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    Review of THE INCORPORATED KNIGHT by L. Sprague and Catherine Crook de Camp

    Baen Fantasy, 1987

    There aren't any wars going on and local monsters have been pretty well subdued. So when his magician-instructor offers Eudoric Dambertson a deal--knighthood and his daughter for two yards of dragon skin, Eudoric agrees. He sets off on a quest that doesn't quite turn out the way he intends--ending up in prison for hunting season violations--but learns some valuable lessons along the way. One of the most basic lessons concerns women. Eudoric has problems with women. He'd like to get married, have a loving relationship, but the woman he gets interested in either run off with someone else, or come with dangerous entanglements.

    Spurned by his first love, Eudoric decides to make his fortune building a stagecoach line, offering shock-absorbed comfortable journeying to horse-weary travellers. In a magical world where enterprise is often scorned and where getting a business franchise is difficult, Eudoric doesn't find it an easy task--in fact, he's sent off after more monsters. Eudoric may not be the bravest or most noble guy around, but he's smart and manages to twist things in his own favor.

    Authors L. Sprague de Camp (see more reviews of novels by de Camp) and Catherine Crook de Camp take a twist on traditional heroic fantasy. Rather than a muscled and empty-headed hero with women falling around him, Eudoric has problems with women, uses his head rather than his thews, and goes for pragmatism rather than heroics any day. It makes for an amusing story and Eudoric is an interesting character who insists on learning from what happens to him and making the best of the opportunities that come his way. Sprague de Camp has created several of the masterpieces of SF/Fantasy and INCORPORATED isn't in that category. But it is an enjoyable read.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 2/09/04

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