Tigrallef, happily reclusive scholar and memorian becomes a lot less happy when called to stand in for his more … physical brother as the land of Gil’s official Hero. Woefully unprepared, he’s sent off to Gil to track down a divinely powerful statuette and oust the vile Sherank interlopers. Just the latest in a long line of heroically honorable failures, he decides on discretion as the better part of valor this time around.
What ever happened to Rebecca Bradley? I ran across her Gil trilogy in 2001, liked it, and never heard anything about her again. She definitely belongs in the Under-regarded Author file, and happily, a quick internet search reveals that she’s just this week published a new novel, Cadon, Hunter set in the Stone Age.
I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed Lady in Gil. It’s wonderfully off-kilter heroic fantasy. By now, we’ve seen a lot of reluctant heroes, but here Bradley manages to balance wry humor with derring-do in a way that most writers don’t. The book is consistently funny, but also consistently human. There’s romance, adventure, and a dash of philosophy, all nicely blended and served up on a bed of easy prose.
Much of the plot is straightforward light fantasy, but Bradley keeps it interesting with slightly unusual characters, and by avoiding the most predictable choices. The result is a story that feels more real and natural than most of its peers. The first book functions as a full stand-alone novel, but most readers are likely to want to continue.
All in all, fun, funny, intelligent light fantasy. Recommended. Also a pretty good place to start your Rebecca Bradley reading, since there just isn’t much more. Here’s hoping it also comes out as an ebook soon.