Ron Miller,
Bradamant: The Iron Tempest
(Timberwolf, 2000)

The quote on the cover probably says it all: "the definitive female butt kicker."

With audiobooks, I often wonder they are books or radio dramas. With its cast list and very good sound effects, this seems closer to a play and is all the better for it.

As a dyed-in-the-wool bookworm, I approached this review with trepidation. While a marathon read with the better page turner is common, I wondered about 16 hours with an audiobook.

I need never have feared. This was a great "read."

The story, based on European mythical characters, hurtles along at a very good pace and for the convenience of the listener it is divided into chapters which can virtually stand-alone. So you can listen in one marathon session or take it as a serial.

Rather than try to condense 16 hours into a five-paragraph review I will look at some episodes from the tale.

Bradamant is a prototype Xena who calls the Emperor Charlemange "Carl" and has family fallen on hard times due to wrongful killing -- which was really sort of self defence. She is also a bit of a Joan of Arc. She is determined to be a knight wearing uncomfortable clothes, etc., but these are pre-feminist times so the glass ceiling is firmly in place.

One scene outside Paris during a siege caught my imagination. Our heroine using a special amulet is invisible and sneaks from camp to camp seeking her true love. In invisible mode she threatens the token stupid guard and the exchange provides some good laughs.

A later scene at a banquet will appeal to the cruder reader. It features an excellent discourse on the nasal shenanigans of one guest -- and snot prevails.

Not that this is crude story. There are some beautiful passages and quotes. "The crescent moon thin as an eyelash" and "the sweaty delta between her breasts" are but two of many.

This story is well worth seeking out in any of its many forms and I look forward to another adventure soon. This book is available in paperback, CD-ROM, cassettes or CDs.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 28 July 2001



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