From Publishers Weekly
At the beginning of this amusing but thoughtful sword and sorcery novel from World Fantasy Award finalist Parks (Worshipping Small Gods
), evil magician Tymon the Black kidnaps Princess Ashesa and kills brave Prince Daras when he comes to rescue her. At least that's the official story. Tymon, blessed (or cursed) with an overabundance of foresight, is simply trying to prevent the damage a simple-minded, glory-addicted hero could do if he lived to become king, but even the magician's Sanchoesque dwarf companion, Seb, questions the magician's certainty that the ends justify the means. Tymon tries to make it right by helping Daras's bookish younger brother get together with spunky, guilt-ridden Ashesa, but initial intervention is increasingly complicated by the maneuverings of an exceptionally intelligent cast of characters. The tale doesn't overflow with crackling wit or moral complexity, but heroic fantasy fans will enjoy its clever tweaking of familiar clichés. (Sept.)
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Parks successfully conjures an evil magician with a difference. Tymon the Black, at heart a kind, gentle man, is the latest in a long line of magicians who suffer the curse called the Long Look, the ability to see future horrors that will occur unless action is taken. To prevent chaos this time, Tymon realizes he has to kidnap a princess; kill the headstrong, hot-tempered prince to whom she is unwillingly betrothed; and make sure a wedding takes place. All this sets in motion a complicated series of events involving not only the intrepid princess and the dead prince’s brother but also Tymon’s loyal companion, the dwarf Seb; an obscure and doddering pretender to a throne who is being used in a plot to take over a kingdom; an enigmatic goddess; a young man who becomes Tymon’s apprentice; and a fiend who must be banished. The upshot is a tale of multidimensional characterizations that is long on action, often-hilarious humor, introspection on the nature of good and evil, and the relation between cause and effect. --Sally Estes