Gentlemen of the Road
A Tale of AdventureBook - 2007
Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, sprang from an early passion for the derring-do and larger-than-life heroes of classic comic books. Now, once more mining the rich past, Chabon summons the rollicking spirit of legendary adventures–from The Arabian Nights to Alexandre Dumas to Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories–in a wonderful new novel brimming with breathless action, raucous humor, cliff-hanging suspense, and a cast of colorful characters worthy of Scheherazade’s most tantalizing tales.
They’re an odd pair, to be sure: pale, rail-thin, black-clad Zelikman, a moody, itinerant physician fond of jaunty headgear, and ex-soldier Amram, a gray-haired giant of a man as quick with a razor-tongued witticism as he is with a sharpened battle-ax. Brothers under the skin, comrades in arms, they make their rootless way through the Caucasus Mountains, circa A.D. 950, living as they please and surviving however they can–as blades and thieves for hire and as practiced bamboozlers, cheerfully separating the gullible from their money. No strangers to tight scrapes and close shaves, they’ve left many a fist shaking in their dust, tasted their share of enemy steel, and made good any number of hasty exits under hostile circumstances.
None of which has necessarily prepared them to be dragooned into service as escorts and defenders to a prince of the Khazar Empire. Usurped by his brutal uncle, the callow and decidedly ill-tempered young royal burns to reclaim his rightful throne. But doing so will demand wicked cunning, outrageous daring, and foolhardy bravado . . . not to mention an army. Zelikman and Amram can at least supply the former. But are these gentlemen of the road prepared to become generals in a full-scale revolution? The only certainty is that getting there–along a path paved with warriors and whores, evil emperors and extraordinary elephants, secrets, swordplay, and such stuff as the grandest adventures are made of–will be much more than half the fun.
Baker & Taylor
In the Kingdom of Aran, in the Caucasus Mountains in 950 A.D., two adventurers wander the region, plying their trade as swords for hire, until they become involved in a bloody coup in the medieval Jewish empire of the Khazars as bodyguards for a fugitive prince.
In the Kingdom of Aran, in the Caucasus Mountains, in 950 A.D., two adventurers wander the region, plying their trade as swords for hire, until they become embroiled in a bloody coup in the medieval Jewish empire of the Khazars as bodyguards for a fugitive prince with a mysterious secret.
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Set more than 1000 years ago, in Khazaria, the fabled kingdom of wild, red-haired Jews,this tale of “Jews with Swords” involves Filaq, young heir to the recently deposed king of the Khazars. He is traveling under duress to his grandfather’s house with his guardian when they come across the heroes of the book. Zelikman is a morose, Frankish physician, and, Amram, his gigantic, Abysinian friend. When the guardian is murdered by the pursuers, these two swindlers, horse thieves, bodyguards for hire, endeavor to complete the task and collect the reward for Filaq’s safe delivery Their attempts to restore Filaq to the throne make for a terrifically entertaining, modern pulp adventure replete with marauding armies, drunken Vikings, beautiful prostitutes, and rampaging elephants.
A significant change from Chabon's weightier novels, this dazzling trifle is simply terrific fun.
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