New tongue-in-cheek fantasy from the author of 1632 (2000) and various collaborations. In the city of New Sfinctr in Grotum—the map also displays such notable features as Joe’s Big Mountains, Joe’s Mountains, Joe’s Hills, Joe’s Sea, and the cities of Prygg, Murraine, Blain, and Blistr—the dwarf Ignace is sidekick and agent of the gorilla-like Greyboar, a professional strangler. Greyboar’s flaw, according to Ignace at least, is his penchant for philosophy, a failing that occasionally obstructs business. Accepting a commission to strangle the visiting King of Sundjhab, our heroes easily defeat armed guards, wizards, and martial-arts experts, before Greyboar pauses to discuss philosophy with the king. Later, Greyboar acquires a girlfriend, the stunning but half-blind Schrödinger’s Cat. Another commission concerns Baron de Butin, who desires revenge upon his ex-lover Angela. But Angela’s new lover, Greyboar’s intended victim, turns out to be a girl. Since, on philosophical grounds, Greyboar doesn’t do girls, he’s forced to come up with an alternative. Next, the pair become involved with the disgustingly handsome, despicably skilled, appallingly talented artist Benvenuti Sfondrati-Piccolomini, who’s painted a whole roomful of nude portraits—of Gwendolyn, Greyboar’s sister. . . . You get the idea.
Episodic (a series of short stories really, rather than a novel), lively, and amusing if somewhat same-ish: should go down well with fans who like their fantasy spiced with a little humor.