Once upon a time, everything was fine. Humpty Dumpty sat on his wall, Jack and Jill went about their lawful business, the Big Bad Wolf did what big bad wolves do, and the wicked queen plotted murder most foul. But the humans hacked, cried havoc, shut down the wicked queen's system, and corrupted her database-and suddenly everything was not fine at all. But at least we know that they'll all live happily ever after. Don't we?
A Song for Nero is a 570 page independent "what if" novel first published in 2003 and written by the well-recognized witty and humorous fantasy author Tom Holt. The concept of the novel is interesting. After describing the circumstances of Nero's death, Abacus's summary states, "History, however, does not always tell the truth, and there is another possibility ... Nero did not die in that ditch, but somebody who looked very much like him did. This means that Nero has the opportunity to start a new life in pursuit of his first love: music. But there's a problem: he is being pursued by two people who have reason to suspect he is still alive and at least one of them wants him dead. A SONG FOR NERO is a remarkable historical novel, written with style, wit and authenticity. Whether or not it is a true story, however, remains a matter of speculation. What gives the novel its greatest color is the engaging, irreverent narrator, the scam artist who accompanies Nero on his picaresque travels. Full of schemes for cheating the picturesque inhabitants of the ancient Mediterranean world out of their gold and silver coins, he has, as Seneca, "the wisest man in the world," observes, an Epicurean's devotion to his own pleasure and personal advantage that he defends with the determinism of the Stoics in a racy, profane, colloquial style that has a very anachronistic modern flavor.
As everyone knows, when great warriors die, their reward is eternal life in Odin's bijou little residence known as Valhalla. But Valhalla has just changed. It has grown. It has diversified. Just like any corporation, the Valhalla Group has had to adapt to survive. Unfortunately, not even an omniscient Norse god could have prepared Valhalla for the arrival of Carol Kortright, one-time cocktail waitress, last seen dead, and not at all happy.
Digging up the remains of an ancient band of Vikings, archaeologist Hildy is astounded when they rise from the dead, bearing an appetite for seagulls, a twelve-thousand-year-old grudge, and a thirst for war.
It was a busy day on Lake Chicopee, where an eclectic bunch of sightseers and tourists had the strange local residents rubbing their hands with delight. Among them was a young man from England, who was there because he knew about the legend of the ghost of Okeewana and what she promised.
Being a hero bothers Jason Derry. It's easy to get maladjusted when your mom's a suburban housewife and your dad's the Supreme Being. It can be a real drag slaying monsters and retrieving golden fleeces from fire-spitting dragons, and then having to tidy your room before you can watch Star Trek. But it's not the relentless tedium of imperishable glory that finally brings Jason to the end of his rope; it's something so funny that it's got to be taken seriously. Deadly seriously.
Colin Hollinghead is a young man going nowhere fast. Working for his dad might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but starting at the bottom in the widget-making industry has, predictably, lost its appeal. And now the business is in trouble. At least his father has a plan to turn things around-a new work force that will improve profit margins and secure the company's future for all eternity. The deal looks great on paper, but they do say that the devil is in the detail-and the arch fiend definitely seems to be involved in some capacity. Colin needs help. Perhaps his new friend from J.W. Wells & Co. (Practical and Effective Magicians, Sorcerers and Supernatural Consultants) can help...
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