Dr. Lesley S.J. Farmer
Thraxasby Martin Scott
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Thraxas ekes out a living as a private investigator. He lives in the poor part of town, with a barbarian for a landlord, and a female ex-gladiator to help him when the fighting gets rough. Thraxas might be too jaded to feel any desire for the beautiful Makri, with her Elvish and Orcish blood, but he appreciates her lethal combat skills. Thraxas once learned a little magic, but he's a hopeless sorcerer. On the other hand, he's brave, loyal to his clients, and he's a legend at the dining table. Thraxas can out-eat and out-drink anyone. When his investigations involve hostile sorcerers, sword-wielding thugs and murderous assassins, Thraxas knows the value of flagon of ale and a good bowl of stew. This novel won the World Fantasy Award in 2000.
Dr. Lesley S.J. Farmer
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Read an Excerpt
By Martin Scott
Baen BooksISBN: 0-7434-7152-0
Chapter OneTurai is a magical city. From the docks at Twelve Seas to Moon Eclipse Park, from the stinking slums to the Imperial Palace, a visitor can find all manner of amazing persons, astonishing items and unique services. You can get drunk and swap tales with Barbarian mercenaries in the dockside taverns, watch musicians, tumblers and jugglers in the streets, dally with whores in Kushni, transact business with visiting Elves in Golden Crescent, consult a Sorcerer in Truth is Beauty Lane, gamble on chariots and gladiators at the Stadium Superbius, hire an Assassin, eat, drink, be merry and consult an apothecary for your hangover. If you find a translator you can talk to the dolphins in the bay. If you're still in need of fresh experiences after all that, you could go and see the new dragon in the King's zoo.
If you have a problem, and you don't have much money, you can even hire me. My name is Thraxas. I've done all of the things mentioned above. Apart from the King's new dragon. I haven't seen that. I don't feel the urge. I saw enough dragons in the last Orc Wars.
I am forty-three, overweight, without ambition, and prone to prolonged bouts of drinking. The sign on my door mentions the word Sorcerer but my powers are of the lowest grade, mere tricks compared to the skills of Turai's greatest. I am in fact a Private Investigator. Cheapest Sorcerous Investigator in the whole magical city of Turai.
When the situation is bad and the Civil Guard won't help, you can come to me. When what you really need is a powerful Sorcerer but if you can't afford to hire one, come to me. When an Assassin is on your tail and you want someone to serve as cannon fodder, come to me. If the city Consul isn't interested in your case and you've been ejected from the offices of the high-class Investigators uptown, I'm your man. Whatever people's problems are, when they've exhausted all other avenues and can't afford anything better, they come to me. Sometimes I'm able to help them. Sometimes not. Either way my finances never improve.
I used to work at the Imperial Palace. I was a Senior Investigator with Palace Security but I drank myself out of the job. That was a long time ago. No one there is much pleased to see me these days.
I live in two rooms above the Avenging Axe, a dockside tavern run by Gurd, an ageing northern Barbarian who used to fight for Turai as a mercenary. He was a good fighter. So was I. We fought alongside each other on many occasions, but we were a lot younger then. It's a lousy place to live but I can't afford anything better. There are no women in my life, unless you count Makri, who works as a barmaid downstairs and sometimes acts as my assistant. Makri, a strange bastard mix of Human, Elf and Orc, is a handy woman with a sword, and even the drunken lechers who frequent Gurd's tavern know better than to abuse her.
As far as I know, Makri has no romantic attachments, though I've caught her a few times looking wistfully at some of the tall handsome Elves who occasionally pass through here on their way from the docks to Golden Crescent. No chance with them however. Makri's mongrel breeding makes her a social outcast practically everywhere. A pure-bred Elf wouldn't look at her twice, for all her youth and beauty.
I have no desire for any personal involvements, not since my wife ran off to the Fairy Glade with a Sorcerer's Apprentice half my age. Enough to put any man off. I wouldn't mind a client though. Funds are low and Gurd the Barbarian never likes it when his rent is late.
The Palace should hire me to find the missing Red Elvish Cloth. That's a big story in Turai just now, though they tried to keep it quiet. Red Elvish Cloth is more valuable than gold. I'd be in for a big reward if I found it. Unfortunately no one wants me. Palace Security and the Civil Guard are both on the case, and express every confidence that they'll locate it soon. I have every confidence they won't. Whoever was smart enough to hijack a load of heavily guarded Red Elvish Cloth on its way to the city is smart enough to hide it from the Guard. (Continues...)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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My first experience with Thraxas. I expect I will now be reading the whole series. A fumny and fantasy mystery story starring a PI full of food and humor.