Select one of the keywords
Phule Me Twice    by Robert Asprin & Peter J. Heck order for
Phule Me Twice
by Robert Asprin
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 2000 (2000)
* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

This fourth entry in Asprin's entertaining series about Captain Willard Phule of the Space Legion is yet another success. It offers Asprin's trademark elements: an engrossing story, plenty of potshots at human foibles (especially self-important bureaucrats), and a motley crew of highly individual characters. On this occasion Captain Jester (Phule's Legion nom de guerre) and Omega Company are sent to assist a new member of the Alliance. Zenobia is inhabited by technologically advanced lizard-like beings; but for all their technological and military expertise, the Zenobians are unable to locate a mysterious invisible invader.

In addition to the invasion of Zenobia, Phule has to resolve a veritable fusillade of complications: a kidnapping plot at the Fat Chance Casino (Omega Company's lucrative resort), a civilian charge of assault on Landoor (their last posting), Reverend Ayres' too-successful recruitment of followers to his Church of the King (converts undergo cosmetic surgery so they all look alike), and most serious of all, yet another plot against him and Omega Company from his most bitter and unrelenting enemy, the old guard at Space Legion HQ, who despise his innovations and success. Just when it seems that all is lost, Jester and his loyal crew succeed in confounding the enemy and triumphing against all odds.

The rollicking events in the story do not overshadow a colourful cast of characters. Human or alien, the members of Omega Company are likeable people who win the reader's sympathy. You cannot help but cheer Sushi's success in dealing with the yakuza, smile at Chocolate Harry's anti-robot camouflage scam, or be touched by the unlikely friendship that develops between the human Brick and the cat-like alien Garbo, both of whom were loners before being partnered in Omega Company. Similarly, Beeker's devotion to his master's interest (Beeker is the butler), and Phule's concern for all his people are heart-warming.

Phule Me Twice is not only a fun-filled adventure romp but an affirmation that good guys, whatever their shape, do win in the end. If you haven't yet discovered Captain Jester and Omega Mob, you're in for a treat. The preceding titles are Phule's Company, Phule's Paradise, and A Phule and his Money.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more SF books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews