I have been reading Tom Simon’s blog for years, and have always greatly enjoyed his nonfiction essays. In fact, one of his essays, THE TERMINAL ORC, was one of the inspirations for the Malrags in the DEMONSOULED series.* Metaphysics aside, when I saw that Mr. Simon had released one of his novels, LORD TALON’S REVENGE, as an ebook, I obtained it promptly.
If I were to describe the book in one sentence, I would it is a mixture of PG Wodehouse, Lord Dunsany, and GK Chesterton, with just a mix of HEROES OF MIGHT AND MAGIC II thrown in for good measure.
The premise is that the kingdom of Ilberion is ruled by the incompetent and treacherous King Talvos, who combines the worst qualities of an American politician with the worst qualities of a DMV bureaucrat. However, a bigger threat arrives in the south – a vast army of ogres led by a mysterious masked man called Lord Talon who has a personal vendetta against King Talvos. Meanwhile, the youngest son of a no-nonsense nobleman, Sir Trianon Barr, is thrown out in the world as a knight-errant. Trianon has the twin misfortunes of a.) low intelligence, and b.) really believing in the tales of the bards, so he goes off to perform deeds of heroism, accompanied by his much savvier servant Zadek (who has a remarkable knack for picking up women after Trianon, concerned about his purity, rejects them).
The book is an epic fantasy, but has a very Wodehouse-esque sense of humor – one suspects Zadek and Jeeves could compare notes on handling their employers. It is also a fairy tale in the Tolkienian or CS Lewis sort of way – bits about the Deeper Magic and so forth. And unlike much modern epic fantasy, this is a book that actually likes people – no raving misanthropy or random chapters of extensively detailed torture and rape to prove how “gritty” and “realistic” the author is.
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and hope Mr. Simon releases more of his fiction as ebooks.
*The other was reincarnation – the Malrags aren’t immortal, but they have all been slain and reborn dozens or even hundreds of time over the centuries.