I’d hit a little bit of a dry spell recently in my reading, so I thought I’d do a search for some of my tried and tested authors. Once of whom is Christopher Stasheff, who wrote the Warlock series that I thoroughly enjoyed. I found Her Majesty’s Wizard on Amazon and grabbed a copy.
It seems that Stasheff has recenctly gotten the rights back from a traditional publisher, so this is out on Amazon for a very reasonable $5 in Norway. This is a very long book, at 362 pages for the paperback, so it was set to give me a good long reading experience.
Before I go on, however, I have to mention the cover. It’s important to stress that the cover is not reflective of the quality of the story inside. I’m not sure what’s happened with the cover, if it was done by a family member or friend, but it has to be negatively affecting sales by anyone that doesn’t already know the author’s work. The book has had four or five previous covers, any of which would be more appealing. I’m not sure what happened, but if I had anything to say to Stasheff, it would be to change the cover.
Anyway, on to the story. Her Majesty’s Wizard follows Matt, a linguistics expert, who is transported to a fantasy world where he finds he is the greatest wizard in the kingdom. The world is a strictly Catholic one, where every word of Catholic doctrine is literally true. Have an impure thought? You’re going to a literal hell. Matt is a skeptic, but finds as he stays there that he likes the Catholic world.
It’s an interesting idea for a book – a world where all of the things in the Bible are true. It’s something I’ve considered writing myself, since there’s some pretty far out stuff in there. As an ex-Protestant, I recognised some of the stuff, but other stuff is Catholic specific.
That’s not to say that this book is a heavy discussion on the benefits and drawbacks of religion. It’s still very much a fantasy book, with wizards, knights and dragons. It also follows a different route from most of these books I’ve read. Usually, the person from our world who becomes a wizard, then finds companions, they fight the big baddie and win thanks to the Earth person.
In this book, Matt is travelling across the world to get to a stone giant who will save them all. He does pick up companions along the way, but it lacks some of the other old stand-bys. The sorcerer Malingo, doesn’t show up throughout the story, only near the end. Most of the encounters with baddies are unconnected, other than that Matt suspects Malingo is behind them. For me, though, it felt like they were a series of unrelated events, all interesting, but unconnected.
I enjoyed this book for that, though. It’s nice to read a book that’s a little different once in a while. There were quite a lot of grammar errors in the book, but I may just notice them more as I’m editing my own books at the moment, so I’m on the lookout for them.
Overall, I give Her Majesty’s Wizard 3/5 stars, which is 4/5 on Amazon, meaning that I liked it.
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