|Submitted by Ken|
(Mar 17, 2000)
This novel is a must-read for any fantasy lover. It details the adventures of the anti-hero Cugel (the Clever, as he is known), an egocentric rogue, written in Vance's rich, detailed and unequal prose. Cugel was foolish enough to burgle the manse of a powerful magician. He was caught in the attempt and as a result was hurled half way around the world. As Cugel attempts to travel back to exact his revenge on the magician, he journies through picaresque locales that only Vance could create.
Cugel's adventures are often hilarious. His clever get-rich quick schemes always fail in misery as he always manages to outsmart himself in the end. It is hard not to laugh at his outrageous schemes.
Unlike most fantasy works today where a hero goes on a quest to save the world (hmmm...where did you hear that before), Vance's works are more original. Vance's distinctive prose includes sentences which are permeated with irony, and laced with humor. The dialogue is witty and displays a certain beauty to it. This is Vance at his best and demonstrates why Vance is one of the grandmasters of science-fiction/fantasy. Highly recommended.