cover image Faun and Games

Faun and Games

Piers Anthony. Tor Books, $23.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86162-9

As is customary in his Xanth series (of which this is the 21st installment, following Yon Ill Wind, 1996), Anthony once again pours on the puns as he works a multitude of readers' ""notions,"" suggested to him by mail, into the plot. Forrest Faun is appalled to discover that his best friend and fellow faun, Branch, has tripped and fallen into the Void, never to return. Who will care for Branch's tree, giving it the magic it needs to keep it from becoming mundane? To find out, Forrest must undertake a lengthy quest to Ptero, a world in the shape of a miniature moon orbiting the head of Princess Ida of Castle Roogna. It is a magical land where everything in Xanth that is, ever was or might be exists simultaneously. Forrest and his cohort--a ""day mare"" named Imbri, and the precocious princesses Dawn and Eve--travel across Ptero, bouncing from one outrageous situation to another. With plenty of the spry characters and cheerful wordplay for which Anthony's works are known, this new Xanth tale should, like its predecessors, manage to wiggle its way onto the bestseller lists. (Oct.)