Title: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of SausagesAuthor: Tom Holt
Release Date: June 2011
Reviewed by: Andy Venn
Buy from: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
Polly, an average, completely ordinary property lawyer, is convinced she's losing her mind. Someone keeps drinking her coffee. And talking to her clients. And doing her job. And when she goes to the dry cleaner's to pick up her dress for the party, it's not there. Not the dress - the dry cleaner's.Polly is starting to think that she is going round the bend. She works as a solicitor for a big company, marvellous job, good opportunities, what more could she want? Someone is drinking her coffee. Someone has written in her diary. Someone is doing her work. Brilliant, you would think. But there is a sense that something here is very wrong. She gets calls from people who say that they have spoken to her before, even though she knows that she hasn’t. Then she gets invited to play darts with the company team. This is where things start to get really weird. The dry-cleaner that she took her dress to has vanished. The building does not exist, has never existed, no one in the vicinity knows of it. Calling on her musician brother to help her there now follows a tale of magic and chickens. A tale of twisted reality and mixed dimensions. It turns out that Polly's boss has been employing people from alternate dimensions, saves on the wage bill apparently. There is also a competition that has been running for centuries with a £500 prize. And Douglas Adams idea of compound interest does not apply, it is still £500 after hundreds of years.
And then there are the chickens who think they are people. Something strange is definitely going on - and it's going to take more than a magical ring to sort it out.
You may also find the answer to the great question that has haunted philosophers for many hundreds of years; which came first? The chicken or the egg? I bet that you can’t wait now, can you? Well you will have to, at least until the end of the book, anyway.
I have only read a couple of Tom Holt books, and they were his early ones, Flying Dutchman etc. The early books were very obvious in their humour, and this is what I was expecting. But I was wrong, the humour was quite intelligent and subtle in its delivery. More Douglas Adams than Terry Pratchett. There are some clever ideas, the whole interdimensional employment contract is a Godsend for employers (let’s hope that employers never discover how to make it work!)
The characters seem very real, and there is a lovely feeling of slight panic in Polly and Don as they try to figure out what is going on. The sudden realisation by Don of what he has done when he makes a neighbour disappear, you can sense that hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach as the panic starts to build. The resignation of Mr and Mrs Williams in the Dry-Cleaners as they hop through time and space, remembering that they mustn’t use the downstairs toilet mid-morning.
Not a book that I was disappointed to finish, but I did enjoy reading it. I will now try and fit in some more of Tom's books into my busy reading schedule.
About Andy Venn
I'm Andy Venn, aka Giant68 due to being 6'8" tall. I have been reading science fiction for 35 years since picking up the Lensman series. And fantasy since I pinched "Lost Worlds" by Clarke Ashton Smith from my uncle. I read both in, pretty much, equal measures. I write a blog occasionally, containing the whimsical, or bad tempered, meanderings of my mind at http://giant68.blogspot.com. Go and have a look, you'll find out all about me, and Lord knows I need the followers! Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.