Kedrigern Chronicles, Vol. 1:
The Domesticated Wizard
by John Morressy
This is the first volume of a three- or possibly four-volume collection of the novels and short stories featuring the wizard Kedrigern and his appropriately named wife, Princess. In these witty, tongue-in-cheek stories, we follow the adventures of a youngish wizard somewhere between 160 and 170 years old, which is like a normal mans mid-thirties in a medieval-type world full of daft warlords, spoiled princesses, brutal barbarians, clever rogues, and good-looking young royals who have been turned into talking toads.
The first such royal that we meet is Princess. Kedrigern transforms her back into a lovely princess, but an unintended result of the spell is that she can only say Brereep. Hence the first novel of this collection, A Voice for Princess, based in part on the authors original short stories about Kedrigern. Ostracized by the Guild of Wizards due to his well-founded objections to Alchemists, and inclined by nature to stay at home researching temporal magic in solitude, Kedrigern is repeatedly forced either by pressure from his wife, or by demands from rich noblemen to undertake difficult travels and practice his widely respected speciality of counterspells.
Amid the perils of this first novel and the subsequent stories, the couple goes through several distressing transformations and a lot of dangerous, weird, and often hilarious encounters. My favorite is the one in which Kedrigern averts an alien invasion.
The titles included in this book include A Voice for Princess and The Questing of Kedrigern (novels dating from 1986 and -87), and the short stories Spirits from the Vasty Deep, Hey, Ho, the Wind and the Rain, The Quality of Murphy (which actually features a different wizard, named Conhoon), Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall, Nest Egg, Floored, several introductions by the author, and an afterword that I especially recommend because of its very persuasive explanation of why an author with proven chops in serious fiction should turn to writing fantasy. I would like to quote it in part...
Writing fantasy and science fiction frees me from the minutiae of the immediate moment. I can show individuals taking a stand, making choices and decisions and succeeding or failing on their own merits. I can deal with bigger problems than those on the nightly news broadcasts. I can look at the lighter side of the human predicament, and show that humor has a place in every world, real or fantastic, past or future. By writing about imaginary beings in imaginary worlds, I have more freedom to do the things that I believe a writer can and should do.
...I wish I could quote this afterword at greater length, but I would rather respect the authors rights and give you more of a reason to pick up this book for yourself. I had never read anything by Morressy before this, so it was very convenient to find the Kedrigern
stories collected in a volume like this. I would only quibble that the typesetting was a bit sloppy. Nevertheless these stories are very readable, very enjoyable clean but with a subtle touch of naughtiness, romantic yet not heavy-handed, lighthearted and sometimes downright hilarious yet with a sense of continuity and, may I even say, reality that invites you back again and again. I will be looking for volumes 2 and 3, titled Dudgeon and Dragons
and Occupational Hazards
and I hope and expect to see a volume 4 yet.
Recommended Age: 14+
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