The Magical Misadventures of Harold Shea
"Ho!" cried the enchanter. "You two claim to be magicians? How do I know you speak sooth?"
"Work a spell for him, Doc," said Shea. Chalmers, with a look of baffled and apprehensive resignation, began to make a list of the properties needed. After he'd gathered them together he lit a fire and began an incantation. Suddenly the oyster-coloured smoke of the fire thickened and darkened. Chalmers bit off his chant in midstanza and scrambled back. A reptilian head a yard long was poking towards them out of the smoke... then another... and another.
"God bless my soul!" said Chalmers.
"He'd better," replied Shea, as a seemingly endless stream of giant dragons began to lurch forward...
The Compleat Enchanter
is a compilation
of three books written by L. Sprague de Camp
and Fletcher Platt
which follow the (mis)adventures
of Professor Harold Shea
and his friend Reed Chalmers.
Both books in the series, "The Incomplete Enchanter" and "The Castle of Iron," are included in entirety in this publication
. However, the first of the two was published first in 1940
in two seperate issues of "Unknown
" magazine, and then published in 1941
along with the second book.
The Mathematics of Magic
was the greatest discovery of the ages, at least according to Professor Shea. With the proper equation
s he could instantly transport
himself and others back in time and across realities
to all of the wondrous lands of ancient legend
s. But slips in time are a hazard
, and Shea's magic doesn't always work as expected. A dragon
spell may yield a hundred
dragons, or (perhaps worse) one-tenth of a dragon, depending on miscalculation
s. The lands he travels to as well, ranging from the land of Odin
to the Castle of Otranto
yield countless dangers that can't be accounted for on paper.
The idea seems "simple
" enough; by figuring out the basic physics
of a dimension
or a period of mythical time, you can not only transport yourself to that era
, but manipulate the magical energy of the area with equations and incantation
s. However, the equations are long, complicated
and prone to error
s, and there is no guarantee that once you arrive at the destination legend
, that your equations will follow the same rules as they did in modern
The book itself is both witty
and genuinely engaging
, and for a fantasy fan, definitely a required addition
to a collection