fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsTriumff: Her Majesty’s Hero by Dan AbnettTriumff: Her Majesty’s Hero by Dan Abnett

It’s 2010 and Queen Elizabeth XXX is on the throne of a magical alternate England. When the throne is threatened, Sir Rupert Triumff, discoverer of Australia, comes to the rescue.

I’ll make this short. I didn’t get very far with Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero. The story is a comedy of the sort that has no appeal to me. It’s written in a self-consciously long-winded style where extensive detailed descriptions and explanations of every minor person and place keep interrupting the plot in order to provide background trivia and to crack jokes. Unfortunately, the trivia isn’t interesting or relevant and the jokes aren’t funny. By the end of the first chapter I felt buried under minutiae and puerility. Here’s just one example (read the first chapter at Amazon to get more of the sense of it):

Gonzalo would attempt to distract Her Majesty with discourses on the correct stringing of the composite bow, the training of the dog pack, the pros and cons of the frog-crotch barb, crossbows for pleasure and profit, detecting grot-worm in the stools of bow-hounds, and sundry other secrets of the huntsman’s art. Frequently he would invite the Queen to join him for an afternoon in the Park. She always declined, having pressing business of national import to attend in the Star Chamber. Elizabeth XXIV’s private diaries reveal that the “pressing business of national import” was almost always a game of tiddlywinks with members of the Privy Council. They also related that she referred to Gonzalo as “that smelly maniac with the arrows”.

Pretty much every paragraph is like this. I was unamused and bored. I skipped ahead to see if things got better, but they didn’t. So I gave up. Life’s too short…

By the way, I was listening to Simon Vance read the audio version produced by Brilliance Audio. I doubt there is any audio reader who would deny that Simon Vance is one of the best narrators in the business. But even Simon Vance couldn’t save Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero for me.

Readers who enjoy puns and bathroom humor will probably like Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero better than I did.

Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero — (2010) Publisher: Sir Rupert Triumff. Adventurer. Fighter. Drinker. Saviour? Pratchett goes swashbuckling in the hotly anticipated original fiction debut of the multi-million selling Warhammer star. Triumff is a ribald historical fantasy set in a warped clockwork-powered version of our present day — a new Elizabethan age, not of Elizabeth II but in the style of the original Virgin Queen. Throughout its rollicking pages, Sir Rupert Triumff drinks, dines and duels his way into a new Brass Age of Exploration and Adventure. FILE UNDER: Fantasy [An Age of Alchemy / A Dashing Swordsman / The Queen Must Die]


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.