The fate of the world is about to be decided in an epic battle—in Edmonton.
There are a lot of characters here, but that’s no problem, because, being a true geek of the old Dungeons & Dragons school, Canadian author Faust provides helpful character data sheets in his lovable romp. First off, there are the Coyote Kings themselves, Hamza Senesert (whose sheet reads: “Wisdom: Fortune cookie 8, experiential –2”), a kaffiyeh-wearing, Sudanese dishwasher with a yen for lost causes, and Yehat Gerbles (“Technological intelligence: 99 A-Team/MacGyver”), a brilliant engineering student wasting his life as a video rental clerk when he’s not puttering in the Kings’ apartment (the Coyote Cave) with a piece of machinery that may or may not be extremely dangerous. The rogues’ gallery of evildoers includes the appropriately named Meaney brothers (Heinz and Kevlar) and Dulles Allen (“Strength: evil”), scheming to retrieve an ancient Egyptian artifact that could mean the end of all civilization (or at least of sleepy Edmonton). On the side of all that is good and a watcher of Star Trek is the gorgeous and comic-book-reading Sherem, who steals Hamza’s heart before getting him and Yehat involved in the struggle for this artifact, one that will require all the knowledge they’ve accrued in a lifetime of geek fandom. Newcomer Faust could have easily written a slick and slimmer first novel, his plotting could use some work, and when it comes time to unveil the true nature of the villains, he resorts to muddled pseudo-religious gobbledygook. But all of that couldn’t matter less, since in Hamza and Yehat the author has concocted such a killer comic pair, constantly brawling but with a resolutely sweet loyalty to each other and to their scrappy, multiethnic Edmonton neighborhood. The Coyote Kings could be twice as long (Battlefield Earth–long) and still be a blast to read.
The pop-obsessed male-bonding of Kevin Smith mixed with the wit of Neal Stephenson and set to a Public Enemy soundtrack.