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Vol. II of Chronicles of the King's Tramp

by Tom De Haven

Pub Date: July 26th, 1991
ISBN: 0-385-26041-5
Publisher: Doubleday

 De Haven continues his Chronicles of the King's Tramp series. Where book #1 (Walker of Worlds) took place mostly in our own world, this installment is set entirely in the alternate universe (or ``second moment'') of Lostwithal. Rumors of the fearsome Epicene--a golem-like monster that will bring on the End of Everything--are spreading throughout the kingdom, and Jack, the King's Tramp, pursues the evil Mage of Four, Mage of Luck to prevent him from bringing the creature to maturity. Jack's path crosses those of various colorful characters transplanted from our universe in the previous book, and everyone ends up on the Isle of Mites--a pestilential place where the Epicene will be brought to work its mischief. Like many recent fantasies, De Haven's series generates a frisson by juxtaposing elements of our our world with magic and strange beings from another, but the author's inventive, playful, and immensely readable style, plus the quirky world of Lostwithal, set his books above the standard elves-and-street-punks versions. Many genre readers will find Lostwithal underdeveloped--De Haven does't indulge in lengthy descriptions or detailed world-building--and, while his characters have just enough depth to make them believable and sympathetic, the shifting viewpoint makes it hard to identify very strongly with any of them. There's little intellectual depth here, then, but the exuberance, good humor, and technical skill make this an interesting and intelligent diversion.