A mystery, an adventure, a love story, and a rite of passage give this offbeat fantasy novel a wide appeal. The story centers on Ben Holiday, a successful attorney who has never gotten over the death of his wife, Anne. He feels that life is no longer worth living. He then sees an ad in the catalog of a high-priced New York department store: “MAGIC KINGDOM FOR SALE.”
Of course it cannot be true, but it is, and so are the king-sized problems that go with it. Questor Thews, the broken-down court wizard, cannot seem to get his magic right. Abernathy, the court scribe, happens to be a large terrier. There is no army, no legal system, no money in the treasury, no one trusts anyone else, and there is a demon looking to kill Ben. Indeed, it soon becomes clear that Ben Holiday has been set up in a situation guaranteed to self-destruct and to destroy him in the process. The only wild card is Ben himself, who has determined that he will succeed.
The many strands of the action are successfully woven into a magic tapestry by Brooks, a practicing attorney whose writing credits include the successful SHANNARA fantasy series. This entertaining novel offers a timely, yet universal message: Even seemingly insurmountable problems will succumb to a combination of courage, determination, intelligence, and empathy.