The Screaming Skull

Rick Ferguson. Phabulousity Press, $14.99 trade paper (476p) ISBN 978-1-7325662-1-7
Ferguson’s wildly original debut, the first in the Chronicles of Elberon series, plays fast and loose with literary convention in a self-aware whirlwind of epic fantasy tropes and absurdist humor. Elberon, a foulmouthed 64-year-old former adventurer, is now King of the Tradewind Isles and finds himself caught between two prophecies of the future: one in which he lives another 65 years in deteriorating health and another in which the world ends at the hands of one of his former compatriots on the day of his 65th birthday. Both strike him as horrific. The nonlinear narrative jumps between the present and Elberon’s checkered past, recounting his rise to power and loopy adventures through the Multiverse, armed with a screaming skull that may be one of the magical Phylaxes of Koschei the Deathless, a figure compared to “Sauron, Voldemort, Lord Foul, Thulsa Doom, or Vladimir Putin.” Ferguson pays irreverent homage to classic fantasies, mythology, and video games throughout as Elberon’s adventuring party grows and he rises to power. Ferguson’s biting wit, over-the-top plot, and relentless meta commentary will have readers laughing and groaning in equal measure. (Self-published.)
Reviewed on : 09/26/2019
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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