(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Fisher King trilogy chronicles the apotheosis of Scott Crane, the son of a corrupt gangster who rules a mystical realm of nebulous boundaries in the American West. Scott and his father, Georges Leon, possess magical powers that are explicitly associated with those of the Fisher King of Arthurian legend. Scott must challenge his father and assume the kingship of the West in order to save what has become a political, financial, architectural, and spiritual wasteland. Dramatizing the stages of the symbolic life of the Fisher King, each novel is set in a different season: Last Call in spring, Expiration Date in autumn, and Earthquake Weather in winter.

In Last Call, Scott attempts to reclaim the life his father stole from him. As a child, Scott was nearly turned into a soulless vessel by Leon, who uses black magic in the pursuit of longer life. Saved by his mother, Scott fled and was adopted in Los Angeles by Ozzie Crane. His legacy is the loss of one eye, a casualty of the Page of Swords card in an evil tarot deck hurled by his father. Scott becomes an avatar of the Page of Swords, also known as the One-Eyed Jack (the Jack of Hearts) and the crown prince of the King of Hearts (the Fisher King). Years later, Scott symbolically loses his life to his father again, this time in a card game called assumption, a variation of poker played with Leon’s tarot deck.

Later, at the age of forty-seven, Scott loses his...

(The entire section is 553 words.)