Terry Pratchett, Eric (Victor Gollancz, 1990; Penguin/Roc, 1995)

Terry Pratchett adds to the store of Discworld novels -- fabulously farcical fantasies all -- with this tale of 14-year-old Eric, a budding demonologist and would-be Faust, whose first successful summoning brings something less like an all-powerful demon of Hell and something more like Rincewind. Rincewind, for those not already steeped in Discworld lore, is one of Pratchett's many reoccurring characters, a tattered wizard whose best talent lies in the area of flight. Not the thing that birds do, mind you, but the sort of thing that involves moving rapidly away from anything resembling potential danger. Still, he never loses his luggage, no matter how hard he tries.

Eric, Rincewind and the luggage pay a visit to a tribe of eagerly pious not-quite Aztecs, drop in on a not-quite Trojan War, witness the beginning of creation and the very first egg and cress (no mayo, sorry) sandwich, and tour a customer-friendly Hell.

Eric is a funny romp through Pratchett's world. But, while most of the Discworld books can be read in any order, this one could use some exposition on a few things, particularly Rincewind and his monstrous packing case. So, if you're already a Discworld fan, don't miss this one. If you're looking to start exploring Discworld for the first time, however, look elsewhere.

[ by Tom Knapp ]

Buy Eric from Amazon.com.