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Not Really the Prisoner of Zenda
Authors: ,
Genre: Fantasy , Science Fiction
Series: Book 10.0 in the Guardians of the Flame series
Ratings: ★★★★☆☆
Publisher: Tor Books
Pub Year:
ISBN: 9780765340122
List Price: 0.00
Download: EPUB MOBI


Kethol is an adventurer with an easy smile, a man who is quick with a quip and quicker with a sword.

His partner, Pirojil, the ugly one, looks impressive and deceives people into thinking he's stupid to their sorrow-for his might and loyalty are worth a kingdom.

And the fledgling wizard Erenor, a man who tries to stay two steps ahead of his enemies, as well as one step ahead of his friends.

Loyal retainers they are, sworn to Jason Cullianane, a man who walked away from a crown, and who has been trying to convince all the almost-warring factions that he doesn't want the job back. Their lives aren't very easy, what with keeping Jason from getting killed by yet another conspiracy, rescuing some damsel or whatnot in distress, and squirreling away something for the ever-diminishing prospect of retirement.

And now it looks like our heroes might wind up succeeding in none of their schemes, for there are plots within plots, and Kethol has been forced into a disguise not of his own making. There is magic aplenty in the air (and on the ground), and in order to save a kingdom, they may have to pull off a complicated scheme that could kill them all--or land them in positions of supreme power.

But, hey, whoever said that a soldier's life was a cakewalk?

Set in Joel Rosenberg's bestselling Guardians of the Flame series, Not Really the Prisoner of Zenda is the third adventure of the journeymen soldiers of Castle Cullianane (and their sometimes ill-fated leader) in all their raucous glory. A fun, fast-paced read, it's a rollicking roller coaster of a book that will have fantasy fans reaching for more.

From Publishers Weekly

The mood of Rosenberg's third absorbing Guardians of the Flame novel (after 2001's Not Quite Scaramouche) darts between aggressive whimsy and deep introspection, sometimes within a single page. Of the trio of soldiers and friends, only Pirojil remains. Durine is dead, and Kethol has magically adopted the shape of Forinel to prevent Forinel's younger half-brother from inheriting Barony Keranahan. The trio's original dream of someday founding the Three Swords Inn seems further from reality than ever. Stuck with running a barony, Kethol really wants to be a woodsman and soldier. Of course, there are the fringe benefits, like Leria, the nobly born girl he can now marry and who's helping him with the deception. And Kethol has free access to the palace, something useful when you're trying to prevent the Dowager Empress from having the man you used to work for assassinated. Rosenberg's quirky style is on impressive display throughout, but the book is also a serious meditation on identity. Pirojil, Kethol and Leria must come to grips not only with what they must do but with what that means for who they are. Yet for all the philosophical musings, Rosenberg never allows the fun, breezy narrative his readers have come to expect to flag, closing with a twist that fits both the story and the style perfectly.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The new three musketeers (see Rosenberg's Not Exactly the Three Musketeers, 1999) are tailbone-deep in alligators. Kethol the woodcutter's son must magically masquerade as exiled Baron Forinel to keep Forinel's half-brother Miron from seizing the barony, to the detriment of Jason Cullinane and Emperor Thomen. The young wizard Erenor, quick as ever with both a spell and his mouth, helps maintain Kethol's disguise. Ugly Pirojil, probably the deadliest of the three, has a full-time job guarding the others' backs against various local potentates who would just as soon that the baron were Miron. Throw in the emperor's mother, Berelyn, with her own bloody agenda; expect a thoroughly intelligent piece of fantastic entertainment; and get it! Walter Slovotsky and Ellegon the dragon--other regulars in Rosenberg's pastiches of famous swashbucklers (see also Not Quite Scaramouche, 2001)--are also at hand, and if young Thomen survives his mother, he may become a formidable warrior of virtue. A delightful continuation of the Guardians of the Flame. Roland Green
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