Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grailblazers - Tom Holt

    1994; 265 pages.  New Author? : No.  Genre : Mythopoeia; Humorous Fantasy.  Overall Rating : 8*/10.

    The knights of the Grail have lost their way.  They’ve abandoned their quest for mundane jobs like delivering pizzas and cleaning windows.  That can happen over the course of fifteen centuries.  They need a new leader to re-energize them.

    Prince Boamund has been wakened from his enchanted sleep to lead the knights in search of the Holy Grail.  His leadership qualities may be lacking (there is a reason people call him “Snotty”), but at least he enthusiastically accepts his role.

     Now if only the other knights would get with the program.
What’s To Like...
    The characters are every bit as funny as their Monty Python counterparts, but without the slapstick routines.  It works quite well.  The plotline is better defined than the other Tom Holt books I’ve read, but you still have his trademark unexpected scene-shifts, bizarre twists, and unexplained new characters popping up.  But not to fear, everything gets tied together nicely at the end.   

    The book centers around (obviously) the Quest for the Holy Grail, but other legends are worked in as well.  You’ll learn what happened to Atlantis, and see a totally new side of Santa Claus (aka Klaus von Weinacht).  You do not want to mess with Radulf, he of the red nose.

    There are kewl dwarves, mad queens, and mysterious hermits and timekeepers.  If Unicorns are more your speed, you can find them here too, out among the kangaroos.

    Grailblazers is a-chock with chuckles, and as always, Tom Holt’s witty writing will keep you turning the pages.

Kewlest New Word...
    Soi-disant : self-styled, self-proclaimed, so-called.  (French)

Kindle Details...
    I bought Grailblazers for $2.99 at Amazon, but it has since been raised to $4.99, which is still a good buy.  On 04 September, more than 2 dozen of Tom Holt's books became available for the Kindle, priced in the $5.99-$9.99 range.  Given that the few used paperbacks of his that I’ve come across are usually around $7, the Kindle pricing is rather attractive.

    There was a note in Turquine’s voice that Bedevere had never heard before, in all the years they’d known each other.  Fear.  Say what you liked about old Turkey, he never seemed to get the wind up.  If you asked him what the word fear meant, he’d probably think for a bit and say it was German for four.  (loc. 3247 )

    A shadowy figure with a knife in its mouth dropped from a tree.  Unfortunately, it had mistimed its descent.  There was a thump; and when the shadowy figure came round, there were two men standing over it solicitously.
    “Are you all right?” asked Simon Magus.
    “I’th cut my mouf on this thucking dagger,” the assailant replied.  “Thod it.”
    “You should be more careful, then shouldn’t you?” Simon Magus replied.  “Here.”  He gave the assailant a handkerchief.
    “Thankth.”  He wiped his face, spat out a tooth and crawled away into the bushes.  (loc. 4831)

“Boamund was – and is – the perfect knight.  Brave, honest and stupid.”  (loc. 5351)
    Grailblazers is the fourth Tom Holt book I’ve read.  It is one of his earlier efforts (1994), but has just as much humor and zaniness as his newer material.  The main difference seems to be that his 1990’s books are usually spoofs of various myths, while in the 2000 novels (from which my three previously-read Tom Holt come), he builds his own worlds.  So a new genre has been added to my vocabulary : Mythopoeia.

    My standard Tom Holt closing comment bears repeating – if you like authors like Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and Robert Rankin, you’ll enjoy Tom Holt.  And now, if you own a Kindle, you don’t have to go scouring the used-book stores or do a special-order (pricey, because his books are imports) at Barnes & Noble to read his books.  8 Stars.

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