The Compleat Piers Anthony|
Dor was having troubles growing up to be the next Magician-King of the magic Land of Xanth. He wanted no part of running the Kingdom. But now Good King Trent was leaving on a trade mission to non-magical Mundania, home of such weird beasts as horses and bears, so Dor had to take over as King for a week.
A week passes. No Trent. Then three weeks. King Trent still hadn't returned. Surely, something terrible had happened; he was apparently held captive in some foul dungeon, unable to escape.
Dor was left with the burden of ruling- and with Irene, who was entirely too willing to be his Queen! His only hope was to enter Mundania and free King Trent. But how could it be done without the powers of magic?
Nevertheless, he started forth bravely-together with Irene, a golem, a centaur, and a young ogre- heading for the far south of Xanth. The entrance to Mundania, of course, lay to the North.
An excerpt ...
Now the music swelled to sublime urgency, and the bridal procession appeared. First came Millie-The-Ghost, radiant in her maid-of-honor gown, her sex appeal making the monsters drool. Then the bride herself stepped out, but not even the boldest dragon or tangle tree would care to stare the Gorgon in the face. Behind her trooped the three-year-old twins that Millie and the Zombie Master had generated. Dor wondered whether these angelic tots had manifested their magic talents yet.
Slowly the Gorgon swept forward, in the renewed hush of dread and expectation. Dor saw with a small start that she had donned dark glasses, a Mundane import, so that even her eyes behind the gauzy veil seemed real.
The Zombie Master nodded to Dor. It was time for the King to read the Service. Dor opened the book with trembling fingers. "We are gathered here to hogtie this poor idiot--to this conniving wench--"
The demons sniggered. A snake stuck its head out over the Gorgon's veil and hissed. Something was definitely wrong. Dor tapped the book with one forefinger.
"But it says right here ... The gride and broom shall-"
There was a raucous creaking sound that cut through the chamber. Then the Zombie Master's whisk-broom flew out of his pocket and hovered before Dor.
Astonished, Dor asked it: "What are you doing here?"
"I'm the broom," it replied. "You invoked the gride and broom, didn't you?"
"What's a gride?"
"You heard it. Awful noise."
Now Millie spoke to her daughter. "Did you change the print?"
Dor caught on. The child's talent-changing printed text!
The Zombie Master grimaced. "We should have used Zombies to carry the train, but Millie wouldn't have it. Let's try again."
It's not easy being a substitute king in Xanth, a land where everyone has the ability to work a magic spell. But when King Trent and Queen Iris leave for a much-needed vacation, the young magician Dor has to take charge, reluctantly, governing the centaurs, golems, ogres, medusas and other inhabitants of Xanth.
When Trent and Iris fail to return, Dor and his friends Smash the ogre, Grundy the golem, Chet the centaur and the beautiful (but difficult) Princess Irene fear that something terrible must have happened, and they set out on a desperate rescue mission. During their peril-fraught search through Xanth, King Trent appears in a dream and directs Dor and his party to medieval Mundania, where the royal couple are being held prisoner. And only a mysterious power called the "centaur aisle" can release them....
Mundania, however, a land of ordinary things, lacks magic, and the powers of Dor and his friends will be useless there. Moreover, even if they can rescue the royal family, there will still be the problem of returning to Xanth.
And what in heaven's name is the Centaur Aisle?
A delightful fantasy/adventure, sequel to the series begun in The Magic of Xanth.Centaur Aisle [4th book in the Xanth series]
Del Rey Paperback Edition 1977, 294 pages.
Del Rey Trade Paperback Edition July 1997
Turtleback Hardbound Edition [!!]
Science Fiction Book Club Hardbound Edition 1981, 274 pages.
London: Macdonald and Co., 1984. Hardbound Edition 294 pages.
[Published in] The Continuing Xanth Saga
Click on picture for a larger view.
This paperback edition is signed by the cover artist Michael Whelan.
Michael was also the artist for The Franklin Mint Xanth Figure Collection.
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