18 August 2009
Cornelius Quaint Conjures Up An Adventure
PEOPLE often seem to doubt that I ever take the time to read books. ‘Tis true that being an aristocratic adventurer and gentle-man of action is incredibly busy work, which thus leaves me with very little free time. And the free time I do secure, I usually spend romping with dusky maidens, or drunk out of my noble skull.
That is not to say that I am a dim-witted poltroon who shuns all forms of literature. Why, I have read the Karma Sutra several times over (and, indeed, submitted several extra positions), and only the other day I was happily leafing through ‘Strumpets With Trumpets‘ magazine, a fine read indeed.
However, once in a while I will sit down to tackle a novel of some description, especially if it promises rip-roaring adventure and lashings of intrigue – which brings me to Mr. Darren Craske’s fine début, The Equivoque Principle, which I completed reading very recently. ‘Tis a book The Times news-paper declared to be full of, ‘boisterous comedy and hairpin plot twists’, which is nice – but of course, the only opinion really worth hearing is mine, and it is that opinion I shall be sharing with you, in this my very first book review!
And then, as if that was not already thrilling enough, I shall be giving YOU – my dear, loyal readers – the chance to win one of FIVE copies of this very tome! Huzzah, and then huzzah some more!
But first, let me tell you more about the fiction in question. The Equivoque Principle is an adventure set in London, in 1853. It follows the exploits of a group of performers hailing from Dr. Marvello’s Travelling Circus, who find themselves embroiled in a terrible mystery after one of their number is killed, with another – the strongman Prometheus – accused of the murder.
As the bodies pile up, and the plot thickens, it is up to the circus’ leader, the master conjurer Cornelius Quaint, to get to the bottom of the whole sorry business, and clear Prometheus’ name. But it quickly transpires that there is much more to this affair than Quaint had ever hoped – or indeed feared…
(It is at this point you should imagine some deeply ominous and incredibly dramatic chords being played).
So, did I – Lord Likely, Aristocratic Adventurer and Gentle-Man of Action – enjoy this tale of murder and mystery? In a word, yes. In two words: oh yes!
The Equivoque Principle is a highly enjoyable read, which rolls along at a furious pace, barely letting up at all. The chapters are remarkably short, which is perfect if, like me, you are reading the book in between bouts of vigorous intercourse, or whilst embroiled in a round of fisticuffs with a nefarious blaggard. However, as the mystery deepens, and the danger increases, I found myself reading many chapters in a row, wilfully succumbing to that old ‘just one more chapter…’ syndrome synonymous with the page-turning adventure (a feeling I am sure all of you are familiar with as well, eh?)
I was rather surprised to see Mr. Quaint accompanied on his mission by an Eskimo assistant named Butter, who I first assumed to be some sort of distant relation to my own man-servant, Botter. However, after reading about how very intelligent, resourceful, and utterly non-repellent Butter was, I realised that such thinking was pure folly on my part. Butter is like the anti-Botter, a valet one would be delighted to have on one’s side, rather than a valet who speaks from his backside.
The main protagonist of the piece is the aforementioned magician Cornelius Quaint, whom I warmed to very quickly. An older gent of impeccable breeding and good manners, Quaint also has a nose for a jolly good adventure, and is not afraid to wade into battle when the need arises, and break some noses.
I liked Mr. Quaint greatly, and found him to be a most agreeable chap whom I would happily accompany to a nearby tavern for a few beers…although I dare say that I would politely refuse to partake in any card-games with the quick-handed conjurer. Heaven knows I have lost enough in card-games before now.
Anyway: yes. I thoroughly enjoyed The Equivoque Principle, and reckon it to be a ridiculously readable and remarkably rousing romp, resplendent with ribald repartee, ruthless rogues and rollicking risk-taking. Which is not easy for me to say, I can tell you. Especially when sloshed.
If I might make two small complaints, they would be that there should have been illustrations throughout (or at least at the part where a beautiful woman exposes her ample cleavage to a pub landlord) and I would also request lashings of nookie (or at least at the part where a beautiful woman exposes her ample cleavage to a pub landlord).
As I understand it, further Cornelius Quaint adventures are in the offing, and I look forward to reading more exhilarating escapades, with hopefully more cleavage shots.
Good show, Mr. Craske!
Now then – to business! My good chums at The Friday Project (the wondrous HarperCollins imprint who published this book) have generously donated five copies of The Equivoque Principle to me, to pass onto five lucky readers. Not only that, but they are five copies of the limited-edition hardback, each one signed by Mr. Darren Craske himself! Only the best for my loyal readers, you know.
To win one of these excellent prizes, just answer this simple, magic-related question:
Is this your card?
The five most witty, interesting, inventive, or imaginative responses shall secure the prizes, so get thine thinking-hats on, and then leave a comment below, or contact me by electrical missive at firstname.lastname@example.org
My decision is final, no correspondence shall be entered into, sexual favours, however, may well yield results.
The closing date for entries is Monday the 24th of August, at 1pm British Time (i.e the correct time). Good luck, chums!
Alternatively, if you wish to buy yourself a copy right this instant, then you can purchase the recently-released paperback through Amazon (although why anyone would choose to purchase books from a jungle I shall never know – you might get bitten by a monkey or something.) Alternatively, you can even buy it for a remarkably reasonable price in Electronic Book form, from Waterstone’s. Hooray!
Good luck again and toodle-pip for now!
– Lord Likely.