A Lion Among Men
In this much-anticipated third volume of the Wicked Years, we return to Oz, seen now through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion - the once tiny cub defended by Elphaba in Wicked. While civil war looms, a tetchy oracle named Yackle prepares for death. Before her final hour, an enigmatic figure known as Brrr - the Cowardly Lion - arrives searching for information about Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West. As payment, Yackle demands some answers of her own. Brrr surrenders his story: abandoned as a cub, his earliest memories are gluey hazes, and his life's path is no Yellow Brick Road. A Lion Among Men chronicles a battle of wits hastened by the Emerald City's approaching armies. At once a portrait of a would-be survivor and a panoramic glimpse of a world gone shrill with war fever, Gregory Maguire's new novel is written with the sympathy and power that have made his books contemporary classics.
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- Paperback | 336 pages
- 154 x 232 x 30mm | 439.98g
- 01 Oct 2008
- HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
- New South Wales, Australia
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About Gregory Maguire
Gregory Maguire's first three books, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, and Lost, have earned him rave reviews and a dedicated literary following. He received his doctorate from Tufts University and has served as an artist-in-residence at the Blue Mountain Centre, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Hambidge Centre. He lives near Boston, Massachusetts.
The further adventures of L. Frank Baum's beloved characters are more fatefully connected with the political history of Oz in this third installment of Maguire's justly praised revisionist series.In Wicked and Son of a Witch, we were treated to engagingly comic melodramas that followed (respectively) Baum's heroine Dorothy and the fugitive son (Liir) of Wicked Witch Elphaba Thropp through an endangered fantasyland blighted by mad power struggles. This time around, the major conflict is engineered by an intellectually challenged puppet emperor addicted to waging multiple wars (hmmm ). And our protagonist is the Cowardly Lion (named Brrr) - bereft of his family, Brrr is traveling through Oz undercover as an imperial spy, in exchange for immunity from draconian Animal Adverse Laws that target talking animals. Brrr's investigations take him to the Mauntery (i.e. cloister) of St. Glinda, where a moribund seeress (Yackle, who's presumably too ornery to die) unfurls information in a narrative neatly juxtaposed with Brrr's unhappy memories and compromised present plans. The cast of characters also includes a clan of forest bears, a beauteous maiden or two, the rebellious citizens of Munchkinland and a surly dwarf who (in quite Wagnerian fashion) guards an ancient book of magic (the Grimmerie) and the Clock of the Time Dragon. Most of this is superbly entertaining, but Maguire has bitten off more complex interactions than he can chew, and his story's seams frequently show. No matter. Brrr and his acquaintances are irresistible company, and issues of legitimate and responsible rule are herein really rather subtly grafted onto the venerable free will vs. predestination conundrum ("With so much written in magic, how can we hope to become agents culpable for our own lives ?").Maguire's inspired world-building strides from strength to strength. (Kirkus Reviews)