The difficult thing about reading a series is that with each installment, it becomes more and more difficult to say anything interesting. I just finished Jack Vance's Cugel's Saga , the third of the Dying Earth books, and have absolutely nothing whatsoever to say about it. This may be the most abject failure of my entire booklog, but really, you've got to understand what I'm dealing with here.

This isn't just a standard ol' sequel, it's a reprise of The Eyes of the Overworld in nearly every respect. Again, Cugel is the protagonist. Again, Cugel is sent away to a distant and inhospitable land; again, he essays to make his way back, and has interesting episodic adventures along the way. Though written nearly twenty years after its predecessor, it reads like the second half of the same book.

So, screw it. I'll just leave you with a quote:

Faucelme returned, shaking his head in puzzlement. He seated himself in his chair and resumed his reading. Cugel came up behind him, looped the rope around his chest, again and again, and it seemed as if the rope would never exhaust the coil. Faucelme was presently trussed up in a cocoon of rope.

At last Cugel revealed himself. Faucelme looked him up and down, in curiosity rather than rancor, then asked: "May I inquire the reason for this visit?"

"It is simple stark fear," said Cugel. "I dare not pass the night out of doors, so I have come to your house for shelter."

"And the ropes?" Faucelme looked down at the web of strands which bound him into the chair.

"I would not care to offend you with the explanation," said Cugel.

"Would the explanation offend me more than the ropes?"

Cugel frowned and tapped his chin. "Your question is more profound than it might seem, and verges into the ancient analyses of the Ideal versus the Real."

Faucelme sighed. "Tonight I have no zest for philosophy. You may answer my question in terms which proximate the Real."

"In all candour, I have forgotten the question," said Cugel.

"I will re-phrase it in words of simple structure. Why have you tied me to my chair, rather than entering by the door?"

"At your urging then, I will reveal an unpleasant truth. Your reputation is that of a sly and unpredictable villain with a penchant for morbid tricks."

Faucelme gave a sad grimace. "In such a case my bare denial carries no great weight. Who are my detractors?"

Cugel smilingly shook his head. "As a gentleman of honour I must reserve this information."

"Aha indeed!" said Faucelme, and became reflectively silent.


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