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    The Last Wish (Gollancz) (Paperback) By (author) Andrzej Sapkowski


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    DescriptionGeralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety. One reviewer said: 'This book is a sheer delight. It is beautifully written, full of vitality and endlessly inventive: its format, with half a dozen episodes and intervening rest periods for both the hero and the reader, allows for a huge range of characters, scenarios and action. It's thought-provoking without being in the least dogmatic, witty without descending to farce and packed with swordfights without being derivative. The dialogue sparkles; characters morph almost imperceptibly from semi-cliche to completely original; nothing is as it first seems. Sapkowski succeeds in seamlessly welding familiar ideas, unique settings and delicious twists of originality: his Beauty wants to rip the throat out of a sensitive Beast; his Snow White seeks vengeance on all and sundry, his elves are embittered and vindictive. It's easily one of the best things I've read in ages.'

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    Stephen J The Witcher is a stand out piece of fiction in the increasingly homogeneous fantasy scene.

    Sapkowski's strength is in his episodic presentation of the narrative and his strong, vivid characters. Essentially, The Witcher is presented through a series of short-stories that deal with Geralt's life and the current political climate within the world. Each character has a strong, individual voice. Geralt is witty, intelligent, and strongly bound to his honour; Dandilion is a rogue and a womaniser who adds much humour to the novel; the list goes on.

    Sapkowski's writing is well crafted and, I argue, has a slight postmodern edge. Rare skill from a pop fiction author; his novels are ones to read and re-read with delight. by Stephen J

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