Beyond the Blue Moon, by Simon R. Green

beyond-the-blue-moon-by-simon-r-green coverGenre: Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Published: 2000
Reviewer Rating: three and a half stars
Book Review by Lisa DuMond

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If this is your first foray into the amazing world of Simon R. Green, you’re in for some surprises. This is not your father’s sword-and-sorcery. Hawk and Fisher are a duo unlike any you’ve ever come across; think Nick and Nora Charles in “The Gladiator.” And get ready for a time and a place that you just can’t quite put your finger on.

Maybe you have been along with the deadly pair since they first came together in Blue Moon Rising. For those of us dropping in on number seven of the series, Green has made it easy to pick up the tale without feeling left out. At the same time, he leaves readers with an irresistible craving to read all of Hawk and Fisher’s adventures, to read in full the amazing stories mentioned in Beyond The Blue Moon. It’s a history worth investigating.

What makes this book so different from most fantasy novels? It could well be the dark humor that pervades the both narrative and the characters’ speech. There is almost nothing in their unpredictable, downright scary world that is frightening enough to knock the sarcastic quips out of their mouths. After all, the husband-and-wife duo has pretty much seen it all, and killed most of it. And, the dry wit is not restricted to the hero and heroine; each character has their own brand of twisted humor.

Perhaps it’s the fact that Hawk and Fisher just happen to be Prince Rupert and Princess Julia, respectively, heroes and legends of the Forest Kingdom. They have been idols in hiding, happy to be free of the burden of royalty, until the Questor Chance and his companion, Chappie (who just happens to be an enormous, talking, magical dog), search them out to save the Forest Kingdom, again. To keep the hero worship down, they arrive in disguise to solve the royal murder case that is threatening the peace of their homeland.

Most intriguing, though, is the where/when mystery of the series. When, exactly, all this is taking place is impossible to pinpoint. Just when you think you have it placed on the timeline, another innovation or anachronism comes along to blow that theory to bits. The where of the thing is equally elusive. Forest leads to dead land leads to port until the reader is completely at a loss to place the action anywhere on this globe.

There’s something exciting about being kept off balance. That dizzy, directionless feeling of spinning around ’til you can’t stand up. Once you grow up, you tend to miss that feeling; it’s a pleasure to find it again.

No wonder it’s such a treat to find a talent like Simon R. Green. Beyond The Blue Moon is that off-beat treat that comes around, say, once in a blue moon.

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