Man from Mundania (Xanth, Book 12)
But Grundy knew she was surely fated for someone better than he. Besides, the Sea Hag still pursued them to destroy him and get her back. Crewel Lye. A knight of ghosts and shadows! Jordan was a ghost in Castle Roogna now, spending his time with little five-year-old Ivy and watching his own past unfold on the magic tapestry.
But once he had been a valorous knight, riding his ghost horse Pook on a fabulous and dangerous mission. He had been betrayed with a cruel lie by two wily magicians and the woman he loved. He had been killed at the end, and his bones had been scattered. Now he could not even remember where they had been buried.
But all that had been four hundred years before. Nobody who was alive today knew or cared where his bones might be. It was hardly the proper ending for a gallant adventure! Dragon on a Pedestal.
There is trouble in Xanth again—all kinds of trouble, in fact. The Gap Dragon had escaped from the Gap and was ravaging across the land. The forget-spell that had covered the Gap was breaking up into small forget-whorls that wandered about, giving amnesia to all they touched.
Good Magician Humfrey might have had the Answer, but he had overdosed on water from the Fountain of Youth and was only a helpless baby. While Irene sought her without much hope, Ivy was wandering further into danger, her memories erased by a passing forget-whorl. Her path was leading her directly to where the Gap Dragon was seeking dinner. Night Mare. The danger to Xanth was so great that only a night mare could offer hope!
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The Nextwave of barbarian warriors was invading Xanth from the north, ravaging and destroying as they advanced. But Mare Imbrium had her own problems. Ever since she had gained the half soul, the night mare had begun to mishandle her job of delivering bad dreams. Now the night Stallion dismissed her, exiling her to the day world with a message for King Trent: Beware the Horseman!
She had no idea what that meant. But that was the way with prophetic warnings—nobody could understand them until it was too late. Then she met the Horseman. And she discovered that one who would right a night mare was a master of a bit and spur, and not a man to surrender her. For the night mare, it all began to be a horrible nightmare! Ogre, Ogre. When a Nymph rides a Night Mare, Ogre beware!
Smash knew all about ogres. After all, despite his having a human mother, Smash was an ogre himself. Ogres were not only huge and horribly ugly, as Smash was; they were also so stupid they could hardly speak, and they spent most of their time fighting, destroying, and eating young girls. So what was he doing here with seven assorted females looking to him to guide them and save them?
Man from Mundania - Xanth book 12 - Piers Anthony - cover artist Darrell K. Sweet
Even in Xanth, where magic made anything possible, why should Tandy the Nymph trust him and seem fond of him? And how could all that high-flown conversation be coming out of his mouth? But that, it seemed, was what he got for going to Good Magician Humfrey for an Answer—before he even knew what the Question was! Centaur Aisle. The magic of Xanth was useless in Mundania—until Dor tried honesty! Dor was having troubles growing up to be the next Magician-King of the magic Land of Xanth.
He wanted no part of running the Kingdom. But now the Good King Trent was leaving on a trade mission to non-magical Mundania, home of such weird beasts as horses and bears, so Dor had to take over as King for a week. A week passes. No Trent.
Man from Mundania (Xanth, No. 12)
Then three weeks. Surely, something terrible had happened; he was apparently held captive in some foul dungeon, unable to escape. Dor was left with the burden of ruling—and with Irene, who was entirely too willing to be his Queen! His only hope was to enter Mundania and free King Trent. But how could it be done without the powers of magic? Her magic ability is to become three distinct beings: Wynne, a borderline mentally retarded woman a can of worms unto itself whose lack of intelligence goes hand in hand with her promiscuity—yes, there is slut-shaming in this book; Dee, who is average in both looks and smarts, at least according to Bink, who has demonstrated a surplus of neither of those qualities himself; and Fanchon, a hideous hag with enough cold, calculating cleverness to intrigue Bink—and to rescue his ass on more than once occasion.
Chameleon has no control over her metamorphosis. It gets worse. Later on the same page, Bink explains in more detail his view of women to Chameleon, the one he supposedly loves:. You are—variety. And that is what I crave for the long-term relationship—and what no other girl can provide. Taking such quotes out of context can color them negatively—not that these need any help. But in this case, the full context of Spell only makes them worse.
Man from Mundania (Xanth, No. 12), Anthony, Piers, Good Book | eBay
When expressed, these notions go unchallenged by other characters. Misogyny saturates almost every page. The objectification of women is the default setting of Xanth, and no other view of women is even within the spectrum of possibility. But even if it were, these backward notions are not presented as some kind of social examination or, God forbid, critique.
Spell is an eminently stupid book; such subtlety is beyond it. With basilisks and shit. Speaking of basilisks: Bestiality is a central plot point of Spell. Bink discovers that the underpopulation of Xanth is a result of all the human-on-monster sex that goes down across the land thanks to a bit of magical, naturally occurring aphrodisiac. Earlier in the book, under the thrall of that aphrodisiac, he gets a hard-on for a harpy.
Monsters are not the most unsettling thing Bink gets aroused by in Spell. During his first meeting with Iris, the sorceress changes her appearance numerous times in an attempt to seduce Bink. Then this happens:.
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The alluring fourteen-year-old reappeared. Bink was suddenly, forcefully tempted. There were times when he wanted this, though he had never dared admit it openly. What exactly is the desire that Bink has, the one that dare not speak its name? Being able to have sex with a variety of women at the snap of his fingers?