The Ebenezum Trilogy

by Craig Shaw Gardner

Perhaps he was inspired by Monty Python's "The Holy Grail". So what? This is good reading! Imagine a midevil quest full of slobbering trolls, wizards, demons, heros, mythical beasts, cowardly magical swords, brownies, and ferrets. But not just a typical fantasy series, these books are durn funny! I have not previously read much in this genre but Gardner's humor is incredible. I have frequently found myself laughing out loud (note: not a good thing to do in church during the sermon). And of course, it is divided into the mandatory trilogy. I personally found the middle book to be somewhat lacking in the humor department, but the first and last books are superb! Gardner is a sought-after screenplay writer in Hollywood, a fact betrayed in these books by the quick pacing. I'm surprised that no one has attempted to make a movie of these. Fools! I can hardly wait to start the next trilogy in the series, "The Ballad of Wuntvor".

A Malady of Magicks

The first book, introducing each character. Ebenezum is the master wizard who accidentally unleashes Guxx, a dread rhyming demon. Guxx places a spell on Ebenezum that makes him allergic to magic. So it looks like Ebenezum, along with his new apprentice Wuntvor, must travel to find a cure. The cure lies in the mythical town of Vustha, city of a thousand delights, where a young man might be tempted to give in to his baser desires and ultimately loose his sanity in fleshly pleasures. As you can guess, young Wuntvor is quite eager to reach this city. Among their many adventures is a stay in a hovel/Inn where the owner worships a relatively minor deity who does relatively minor miracles, if he has the time as he is so busy and limited.

A Multitude of Monsters

Ebenezum and Wuntvor travel in in search of Vushta. In this book, they stumble upon a gathering of mythical beasts intent on unionizing. Seems the unicorns get all the good publicity (not to mention all the best drapery designs). Most of this book centers on this gathering which has it's moments but overall is not as good as the first book. Some funny moments center around a unicorn, which can sense virgins, and young Wuntvor, who is constantly trying to avoid detection. However, the travelers free themselves and travel toward Vushta only to find that it is gone!

A Night in the Netherhells

So Guxx and his hoards have taken Vushta down to the Netherhells. Seems they aren't content to rule the underworld. Wuntvor and some companions picked up in this and earlier books must travel down and try to free Vushta. Lots of good stuff in this book. A magical sword with the gift of speech (although he isn't too keen on fighting. Bones tend to dull his blade and it's no fun having blood all over you. Can't we just discuss this like civilized beings?), multitudes of ferrets, a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, and a Netherhell gone Commercial are just a few of the great things waiting fer ye.

Good stuff, Maynerd! 4 Gristles!