Don Quixote on Acid

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Jane Carver of Waar by Nathan Long

4.5/5

If you want entertainment, laughs, adventure …

If you enjoyed, for example, the Princess Bride …

If you enjoy some of the escapades of Thursday Next …

If you feel the po-faced pomposity of the Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia et al could do with a good skewering …

… you’ll have a good time in the company of Jane Carver of Waar.

Through the brutal though effective culling of all but that necessary to maintain momentum, cohesion and reader interest, this story takes off like a Harley in the hands of a novice, before being taught some rude manners in the hands of a Sonny Barger.

The bare-bones story-telling at play here is an effective device, as you experience the world through the eyes of a convincingly drawn cast of characters, which makes the evocation of place more vivid, and simultaneously more and less otherworldly.

The eponymous heroine of the tale is our guide and an authentic voice, and while not sympathetic in the traditional sense (thankfully), her in-your-face humanity is plenty sufficient to have you rooting for the right side. The supporting characters all earn their salary, too: providing the necessary colour and contrast to allow us to enthusiastically pursue Jane on her quest.

Though rip-roaring tales of daring-do have been told and re-told countless times, there is a reason for that, and with these characters for company, the slant the author has taken on these themes, and the obvious control he has over the telling of this tale, you know from the start you are in safe hands and enthusiastically buckle up and enjoy the ride.