Have you ever thought of escaping from this world into another reality where you could be… a king? In Terry Brooks’ Magic Kingdom for Sale it seems possible. Ben Holiday, a successful lawyer from Chicago, is trying to get his life back to normal after his wife’s death in a car accident. A couple of weeks before Christmas he notices a strange advertising in an exclusive presents’ catalogue: someone is offering a kingdom for sale.
Oh yes, a real kingdom – with dragons, fairies, dwarves and other magical creatures – if, of course, you believe in such things. Curious but skeptical, Ben meets the salesman Meeks, who is not authorized to share much information about the kingdom in question but is eager to sell it for… one million dollars. Although it looks like he’s buying a cat in a bag, Ben accepts the offer and is transported with the help of a magical medallion into the magic kingdom of Landover.
Here his adventures start according to a classic scenario where a person from 20th century is at first taking everything with a pinch of salt but eventually starts to like this new world, where everything is so beautifully different. For example, Ben’s court is far from what he expected: there is Questor Thews, a court wizard, whose knowledge of magic is rather restricted and a court scribe Abernathy is a man who has been transformed by accident into a dog… Apart from those two servants, Landover has, at the beginning, surprisingly little to offer – Ben discovers that there are many problems to solve and it is not quite easy even for a king…
The story’s style is simple but in some way enchanting: each chapter is exciting and offers one new challenges and riddles, which may be solved by the end of the book. Although characters may seem somewhat flat, each of them has a personal background, revealed within the main course of events. Ben’s skepticism and attitude to life are also changing in time and this transformation is interesting to follow.
All in all, it is a page turned from 1987 for those who want to relax, reading about one’s adventures in a magic world of Landover.
German translation: Königreich zu verkaufen
How to get: Amazon Kindle edition (paper cover is quite a rarity)