Fantasy novel by Rick Cook, first in a series. Set in a typical sword-and-sorcery world where the forces of evil are on the rise. A great wizard, Patrius, performs a Great Summoning from beyond the World, with the help of the hedge witch Moira, to bring in "someone of great power"...Wiz Zumwalt, a programmer from Cupertino, California. Patrius is killed in the aftermath of the Summoning, and Wiz and Moira must flee the power of the Dark League, with assistance from Duke Aelric the elf.

Wiz, intrigued by the concept of magic, sees that spells can be thought of as almost like computer programs, and sets out to create a programming language of magic, borrowing concepts from Forth and using small, simple spells as the "assembly language" for his magic compiler. When the Dark League strikes and kidnaps Moira, Wiz is able not only to rescue her with the aid of his software tools, he defeats the Dark League in one great assault, and becomes the mightiest of the Mighty in that world.

Programmers, software engineers, and other geek types will recognize a lot of computer references and other elements of geek culture in Cook's writing. This book and its four sequels are highly recommended. (Wizard's Bane is now out of print, but may be found, combined with the first sequel The Wizardry Compiled, in the volume The Wiz Biz.

Source: Rick Cook, Wizard's Bane (Baen Books, 1989)

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