cover image CURRANT EVENTS


Piers Anthony, . . Tor, $24.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0407-0

Panty puns and intermittently droll word-play drive veteran Anthony's 28th Xanth book (Cube Route , etc.), the first of a second magic trilogy within this popular fantasy series. Since the author always pays such close attention to what his readers want, newcomers shouldn't expect too much by way of a plot. Clio, Xanth's slim Muse of History, hates her body's lack of curves. Despite the practicality of jeans for outdoor activities, Clio wears skirts ("they were required of her gender and age"), which leads to such quips as: "There's nothing like new panties to make a man pant." When Clio discovers an undecipherable history she's apparently written, she goes for help to Good Magician Humfrey, who sends her on a wild quest for a magical red berry. Along the way, Clio must meet a number of amusing challenges, like restocking dragon-poor Xanth with 6,000 beasts from Dragon World by using a special expandable net. Together with her love interest, Sherlock of the Black Wave, Clio endures an abundance of puns supplied by fans, hundreds of whom Anthony acknowledges in an extended author's note. This is great fun for punsters—a Tor-ment for others. (Oct. 1)