A Calculated Magic is the sequel to The Logical Magician and features the return of math graduate Jack Collins. Jack still works for the investment firm of Ambrose and Associates, Ltd. and still is the chosen hero to save humanity from the tyranny of evil. This time, he goes up against Hasan al-Sabbah, the supernatural Old Man of the Mountains, head of the fabled cult of Hashashins (later to be called assassins by those in the Crusades). The Old Man is holding an auction in Las Vegas, the prize of which is a deadly vial of biological plague. Jack, having survived various attempts on his life and determined to rescue his kidnapped (again) fiancee Megan, aims to crash that party. But all of that is nothing compared to his ultimate task: somehow Jack must stop the all-powerful Babylonian God of Death and Destruction called The Crouching One, the Lord of the Lions, who's bent on world subjugation and has been demonically working behind the scenes for two books now. Once again, Jack must use his arsenal of mathematics, logic and plain old common sense to rescue the maiden and save the day.
Most of the characters introduced in The Logical Magician are back for this sequel: the one and only Merlin the Magician, thriving as a commodities broker; his gorgeous halfling daughter Megan; Cassandra, bodyguard, martial-arts teacher and also the last bonafide Amazon and something of a prude; Fritz Grondark, gruff auto mechanic extraordinaire and a dwarf; and Witch Hazel and her talking cat familiar Sylvester. The only one absent is faery changeling and literal know-it-all Simon Goodfellow, who is inconveniently away, thus depriving Jack of a supply of easy answers. But there are new allies to aid Jack, namely his mother Freda (can you guess who she is?) and her two magical pet ravens, Hugo and Mongo, and John Henry (a Las Vegas chauffer) - which is a good thing because Jack's new foes number among them an affrit, the Sphinx, Cerberus the 3-headed Hellhound and the Norse Godling Loki and his Frost Giants.
This is another light-hearted, whimsical effort by Robert Weinberg. In a world where human consciousness has brought into life all its superstitions, myths and folklore legends, the author has again elected to go with a tongue-in-cheek tone and quite winningly pulls it off. In order to blend in with society, our various supernaturals have adapted by mostly undertaking mundane professions (the Wandering Jew writes travel books under a pen name; the Pied Piper performs in a nightclub; Hercules is a bouncer...). Several of Mr. Weinberg's notions and passages elicit an appreciative smile or chuckle (I like that Jack now sees the world thru rose-colored lenses...And there's even a fleeting reference to one of Weinberg's own works...and the comment "Cerberus...ain't he an aardvark?"...). I find Jack's method of defeating the Crouching One particularly brilliant and pretty funny. All in all, this is a fun book with which to while away a few hours. Fans of mythology will definitely get a kick out of this all too short series. Like The Logical Magician, A Calculated Magic is deserving of 3 and a half stars.
Somewhere there is a third book with the title Subtract One Sorcerer floating in limbo - waiting for release - should the publishers deem the public's taste warrants it. I, for one, would enjoy catching up with Jack Collins, Megan, Merlin and all (but especially with the gossipy blackbirds Hugo and Mongo).
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Robinson (8 August 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1854873504
- ISBN-13: 978-1854873507
- Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 1.6 x 11.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 200 g
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