The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The two volumes of Brigadier Ffellowes stories contain the title character’s exploits as told to members of his New York club. With the exception of the final story, all were published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction between 1968 and 1982. The first volume begins with “His Only Safari” (1970). Ffellowes is in the forested Abadare hills of Kenya in December, 1939, looking for an Axis agent who is also an Egyptologist. Ffellowes is hunted by the Kerit (Nandi Bear), which is amazingly clever. He finds the agent, who grasps his theory that the Kerits drove the proto-Egyptians north. The agent becomes a Kerit and is killed along with the other hunting Kerit.

“The Kings of the Sea” (1968) is set in Sweden in 1938. An accidental meeting with Baron Nyderstrom, whose nurse has ill-advisedly tried to rid him of some old paraphernalia, leads to a crisis meeting with Jormungandir’s Children, the monstrous Old Norse precursors. Nyderstrom is the last of the kings who can intercede with them and does so, to save the world. He emerges happily, having met his future bride.

“His Coat so Gay” (1970) takes place in Middleburg, a town in the eastern United States, in the early 1930’s. Canler Waldron, a young head of his family, invites his friend Ffellowes to hunt. Although Ffellowes offends his host by not wearing a traditional English pink coat (he belongs to a special brightly clad society), Canler’s family wears green. Ffellowes and Canler’s sister Betty fall in love. As a result, Betty saves him when, at the Irish Feast of Sam’Hain, Canler vengefully causes various creatures such as the Dead Horse and the Firbolgs to hunt him as a sacrificial English foe.

“The Leftovers” (1969) places Ffellowes in the Ha-dhramaut of Oman in 1924. He strays too close to the shore, avoiding the desert, and barely escapes being eaten by Paleolithic cannibals.

In 1941, in the aftermath of the German invasion, Ffellowes and his Greek companion are shipwrecked on an island in “A Feminine Jurisdiction” (1969). A German officer, similarly stranded, tries to take command, but his arrogance results in his being destroyed by the sisters...

(The entire section is 898 words.)