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May Contain Traces Of Magic Paperback – 1 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; Reprint edition (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841495069
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841495064
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 282,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tom Holt's first book was published when he was just thirteen and, to his horror, he was hailed as an infant prodigy. While studying at Oxford, however, he discovered bar billiards and turned from poetry to comic fiction.

Product Description

Review

"""The best similes since Douglas Adams. Buy it for heaven's sake." "--SFX "on "Little People"

Book Description

Another slice of fantastic comic TOMfoolery.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jo on 11 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
Meet Chris Popham, a salesman miserable with his lot. He's been in a long term relationship with Karen, a girl he knew from school he went on the rebound with that never ended when Karen's best mate Jill turned him down. Still in love with her, Chris meets up with Jill once a week, and wishes things were different. He's not too happy with his job either, trying his hardest to sell magical products such a portable parking space, powdered water, and instaglamour cream, and not having the best of luck with it.

Then his SatNav starts talking to him, and everything changes. A trainee, Angela, is lumbered on him to show the ropes, and demons start showing up. In his car. They're after the One who is to Come, but he has no idea who she is, and why he's involved in it all. Soon he starts wishing his life was back the way it was before, but no such luck. Just who is the One who is to Come? What do the demons want with her? Why are the demons showing up where Chris goes? And why on earth is his SatNav talking to him?

Wow. Just wow. This book is awesome! Tom Holt is a British author, and it's obvious from the writing. Such a typical British voice, and British humour! I giggled out loud on more than one occasion reading this book, it was just fantastic!

The characters in this book are great, but none match up to Chris. He's just so sarcastic and simple, and sometimes annoying, but you can't help but feel for him when his crappy life is turned upside down, and is genuinely flabbergasted at everything going on around him. He doesn't know what to do, and makes mistakes more than once, but you can't blame him. I can't really go into too much detail without spoiling things, but he's just adorable - a bit like an abandoned dog.

The plot of this book is just brilliant!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
With effortless wit, Holt introduces the reader to another world where the underlying mechanics and physics of how the world works is closer to that of myth and fairytale, and only marginally more unreliable than the real world we know. For Chris Popham, a travelling salesman and amiable loser seeking to impress customers into buying a wider range of JWW magical products than the inexplicably popular DW6 dried water ("just add..."), there's always the risk of a malfunctioning product like the instant car-park space trapping him in another dimension. Not to mention the trouble with Demons. All fine and dandy when they're held in objects like a SatNav kept secure by protective charms, but Chris has been encountering a lot of rather more dangerous ones while out on his rounds, and wonders if it has anything to do with his friendship with Jill, a high-ranking official at Demon Control in the Department of Metaphysics, the new work placement student tagging along with him, or the entity in his SatNav with whom he has formed a dangerously close relationship.

It's the typical Tom Holt one-remove-from-reality that makes May Contain Traces of Magic great fun, with its juxtaposition of mild-mannered fools, looking only for a quiet life getting inadvertently mixed up in fabric of the universe business. Even if I were to tell you who was the troublemaking Demon ruining Chris's miserable but comfortable life, Holt delights in constantly shifting realities to the extent that you're never sure what the truth is. Despite pushing the situation a little too far past its limits in this respect with unnecessary complexity, the story and Holt's writing remains consistently entertaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fiction Fan on 4 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Tom Holt is an interesting writer - at times brilliant, at other times (as here) too damn clever for his own good. Like other readers, I spent most of this book wondering what the hell was going on and who half the characters were - some people may like that, I don't (that's what I go to work for). I've been reading Tom Holt for longer than I care to remember (there's a compliment in there somewhere) but for me, he still hasn't written a better novel than "Flying Dutch" (sorry to depress you, Tom).
I did like the bit towards the end where Chris Popham turns around and tells the shop owner he's just sold x dozen of the book that tells you what you need to know that they're crap and don't work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lance Mitchell on 28 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
If I was inclined to say "Oh my God!", which I am not, I would have said it over a hundred times whilst reading this book.

The story is about Chris, a salesman of magical good such as fold-away parking spaces and instant water. From the moment that he walks into the shop of one of his clients and finds the shopkeeper lying on the floor with his head mostly hacked off by a horrible demon, who is still scarily present and sitting on the top shelf observing Chris, his life falls to pieces. He has no idea who he can trust, whether they be human beings or magical beings.

Transdimensional travel is commonplace, which complicates matters enormously, and confuses Chris at every turn, even when guided by his mysterious magical SatNav.

To cap it all, his girlfriend, Karen, is hardly speaking to him and he is lumbered with a freshly graduated, objectionable apprentice, Angela, for his sales rounds.

There is so much imaginative creativity in this story, that you can't help but enjoy it. Watch out for subtle little twists, like the reference to the copra mines of Kiribati. There is always loads of copra falling with the coconuts onto the beaches of Kiribati, but I have never heard of it being mined before!

Read it and you will have a lot of fun.
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