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May Contain Traces Of Magic [Paperback]

Tom Holt
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

1 April 2010

There are all kinds of products. The good ones. The bad ones. The ones that stay in the garage mouldering for years until your garden gnome makes a home out of them. Most are harmless if handled properly, even if they do contain traces of peanuts. But some are not. Not the ones that contain traces of magic.

Chris Popham wasn't paying enough attention when he talked to his SatNav. Sure, she gave him directions, never backtalked him, and always led him to his next spot on the map with perfect accuracy. She was the best thing in his life. So was it really his fault that he didn't start paying attention when she talked to him? In his defence, that was her job. But when 'Take the next right' turned into 'Excuse me,' that was when the real trouble started.

Because sometimes a SatNav isn't a SatNav. Sometimes it's an imprisoned soul trapped inside a metal box that will do anything it can to get free. And some products you just can't return.

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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: 19.7 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,202 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


"""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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing read! 11 May 2009
By Jo
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
4.0 out of 5 stars May induce fits of laughter 10 Jun 2009
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Confused? You will be 4 Jan 2012
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
5.0 out of 5 stars My contain traces of magic 13 Nov 2011
An unusual story line, but extremely funny in parts. Really holds you until the end.
A marvellous novelist which I will be buying more of in future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The usual Tom Holt fare. 21 Oct 2011
A quick read, but that might be down to my having trouble putting it down. It's the usual Tom Holt fare, this world with a parallel other world of magic and Gods stamped on top of it. I'm still not clear about the DW6, though, which is a shame. I have another of his books, Expecting Someone Taller? which I got many years ago.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OMG 28 Aug 2010
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good fun
A clever, twisty tale (and possibly twisted also). Highly recommended. If you are a Pratchett fan, you will enjoy this for its surreal sense of humour.
Published 6 months ago by diamondcat
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish!
I love Tom Holt's world! I wish real life could be full of demons,gods and fairies! (Maybe it is?)
This was a rattling good story that kept me guessing and laughing! Read more
Published 16 months ago by Philippa
5.0 out of 5 stars Holt is great
Great read. As always Tom Holt is a hoot. I have read nearly all his books and just love them
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and good story
Really enjoyed it.

The story moves fast, and there are a good twists throughout.

The story is that a man's GPS starts talking to him, and he feels there is... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Kanupriya
5.0 out of 5 stars May contain Traces of Magic
An excellent example of the genre. Tom Holt, in my opinion, is right up there with Robert Rankin when it comes to story telling.
Published 19 months ago by Mr. Nc Coles
5.0 out of 5 stars Always good to read Tom
A sequel to the previous books which started with the Folding Door. It's worth reading them in order but each does stand in it's own right
Published 21 months ago by White Cliffs
3.0 out of 5 stars Its not terry pratchett
I bought this one due to a review by another purchaser based on their statement if you like Terry Pratchett you will like Tom Holt. Read more
Published on 18 April 2012 by Mrs. F. Street
4.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff
Excellent book, wasn't sure which way it was heading, exciting all the way through. Tom Holt is a great author, wish they were a bit cheaper though, 6. Read more
Published on 12 July 2011 by Uknod
2.0 out of 5 stars May Contain some humor...
Tom Holt has written in the the area of comic fantasy for years and he's one of those authors that I occasionally find myself picking up in order to read something slightly... Read more
Published on 21 Oct 2010 by M. C. Symonds
1.0 out of 5 stars More of the same
I managed to get to the end of this book, but only because I was on holiday in a place where English texts were unavailable. Read more
Published on 5 Oct 2010 by Dr. Bob Matthews
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