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The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England: Secret Projects #2    by Brandon Sanderson order for
Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England
by Brandon Sanderson
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2023 (2023)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England is the second (following the wonderful Tress of the Emerald Sea) in Brandon Sanderson's Secret Projects series. The author tells us that 'Sometimes an idea just won't let go of you for years' - such an idea led to this amazing story.

Take a man from a world more advanced than our own, throw in cops, mobsters, and interdimensional tourism. Then have that man awaken in a clearing in what looks like a medieval past, with no memory of how he got there but with scattered, singed pages of the titular handbook (whose extracts are included throughout this tale). Toss in snippets of magic and a Viking-equivalent invasion, and you get an engrossing read.

Our lead, John West, is quite the engaging antihero. The technology built into his body (medical nanites and physical augments) allows him to play the wizard in his new world, though skop Sefawynn (a skop performs boasts and ballads for magical effect) believes at first that it's all a scam. When the bad guys take her brother hostage, John and Lord Ealsten follow them and gradually a fellowship grows through many adventures.

The dramatic conclusion involves both cop and mobsters from another dimension, a local god and goddess, and a horde of Hordamen. Our hero gives it his all; discovers that he's not as bad as he believed; gives up his rating system; and gets what he wanted in life. Don't miss this or anything else by this remarkable author.

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