A prince loses half of his body when he drinks the wine of the gods as a child. Years later, when he has grown up, he is forced to regain his lost half, save the kingdom and find a bride as well.
Barnes has written a fairy tale with a twist, all people know that they live in a fairy tale world and that they are part of a story, that some things have to happen in the proper order of fairy tales so that the destiny of the main character is revealed and followed. The story nearly follows the same path as fairy tales do, takes all the right steps, and in doing so evokes exactly the same magic that fairy tales have; despite that it’s more modern in characterization and has its share of subtle humor that at times shows that the writer is aware that the reader is aware that it’s only a fairy tale, yet it embraces it with all the fun one could have by reading or writing such a story.
If there’s one thing that doesn’t work, it exactly this shared knowledge of reader, writer and characters that it’s only a story, the illusion of reality every book tries to create is slightly disturbed by this. Still a good book.