Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

The Phoenix Guards

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Phoenix Guards (1991) Steven Brust

I admit that you have to be in the mood for Phoenix Guards and this branch of Steven Brust’s writing.

It would seem, therefore, that if we were to allow our readers, by virtue of being in the company of the historian, to eavesdrop on this interchange, we will have, in one scene, discharged two obligations; a sacrifice, if we may say so, to the god Brevity, whom all historians, indeed, all who work with the written word, ought to worship. We cannot say too little on this subject.

The writing is completely over-the-top, which is part of it’s charm and joy. But if you aren’t in the mood for it–forget it.

But if you are in the mood, then it is wonderful.

The Serioli, who departed the area to avoid any of the unfortunate incidents that war can produce, left only the name for the place, which was “Ben,” meaning “ford” in their language. The Easterners called the place “Ben Ford,” or, in the Eastern tongue, “Ben gazlo.”

After ten years of fierce battle, the Imperial Army won a great victory on the spot, driving the Easterners well back into the mountains. The Dragonlords who had found the place, then, began calling it “Bengazlo Ford.” The Dragons, wishing to waste as little time on speech as possible, shortened this to Benglo Ford, or, in the tongue of the Dragon, which was still in use at the time, “Benglo ara.” Eventually, over the course of the millennia, the tongue of the Dragon fell out of use, and the North-western language gained preeminence, which rendered the location Bengloara Ford, which was eventually shortened to Bengloarafurd. The river crossing became the Bengloarafurd Ford, which name it held until after the Interregnum when the river was dredged and the Bengloarafurd Bridge was built.

I mean, that is just utterly delightful. And there are many bits that are simply true. Take this bit on distance:

It is true, for example, that the distance from the Gate of the Darr to Ripple Point is scarcely a league, while it is a good thirty leagues from the Gate of Iron to Fosson’s Well, yet, because the latter is over level ground with a good road laid on it, while the former is nearly straight up a mountainside covered in loose and crumbling rock, we may in justice assert that each of these places lies the same distance from the heart of Dragaera City, that distance being about thirty hours, or a full day and a night.

Driving in WV is much like that–I consider distances in time, since 10 miles of narrow, hilly, gravel road is approximately the same as 60 miles of interstate.

Not quite as much in this book as in the second, but Tazendra is my favorite character.

“I am not good with confusion,” explained Tazendra.

I adore how she is the muscle of the group, the one who acts without thinking but who will not stand for injustice.

But as I said, one has to be in the mood for Paarfi of Roundwood, and I’m not sure I’m up to reading more of his style just now, so the second book will have to wait for awhile I think.
Rating: 9.5/10

Published by Orb

Categories: 9.5/10, 9/10, Fantasy, Reread, Sword & Sorcery
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