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Gaspar The Thief : Excerpts
'Gaspar The Thief' is a humorous fantasy novel by British author, David A. Lindsay.
Here are a couple of excerpts. The first is serious, the second humorous. Humour often works best when contrasted with a serious story line.
From 'Gaspar And The Spires Of Chai'Kanduma'
As men-at-arms using poles tipped the burning oil down upon the enemy, the stench of burning flesh rose in a hissing cloud to assail the nostrils and senses of the defenders on the battlements above. The screams of the dead echoed anew between the walls of the defile as the oil seared through clothing and stripped the skin beneath.
The goblins fell back in disarray, but the respite was short-lived. Farther down the pass, a trumpet call signalled the advance of the horde. They came in close formation behind a front row of shields, filling the defile from edge to edge, and trampling the corpses of their fallen comrades into the blood-soaked dust as they surged forward towards the walls of Lich Gap. The defending archers doubled their fire rate, pouring arrows into the close-packed ranks bearing towards them. Every arrow, unless deflected by a shield, found its mark, killing or wounding as luck dictated, for no archer could afford the time to take careful aim, nor found the need. The goblins drove on up the pass, regardless of their losses, until the first phalanx reached the barbican gates. Under cover of a murderous hail of arrows from the goblin archers farther back, scaling ladders were laid against the walls and grappling hooks thrown to lodge between the merlons on the battlements.
Pinned down by the goblin archers, the defending bowmen were reduced to shooting their arrows down through murder-holes at the soldiery beneath the barbican walls, or setting down their longbows altogether to wrest the hooks from the masonry. They could not do both; they had not the manpower. By sheer weight of numbers, the horde forced its soldiers forward, swarming up the ladders to oppose the defending men-at-arms in close combat upon the walls.
From 'Gaspar And The One Stray Spark'
Indignation propelled Drune to his feet rather more incautiously than was sensible in so small and cluttered a space. The result was predictable. Coming into sharp contact with the underside of a timber shelf, the wight instinctively travelled magically upwards through the wood to avoid injury only to clatter the top of his skull off the undersides of the various glass and earthenware vessels stored atop the shelf. Erupting upwards, they dislodged in turn the shelf above before gravity turned them earthward again to shatter on the larder's flagstone floor. Their contents splattered every surface of the larder, drenching the wight in a spray of wine, milk, olive oil and vinegar. In that enclosed space, the noise was deafening, especially when Drune added his own ear-splitting howl to the already considerable cacophony.
But that was still not the worst of it. Unhappily, other substances than liquids were kept in the larder, among them spices, herbs, salts and peppers, so that a great cloud of stinging particles exploded suddenly around him, assaulting his eyes and nose. Rearing up a second time, he struck yet another shelf and upended a new avalanche of foodstuffs over himself. Treacle, sugar-cane, flour and suet now added treachery to the other ingredients forming a quagmire on the floor. Unable to keep his feet, Drune skidded and slipped, banging his head against the larder door as he went down. The latch was loose, the hinges old and poorly maintained. With an almighty crash, the door burst outwards, exposing the whole sorry spectacle to the shocked gaze of the innkeeper and his startled wife.
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