Matthew Hughes’ Fools Errant and Fool Me Twice are prequels to his Henghis Hapthorn books. Only not really “prequels” because they were written before the Hapthorn books, but I’ve never gotten anyone to give me a word that means the opposite of sequel, so let’s just go with prequel for now. As far as actual reading order goes, either way is fine; if you read these first, the Hapthorn books will illuminate certain facets of the world that were glanced over here; if you read those first, vice versa.

I mentioned in my entries about the Hapthorn books that Hughes was writing in a milieu reminiscent of Vance, and that’s doubly true with these books. Structurally, Fools Errant is basically Eyes of the Overworld , featuring a hapless/clever protagonist gadding about the world and getting into episodic adventures in strange and unusual lands — but where Cugel was amoral and left destruction in his wake, Filidor Vesh is a kind-hearted fellow who leaves improvement and beneficial change in his wake. Different too is that Hughes’ books have more narrative cohesion and character development to them. They’re not just series of episodes, they’re episodes that build up to larger revelations and developments in a way that Vance never quite did.

Hughes may not have quite the stylistic verve and rampant originality of Vance, but who does? Setting aside that imposing and unfair comparison, Hughes is a great stylist and incredibly original. If you’re looking for a light, witty adventure story, a guilty pleasure without the guilt, you’ll want to track these books down. (They’re out of print, but not hard to find; there’s also a book club omnibus version, entitled Gullible’s Travels.)


{{}} said {{timeAgo(comment.datetime)}}