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(Jan 07, 2002)
I first read this book after it was reviewed by SFF World, but that edition is out of print. The new edition from Gath Askelon Publishing is MUCH better with one or two mistakes corrected. It's the tale of a Quest for a mythical artefact that is somehow connected to all Magick and involves the usual mix of heroes, wizards, demons, fairies and the like. But it's much, much more than that. First, it's a pastiche on High Fantasy and takes the mickey out of every fantasy cliche. But the author Bruce Durie clearly knows and loves his Fantasy because he does it with affection. There's a really surprising ending but with enough hooks to leave the stage clear for a second volume (due out soon, I believe) called The King of Elfland's Dafter.
Then it's also Literary Fiction, because it weaves in elements of mythology, literature and other strands that I certainly didn't pick up on first reading.
And the jokes are outrageous! (In fact, it starts with the worst pun in English Literature).
This book is like Harry Potter for adults and beats Pratchett any day. Make sure you get the right edition (ISBN 0953979504). I got mine in Ottokars book shop, but it's available at amazon.co.uk (not amazon.com.)
Thoroughly recommended. Palan Horvay