a little errand by Iuconnu the Laughing Magician after being caught trying to burgle Iuconnus home. This small errand is a simple quest with a epic return home.
Along the way, Cugel cons, is conned, tries to take advantage of people and is taken advantage of more often. He is living proof that the best way to con someone is appeal to that larceny and greed in their hearts. The Mountains of Magnatz is a wonderful example of this.
Did I like it? Yes, I did. Im fond of characters like Cugel he seems a spiritual descendant of the Flashman at the least. Unlike Flashman though, Cugel in this volume remains an inveterate rotter. Also, unlike Flashman, he doesnt admit to himself what he is. Heck, hed deny it to the end. And it was pretty funny to see how he kept getting taken advantage of by his intended victims because of this. I wasnt thrilled with the rococo language though it reminded me of The Worm Ourobouros by Eric Rücker Eddison and not in a good way. But Ill forgive it because it did not take itself as seriously as The Worm Ourobouros does.
Likes: A literally anti-heroic protagonist; Humor; Seeing origins of tropes in the fantasy genre; Imaginative world building; Amusing cons.
Dislikes: Rococo language; Dialogue stiff and people dont talk like that.
Suggested for: Fantasy fans, classic fantasy fans, Flashman fans and fans of anti-heroic characters like Flashman and Cugel.
Fantasy novel, by a classic fantasy author with a wonderful and distinctive style. This is the second in the "Dying Earth" series, set on Earth in a far future when the sun has become a red giant and magic works (the magic in question has the interesting distinction of having provided the idea underlying the magic system used by the Dungeons and Dragons fantasy role-playing game and its descendants).