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Few Are Chosen: A dystopian comedic sci fi fantasy adventure (The K'Barthan Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
Readers of science fiction dystopia comedy books who also like portal fantasy, with aspects of found family will (hopefully) enjoy the dry sarcastic humour and satire of this series. There are dark sections and some gallows humour, but this is, for the most part, a light sci fi, hope punk, novel.
A man chosen by destiny. The wrong man.
Meet The Pan of Hamgee: coward, unwilling adventurer and, by some miracle, K’Barth’s longest surviving outlaw. He just wants a quiet life so working as getaway driver is probably a bad career move. Then he falls in love at first sight with a woman he hasn't even met who comes from an alternative reality. That’s when things really begin to get complicated.
Meet Ruth Cochrane: she’s the Chosen One, destined to play a pivotal role in saving K’Barth from a cruel dictator. She’s never heard of K’Barth, though. She’s a public relations executive from London and she’s totally unaware of the chaos about to hit her life.
Meet Lord Vernon: power hungry psychopath on the brink of world domination. He wants to cement his hold on K'Barth by kidnapping the Chosen One and forcing her to marry him. Only one person is standing in his way: someone who doesn’t even realise it, The Pan of Hamgee. For The Pan, and Ruth, that’s a deadly problem.
Few Are Chosen is the first book in a complete, finished series; the K'Barthan Series, comprising four dystopian humorous science fiction books. It is set in a contemporary dystopia, in a parallel reality but there is some futuristic technology. This book ends in a cliff hanger and for full enjoyment readers are strongly advised to read the series in order, continuing the story with The Wrong Stuff, K'Barthan Series: Part 2 (green cover) after reading this one. If cliffhangers really do your nut, it might be worth buying the box set for the single, really long book experience.
A quick word with the author:Q - What made you write this series?
A – If you want the honest answer I wrote it for me. As a reader, I love British satire and humor (or humour). I love wit; funny epic fantasy series like the Discworld novels and comedic sci fi like Douglas Adams. I like sff and speculative fiction, I like adventure and action and a gripping tale that zips along quickly, I like genre mash ups and I love an angsty dystopian world. However, the best science fiction and fantasy stories, for me, are funny. I aim to write comedy in the tradition of all the great humorous British authors. I like to aim high. I wanted protagonists people could love and empathise with, mavericks, misfit characters, real people ... except they're not all people obviously, some of them are other alien (ish) species. This book is about misfit heroes and heroines winning the day, it’s about good versus evil even when the good guys are on different sides. It's dystopian science fiction fantasy action - it's dystopia but it's comedy, it's sci-fi but it's planet-based. You'll find all sorts of quirky characters and interesting alien species: from 6ft Swamp Things with antennae to cute furry creatures like the Blurpons, with their fluffy ears, big button eyes and penchant for extreme violence.Q - Should the books be read in order?
A - Yes otherwise the character development – and some of the technology – will make less sense! This is how they go.
- 0.5 Unlucky Dip, K'Barthan Series: Prequel
- 1 Few Are Chosen, K'Barthan Series: Part 1 - this book
- 2 The Wrong Stuff, K'Barthan Series: Part 2
- 3 One Man: No Plan, K'Barthan Series: Part 3
- 4 Looking For Trouble, K'Barthan Series: Part 4
From the Back Cover
About the Author
I'm M T McGuire. I grew up half way up a down but now I live in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk with my family and a huge, hairy cat called Chewbacca. (Mwah ha ha haargh. You thought I was going to say 'pussy' didn't you?)
I write humorous fantasy fiction. If I came to stay at your house, I'd be the one who checks the wardrobe in your spare room for a gateway to Narnia. That's probably all you need to know about me really.
If you've read my writing, thank you, I hope you enjoyed it.
If you like my stuff and want to be kept up to date with what I'm doing you are welcome to visit my website and blog at hamgee.co.uk. I tweet sporadically too (mtmcguireauthor). --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B004ASOS6A
- Publisher : Hamgee University Press; 13th edition (October 29, 2010)
- Publication date : October 29, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 5465 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 288 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,495,595 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on July 1, 2015
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Our hero is The Pan of Hamgee, kind of an anti-hero really, who lives in a parallel universe where the normal every day land of K’Barth has been taken over by bad guys called Grongles. They run the place waiting for someone to pass a series of tests and be CHOSEN as the legitimate long-term ruler. Of course the current ruler, a GRONGLE called Lord Vernon, is working ruthlessly to get the job for himself. If you cross him you get blacklisted, which almost always assures a short and unpleasant life. The Pan on the other hand has been blacklisted for 5 years for some very petty offense, and yet he’s still around, hiding out in an upper room in a pub called the Parrot and Screwdriver, being cared for by two sweet, elderly women who may have more important connections than they are willing to admit.
One night, The Pan is captured by a group of thieves headed by a green swamp thing called Big Merv. The Pan is about to be dumped into the river in cement shoes, when he convinces his captors that they need him. His argument? Anyone who has been blacklisted for 5 years knows something about escape or at least running away, and so he will make a great driver for their get-away car (actually their get away snurd... a car that can fly and is overloaded with features from weapons to artificially intelligence.). So, Big Merv spares The Pan and makes him his get away driver.
From there on it’s a series of deadly encounters: confrontations with the Grongolian police, an epoch heist from the Bank of Grongolia, a face to face confrontation with Lord Vernon, meetings with secret messengers, philosophical reflection on the wisdom of the K’Barthian prophet, Arnold, and the eventual identification and saving of the true Chosen one.
Through it all The cowardly, but somehow heroic, Pan manages to talk his way out of far more trouble than he can run away from, giving us a really enjoyable read in the process. I can’t wait to dive into the other books in the series and find out how it all works out.
This novel is pure fantasy. Or is it? There's a bit of science fiction happening in the intricate world McGuire has created. There's something for everything here--fast cars (well, snurds), high-speed chases, heroism, humor, portals, evil villains, honest criminals, and fantastical beings of every sort of description. The book is incredibly well-written and unique. From gripping the edges of my Kindle to laughing out loud, I was thoroughly engrossed and entertained the entire time I read this book.
I absolutely adored The Pan. He's such an unlikely hero. Indeed, he insists throughout the book that his cowardly nature is what makes him a top notch getaway driver and escape artist. He continuously underestimates himself, insisting he isn't anything special. The character that really surprised me was Big Merv. At the beginning, he's a typical (well as typical as an orange Swamp Thing can be) gangster, running his sleazy operation with an iron fist, threatening to thump anyone who gets in his way, masterminding bank robberies. But, as the story evolves, we discover Merv is a loyal, honest criminal who holds tight to a moral code of ethics. Then, we meet Ruth--an ordinary human caught up in K'Barth's battles. Is she The Chosen One, or has Lord Vernon made a mistake?
Few Are Chosen is peppered with unforgettable characters, innuendo, humor, and fast-paced action. I'm so glad I read this book and can't wait to grab the next book in the trilogy.
The story is what lures me to a particular book. It's what holds me and shakes me until I laugh aloud. A good story can make my blood run cold or yell aloud at the protagonists victories. A good story also needs a good story teller. M.T. McGuire is an excellent story teller and an expert at 'show don't tell', that hard to do writing skill that is most troublesome to beginning writers. A prime example of that skill is demonstrated as she introduces quantum mechanics to the plot. You'll not find a narrative paragraph that describes quantum mechanics or the particular theory being demonstrated in the prose; however, you will most assuredly recognize and understand the concepts because you can 'see' it happening on the page.
Not only do I highly recommend, 'Few Are Chosen'; I'm off to buy the second book in the series! Someone mentioned Ms McGuire as a new writer, waiting to be discovered. As far as I'm concerned she's been discovered and, as long as she continues to write, she'll be on my reading lists.
Before I forget...I think it admirable when an author makes a real effort at connecting with new and potential readers. M.T.'s description of snurds and how they came to be, her lists of how and where she can be contacted, are excellent examples of her sociability and desire to provide the best reading experience to her (soon to be, I'm sure) multitudes of fans! The first chapter of book two is also a nice touch...;o)
Top reviews from other countries
The story tells of his adventures, essentially trying to survive the evil intentions of the government (that is dictator) and the capriciousness of the gangster boss 'Big Merv'. Despite his complete unsuitability for anything approaching adulthood, you can't help feeling a certain sympathy for 'The Pan of Hamgee' (our hero). He is without guile and tries to do the right thing while staying alive at the same time.
The story romps along and is very easy reading. There a shades of Pratchet here - a strange universe that seems, in its own way to be more or less self-consistent - mixed with light-hearted humour. Pratchet has quirky jokes scattered liberally - these books don't have the jokes but The Pan reminds me of Rincewind nevertheless. I came to the 1st book as a freebie, but be warned - if you read the 1st, you will end up buying the rest!
This is a brilliantly inventive romp through a seriously repressed society who are rather used to the status quo, so nobody really minds any more, and anyway the Resistance is probably working for the Grongolian dictators. The author belongs firmly in the theatre of the absurd school of writing and I adore it. There is a tendency (unsurprisingly) to include some in-jokes about London, or English, politics and lifestyles (which I find refreshing in the ebook world, since we Brits are a minority group), but the general tenor of the jokes will amuse all early teens and adults who enjoy Pythonesque humour (or Goons, or Goodies, or HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy). It may even appeal to Pratchett fans.
It also pulls through to early Sword & Sorcery works like Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, another series I loved, or John Brunner’s Traveller in Black. And it deals with alternative universes, which ticks another of my boxes, and the underlying theme is one that will provide lovers of deeper meaning plenty to get their teeth into. And the snurd (the getaway car) will appeal to another set of people – it’s really cool!
It’s pacey, original, intriguing, off the wall, and I love it. Thank goodness there are three more books in the trilogy to look forward to!
I awarded this book Best Read of 2014 out of over 60 books.
Then there were the characters’ names: Sir Robin Get, the last of the great Nimmists, Frank the Knife (no relation to Mac), Ada the PR front of The Parrot and Screwdriver (The Pan of Hamgee’s local), General Moteurs (a high-ranking Grongolian army officer)... Big Merv’s gang is known as The Mervinettes. I could hear the ghost of Spike Milligan chortling in the skies above Ning Dang Po, the capital city of K’Barth.
Our putative hero – the Pan of Hamgee – follows the time-honoured tradition of being unpromising in his youth. He is disarmingly open about his shortcomings: “It wasn’t so much that he was unhappy with his personality; he just wished it belonged to someone else.” Of course, as the story deliciously and hilariously unfolds, his hidden depths begin reluctantly to emerge...
But if this was all there was, it would be less of a book than it actually is. Accompanying the wit and smooth, skilful writing are some bitingly accurate observations about abuse of power, the subjugation of nations and the tendency of both conquering armies and resistance movements to provide opportunities for psychopaths to develop their full potential. “These days you didn’t ask people about their relatives, not when the State tended to arrest them in the middle of the night and mislay them by the morning.” “Periodically the looners behind the carnage changed, but the end result was the same.” “Passive non-cooperation, that was the K’Barthan way, unless you were a member of the Resistance. Every psychotic nutter in the country had joined them.”
K’Barth is a parallel universe two letters and an apostrophe away from Earth in a quantum mechanical kind of way. To travel between the two you just need a thimbleful of advanced science involving a modicum of Random Mathematics. Add to the mix a fertile imagination and you are in for some entertaining rides in a highly desirable Snurd...
When he initially burnt down his employer’s apartment by accident, and feared a dirt-nap with concrete boots amongst the fishes (Big Merv is a highly feared gangster after all) and yet managed to escape, The Pan had me hooked. You couldn’t help but root for him.
How many incidences can one person find themselves in where they are pursued, threatened, beaten up, incarcerated then they flee, get caught again, manage to escape, get caught again by an adversary worse than the last one, take another thrashing and still survive another day is beyond me, but that’s the sum of The Pan’s existence. He is nimble, quick and tricky, and he’s also a self-confessed coward who has made his ability to escape tight situations (usually of his own doing) into a fine art. Trouble is, he often falls from the frying pan (no pan pun intended) into the fire, and as an outlaw anyway, there is a price on his head and many who would claim his hide for the reward. He’s not very good though at keeping out of trouble, and his mouth engaging before his brain is partly the root of all his woes. And that is what made this novel all the more amusing, and amazing.
I loved this story and read it avidly night after night, wondering what kind of ‘doo-doo’ The Pan would find himself in next. I also loved the inclusion of strange artifacts, appliances and flying vehicles, and the discovery of a unusual portal. This story is set in a parallel universe and I was blown away by the imagination of the author. Thus, I have already sought out the sequel and continue to enjoy the antics of The Pan as his troubles escalate. The story has been described in the many reviews this has received, so I won’t go into it at length suffice to say it's just a brilliantly intriguing story with a great deal of imagination surrounding the quest to find The Chosen One, with creatures from different planets and a great deal of humour thrown in.
The characters are easy to visualise and remember so you don't get confused as to who is who and the story line is nice and silly so I can practice escapism as opposed to soul searching which is what I'm looking for in a British comedy story!
I have now gone on to read more of this series and will be keeping up to date as and when the story continues... :-)