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Plob by Craig Zerf

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Buy Plob in the USA - or Buy Plob in the UK

author pic

pub: Troubador Publishing Ltd/Matador. 249 page enlarged paperback. Price: 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 1-905237-07-3.

check out website: www.troubador.co.uk/matador

Terry Pratchett wannabes are plentiful. Seldom are they funny. Seldom are they talented. Craig Zerf, however, is inflated with invention, well-endowed with wit and boy does he know it.

The eponymous Plob is a magician's assistant of adolescent ilk who along with his master, Smegly, embarks upon an epic quest to end the nefarious reign of King Bil De Plummer. Along the way, they encounter an assortment of fair wenches, knights, elves and, erm, cabbies who help and hinder in equal measure. Meanwhile, Plob, struggling to control his hormones as well as his hocus-pocus, strives to conjure up that one almighty spell capable of toppling King Bil and restoring peace to the land.



'Plob' is a tale of two halves, the first of which is magically fashioned by Zerf. Each character is blessed with an endearing set of foibles drawn from the author's rich fountain of medieval lampoonery such as the beautiful and barbaric barmaid Drenee and the scaredy-cat lapdog of Hell named Lycan. The humour swerves from LOTR spoof to nudge-nudge Carry-On but what is constant is Zerf's alacrity to use each scenario as a comedy teat from which to milk giggles.

Yet the longer Plob continues on his quest, the more fatigued the humour becomes. The hilarity of Plob's adventure shifts from being a shining virtue to being the proverbial ball and chain. The characters that Zerf had so lovingly breathed life into, struggle to develop under the burden of his wit and start to exist solely to regurgitate his increasingly overcooked jokes and innuendo. The lack of respect shown by the author toward his own story is encapsulated by his impatient treatment of the denouement. The final confrontation between Plob and the evil insanity of King Bil serves as a dictionary definition of the phrase, 'Can we start winding things up now please?'

Zerf appears to grow jealous of his wonderfully wrought creations and so intrusively attempts to steal the show back, lest we forget how talented he is. Even if we were to try, it would be difficult to forget or even deny Zerf's ability as a fantasy comedy writer. If only the author himself could stop reminding us, 'Plob' would be unforgettable, too.

Darren Cadapen

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