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Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite
Thundrhed! by Damon Wolfe has so much to offer fantasy devotees that it is hard to know where to begin to sing its praises. Simply put, its protagonist, Thundrhed, is one of the most intoxicatingly quirky epic heroes ever to grace the pages of a debut in the genre. As Damon Wolfe renders, Thundrhed is equal parts Ragnor Lothbrok, Martha Stewart, MacGyver, and Candide. While these ingredients seem so disparate as to be forever distant, they converge in Thundrhed’s character in unexpected and often touching ways. In his quest to get the better of a local cheapskate (to whom he has been selling the turkeys he raises), Thundrhed sets off to seek his fortune in the wider world, seemingly (and hilariously) unaware of both his startling naiveté and his formidable epic hero skillset. Thundrhed!’s narrative has it all—villains, evil forces, mystic prophecies, treasure, monsters, impossible odds, wrong turns, harrowing brushes with death, a damsel in distress, and even wee dragons.
Damon Wolfe’s writing style is so extraordinary as to border on being magical. Every paragraph of Thundrhed! features a prodigious vocabulary that teeters delightfully on the brink of being florid but never indulges in obfuscation. Thundrhed! seems to have descended from logophile heaven. In addition, the bouquet of mind-bending, laugh-out-loud similes on nearly every page is both intoxicating and addicting. Once begun, Thundrhed! is all but impossible to put down. Fortunately, the text is novella length—suitable for reading in one sitting, although you will want to go back and savor prized passages many times. Damon Wolfe’s Thundrhed! is the rarest kind of quick-witted romp through a literary landscape that is both charmingly preposterous and wickedly ingenious.