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Roc and a Hard Place (Xanth, No. 19) Mass Market Paperback – October 15, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
The 19th novel in this lighthearted series, popular for its puns and its innocent naughtiness, is again set in the fantasy land of Xanth (Demons Don't Dream ). Here, Anthony tells the story of the Demoness Metria and her other selves, the crazy D. Mentia and the waif Woe Betide, as they carry on a mission for the Good Magician Humfrey: Metria and company must assemble a court and jury to try Roxanne Roc, under unspecified charges from another magical Xanth bird, the Simurgh. On this loose structure are hung many outlandish characters, adventures, jokes and plays on words-such as the quarter horse that splits into four one-legged creatures, or the twins Ordinate and Abscissa, who can travel "by geometry." The mentions of Xanth's enforced "Adult Conspiracy to keep Interesting Things from Children," the youth of some of the characters and the euphemistic presentation of sex may appeal to younger readers. A concluding author's note adds a more somber touch, as Anthony explains how deceased friends and fans have made their way into his ever-evolving vision of Xanth.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In the umpteenth installment of Anthony's Xanth series, the Demoness Metria has a problem that only the good magician Humfrey can help her solve. There is a price to pay, however--finding a jury to give Roxanne Roc, under indictment for some bizarre crimes (and under such dubious circumstances that even Metria doubts Roxanne's innocence), an impartial trial. It is getting hard to say anything new about the Xanth yarns, for Anthony is not really putting many surprises in them anymore. The series goes on as before, affording honorable light entertainment and no more, but never any less. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this book is Anthony's afterword, which takes up how he draws on events and people in Mundania (i.e., our world) to continually expand the cast and concepts of Xanth. Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The basic premise of the story--that Roxanna Roc is to go on trial for an undisclosed reason, leads Metria to do a service to the Simurgh by delivering summons to everyone involved in the trial, from the judge all the way to the alternate jurors, which naturally leads to plenty of adventures, and even a trip into Mundania, where Metria becomes the first Demon ever to drive a truck. It brings back a lot of characters not seen in some time (such as Arnolde Centaur) and re-introduces more recent ones (Kim and Dug Mundane.) Though Metria has always been known for her naughty, sexy nature, it's surprisingly kept light in this book--unlike some of Anthony's later Xanth books there is little devotion to "summoning the stork" or attempts to get other people naked and when it happens, it's brief, not multi-chapter slogs that drag the book down.
Metria really proves herself as someone you root for, and there are some surprising revelations about her past that come out; we learn a lot more about this mischievous Demoness than we might have guessed. Best of all the secret of what Roxanne is accused of stays nicely hidden until near the end, as does the whole purpose of the trial. As always the story is chock-full of puns and humor and it was a sad moment when I reached the end (even as it was a happy one for Metria.) Definitely one of the best of the second series Xanth novels ever written.
Piers Anthony's quality writing still endures, but the problem is that he has started to become more and more formulaic: character wants something, consults with Humphrey, gets a quest to do and attain what he/she wants. If you're a fan who doesn't want to spoil the memorable reads you've experienced in "Man from Mundania" and "Question Quest", I think you'd do yourself a big favor if you stopped reading any subsequent books in this long-lived series. I wish I did.