If the members of Terry Pratchett's Night Watch and Robert Asprin's Phule's Company were conscripted into Mary Gentle's Grunts, the result would be something like this caustic genre-parodying second novel from Martinez (Gil's All-Fright Diner). Never Dead Ned is an accountant whose only talent is self-resurrection. Chosen to lead the notorious Ogre Company, Ned ingratiates himself by dying before the senior officers can finish conspiring to kill him, and comes back to life just in time to be caught up in a battle with Rucka, the world's most powerful demon. Martinez loves turning conventions upside-down: Ned is unbearably uncharismatic, Rucka is 19 inches tall, the wizard Belok is allergic to magic. That makes the predictable elements-the self-sacrificing supernatural guardian, the inevitable love triangle, Ned's world-changing destiny-seem even more hackneyed, somewhat diminishing the power and fun of the ""gotchas."" Once Martinez learns to strike that balance, he'll be a humorist to be reckoned with.
Reviewed on: 07/31/2006 Release date: 08/01/2006 Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 326 pages - 978-0-7653-5457-0
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