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The Quest for the Trilogy: A Rover Novel of Three Adventures    by Mel Odom order for
Quest for the Trilogy
by Mel Odom
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This fourth in the series - following The Rover, The Destruction of the Books, and Lord of the Libraries - continues the rollicking, rather satirical adventures of bookish (hobbit-like) Dwellers: Grandmagister Edgewick 'Wick' Lamplighter and his protégé Juhg, who share a passion for both reading and writing, as well as an abiding curiosity.

In Wick's absence, halfer Juhg has been promoted to Grandmagister of the Vault of All Known Knowledge, and is working hard to get books out into the world again (after the goblinkin tried to destroy them all). As generally happens at the beginning of these adventures, long-lived wizard Craugh (who has a habit of turning those who annoy him into toads) shows up out of the blue. He reveals to Juhg the existence of encrypted journals of Wick's his apprentice has never read. The book then alternates between short, dangerous interludes in which Juhg, traveling on Moonsdreamer, seeks out each of these journals in turn, and Wick's thrilling adventures on the trail of Lord Kharrion's Wrath. These are told in first person narrative and revealed in turn as Juhg discovers and decyphers them.

As is common, Wick's troubles begin after he's shanghaied onto One-Eyed Peggie by Craugh. It's all to do with finding the truth of a betrayal at the Battle of Fell's Keep near the end of the Cataclysm. The betrayer is generally believed to be the dwarven leader Oskarr, causing conflict amongst races that badly need to unite against a growing goblinkin threat. Wick's journals (sought by Juhg) correspond to three missions he's sent on to recover three magical weapons - Boneslicer, Seaspray, and Deathwhisper - missing since the fated battle, and to determine the truth of what occurred all those years before. He's not quite alone in these trials though - Craugh sends help in the forms of a sneering skink (lizard) an argumentative cat, and a talking donkey. Craugh also dangles an enticing carrot - the probability of finding lost volumes.

Of course Wick will always 'lay his life on the line for books.' He runs, limps and staggers non-stop from one cliffhanger to another, chased by a marvelous variety of villains and monsters, and helping save the oppressed and downtrodden along the way. Mel Odom delivers plenty of fun - as when Wick proves his assumed identity as a thief by opening a safe that houses a 'a solid gold privy' - but also an intriguing historical mystery, and important messages as in Juhg's comment that 'It'll matter. The truth always does ... misassumptions, lies, and cover-ups cast as great an evil as evil itself ... The truth is everything in the end.' Fantasy fans will devour The Quest for the Trilogy.

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