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Paint Your Dragon by Tom Holt

Review by Louis

If you haven't heard of Tom Holt before, and you likely haven't unless you are Caly, then I should prolly do a short introduction. Tom Holt is a prolific writer of comic fantasy in the same sort of vein as Terry Pratchett. That is, the humour is similar but not so much the setting. Good Omens would fit in quite well in Holt's collection in some ways, from what I have read of him so far. He generally likes to take a well established mythos or just set of mythical races, e.g. giants, imps, dragons, fairies, throw in a little classical religion and some more original ideas of his own and mix to see what happens. The results are often, if not always outright funny in a laugh inducing way, seeped with what is often described as a certain British dry humour.

Paint Your Dragon by Tom Holt

CATEGORY
Comic Fantasy

SYNOPSIS (from the book jacket)
One moment Bianca's sculpture of St George is lacking just the final touches, the next, it's lacking a dragon. This is only the first step in a fight between good and evil, involving some heavyweight gamblers, a time entrepreneur, a dragon, St George, and some hideous but endearing demons.

THE WORLD
Relatively modern day Britain mostly, with a couple of cameos from South Africa and Mongolia. More specifically probably late 80s/early 90s Britain and so some of the references may be lost on someone not familiar with the setting, but I don't think it diminishes too much.

THE CHARACTERS
Very good. Likes to challenge the classical preconceptions, George is less than Saintly, the demons are simply doing a job, and the dragon especially is very interesting. May well give some interesting context for Tintaglia.

THE PLOT
Saint George and the Dragon have managed to be reincarnated and have a score to settle with each other. Some other players are added in and there is some very interesting commentary on life after death, the nature of time and art theft. Actually, if you have read Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett you may definitely want to read this.. Some _very_ similar ideas are expressed. I may be showing my ignorance in not having read someone else's take on Time before, but since this was written before Thief of Time, it makes me think Pratchett may have done quite a bit of background reading prior to writing. Or simply come up with the same ideas independently..

THE GRADE
Very enjoyable. I really loved the humour as well as the issues covered, and the ending was _most_ satisfactory. *g* 4 out of 5 amulets.

OTHER TOM HOLT BOOKS
Snow White and the Seven Samurai
Expecting Someone Taller
Faust Among Equals
Open Sesame

And so on..

A lot of his books are limited availability on Amazon.com but seem to be easier to get in the UK. However, on both sides of the Atlantic quite a few of them seem to be undergoing rerelease, so if you enjoy comic fantasy and happen to see a Tom Holt, try it out.

Louis


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