The Anvil of the World

Posted by : atcampbell | On : February 1, 2005

The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker

Of the 8 people who gathered to discuss this light, humorous fantasy, 6 had started the book and 5 had finished. Five people had read Baker before.

The book is composed of three related novellas about a retired assassin named Smith. In the first novella, originally published in Asimov’s as “The Caravan from Troon,” Smith leads a caravan across a bandit-and-demon-infested wasteland and must deal with murder, magic, and crazy characters. In the second novella Smith becomes a hotelkeeper and in the last novella he goes on a quest for the Key of Unmaking and discovers his destiny.

Everyone enjoyed this first fantasy novel by Baker and found it a nice change from her Company novels. Most of the readers thought the first novella was the best, with a great hook, but the last novella ended too quickly. We wished there had been transitions between the three novellas, or at least some indication that one had ended and the next had started.

Baker created such well-drawn characters that they could be told apart even though many of them were named Smith. The young part-demon lord (whom Baker developed from Jethro Tull songs) and his demon nurse were hilarious, especially the purgative treatment that purged his tattoo. We look forward to more humor from Baker.

–Sandy Kayser