Earth, Air, Fire and Custard

Earth, Air, Fire and Custard

by Tom Holt


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'Frantically wacky and wilfully confusing ... gratifyingly clever and very amusing' - Mail on Sunday

'Frothy, fast and funny' - Scotland on Sunday

J.W. Wells seemed to be a respectable establishment, but the company now paying Paul Carpenter's salary is in fact a deeply sinister organisation with a mighty peculiar management team.

Paul thought he was getting the hang of it (particularly when he fell head over heels for his strangely alluring colleague Sophie), but death is never far away when you work at J.W. Wells. Unlike the stapler - that's always going awol. Our lovestruck hero is about to discover that custard is definitely in the eye of the beholder. And that it really stings.

Tom Holt's exceedingly comic fantasies are populated with evil goblins, annoying sprites and people like us. However, it's not always possible to tell the difference.

The third book to follow the hilarious adventures of Paul Carpenter - Tom Holt at his inventive best.

Books by Tom Holt:

Walled Orchard Series
The Walled Orchard

J.W. Wells & Co. Series
The Portable Door
In Your Dreams
Earth, Air, Fire and Custard
You Don't Have to Be Evil to Work Here, But It Helps
The Better Mousetrap
May Contain Traces of Magic
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sausages

YouSpace Series
When It's A Jar
The Outsorcerer's Apprentice
The Good, the Bad and the Smug

Expecting Someone Taller
Who's Afraid of Beowulf
Flying Dutch
Ye Gods!
Here Comes the Sun
Faust Among Equals
Odds and Gods
Djinn Rummy
My Hero
Paint your Dragon
Open Sesame
Wish you Were Here
Alexander at World's End
Only Human
Snow White and the Seven Samurai
Nothing But Blue Skies
Falling Sideways
Little People
Song for Nero
Blonde Bombshell
The Management Style of the Supreme Beings
An Orc on the Wild Side

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781841492827
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 01/28/2006
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 4.50(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Tom Holt is the author of such comic fantasy classics as: Expecting Someone Taller, Who's Afraid of Beowulf?, Flying Dutch, Ye Gods!, Overtime, Here Comes the Sun, Grailblazers, Faust Among Equals, Odds and Gods, Djinn Rummy, My Hero, Paint Your Dragon and Open Sesame.

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Earth, Air, Fire And Custard 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
fieldri1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've *finally* finished a book! Its taken me months to read this novel, but I've made it to the end...But don't take the fact that its taken me so long as a critique on the book itself. The reality is that my life has been taken over by becoming a Dad to an adorable little girl. She's taken far more of my time than books have! The fact that I persisted in fact should show that its worthwhile keeping going with the text!The story itself concerns a put upon loser, Paul Carpenter. His parents have funded their retirement to sunny Florida by selling Paul into indentured servitude at J.W. Wells. The company specialise in using magic to help their clients for handsome fees, and it seems that Paul has an innate skill that they treasure.Featuring a range of characters from Colin the Goblin, God and Mr Dao the teller at the bank of the Dead, this is a strange book. At first the story is a simple fantasy, but this changes as the life of Colin becomes more complex and entwined as his purpose as a pawn in a cosmic battle becomes clear. At several points the book makes references to previous stories, so it may have been helpful to read the appropriate prequels, but it certainly wasn't essential. Overall, good, weird fun. If you do read it, try and make sure that you read the later sections in good sizeable chunks otherwise you'll find keeping abreast with what is happening to whom, and when!
towo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading Tom Holt is an unique experience. Imagine taking a typically imaginative British cussing like, e.g., someone from a Guy Ritchie movie, mix in a doze of sarcasm and references to popular culture, and there you go - some of the finer examples of moments that will leave you laughing out loud in the tram with people staring at you as if you've just gone totally bonkers."Earth, Air, Fire and Custard" is the sequel to his previous book "The Portable Door", which I only noticed after starting it. Nevertheless, it's enjoyable without knoving the previous ntory. Even the most habitual reader of fiction that involves people travelling through time and leaving a great big mess behind might be a bit strained by all the complexity starts to offer starting midgame, but it's nevertheless tremendously exciting.Also features crossdressing goblins, assorted undead, pink veapons, love potions, a seriously pissed guardian at the gates of the afterlife and lots of custard.
tonyblair on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fantasy/humour book which follows Paul Carpenter, a clerk, and unlikely hero in a book with many twists, although at times it is not always clear what is happening, the main character is also a little bit irritating after a while. The book does however have a few good moments. On the whole though I would say it was a little bit too long with the last 50-70 pages taken up with tying up the plot and explaining what had happened in the past 300 odd pages.
isabelx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'I have a feeling that it won't take me very long at all to get settled in here. If I may say so, Mr Tanner, you run a tight ship.'(What did that mean, exactly? A ship that never bought a round? A ship that kept getting wedged in the entrances to small harbours?)The third book in the series that started with "The Portable Door", in which Paul Carpenter has numerous problems at work, dies several more times, and continues his love-hate relationship with his colleague and ex-girlfriend Sophie Pettingell.The story seemed to take rather a long time to get going and I felt that possibly this series was running out of steam.
pauliharman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another JJW/Paul Carpenter book from Tom Holt. As with others in this series, the book is intelligible up to about half-way, then it seems to fall to pieces a bit. It all comes together again in the end, but you do have to take on trust the fact that everything will eventually make sense. Individual passages are amusing enough, but I can't help feeling that the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Sorry Tom, go back to the Myths & Legends based comic fantasy books - they were much more fun.
juglicerr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The covers of this book are too far apart --Ambrose BierceI avoid reading dreary books--no matter how classic or well-written, they just bring my mood down. I never really thought to think that about a Tom Holt book. I don't mean that a book necessarily has to be sweetness and light, or have a happy ending, or be the best of all possible worlds. If I did, I wouldn't be quoting Ambrose Bierce, or consider his The Devil's Dictionary to be one of the joys of my life. But Paul and Sophie, especially Sophie, are just too hapless and whiny. Sophie seems to seek out things to be unhappy about.I wonder if the J.W. Wells books grew out of a rough patch in Tom Holt's life. The ending of In Your Dreams was so sad and bitter that I was a bit worried about his marriage. But still, I was eager to read this next installment, but I was disappointed and kept wishing the end of the book was closer. The bitterness undercuts any attempts at wit. This was just a constant recycling of scenes, with clunky rewrites of things that Holt apparently wished he had done differently. Oh no, I'd be thinking, not the land of the dead again! Can't Holt think of something new? Well, there is the Custard space, but Holt's usual crazy, whimsical humor fails, and I get very tired of the motif of the characters struggling to get out of it again by a new method every time. Despite having learned how to use magic to make his milk fresh, Paul still constantly has curdled milk, the Portable Door no longer works as it used to, and so on. (I don't want to give away too much of the plot.) There is a lengthy explanation at the end, but it still leaves a few things out, and frankly I don't care anyway. The story after the big explanation is just more dragging out of the plot, and not all of the loose ends are tied up. Paul and Sophie have gotten very wearing, and if that's supposed to be a happy ending for them, I don't care, and I'm sure they'll mess it up somehow.I just hope this series is an anomaly and his recent stand-alone books are more along the lines of [[ASIN:1857231813 Expecting Someone Taller]].