Baen, May 2001, 24.00, 342 pp.
Anyone who knows anything about professional assassins knows that Greyboar is usually the best at the trade. However, if the intended victim can engage Greyboar in his passion, not sex but philosophical discussion and debate, the target might survive in a Sherherazade type of way.
Like any pro, Greyboar has an agent Ignace and he hopes a significant other in the nearsighted swordswoman Cat who he just met at his favorite drinking spot the Sign of the Trough. However, Greyboar has also learned that his estranged sibling, the amazon Gwendolyn has a lover who apparently has vanished perhaps into netherworld or some place even worse geographically. A commission for his sibling is not what Greyboar or Ignace prefers, but family, even a card-carrying member of the dwarf liberation movement, is still family.
A visit to THE PHILOSOPHICAL STRANGLER is a visit to weirdness where even Rod Serling would wonder if this might be one step beyond the Twilight Zone. The story line is satire at its sharpest as the cast skewer many of modern society's values. The plot is more a series of vignettes tied together by the key cast members rather than a novel, but fans of ironic fantasy will devour this tale and demand more from Eric Flint.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner