John C Adams Reviews 'Wizard At Large'

Wizard at Large by Terry Brooks

(Orbit, 1988)

If you don't like your fantasy too serious, or simply want a break from more mainstream epic fantasy tales, then Terry Brooks may be the author for you. His writing certainly works for me when I'm in the latter frame of mind. 'Wizard at Large' is the third novel in the Magic Kingdom of Landover series.

Brooks is one of fantasy's bestselling living authors, having sold over twenty-five million copies. His work is enduringly popular for its good humour, its refusal to take itself too seriously and its loveable characters thrown into messy situations, often of their own making. It is such a feel-good experience to read one of his books. Twenty-three of his books are New York Times bestsellers. Some authors just make you feel good for their humour, their accessible personality and refusal to take life too seriously and for being able to produce memorable characters who can't help falling into scrapes. Brooks is definitely in that category.

Widower Ben Holiday previously traveled through a magic portal to Landover and is now its High Lord. However, the consequences of magic misused in earlier books is still playing out. Abernathy is still stuck in dog form and, when the court wizard tries to return him to human form, Abernathy disappears completely taking the High Lord's medallion with him. A bottle is left behind, which is then stolen by mischievous gnomes. It contains a Darkling, which is like an evil genie.

Abernathy is transported to Earth and turns up at the home of the son of the old High Lord. Michel Ard Rhi is his sworn enemy. Ben and Willow, his girlfriend, follow Abernathy to Earth to rescue him. Chaos is unleashed in Seattle as a result.

The story sits squarely in the intrusion fantasy subgenre courtesy of the return journey to Earth by Ben along with various fantastical creatures and the presence of magic, which causes a great deal of disruption. There is much emphasis of fun and japes rather than serious danger, and the effect is entertaining rather than dark and sinister. I loved this book for being a good-natured break from more serious fantasy novels. It isn't a long book, at just shy of three-hundred pages, and the presence of Willow as love interest and a happy romantic conclusion means that the novel ends on precisely the right upbeat tone.

Ben and Willow were likeable and decent, the nonhuman characters such as gnomes provided plenty of impetus to the disruption that drove the story line and I loved the intrusion of these forces into our everyday world.

Thank you so much for reading my review of 'Wizard At Large' by Terry Brooks. Please feel free to share recommendations for fantasy novels you've enjoyed in the comments section below.

My next review is on Friday for 'Weekend Watchers'. I'll see you then!

Many thanks to photographer Alessandro Paiva for providing the cover image for this blog via

Featured Posts
Recent Posts