An Orc on the Wild Side by Tom Holt

Tom Holt has written a very funny book. Using a smattering of characters, he satirizes countless absurdities of our modern life.

*Barry and Patty are a retired human couple who have moved to a tower in The Realms. After a way across the multiverses is found, many humans have crossed over to live amongst the interesting natives. They struggle with adjustments to their life outside of the UK…

*The Dwarven king and his human cook who enter into an interesting import business bringing in miscellaneous human gadgets to stimulate the economy.

*And most importantly, the King of Evil, Mordak the Orc. He rules over the goblin horde and in his reign he has tried to rebrand the nature of his evil to ‘opposite of good.’ It’s a ‘New Evil’ ‘Tough on Good. Tough on Causes of Good!’ Yet, he is experiences a bit of frustration in implementing his policies. In one particular scene, his peons come to him with an execution list of goblins who are not making a ‘living wage.’ The conversation that ensues is hilarious. There are lots of other fun character throw in also. The wraith who wants to be a model is pretty darn funny.

The threads move forward fairly separately and it isn’t until about half way through that they start to connect. Holt gives the characters time to stand on their own and for the readers to really get to know them. The plot is low key, no bashing about or large scale sieges… the focus is the two-way mirror between the fantasy realm and the humanity. The result is a series of hilarious and telling scenes that hit hard on our contemporary trials of life.

If you are a fan of comic fantasy, this is one you need to get on your radar.

4 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, Orbit Books, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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