The Yiddish Policemen's Union ) recreates 10th-century Khazaria, “the fabled kingdom of wild red-haired Jews on the"/>
 

Gentlemen of the Road

Michael Chabon, Author, Gary Gianni, Illustrator
Michael Chabon, Author, Gary Gianni, Illustrator . Del Rey $21.95 (204p) ISBN 978-0-345-50174-5
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Pulitzer Prize winner–Chabon (The Yiddish Policemen's Union ) recreates 10th-century Khazaria, “the fabled kingdom of wild red-haired Jews on the western shore of the Caspian Sea,” in this sprightly historical adventure. Zelikman and Amram, respectively a gawky Frank and a gigantic Abyssinian, make their living by means of confidence tricks, doctoring, bodyguarding and the occasional bit of skullduggery along the Silk Road. The unlikely duo find themselves caught up in larger events when they befriend Filaq, the headstrong and unlikable heir to the recently deposed war king of the Khazars. Their attempts to restore Filaq to the throne make for a terrifically entertaining modern pulp adventure replete with marauding armies, drunken Vikings, beautiful prostitutes, rampaging elephants and mildly telegraphed plot points that aren't as they seem. Chabon has a wonderful time writing intentionally purple prose and playing with conventions that were most popular in the days of Rudyard Kipling and Talbot Mundy. Gary Gianni's elegant illustrations, a cross between Vierge's art for Don Quixote and Brundage's Weird Tales covers, perfectly complement the historical adventure. A significant change from Chabon's weightier novels, this dazzling trifle is simply terrific fun. (Oct.)

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