My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a charming book when I read it at its 1986 publication and it remains charming today. I can’t believe I’ve gone so long without rereading this book! It’s lightweight fantasy, an easy read, and one you won’t be able to put down.
Ben Holiday is a well off but disenchanted Chicago lawyer who is trying to find some purpose to his life after his wife and unborn child die in an accident. When he sees an advertisement in a Christmas catalog for a magic kingdom being sold for $1 million, he thinks about it and then jumps at the chance, even though he’s not really convinced it’s real. Well, it is. Landover is a land with fairies, dragons, witches, demons, talking dogs, tree women, and more. Unfortunately, the place is a bit more than Holiday bargains for when he buys the place. They haven’t had a king for 20 years, the place is run down, everyone is at everyone else’s throats, and Ben has to decide if he wants to try and fix the place so that he can rule — and serve — properly. Most he encounters seem to think he might have what it takes, but he won’t survive this mega-demon who will kill him without the aid of the Paladin, the king’s knightly champion, last seen 20 years ago. Well, who appears at times of need throughout the book, but the Paladin, as though Holiday were destined to be king. Of course, once the end of the novel nears, it’s pretty easy to put two and two together and simply anticipate the logical outcome, but I tried not to be too disappointed in that and not knock the book down one star. It’s still a magical book with a lot to offer and for anyone just getting started in the fantasy genre, it’s a good introduction. I prefer Philip K. Dick and sci fi, but I’ll always hold this book up as a fun book to read.