Published: London 2002 by Gollancz
This is a different book for me to choose, but I have been swayed by Ian who absolutely loves this book!! In fact he has read it many times. I started it about 2 months ago, but due to other commitments (mainly work) didn't really dive in until about 4 days ago when I started reading with enthusiasm. I haven't read much at all recently and have missed it much more than I realised.
As an aside.. This book was a nominee for the Balrog Award in 1980 and also ranked 17th in the Locus Poll Award for best fantasy novel in 1980.
Read: about 4 times, most recently in January 2008
Recommendation - read this book while drinking beer! I love this book - one of my all time favourites. An irreverent mix of the mythology of the West, coupled with a witty, seasoned, and (at his heart) good natured and somewhat world weary veteran mercenary as lead character. A fantasy set in an urban landscape rather than trekking through dungeons. From the teasers in the first part of the book, while the character (and the reader) build towards the revelation, the reader is kept enthralled. One of the reasons I love the book is that by the time the revelation comes around, of what is really happening, both yourself as reader and the main character (Brian Duffy), already know what is coming, so there is a no surprise but rather a bitter, resigned humour on the part of Duffy, and a 'tick the box' acknowledgement on the part of the reader - but it works as it doesn't take itself at all seriously! The idea of the rise and fall of the West being linked to beer is a novel and fantastically enthralling concept. Some of the dialogue made me laugh out loud. Get a Coopers Best Extra Stout and sit down for a great read.
Read: 31 March 2008
This book isn't a literary masterpiece, it is not crafted the way a booker winner is, but it is a true adventure and a wonderful 'whisk away from today' book! The first book (the book is split into three books and about 25 paragraphs), is my favourite, it is the story of a rough, tough and hardened man who has a dry but very witty sense of humour's journey from Venice to Vienna. It is the magic, the myth and the question that it puts in your mind about what is real and what is fiction that completely drew me in. I love fantasy science fiction, but with this book in the first section it skirts the edges of novel and fantasy, and left me so intrigued, that I dived into the second book with a passion.
The second book was not so compelling but still enchanting and mystifying until I reached the reveal when I was a little let down by its ludicrously.
That is not to say that I didn't enjoy this book! I opened a door and found something I wasn't expecting and that was almost comical, but overcoming this, I read on with an urgency to reach the conclusion to find out the riddle of this witty book and enjoyed it thoroughly. I cannot however say it was my favourite fantasy book, but is an excellent fun story, full of evocative story telling that draws you in. It's only failing is with the sceptic reader (i.e. me) that cannot quite stretch my brain to combine history with fantasy. To be honest if this book had been full fantasy without the historic element I would have loved it so much more! As it was though it is a wonderfully painted journey through a magic realism set in the 1500-1600s!
Thoroughly enjoyable fantasy read! My highest joys in this book was the wit of the main character Brian Duffy who is very easy to identify with, both intelligent, gruff, witty and real, his character is the most brilliant thing!