Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wuntvor 01: A Difficulty with Dwarves (Craig Shaw Gardner)

Rating: 4
Year: 1987
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy
Read again? Yes

Vushta is saved!

Too bad about the wizards, though.

In trying to cure the sniffling, sneezing, handkerchief-filling wizard Ebenezum's allergy to magic, almost all the other wizards in Vushta have been stricken with the same curse!

Three tough-guy apprentices are after Wuntvor, demanding that he cure their masters or pay 200 gold pieces by moonrise the next day. Failure to pay the 400 in gold will result in unpleasantness (the ever-increasing fee is a running joke).

Meanwhile, there is discord amongst Wuntvor's companions. Snarks the honest demon is suddenly terrified of Brownies (instead of being merely disgusted by them). The Damsel and Dragon are sniping at each other (creative differences). Love interest Norei thinks Wuntvor's eye wanders too much and he doesn't take her seriously. The Dealer of Death has a quarterly review coming up and it likely won't be favorable because we're in the fourth book already and he still hasn't killed Wuntvor, Ebenezum, or Hendrek (a contract is a contract, friends or not). Hendrek is thoughtful.

Wuntvor must go to the Eastern Kingdoms to find help for the allergy-stricken wizards. Since his usual companions are acting weird, he decides to go it alone.


He's accosted by Death, who seeks to claim the lone traveler. Death believes Wuntvor is the mythical Eternal Apprentice--and Death can only take him when he's truly alone.

Then a ferret shows up. And Tap the Brownie...and Guxx Unfufadoo and Brax the salesdemon...Hubert the theatrical dragon and his Damsel...the unicorn...Hendrek and Snarks. Death is furious...but rules are rules. He can't take Wuntvor, so he leaves.

Guxx Unfufadoo is no longer a rhyming demon. Because of the spell involving his nose hair at the end of the previous book, any attempt at rhyming sends him into sneezing fits! Now he can only speak in verse. Brax carries a small drum for beating rhythm.

Wunt and the gang keep heading east, eventually reaching the Eastern Kingdoms and meeting the Seven Other Dwarves (Nasty, Touchy, Snooty, Spacey, Dumpy, Noisy, Sickly, and Smarmy...yes, there are actually eight) and their frightening mistress, Mother Duck.

Will Mother Duck help Wuntvor...or will she bake him into bread?

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