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Tom Holt - Tall StoriesTall Stories is the 5th book in an ongoing series of re-issues of Tom Holt stories (`Tom Holt Omnibus') containing several stories in a similar vein per book. Both books (Expecting someone taller & Ye Gods) are obviously available as individual issues, too.
Tom Holt himself, author of 41 books, winner of absolutely no awards, frequently nicknamed `the new Terry Prachett/Douglas Adams/insert your own comic SF writer here', living in Somerset doesn't really need to be introduced here. Darn, just did it. Anyway, here's some information on the stories in this book, for those who don't know them yet.

Expecting someone taller - Malcolm Fisher accidentally (in the truest sense of the word - by running over the last of the ice giants, in the shape of a badger, with his car) gets hold of the Ring of the Nibelungen (yes, the one from Wagner's Opera) and the tarn helmet, which nominally makes him ruler of the world. All kind of mayhem ensues, as the entire cast of the Opera (which is true to the last letter, of course!) try to get their hands on the goods (especially the cursed ring) before he gets the hang of them, settles in his new role, and becomes invincible. Cue intrigues, amorous encounters, people who are not what they seem (when are they, anyway?), and Wotan with his weather problems, of course...

A very enjoyable read, plenty of chuckles are to be had from this well-paced story. It's silly, inventive, hilarious I-want-more stuff; there can't be much wrong with a book that makes you smile on a wet Monday morning. In London. On the tube.

Ye Gods - Jupiter (yes, the Ueber-God from the legends, exactly the one) still fathers half-divine heroes with mortal females (one would think he'd know better by now), who then have to follow the path of hero-ship. The latest, a boy named Jason (no, really), is rather reluctant to do so, also because his mother is rather unhappy if he goes off in pursuit of golden fleeces before sorting out his room. Other characters that play part in the story (and play their game with Jason) are Prometheus, who stole the fire (and something else) from the Gods, and Thing (a member of the original Greek trinity of Ur-Gods), plus the rest of the standard Greek Pantheon, which now resides on the sun. Sadly, despite having all the ingredients for a story more farcical than a Dirk Gently novel, this turns out to be a rather cumbersome and contrived affair, and not half as funny as it could be, which spoils the overall impression of the book a bit.

Recommendation, I hear you ask? If you own the stories already, forget it. If you collect the entire Tom Holt oeuvre (or the Omnibus series this is part of) then get it. If neither - get `Expecting someone taller' as single issue, it's much better value per page.

More Tom Holt


Title: Tall Stories
Subtitle: contains Expecting someone taller/Ye Gods
Series: Tom Holt Omnibus
Series Number: 5
Author: Tom Holt
Reviewer: Markus
Publisher: Orbit
Publisher URL: http://www.orbitbooks.co.uk/
Publication Date: Aug 5 2004
Review Date: Jan 28 2005
ISBN: 1841493457
Price: 8.99UKP
Author URL: http://www.tomholt.com/
Pages: 568
Format: Paperback
Topic: Fantasy/Humour

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

 

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