Following a streak of science fiction successes (Kaleidoscope Century, 1995, etc.), Barnes takes a stab at light fantasy. As a toddler, Prince Amatus somehow grabs a goblet of the superpowerful Wine of the Gods and gulps it down--whereupon the entire left side of his body vanishes! King Boniface is displeased; heads must roll, and do, leaving four critical vacancies in the palace staff. In due course, four new people are appointed: Golias, the Royal Alchemist; Mortis, Royal Witch; the huge, misshapen Twisted Man, now Captain of the Guard; and young Psyche, the Prince's Personal Maid. The four become known as the Prince's Companions. As the years pass, various adventures befall the prince; during an expedition to rescue a young maid from the Goblins, for instance, Golias is killed--and Amatus regains his left foot! Evidently, only with the deaths of all four Companions will Amatus's left side be fully restored. Finally, Amatus must defeat an invasion of Goblins, vampires, and magic led by a usurping neighbor, Waldo. Amusing and fun, if uneven and overlong. Not as compelling as Barnes's superior sf, but his fans shouldn't be too disappointed.