Thaddeus White asked me to read his novel "The Adventures of Sir Edric". It is about a knight who is far from chivalrous going on adventures similar to such a knight. I want to say it is a parody of epic adventures. It is certainly a comedy. It is also the third book by Mr.White that I have reviewed and I have thus gained a high opinion of his ability as an author. This book is no exception. I will examine Plot, Character and Polish and then assign a grade.
First, this book is actually two stories. I think they were separate at one point but now they are together in this book. They are "The Adventures of Sir Edric Volume" and "Sir Edric's Treasure".
The first one is similar to a Redemption Quest but it is played like a stealth suicide mission. The second is more like a treasure hunt. I say it is a parody because of the motivations for these quests and dissonance between what Edric says and what he thinks.
The first is presented as a heroic adventure for king and country but Edric suspects that the king is sending him on a suicide mission in retribution for committing adultery with the queen. The beautiful sorcereress accompanying him, who would likely be a love interest (Defrosting Ice Queen style) in a straight version, is actually his jailer who maintains a low opinion of him throughout. Instead of taking action himself, he foists all the dangerous stuff on his braver and more competent manservant.
The second has the same qualities as the first but a significantly different set up, which makes it the same sort of enjoyable but a different sort of interesting because Edric is in a situation more suited to his true nature.
Much of the comedy in these stories comes from Edric talking like a chivalric and heroic knight while thinking thoughts that instead reflect a pragmatic and misogynistic mercenary. There's also Schadenfreude from the dangerous, embarrassing, or painful things that happen to him, usually as a result of his actions but also like a karmic kick. For readers like myself, there is a third source of comedy in the use of the tropes. Literary concepts like Boring Return Journey are lampshaded, examined, and/or mocked.
Both stories have an ending suitable for this story's tone. I like them. They close the conflict but they are not happily ever after sorts.
Sir Edric is a noble and used to be an active knight. Now he's more sedate, and by "sedate", I mean only rouses himself to go to a whore house. Aside from this laziness, he has about every other vice you could name: greed, snobbery, misogyny, irreverence, cowardice, lack of empathy, hypocrisy etc. There's one scene where he's pretending to be a monk as a disguise and someone asks him for religious advice, and he does so in exchange for a fee. A Nominal Hero if there ever was one, but it suits him in this world of grey and grey morality. Indeed, the only reason he's not a Villain Protagonist is because he doesn't actively do anything evil, and he usually has something, or in the case of Lysandra, someone, to keep him focused on heroic acts.
It also makes him a comedic duo with his manservant, Dog. He is the wise guy doing something immoral, pragmatic or whatever, and Dog is the straight man who reacts to it.
While it is easy to see him as someone who relies on Dog to do all his fighting for him, he's not incompetent. He demonstrates skill with a crossbow, a sword and in quick tactical thinking. It's just that he's pragmatic enough to stay away from immediate danger and talk or trick his way out of a fight in the first place.
Dog is described in book blurbs as "pathologically loyal", which is indeed true. The things he does out of feudal duty truly stretch the bounds of credible belief. That's part of the humor in his character because Sir Edric definitely doesn't deserve it. For instance, "Dog" is not his real name but something Sir Edric decided on because he didn't like Dog's real name. Nor does he get any credit or appreciation. Without Dog, Erick would never accomplish or survive half of the stuff he does.
He is an example of Good Is Not Soft as he is a courteous fellow that still kills enemies with little hesitation.
His past is mysterious because he has skills that do not coincide with some him being some random commoner.
Personally, I see Edric as a supporting protagonist and Dog as the hero of this story. He's much more traditionally heroic with his loyalty, bravery, and feats of daring do, etc. except he is Edric's sidekick. Yes, it is a strange blend of roles which one of the things I like about this book.
Lysander is the third character to span both stories. She is an elf sorcercess assigned to assist Sir Edirc on his first adventure, and make sure he doesn't abandon his quest. She is a Celibate Heroine who wears a Dangerously Short Skirt. She appears to follow a standard Defrosting Ice Queen arc but still thinks him a cowardly sex-obsessed jerk in the end. Her humor comes in the form of her being a sheltered academic unused to adventuring, and the banter she has with Edric over his unwillingness to aspire to noble action.
Both stories look good spelling and grammar wise. However, there is one thing in the second book that is odd.
There is this scene at the start of a chapter that comes out of nowhere. It is not connected to the previous chapter and does not connect to the following scenes. It is an argument that does not have any basis in previous conversations; "how dare you! Have you no respect?" I don't see what that refers to. It can't possibly refer to tripping over an invisible object and the response would make no sense in context. It involves a permanent shift so I can't dismiss it as a Big Lipped Alligator Moment. There is even a text-breaker area of blank space between it and the next scene that suggests it is isolated.
Trickster Eric Novels gives "The Adventures of Sir Edric" an A+ for Temple of Doom, a B+ for "Treasure" and an A+ over all.
This has been a free review request. The author requested an honest review so I provided one.
Click here for my next book review (request): The Nosferatu Chronicles - Origins
Click here for my previous book review (for fun): Medieval Towns - a reader
Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).