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08 February 2015

Robert Evert's Riddle In Stone

Nothing I say here will be able to come even close to expressing how much I enjoyed Robert Evert's Riddle In Stone. The first in Evert's The Riddle In Stone trilogy, the story introduces us to Edmund -- a middle-aged, out of shape, bored librarian. Well, he's not really a librarian but he's referred to as such since he's so well-read and has a bit of a book collection in his house.

Basically, he's a big nerd.

I love big nerds.

It's the same house that he's lived in his entire life and he's ready for a change. He sees a notice posted that the King is seeking a relic of long ago -- an item that belonged to the king who defeated the goblin armies of the Undead King. Edmund has that king's diary in his possession and believes he may know where the relic is, so decides to leave his lonely life of boredom and seek out the relic and glory.

Oh. And he stutters. A lot. And has a love-hate relationship with himself ... complete with some of the best inner dialogues.

And did I mention that along with being a middle-aged out-of-shape stuttering nerd, Edmund is a bit of a chicken? It probably went without saying. Shortly into his great adventure he fears that he's being hunted by a wild beast of an animal -- a wolf, for instance.

Of course, it turns out to be a dog. A plain ol' mutt of a dog.

So now Edmund has a traveling companion since the dog refuses to leave him and soon they're trying to escape a mountain troll which leads them through passages and tunnels and eventually to the riddle in stone itself (although, of course, they don't know that's what it is at the time).

Edmund is captured by goblins -- who, along with the Undead King, apparently weren't as "defeated" as his books had lead him to believe. As it turns out, much of what he had read in his books over the years wasn't entirely accurate. There are, after all, at least two sides to every story.

Anyway, two of the goblins are, for me, among the highlights of the book. Mr Kravel and Mr Gurding are hilarious. Evil because, you know, they're goblins working for the Undead King and all, but still hilarious. Every time they appear in my head they sound just like the UK comic duo Mitchell & Webb.


There are battles and imprisonments and friendships and deaths and escapes and magic ... and none of them necessarily in that order.

I can't tell too much because of spoilers and all ... but it is a most excellent read and I'll definitely be revisiting Edmund soon in the second installment of the trilogy!

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