Lex Trent: Fighting With Fire

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One can even say that the very nature of literature and the rapport between reader and book is at balance whenever an anti-hero shows up. And I simply love that. On another level Lex Trent versus The Gods it is just a plain good book. And with an incredibly creative world-building and a great self-contained story. Lex Trent after going on the run discovers that he has been chosen to be one of the players in the infamous Games: played by hree Gods who picks three humans to compete against each other; Lex is chosen by the Goddess of Fortune even though he would love to have been chosen by the God of Wit and Daring.

From a scene where Lex stands between a rock and a hard place or a medusa and a gladiator to flying a ship with his mind, to facing what he fears the most, to some other people that appear in the book I am being elusive on purpose , to the twists and surprises and details that matter everything that Lex says or thinks has a reason , for all that, Lex Trent Versus The Gods was a damn good read.

No one knew the precise date when the Globe had split in half. For many hundreds of years the Lands Above and the Lands Beneath had been nothing more than a metaphorical, symbolical divide.

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But then, one day, the Gods decided that they had had enough — more than enough, in fact — of their subjects complaining and pestering and whining at them day and night. Being the focus of so much worship can be a tiring business. The Gods needed somewhere that would be quiet — a place they could call their own. And thus, one fateful day, the earth shook and trembled and a great split appeared right across the centre and then the two halves cracked apart like a giant, cosmic, galactic Easter egg.

No one alive today could remember the Great Divide, of course, for it had happened many millennia ago now. One might think the planet had never split in half at all had it not been for the ladders. Physicists had happily debated for hours on end how the split was even possible, for the general consensus seemed to be that the planet had been spherical once but now. A dumbbell that had been stood up vertically. The top weight was the Lands Above, the bottom weight was the Lands Beneath and the bar in the middle was the ladders stretching between the two discs.

If you travelled to a certain place in the centre of the Lands Above, you could look down over the edge and see them — thousands and thousands of ladders stretching away through space, linking the top of the planet to its bottom half — the province of the Gods. It was a breathtaking, awe-inspiring sight. Some of the ladders were solid, built of wood and metal and attached to platforms below.

Others were no more than rope ladders, waving lightly in the breeze and dusted with space frost. Just as physicists had debated the mechanics of the Split itself, philosophers had argued heatedly about the theological significance of ladders being used to join the two halves of the planet together.

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After all, it seemed a most curious choice when the Gods had forbidden people to ever attempt the journey down to the Lands Beneath. It was like giving a fat child a gigantic chocolate lolly and sternly telling him he must never lick it. Some said the Gods had used ladders as a test or a temptation or a trick or some other grandly significant theological, symbolical, philosophical form of gesture. Others said it was just because Ladderworld went into liquidation around that time as a consequence of being supremely dull and so there was a surplus of raw materials readily available.

But — at any rate — no one had ever attempted the forbidden journey. For one thing, it would take hundreds of years to travel from one end to the other and so only with magical help would the person actually reach their destination before they perished from old age. But, in addition, people were afraid, for no one could remember what creatures had gone with the Lands Beneath and what might be waiting down there.

It was well known that a griffin guarded the ladders near the top and as for what else there might be. Besides which, the Gods lived down there. The people of the Lands Above agreed that there was no point whatsoever in attempting the treacherous journey down the Space Ladders to the Lands Beneath when the only things down there were teeth, tentacles and wrathful Gods waiting for them with lightning bolts.

There had to be better things to risk your life for. The most beautiful, breathtaking, golden treasures they had down there. And it is a well-known and universal rule that there will always be — has always been — one stupid sod whose strength of greed outweighs their common sense and suppresses that all-important instinct of self-preservation. Be sure to come back! Verdict: An excellent story, with a protagonist who is the epitome of the irreverent scoundrel set against an inventive mythological world, what is not to like? Martin's Workbook by Runciman, Lex.

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Lex Trent: Fighting With Fire

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