Reviews by C Nelson

Figures of Earth

by James Branch Cabell

Excellent satire of romance quest novels (a sort of Terri Pratchett of the 1920s). Manuel, a swine herd and the most literal of heroes, defeats a great magician, grants wisdom to a foolish Count, turns an evil Duke into a saint, and becomes lord of a large domain mostly by taking advantage of various women and by letting people with grand, romantic ideas believe what they want to believe about him and about goose feathers. Much of the humor is understated, but some passages are just hillarious. Then, at the end, Cabel adds a few fascinating quasi philosopical chapters that touch rather pointedly on what we value and why. (Women are treated as practical-minded (generally clever) shrews for the most part.)

Reviewed on 2009.06.08

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