cover image The Wordsmiths and the Warguild

The Wordsmiths and the Warguild

Hugh Cook. C. Smy, $0 (202pp) ISBN 978-0-86140-267-0

Cook began his fantasy series Chronicles of an Age of Darkness with the witty Wizards and the Warriors, which viewed magicians as their world's equivalent of none-too-responsible nuclear physicists. This second volume offers the picaresque adventures of stalwart, hapless Togura Poulaan. Seeking only to free his beloved Day Suet, Togura escapes war, imprisonment and encounters with spirits, pirates, dragons, talking rocks and pagan tribes. In fact, the author seems to delight in tormenting his hero, a somewhat Don Quixoteish figure. The resulting shifts in tonesardonic, philosophic, pragmatic and pedagogickeep the reader interested and off balance, never sure what's next or why. The highlight of the book is the depiction of the odex, the creature that has swallowed the heroine. Part bottomless cornucopia, part garbage disposal, this being punctuates its random disgorging of items, people and monsters from other universes by burping up ghosts. (January 14)