Corny jokes litter this otherwise enjoyable foray into a fantastical world at war with itself. Fisher's tale is set in Gondwanaland (in a nod to all supercontinent fans out there), the main inhabitable land mass on the fictional planet of Inchoate. But all is not well in Gondwanaland. King Fugal V, the evil rule of Sudlant, channels his imperial energies into a series of devastating attacks that ravage Sudlant's neighbor to the north, Centralia. Forced to flee with his people to the Western Mountains, the benevolent leader of Centralia cedes his kingship and unites his small but mineral-rich nation with the democratic country of Nordlandt. But the alliance only dampens Fugal's aspirations and he soon begins to develop new plans for invasion. Into this instability enters John Narrowpath, who drops into Gondwanaland seemingly from out of nowhere. Narrowpath is an Appearer, a unique type of mystical traveler, who eventually joins in the fight to fend off Fugal. In Inchoate, Fisher has created a believable and fully developed world filled with medieval-style heroes and fantastic creatures. His story, which seems to take cues from Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant chronicles and Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, zips along at an enjoyable pace and features a colorful cast of characters. The only aspect that sullies this otherwise satisfying imaginative romp is Fisher's corny sense of humor. The author has an ear for terrible puns (the monastery librarian is named Reed Tomes) and obvious references (a wine merchant is christened Shiraz Merlot). Narrowpath rides around on a pair of jackalopes, unusual hybrids more likely to be found on posters in Nebraska truck stops. Henames them George and Gracie, after the famed comedy duo, and predictable "Goodnight, Gracie" gags ensue. Readers might find themselves hard pressed to suppress their groans.
Despite the tired gags, a jackalope ride you won't want to miss.