Fans of the character Thursday Next, created by Jasper Fforde, are already familiar with the writer's great gift for finding humor in bureaucracy with a bit of magic thrown in. Fforde's latest, entitled "The Last Dragonslayer," is the beginning of a new series.
Foundling Jennifer Strange is the interim office manager at "Kazam Mystical Arts Management" since her boss Mr. Zambini has disappeared in a "poof" sort of way. Magic is in a state of decline, and as a result, so is Kazam's business. Jennifer worries about balancing the books if they lose the contract for magically cleaning the city sewers, when larger problems loom. "Pre-cogs" tell of visions that the final dragon, Mount Cassian, will be killed by a Dragonslayer. Wizidrical power is increasing, and Jennifer's charges hint about Big Magic being involved. Jennifer has her hands full, what with King Snod expecting her to help him claim the dragon's land, her Quarkbeast (who eats tinned dog food, including the tins) being outlawed, and a Fabio-like pop star trying to take her job.
The CDbook is narrated by Elizabeth Jasicki who does a wonderful job giving each character a distinct voice: King Snod's advisors, the dragon Mount Cassian, and even the Quarkbeast - though he mostly says "quark." Jasicki's comic timing is spot on whether it's dialog between quarreling wizards or the ridiculous situation of driving the slayermobile, an armored Rolls Royce covered in spikes, through the street. The riotous wit of Fforde partnered with the charming interpretation by Jasicki is the true Big Magic here.
--Cindy F., Headquarters