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The Treachery of Kings Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jul 2001

3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars 8 reviews from

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.4 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate fantasy 27 Jun. 2002
By Erich Weyant - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Brilliant stuff. If you're already a fan of Barrett's jaundiced point of view and his bitingly humorous novels, this is prime. If you're new to Barrett (and this series) I suggest starting with The Prophecy Machine, which introduces our Lizard Maker, Finn, his comely companion Letitia Louise (who is a sort of mouse) and most importantly, his tart tongued creation, the delightful Julia Jessica Slagg (a mechanical lizard.) The world that these characters inhabit is far from your typical medieval fantasy world. Rather than re-hash feudalism, Barrett gives us a fantasy land reminiscent of England and Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries - post Civil War and Glorious Revolution and just entering the throes of a sort of Industrial Age - all in all, a decidedly Swiftian sort of habitat for his creatures to romp around in. And Swift's influence on Barrett is clear in these works - man is irrational and myopic, religion is foolish, arbitrary and destructive, politicians and rulers are self-serving and corrupt. The best lines of all come out of dear Jessica's metal mouth, full of sharp teeth and devoid of any illusions. Fear not though, this tale isn't a complete acid bath, in spite of the misanthropy that often peeks through, the main character's love of each other, and their desire to simply survive and lead a simple life together is ultimately quite touching. Barrett is often compared to Elmore Leonard in that they both possess the same dead-pan, gallows humor, but while the Bard of Detroit focuses only on crime novels (and with brilliant results) Barrett can do fantasy, SF, westerns and any other genre, all with the same off-hand grace. If you're interested in seeing how Barrett tackles crime novels I highly recommend his "blues" series - Pink Vodka Blues, Skinny Annie Blues, et al. If you're looking for a smart, atypical fantasy, buy this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, but Good 17 Mar. 2003
By not4prophet - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've always felt that the biggest problem with the field of fantasy right now is the lack of originality. If you agree, then "The Treachery of Kings" is a book you must read. Endlessly imaginative and inventive, suspenseful, darkly humorous, and at times even romantic, this is a novel that truly has it all.
Our leading character is Finn of Fyxedia, a lizard maker who gets chosen by an eccentric prince to deliver one of his creations as a gift to the King in the rival country of Heldessia. Finn flies over the war zone is a balloon and crash-lands, barely escaping death at the hands of a group of dog-like thugs whose job is to assassinate the King on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Finn's lover, a Mycer woman (that means a half-mouse, half-human, product of an ancient experiment in sorcery) named Letitia Louise, follows him to Heldessia in hopes of protecting him and helping him to complete his assignment. The plot skips nimbly around, never getting bogged down in any one place or idea. I was pleased to find that the ending was the first time in quite a while where I actually cared about what happened to the characters in a fantasy novel.
But most importantly, Barrett's writing is relentlessly clever. He has a gift for perfect word choice, a talent for dialogue, and a cynical sense of humor along the same lines as Douglas Adams. Although he's never been a best-seller, Barrett has an impressive list of works, and he unquestionably deserves credit as one of the best modern fantasy authors.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange things do happen... 12 Sept. 2001
By axel - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...but this must be some of the strangest...
This is the greatest of compliments coming from me. The Treachery of Kings is a fantasy story, but it is also a very original fantasy story, with ideas of its own.
It's main character is Finn, the Master Lizard Maker, who travels with a steel lizard called Julia Jessica Slagg ( how weird is that:) and a animal-human called Letitia Louise, and together they meet all kinds of fun characters, from the dead king, Llowenkeef-Grymm to the mad seer and many others.
This is a wonderful adventure, like nothing you have ever seen, so please read it for your own good.
Enjoy it!!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much whimsy in this delightful fantasy 1 Aug. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After a particular horrific vacation, all Master Lizard-Maker Finn wants to do is work on mechanical lizards at his store in Fyxedia and enjoy the charms of his beloved Letita Louise, his wife in everything but name. Unfortunately, his sovereign, Prince Aghen Aghenfleck the Fourth, does not take his wishes into account. The prince wants Finn to travel by hot air balloon to Heldessia to deliver a lizard clock to the king.
This order makes no sense to Finn because Fyxedia and Heldessia have been at war for over seven hundred years. Since the matter is of some urgency, Finn leaves the next day and when he lands in Heldessia, he finds Letita Louise and Julia Jessica Slagg (his mechanical thinking and talking lizard) waiting for him. Getting into the palace is not easy but leaving is even harder because they keep stumbling into plots and making enemies everywhere they go.
THE TREACHERY OF KINGS is a very funny book especially when the author gets on the topics of the Newlies and mechanical lizards. The Newlies are a species of animals that were was changed into near humans seven hundred years ago. There is a lot of action and derring do in the exciting sword and sorcery novel but it is the eccentric and colorful cast of characters that make this fantasy a first class winner.

Harriet Klausner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This series is getting better. Very amusing. 3 Sept. 2001
By J. Leahy - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sent into an enemy nation by a less-than-noble ruler, Finn the Master Lizard-Maker must deliver a royal gift (a clock in the shape of a lizard) to a rival monarch.
Amidst intrigue, death cults, evil sorcerers, foolish kings and beautiful princesses, Finn must deliver his tasteless clock and still keep body and soul together. His efforts to escape leading him only deeper into danger Finn must not only preserve himself, but his beloved Latitia Louise.
Written with style and set in a quirky magical world, The Treachery of Kings is difinitely a fun read. I look forward to the next installment.
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