Tor, Jun 2003, 24.95, 383 pp.
Emperor Thomen has plenty to worry about already, but now has looming another major crisis to contend with involving the death of the very important Baron Forinel (see NOT QUITE SCARAMOUCHE). The heir to the Barony, Miron is a nasty individual who does not allow morals or scruples to stand in the way of his achieving his aspirations; fidelity to Miron is to one person: himself.
However, on the positive side, very few people are privy to the fact that Forinel died. Cullinane loyalists to the crown come up with a rather simple solution. They use magic to transform warrior Kethol into looking like Forinel so he can serve in that post. However, malevolent Miron will not allow the return of his half brother from thwarting his goals and he has an ally at the emperor's court, the Dowager Empress Beralyn.
Fantasy readers know that when Joel B. Rosenberg releases a new tale it is an automatic winner. His latest “Not” tale is the usual intelligent, exciting Dumas like action fantasy story that makes magic seem real through strong characters whether they are the “good guys” or the thugs. NOT REALLY THE PRISONER OF ZENDA is a superb story set in a vivid realm. The return of the “Not Exactly the Three Musketeers” is a welcome treat even if they are frustrated because they see their hope of opening their dream establishment diminishing. This novel and its predecessors are books not to be missed.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner