A wonderful book (and movie) by William Goldman that is full of "Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Good men. Bad men..." etc.

Written in 1973 the book was popular but it didn't reach cult status until a movie of the same name was released in 1987. Unknown among most people, Goldman also wrote the screenplay to the movie. Unlike most adaptations, the movie remains true to the book. However, due to limitations of time in movies certain key elements and scenes are not in the film.

The introduction itself is alone worth the chance to read the book. Have you ever laughed out loud while reading a book's introduction? In it, Goldman sets the stage for the entire story as it was told to him by his immigrant father (not like his grandfather in the movie). If you're not careful, you'll miss certain jokes and puns all throughout the text.

"Chapter One. The Bride." He held up the book then. "I'm reading it to you for relax." He practically shoved the book in my face. "By S. Morgenstern. Great Florinese writer. The Princess Bride. He too came to America. S. Morgenstern. Dead now in New York. The English is his own. He spoke eight tongues." Here my father put down the book and held up all his fingers. "Eight. Once in Florin City..."

It's also interesting to note that Goldman calls his book an abridgment of a work by this S. Morgenstern author. That in itself is one of the book's greater gags.

As stated earlier, there are many scenes in the book that don't appear in the movie such as the histories of Inigo and Fezzik. You learn where Inigo got his sword and how Fezzik learned how to fight. Inigo's father was the best swordmaker in all the land. It's just that one customer was not all that impressed...

Much of the great dialogue from the movie is lifted verbatim from the book:

"You seem a decent fellow," Inigo said. "I hate to kill you."

"You seem a decent fellow," answered the man in black. "I hate to die."

How can one forget Westley and Buttercup's reunion in the Fire Swamp?

"...You see, I am the Dread Pirate Roberts."

"I fail to see how that is possible, since he has been marauding for twenty years and you only left me three years ago."

"I myself am often surprised at life's little quirks," Westley admitted.

The second half of the book takes a slight turn from the movie by examining more of Count Rugen and his torture methods. Of course, there is also the Zoo of Death, five underground levels stocked with all sorts of beasts and creatures for Prince Humperdink to hunt. The fifth is saved for Westley and The Machine...

"I have just sucked one year of your life away."

The ending contains Westley's "to the pain" speech as well as adding some other witty and quirky dialogue to the mix. However, the very end of the book (the last page) can change your perceptions of the story if you have seen the movie. Take what you will. The ending of the book is much better. It even seems that after all that you read, Goldman finally hits you with reality.

What a great gag to an ending in a flight of fantasy.