L. Sprague de Camp’s The Tritonian Ring is bronze-age sword-and-sorcery. In its pages he fits in lost continents, suggests origins for certain myths: medusa, gorgons, Amazons, etc., and provides a whirlwind tour of his pre-historic world of anxious, fallible gods, overly arrogant wizards, and bizarre societal habits. The driver of the narrative is the quest of prince Vakar to find the thing the gods fear the most in order to thwart an invasion of his kingdom instigated by the gods. The result is an episodic adventure full of journeys, heists, captures, escapes, duels, and full scale battles, all interspersed with idle dalliances.
It is all good fun. In fact, if one were to have a complaint it might be that that is all it is: good fun. de Camp is having a good time and he wants us to enjoy it too. Despite all the danger to life and limb, the last minute reprieves, the hairsbreadth escapes, there is never any real concern for Vakar’s well being. He is merely the vehicle ferrying the reader through de Camp’s safari of amusing exotics. The tongue seldom leaves the cheek.
And that’s perfectly fine with me. Not every meal needs to be a dinner party during which the world’s ills are evaluated and remedies proposed. Sometimes you just want to go to a backyard barbecue, crack a beer, and eat a burger straight from the grill while trading jokes with your neighbors. That’s what you get with The Tritonian Ring, uncomplicated, yet still thoroughly enjoyable fare.
If you’re still hungry after that, why not dig into my Semi-Autos and Sorcery series? The prices are right, the books are fun, and hey, I’ve got to keep the lights on in this joint. You can pick up the first book here.