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The Philosophical Strangler

by Eric Flint

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From Publishers Weekly
This oddly satisfying humorous fantasy usually achieves the zany and frequently the bizarre. In the city of New Sfinctre the professional strangler and amateur philosopher Greyboar and his agent and sidekick, Ignace, accept a contract they're unable to fulfill, but which leads to some amusing adventures. At their watering hole, the Sign of the Trough, the pair encounter a nearsighted swordswoman named Cat (actually Schrdinger's Cat, but she can't find Schrdinger) and learn that Gwendolyn, Greyboar's Amazonian sister (who's active in the literally underground dwarf-liberation movement), has an artistic lover named Benvenuti. After Benvenuti's disappearance, the duo have to spring Cat from prison, help Abbess Hildegard of the Sisters of Tranquility intimidate a fallen angel and harrow hell and several even worse places to get Benvenuti back. The author's inventiveness is unblushingly demanding of the reader passages in the journey to hell satirize (or more accurately, skewer or even impale) role-playing games, Dante, the Greek playwrights and the Norse sagas with ferocious accuracy and a complete lack of scruples. Good taste prevails most of the time, and there are a fair number of serious grace notes, such as the cult of Joe, the caveman who invented God (aka the Old Geister). The sexual content is higher, but otherwise Flint can stand comparison with at least early Terry Pratchett. Fans of Harry Turtledove's elaborate wordplay will also revel in this volume. (May)with David Drake, and for the novel 1632.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
Greyboar's professional career as an assassin for hire falls prey to his penchant for philosophy as moral qualms intervene to cause disaster in even the simplest tasks. The latest fantasy by the author of 1632 features an angst-ridden hero, a fast-talking side-kick, fast-paced action, and bawdy humor. Though sometimes the comedy misses the mark, Flint tells a multilayered tale of camaraderie in the face of misadventure with apologies to the great philosophers. A good choice for large libraries' fantasy collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
A good picaresque yarn is like history--one damn thing after another. Certainly that's what the adventures of gigantic professional assassin Greyboar and his manager, 4-foot-11-inch Ignace (who is not a dwarf), are like. The two spend their time frequenting the toughest alehouse in New Sfinctria in eastern Grotum, putting the squeeze (literally) on corrupt Cardinal Fornacaese, doing the same to Abbess Hildegard of the Sisters of Tranquility to get a fallen angel to cough up the Harmony of the Spheres, and descending into the Netherworld to spring Greyboar's sister's honey. Fortunately, their adventures also involve Jenny and Angela, who know how to run through a guy's hard-won earnings but also how to make Ignace forget all about money. There are also thieves, spies, real dwarves, a proper witch and her familiar, a wizard, ogres, trolls, and Even Worse Hands--and only the last lacks a smart mouth. Monty Python and Bill and Ted let loose in Tolkien's Middle Earth couldn't be any funnier than this gang of fantastic clowns. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Book Description

Mighty Greyboar, the world's greatest professional strangler, is dissatisfied with his lot in life. The work is steady and the pay is good, but what, he wonders, is the point of it all?

But when he learns that there is a Supreme Philosophy of Life*, Greyboar the Strangler is Born Again! Still, just how can a professional man in good standing pay the bills with all this philosophical exploration getting in the way?

That's what his hard-headed agent and manager Ignace wants to know! And Ignace's skepticism turns quickly into outright horror when Greyboar's philosophical preoccupation leads to one disaster after another ...

  • simple choke jobs turn into ethical quandaries...

  • a bizarre artist and a deadly arms-master turn up to complicate their lives...

  • as if their new girlfriends haven't complicated them enough!

Before you know it, Greyboar the strangler and his disgruntled manager find themselves embroiled with an abbess at odds with her deity, heretics on the run, dwarves needing to be rescued, and then -- the worst of all!

Greyboar's long-estranged sister Gwendolyn, political activist and revolutionary, comes back to town asking Greyboar's help in an insane mission to the underworld. it's purely a noble cause, one which no self-respecting assassin would touch for a moment. But in the pursuit of Enlightenment, anything can happen....

*What? You want the details? Hint: Entropy. For more on the secret, buy this book!



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