Captains Outrageous (or, For Doom the Bell Tolls), by Roy V. Young

captainsI don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m mad!  Really mad!  I want to wring that blasted wizard’s neck!  I’m so mad that if I had to fight watervards for the opportunity to catch that charlatan, I’d go cheerfully, with one hand tied behind my back, all the while singing “The Ballad of Count Yor” in falsetto fortissimo, including the three-part harmony for eunuch choirs!
-Captain Yor, unwisely tempting the Three Weird Sisters of Destiny

Once upon a time, as strange as it may seem, TSR published novels that had nothing to do with Dungeons and Dragons.

One of the better ones was Captains Outrageous.  This was an only semi-serious novel set in the land of Leiblein; this book has a fairly serious threat to that world sitting on the top of the world; due to an agreement between some of the old gods, there is a great bell located there:  and if it rung three times true by the chosen mallet…well, game over.  For everything.  For the most part, the world ignored the legend.  But a wizard, urged on by a dragon’s promises and feeling humiliated by the Royal Court of Bretilya, has decided to find the mallet, and ring the bell.

Enter the three captains:  Dword Ecklundson of Norlandia, an icy, barbaric land.  Trebor Blackburn, a massive loremaster whose knowledge is equaled only by his fighting skill.  And “Count” Yor, a man with knowledge of sorcery, and yet filled with reluctance to use it due to an oath taken long ago.  The three set out to catch the wizard Bosamp before he can fulfill his dread goal.  On the way they take with them the young Prince Rodney (the youngest son, naturally, with attitude to match), accompanied by Sir Dudley.  They fight enchantments, Kundi assassins, snowsnakes-and oh yes, Bosamp.

Sounds like a high adventure novel, doesn’t it?  Well, don’t get that impression.  While the plot may sound suitably dramatic, this is not to be confused with a serious book!  The puns fly fast and furious, the wizard isn’t exactly Gandalf, and the three captains are constantly trading jokes with each other.  Even the situations they find themselves in tend to be humorous (a favorite scene involves the creature Furbelow, the guardian of Bosamp’s former residence:  “Poltroons!  You have sealed your doom!  At this very moment, I am entering your names onto the list of the Eternally Afflicted!  Lucky for you, I have the most exacting penmanship, so should you choose to turn and run away even now, despite the aspersions cast on mighty Bosamp, you might just barely escape deaths of unimaginable, drawn-out agony!  Flee now or pay later!”

Young does an excellent job on keeping the attention of the reader in this book.  Humor interspersed with drama make this a great read.  Yor gets the most back story in this book, and it is heavily implied that he’s going to be at the center of rather interesting events in the future.  Young follows this book up with Yor’s Revenge, which continues the story of the three captains.  That book also implied that at least one other would be forthcoming, but unfortunately, no new book was released.  This also means that most bookstores no longer stock this book.

But should you happen across Captains Outrageous and Yor’s Revenge in some used bookstore or a library somewhere, it’ll be worth your time to read them if you like adventure with a funny bone.  I’d rank it right up there with Robert Asprin’s Myth books (which I’m bound to review in the near future).

Categories: Standalone Novel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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