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The Stranger's Woes (Labryinths of Echo Series #2)

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Overview

Max Frei's novels have been an international literary sensation since their debut in 1996, and have swept the fantasy world over. Presented here in English for the first time, The Stranger's Woes, the second book of The Labyrinths of Echo, will strike a chord with readers of all stripes. Part fantasy, part horror, part philosophy, part contemporary dark comedy, the writing is united by a sharp wit and a web of clues that will open up the imagination of every reader.

Max Frei is ...

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The Stranger's Woes: The Labyrinths of Echo

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Overview

Max Frei's novels have been an international literary sensation since their debut in 1996, and have swept the fantasy world over. Presented here in English for the first time, The Stranger's Woes, the second book of The Labyrinths of Echo, will strike a chord with readers of all stripes. Part fantasy, part horror, part philosophy, part contemporary dark comedy, the writing is united by a sharp wit and a web of clues that will open up the imagination of every reader.

Max Frei is a twenty- something loser--a big sleeper (during the day, that is--at night he can't catch a wink), a hardened smoker, and an uncomplicated glutton and loafer. But then he gets lucky. He contacts a parallel world in his dreams, where magic is a daily practice. Once a social outcast, he's now known in his new world as the "unequalled Sir Max.#8221; He's a member of the Department of Absolute Order, formed by a species of enchanted secret agents; his job is to solve cases more extravagant and unreal than one could imagine--a journey that will take Max down the winding paths of this strange and unhinged universe.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fans of 2009's The Stranger will adore this imaginative sequel in three novellas from author/protagonist Frei (a pseudonym for Russian bestseller Svetlana Martynchik). In a parallel universe full of surreal wonders, Max Frei is an outsider, a lethargic slacker plucked from our own world and recruited to save the City of Echo from illegal magic. When the city's police captain is poisoned, Max—now Sir Max and the Nocturnal Representative of the Secret Investigative Force—leads his garrulous team of magicians into the Magaxon Forest to investigate a mysterious band of outlaws. Later, the king of the Unified Kingdom enlists Max to solve a delicate political conundrum with a bizarre bird-worshipping envoy, and something strange starts happening in the city's cemeteries. Vibrant characterizations, witty humor, and mind-tickling ideas almost save the narrative from countless pages of trivial dialogue that drag down the pace. (June)
Kirkus Reviews

Max Frei, the cigarette-puffing gumshoe in an alternate, magical universe, is back in his namesake creator's sophomore entry in the Labryinths of Echo series.

Echo is a sprawling city-state in which Frei the character finds it very easy to get himself in trouble. Frei the creator (The Stranger, 2009) is a Russian born long ago enough to remember the good old days of the Cold War, and there are international intrigues and intrapalace coups enough to assure that there's trouble to be had. With sidekick Sir Juffin Hully, Frei the character, a lazybones layabout by inclination, finds the start of it in a coming-out party of sorts hosted by one General Boboota Box, late a victim of food poisoning engineered by who knows who and therefore an intimate of the local outhouses—indeed, unlike the rest of the homes of Echo, which "had at least three or four bathing tubs," the General's abode has "a dozen toilets of various heights gurgling a discordant welcome to the visitor." And who did this dastardly deed? Well, Echo is a world of all sorts of plots, a sort of Krypton with tobacco and the counter-universe's equivalent of vodka. If you have the sense that a shaggy-dog story is in the offing, you'd be right—and what a dog, and what a tail wagging it. Frei the creator takes obvious goofy pleasure in constructing and populating a place in which rival magicians duke it out, good and evil are not always easily identifiable and are sometimes rolled up in the same person, and where a contraption called a "baboom" is enough to put the fear in your garden-variety brigand. It's all a great romp, and never mind that the logic of the place seems a tad off and various threads of plot get lost amid the fun.

As Juffin says, brightly, "this affair smells strongly of Forbidden Magic." Just so—and a pleasure for those who like their fantasy with a measure of slapstick.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590204788
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 6/9/2011
  • Series: Labryinths of Echo Series , #2
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 825,036
  • Product dimensions: 9.12 (w) x 6.18 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Max Frei is the author of the international bestselling Labyrinths of Echo series, of which over two million books have sold in Russia alone, as well as books on literature and art. He lives in Moscow.
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