Welcome to the Dance of Gods!
In a world of magic, where computers and nanotechnology are long gone, where thoughtless gods struggle for power with little regard for those below, one unlucky man must make some tough decision...
Maximillian the Vaguely Disreputable isn’t sure what’s going on in the village of Roosing Oolvaya. Someone - probably a god - has trapped Max’s friend The Great Karlini in a castle that keeps trying to move at the most inconvenient times, and naturally it’s up to Max to figure out how to spring him. But the gods throwing their weight around in Roosing Oolvaya are more than Max bargained for, and soon he’s caught between necromancers, working with a detective named The Creeping Sword, and even dancing with Death itself in a desperate attempt to save the city from catastrophe.
©1986 - 2010 Mayer Alan Brenner (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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5 out of 5 stars
By James on 07-11-17

Excellent & Overlooked Classic SciFi/Fantasy

Full appreciation for what this book & series encompass must include a special call-out to its original pub date in the mid-late 80's. Despite that age, it reads like a book written today.

From the first few pages (5 minutes, for we listeners) tropes are humorously undermined and turned upside down without descending to the absurd. Maximilian the Vaguely Disreputable subverts the "rogue" charcter trope just by his name.

But it isn't just that: This book treats with "on the ground" human (well, not always) level reality of living in a world where The Gods are real, they are interested in humans, and humans are advised not to be too interesting: The second chapter (not quite a spoiler, but yer' warned) shows what happens when the mortals seek a bit of certainty with their day-to-day lives for something like insurance: Only the gods can underwrite a policy with any solid guarantee, which may cause problems for anyone looking to abuse, or is thought to have abused, the good will of the insurance company....

I could go on and explain more ways in which this book was both ahead of its time and on the cutting-edge of the modern world, but not without actual spoilers. It comes down to this: It is both funny & thought-provoking with engaging characters & plot. It does this without all of the reactionary Princes & White Knights saving kingdoms and damsels that still occasionally plague the genre..It nudges even today's boundaries for well-worn tropes, and for a book nearly 30 years old, that's saying something.

It's no wonder it wasn't popular in its time: The audience that would enjoy it could barely read, if they were born at all, when it was first published. Just 5 years later and it would have shaken the industry and been almost avante-garde, 10 years and it would have simply been your typical best-seller.

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