Thraxas (1999)


Thraxas, the first in a long running series about a detective in a second world fantasy is sort of urban fantasy, but of a different kind than what you usually get. It shares the UF sensibilities in terms of merging detective fiction with fantasy, but not in a modern, contemporary setting.

It’s very similar to Glen Cook’s Garret Files, although Garrett was more brawn than brains (at least initially and more due to be being lazy), while Thraxas is more brain than brawn’s (well, not quite true either, but due to being fat he’s not one for too much fighting, even if he’s good enough at it).

Arguably Martin Scott’s and Cook’s series as well, are much more urban fantasy than what we usually associate with that name. Both worlds are ruled by city-states, where travel to other places is slow and limited. Fleshing out the cities themselves is part of what makes these series so appealing, though the first Thraxas book gives the feeling of a much more generic, typical fantasy setting that in itself isn’t as appealing yet, if there weren’t the compelling writing and Thraxas down-to-earth and easily relatable character.

He’s lazy, fat, full of vices, yet social enough to get around and smart enough to get his job done (though probably not as smart as he thinks he is). He’s doing as much as he needs to, to fill his belly and get something to drink, but no more, at least if he has too. Might not make him a role model, but it’s something most people will understand and be amused by.

Oh, yeah, and the plot in the first novel has various cases that are actually all kind of connected and allow the book to introduce a variety of characters and institutions naturally while keeping Thraxas busy.

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