Thursday, June 14, 2007

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - Swords for Hire

Just finished Will Allen's Swords for Hire. Back when I finished On the Head of a Pin I had said that I really could go for something light and funny. This was it. Interesting story behind this book. Although the book was just published in 2003, the author died of cancer at the young age of 23, in 1980. He had written the book a few months earlier and given copies of the manuscript to family members as Christmas gifts. Several years later, as his brother was reading the story to his kids, he decided to try to get it published. I for one am quite glad that he did. Allen's favorite book was William Goldman's The Princess Bride, and the influence of that book on his, clearly shows. Is it a long complicated story with complex plot twists? Heck no. But if you like the style of humor in The Princess Bride, you'll really enjoy Swords for Hire. It's a very quick read (only 168 pages with a couple of blank ones between each chapter.) It's the story of a king betrayed by his brother, and the misfit soldier of fortune and his farm boy apprentice, who set off to rescue him. With the subtle, wise-cracking humor throughout this book, it would make a great movie, especially if made by the same folks who did The Princess Bride. I'd also like to see a company like Fullcast Audio do it as an audiobook. We can hope. So if you're looking for a quick read with plenty of humor, definitely check this one out. If you're one of those people (and I know there are plenty of you out there) who pick books based on the cover art, please don't look at the cover of this one. The brother had an artist design the cover, using the author and some of his family and friends as the models for the characters portrayed on the cover. Let's just say that Will Allen was a wonderful writer, but he was also just about as nerdy looking as they come. Don't peek, just read. Also, enjoy the foreword written by Will's friend Nancy Cartwright. If the name sounds familiar but you can't quite place it, that's because she is the voice of none other than Bart Simpson. Allen's choice of friends affected his sense of humor as well. Enjoy!

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