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    An excellent Sword and Sorcery romp

    Magic has vanished from the world. There was a time within living memory when magic was very real, but now it has gone and there are those who think the world is much the poorer for it. Hulhc is a farmer. His father was a wizard and Hulhc still possesses his father's journals of magic. He is not convinced that the magic has all completely gone away. Perhaps it still exists somewhere in the remote corners of the world. Rabble is a warrior who was discovered unconscious by the side of the road by the members of the Travelling Spectacular. Grateful for her rescue, she travels with the carnival, using her skills to protect everyone as they wend their way through remote and sometimes dangerous places. Hulhc journeys along with the Travelling Spectacular – there is safety in numbers and Hulhc's quest appeals to the entertainers. And so does the money with which he pays for their company. Together they travel across the world, encountering a number of cleverly constructed societies and page-turning perils. The story is an exciting swords and sorcery romp in the grand tradition. In an afterword to this new edition, Jane Lindskold expresses some surprise that the original cover blurb suggested that Hulhc was the major protagonist. She had always thought of it as Rabble's story. I must confess that when I first read the book, back in 1997, I too thought of Hulhc as the mover and shaker because it is his quest that motivates the whole picaresque tale. But when I bought the new ebook edition, I cheated and I read the afterword first. And then, armed with the new insight I had gained from the afterword, I settled down to actually read the book. Guess what? I discovered that Jane Lindskold was right – when you read the book as Rabble's story the whole structure makes a lot more sense and is much more satisfying. I enjoyed it a lot.

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