THE UNBEHEADED KING by L. Sprague de Camp


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Wrapping up the trilogy of The Goblin Tower and The Clocks of Iraz: more lighthearted adventures from a master of picaresque sword and sorcery. Jorian, king of Xylar, is still on the lam, having declined to be beheaded at the end of the prescribed five years' reign (the Xylarians are still pursuing, since they can't choose a new king until they take Jorian's head). From aboard his wizard companion Karadur's demonpowered flying bathtub, he tries to rescue his queen, Estrildis, a prisoner in a Xylar City penthouse, but her watchdog gives the game away. Next, he pays sorcerer Abacarus to summon up a demon to grab her, but in the dark the unenthusiastic demon snatches the wrong woman. So Jorian refuses to pay for the botched job; Abacarus sends a dunning specter that wails ""Pay your debts!""; Jorian retaliates with a spook that moans ""Cease your extortions!"" And, after other complications, including unicorns, dragons, tricky wizardry, an Xylarian judge, a forlorn ghost, and stories-within-stories, Jorian uses his crown to bribe Estrildis free--only to find that she's pregnant and in love with an earnest young knight. Exceedingly thin but mostly amusing.

Pub Date: March 21st, 1983
Publisher: Ballantine