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New Releases: Triumff: Her Majesty's Hero by Dan Abnett

Triumff Triumff: Her Majesty's Hero takes place in a goofy alternate reality, in which the merged British & Spanish Empires rule the world. Magic has precluded any use of technology, Elizabethan culture still prevails and Shakespeare (or pornographic updates thereof) is still on stage. 

The book stars Sir Rupert Triumff. Triumff returned from discovering Australia about a year ago, and is doing his best to avoid the attention of court (mostly by drinking himself senseless). Unfortunately, he can't keep Australia to himself - too many of the court factions need him to essentially 'sign back in' so that the official, Imperially-blessed looting can begin.

To add to Triumff's woes, he's also caught in the middle of a dastardly plot. Under the leadership of a necromantic Bishop, a group of disgruntled noblemen are making a bid for power. Triumff, much to his chagrin, is set up as their bait/victim/fall-guy/pawn. With the help of his friends and (often-unexpected) allies, Triumff has to save the Queen, Britain, Australia and the whole rest of the Empire. 

This is all, incidentally, completely irrelevant to the book.

Triumff is actually about comic footnotes, slapstick humor, dirty jokes and bad puns. The plot, as outlined above, is essentially a vehicle that allows all the characters to run around like "Carry On" out-takes - fighting amongst themselves, mistaking identities, putting on outrageous accents, kicking in the privates and wearing silly outfits. 

And, believe it or not, it works.

For one, Dan Abnett - previously known for cranking out Warhammer fiction - has a fairly impeccable sense of comedic timing. From the wry footnotes to the surreal Swiss-army-sword, malapropisms and apples-on-strings, the book had me chuckling from start to finish in a way that Terry Pratchett hasn't succeeded in doing for a decade. There's a lot of obvious humor here, but if Abnett should be ashamed of his puns (and he should), he should also be proud of their delivery.

Triumff is an unexpectedly adept contribution to the subgenre of humorous fantasy, one that should find more than a few fans. It is also, by far, the best I've read from this publisher. Whether or not Triumff is her Majesty's hero, he will certainly be Angry Robot's...