978-0-446-60886-2 / 9780446608862

The Empire Stone




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About the book:

Chris Bunch's The Empire Stone is an enjoyable fantasy romp with touches of occasional real darkness. Gambler and part-time thief Peirol is commissioned by an ill-tempered magician with an attractive daughter to find the Stone, an amulet of enormous power, and heads off into the unknown where his ready wit, and lack of most scruples, serve him well. This is the sort of plot which the reader knows is going to be a matter of one reasonably entertaining episode after another, and Bunch does not disappoint--strange cities, monsters, fights between slave-galleys, ill-judged sexual intrigues, the outwitting of local tyrants and the working of sinister magics all crop up sooner or later, and Peirol escapes by the narrowest of squeaks each time. Where this differs from the similar fantasies that were being written with almost equal slickness in the thirties is that Peirol's adventures are as liable to be sexual as not--and the women in his life are as self-willed as the men without being rendered automatically villainous. This is unsubtle entertainment with a reasonable amount of heart and brain. --Roz Kaveney

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