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    Review of FORWARD THE MAGE by Eric Flint and Richard Roach


    BAEN, March 2002

    When a powerful wizzard learns, to his surprise, that he has enemies, he accidentally destroys a kingdom and sets off in search of the one woman who can tell him who his enemies are. His voyage becomes a quest tied up in Ozar plans for world conquest, the world's greatest strangler, and God's eternal battle to rid himself of the Joe heresy forever. In a parallel adventure, an artist joins a revolutionary in a journey to love and the perfect anarchist state. Yet, even this perfect state is threatened by the power of the Ozar rap-sheet, and the wizard seems intent on protecting the power of the powerful rather than on their overthrow.

    Set in the same universe as Flint's THE PHILSOSOPHICAL STRANGLER (see our review), FORWARD THE MAGE combines adventure with humor. The wizard Zulkeh is as unlikely a hero as can be imagined with a combination of pedantic pseudo-scholarly language and abusive behavior. In contrast, the likely hero, artist and mercenary Benvenuti, never really gets into the story, providing a bit of romantic diversion. Still, authors Eric Flint (see more reviews of novels by this author) and Richard Roach make it work. MAGE occasionally tries too hard, but often delivers a Terry Pratchet-like belly laugh.

    Flint and Roach slide a bit of the revolution into their novel, and offer some insights into basic liberties that will create a few grimaces from conservative readers, but they do so with good spirit. Clearly FORWARD THE MAGE has some political messages to deliver, but Flint and Roach manage to deliver them in the context of an amusing adventure.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 9/22/02

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