The Secular Wizard: Book IV of a Wizard in Rhyme

Christopher Stasheff, Author Del Rey Books $21 (357p) ISBN 978-0-345-37600-8
This is the latest enjoyable installment in the escapades of Matt Mantrell and Saul (``Wizard of Sarcasm'') Bremener, former graduate students now living happily in an alternate world where verse has magical powers. When the evil King Maledicto of Latruria (``Italy by any other name'') is killed, his grandson Prince Boncorro, having determined to be loyal to neither Good nor Evil, introduces supply-side economics to his goods-based kingdom. Matt, now Lord Wizard of neighboring Merovence, investigates the changes Boncorro has wrought. His ``incognito'' expedition is a curious one, impeded by occasional contretemps and the specious reasoning and obtuseness of several characters (Queen Alisande, Matt's wife, is particularly ill-served by multiple scenes apparently intended to show that pregnancy can make a woman moody). Readers older than Stasheff's usual audience may be bemused by the presences of Chancellor Rebezo and a friendly ghost called Spiro. Fans of the series' previous volumes should find this one, though a progression for neither author nor reader, as pleasant a distraction as those. Science Fiction Book Club alternate. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/1995
Release date: 01/01/1995
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