Kooky high fantasy pastiche transforms farm boy into warrior.
Sam Hatcher has been sent off by his father--presently a farmer, but once a member of the Royal Guard--to become a soldier. Unfortunately, all is not well in the kingdom of Parmall. Good King Olive has been deposed by his brother, the disgusting (and ridiculously greasy) Boonder, and is secretly imprisoned abroad in the impenetrable dungeon of the Boneman. Luckily, Sam isn't accepted into the corrupt castle guard. Instead he is sent off to join crazed mercenary Rigby Skeet. When soldiers of the usurper serendipitously kill a messenger from King Olive on Rigby's doorstep, Sam and Rigby must flee Boonder’s assassins. After a short quest, an encounter with a charlatan sorcerer, and a journey through the River of Blood, Swamp of Anguish, and Pasture of Randolph, Rigby and Sam rescue King Olive. They return home to Parmall, destroy the villains who have taken over the country, and rescue Boonder's unwilling bride, Melinda. Rigby, Sam, and Melinda live happily ever after as a team of wacky mercenaries. In a winking tribute to The Princess Bride, Sam and Melinda teach Rigby to read, using an adventure tale by S. Morgenstern.
Somewhat rushed and lacking genuine tension, but still a jolly good ride. (Fantasy. 9-12)