I just had to pop across to search for Tom Holt somewhere and try to find his height. I just seemed to fit the title of the book, I couldn’t find it and am now really curious to find out how tall he is. If I meet him I can say “I was expecting someone taller”, doesn’t matter what height he is, it’ll still be funny…bet you someone’s already done this. On to the book!!
This seems to be Holt’s first novel and what a novel it is. Malcolm Fisher runs over a badger who seems to be Ingolf, the last of the Giants, and with his dying breath reluctantly hands two Gifts of Power to Malcolm. These are the Tarnhelm and the Ring, not the One Ring to Rule Them All from Tolkein, but the Ring from Wagner’s Ring Cycle. From here on in it’s just a fabulous read. Malcolm is given the ability to understand birds and they help him understand his role as “God” so he starts being an even tempered man and “looking after” the world.
Of course that’s not the end of the story, but really just the beginning. I won’t go through the rest of it but we do get to see the Valkyries and the Rhinedaughters. I really enjoy Holt’s writing. In many ways he reminds me of Terry Pratchett in the way he takes seemingly innocent stories and brings them into the modern world, but they are in the modern world and not in Discworld. The only magic is that created by the characters and the story not by the world itself. I’m not familiar with the Ring Cycle, but Holt casually puts in a brief synopsis for our education, if you’re more familiar with it then I’d suggest you’ll get more out of the story than I did.
I can’t recommend this book enough. I had such fun with it and it help brighten a few dull days.
There is a moral to this story and that is: don’t run over badgers, you never know who they really are.