"Usual pun per line"
Mundane snail mail ending up in Xanth is forwarded to Demon
Jupiter. Irate by what he receives, Demon Jupiter hurls
his dreaded red spot at Demon Earth. If he throws a
strike, Xanth will be destroyed.
Umlaut, who now knows that all good deeds including
forwarding snail mail leads to adventure, learns from the
Good Magician that he must deliver the remaining mundane
mail to hope to avert the disaster he started. Umlaut
accompanied by his pals Sesame Snake and Sammy Cat begin
the treacherous trek to save Xanth by delivering the mail
even as other demons try to manipulate his raging hormones.
The twenty-sixth Xanth tale (Grafton has a few to catch up)
is the usual pun per line tale that shows Mr. Anthony has
no piers when it comes to irreverent "adult conspiracy"
humor that sends readers diving off the dock into a wild
fantasy play on the English language. The story line is
typical of the Xanth tales, but during the Myth-Adventures
with no Asprin for pain relief, many of the participants in
the glory of Xanth make an appearance. Though newcomers
might struggle in the realm of punning, fans will delight
in this comic endeavor as Mr. Anthony shows his usual
amusing cat tail of a tale.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted November 18, 2002
A SPOT OF TROUBLE
An innocent piece of Mundane Snail Mail has provoked the
dreaded Demon Jupiter to hurl his Red Spot at the magical
land of Xanth. As the dire Dot draws closer, the unwelcome
ordeal of saving the enchanted realm falls to Umlaut, an
unlikely lad with an unknown past and an uncertain future.
With a handful of colorful companions at his side, Umlaut
must unravel a high-stakes intergalactic puzzle, uncover
the secret of his mysterious past, and learn to understand
the urgings of his own heart.
It might have been the merest chance that brought Umlaut to
Castle Zombie that morning and launched him on a harrowing
adventure. But in the magical land of Xanth, things are
seldom left to chance, and adventures lurk around every
An unassuming young man with a uncanny knack for attracting
lovely young ladies and an uncommon talent for emulating
anyone he wished, Umlaut was forced to flee a flock of
overly friendly females by disguising himself as a Zombie
girl. In his haste to find a hiding place, he found himself
face-to-face with a dreadful dragon and feared he would
soon meet his end. But in Xanth, things are seldom exactly
as they seem, and he soon discovered that the dragon was
really a sinuous female sea serpent named Sesame, with a
gift similar to his own, who had become accidentally
entrapped in the Castle's dungeon.
When the two happen upon a packet of mail from Earth
delivered by mischance to the Zombie King, they
inadvertently set in motion a sinister scheme that could
spell the end of Xanth. A letter they forward to the Demon
Jupiter unexpectedly enrages him, causing him to send his
own Red Spot hurtling toward Xanth. Soon everything is up
in a heaval, for no one knows how to avert this
interplanetary peril. Even the Good Magician Humfrey is
baffled, for some strange force has obscured the future. In
desperation, he instructs Umlaut and Sesame to deliver the
remaining letters to their far-flung recipients, in the
faint hope that this may somehow stop the Spot.
As they set out on their appointed rounds, Umlaut and
Sesame are soon joined by two feline friends, Jenny Elf's
companion, Sammy Cat, and a lovely, prescient creature
named Claire Voyant who can sometimes see the future.
Beguiled and bedeviled by the delicious Demoness Metria,
who uses her shapely assets to distract him from his goal,
Umlaut leads his allies on an unforgettable odyssey to the
farthest reaches of the enchanted realm, from the
submicroscopic Nth Moon of Ida, and the home of all dreams
and nightmares, to the unmagical land of Euphoria, where he
meets a sweet and sprightly young girl named Surprise who
captures his heart. But before Umlaut can complete his
quest and return to his beloved, he must unravel the
unfathomable puzzle of his own existence, which is somehow
inextricably entwined with the fate of Xanth.
A satisfyingly suspenseful tale filled with mystery, magic,
and merriment, Up in a Heaval is exciting and entertaining
fantasy adventure from the pen of a master storyteller.