Book Cover
Title The Philosophical Strangler
Author Eric Flint
Cover Art ---
Publisher Baen - 2002
First Printing Baen - 2001
Book Cover
Title Forward the Mage
Author Eric Flint, Richard Roach
Cover Art ---
Publisher Baen - 2003
First Printing Baen - 2002
Category Humour
Warnings None
Main Characters Ignace, Greyboar, Gwendolyn, Benvenuti Sfondrati-Piccolomini, Zulkeh, Sheylid, The Cat (Shroedinger's in fact), Jenny, Angela
Main Elements Wizards, Dwarves

Click to read the summaryThe Philosophical Strangler

Click to read the summaryForward the Mage

I had downloaded these two books for free from the Baen Free Library. It seems only the first one is still available there.

Now these aren't books I would have gone out to buy, I'm not much into humour fantasy, though I've read Piers Anthony and Robert Asprin (haven't tried Terry Pratchett yet). But read on my eReader in small doses while commuting to work it wasn't too bad.

In the first book, I have to admit I became very fond of Ignace. He's a fun narrator and a quirky character prone to temper tantrums and a self proclaimed coward (and the image of the little guy jumping around hopping mad is cute...yes, even though he's the agent for a strangler, finding him clients to pay for his services, the guy is ultimately cute). There's isn't too much to the story, the tongue-in-cheek philosophy stuff plays a big role. Though I enjoyed the critique of the various governments and their officials in the different parts of the world, the over-the-top description of Greyboar's skills, and yeah...there are places called "Grotum" and "Sfinctria" *eye rolls and groans*. All in all, I didn't love it but it wasn't too bad either. Definitely worth the time as it didn't cost me any money.

The second book I didn't like as much. Ignace was definitely the thing that carried the first book for me. Though Benevenuti is an fairly interesting guy too. I didn't mind Zulkeh as a secondary character but as a main one, not so much. But you have to give kudos to a book written by a family of chronicler fleas! This book takes place a bit before the first, overlapping it at one point to explain some of the events that were mentioned in passing in the first.

I would however read a third book, should there ever be one, if Joe would make an appearance. Warning, if you are touchy about religion, don't read this book.

As one goodreads reviewer mentioned, a lot of people complained these books aren't actually about anything. Frankly there is near to no plot really. And I sort of agree that a book doesn't always have to be about some grand quest, it's just a peek into the lives of these various characters as they spout surreal verbiage and essentially manage to use a big word where a small one would have sufficed.

There's a lot of silly nonsense if you're into that kind of thing (Princess Bride, Monty Python)...especially when that nonsense is rooted in religion, government and society in general. As usual, reality is still stranger than fiction, Flint didn't have to make up too many of his jokes!

So not for everyone, but hey, the first book is still free so will cost you nothing to try it out.

Posted: March 2016


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