Review by Scott Taggart
Growing up a gamer, I was fortunate that I got to take some down time between school, life, and gaming to read the Myth books by Robert Asprin. When I went into the Army later, his Phule’s Company books would likewise do a lot to keep my life funny and keep me smiling. In later years, I would still get a chuckle out of reading and re-reading the series for its puns and clever cultural parallels. May 22, 2008, that suddenly stopped. The great writer behind the Myth and Phule series passed away in his New Orleans home. Luckily for us, like any good magician worth his salt, he left an apprentice.
Enter Jody Lynn Nye. In the book’s afterward, she writes of herself “The series is in my hands now. I hope you will trust me to do right by it. I have learned at the master’s knee (mostly what a boney knee looks like) and will do my best.” It’s a lot like Skeeve looking around and not finding Aahz, cracking his knuckles and going on anyway.
What we get is a story that begins with Skeeve coming back to work at MYTH Inc just in time to catch Aahz’s latest job: consulting on a construction site in the dimension of Ghordon. Samwise, the imp in charge of the operation, is building a pyramid and selling it out as a condo style mausoleum. He’s hit a lot of bad luck lately, and he thinks it’s deliberate. Skeeve and Aahz are tasked out with cleaning up things around there.
Where that story goes is so classic an Asprin story, handled with all the cultural puns and clever plays on words that you’d come to expect from Asprin, that it’s quite easy to believe that he alone penned it. Plays on pyramid schemes, Cobra doctors, bug unions, camels who IM while getting passengers across the quicksand desert, loose references to Psycho in the main villain–all of these things are in there, handled with a silly and lighthearted zeal. I will say this for Mrs. Nye: she did indeed learn by the knee of the master, but she learned far more than what a boney knee looks like. She learned, and to a master’s degree on her own, what the magic of Asprin’s Myth series is all about. She learned how to keep the “Myth” alive, and long may she carry that torch.
This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on November 29, 2011.