Set in Port Naain, these books, in paperback or available as ebooks for kindle, are selected anecdotes from the life of Maljie, of many excellent qualities and some other qualities that are perhaps less sought after by those seeking a quiet life.
Narrated by Tallis Steelyard they have much to recommend them, in that he normally eschews poetry and sticks firmly to prose.
In his own well chosen words, Tallis Steelyard reveals to us the life of Maljie, a lady of his acquaintance. In no particular order we hear about her bathing with clog dancers, her time as a usurer, pirate, and the difficulties encountered when one tries to sell on a kidnapped orchestra. We enter a world of fish, pet pigs, steam launches, theological disputation, and the use of water under pressure to dispose of foul smelling birds. Oh yes, and we learn how the donkey ended up on the roof.
As a reviewer commented, “Where to start with this review? First of all a health warning. Do not read this book when drinking coffee/beer/WHY. Neither is it a great notion to read somewhere sudden bursts of laughter could be seen as inappropriate.
I must confess upfront to being a fan of Jim Webster’s writing as he has a talent for making the most wildly inconsequential of observations seem matter of fact and perfectly believable. Any of the tales he weaves around the imaginary but utterly believable city of a port Nain are going to be chuckle worthy at the very least.
Therefore I approached the chronicles of Maljie’s varied and exotic life with great expectation.
I wasn’t disappointed.
In fact there were places where I actually howled with laughter.
Our heroine veers from situation to situation – rarely finishing without a profit. And some of her jobs are so silly and improbable. But you still keep reading and chuckling.
The ease with which Jim, in the guise of Tallis Steelyard (poet, visionary and unreliable witness) pilots this rickety craft through the shoals of Maljie’s life is exemplary.
But don’t just take my word for it. Read for yourself. But don’t forget the health warning.”
Once more Tallis Steelyard chronicles the life of Maljie, a lady of his acquaintance. Discover the wonders of the Hermeneutic Catherine Wheel, marvel at the use of eye-watering quantities of hot spices. We have bell ringers, pop-up book shops, exploding sedan chairs, jobbing builders, literary criticism, horse theft and a revolutionary mob.
We also discover what happens when a maiden, riding a white palfrey led by a dwarf, appears on the scene.
As a reviewer commented, “
I am a fan of the writing of the very English, Jim Webster. Although his books are set in the fantasy Port Naain, there is a strong and delightful flavour of the best of English life and humour that flow threw in all of this author’s works.
Poor Laxey finds himself firmly entwined in the objectives of Maljie, and everything he does and every punishment that comes down on his surprised head as a result of his foolish actions, is exploited for personal gain by the dexterous Maljie.
Maljie, a strong and determined woman, who lets nothing, with emphasis on that nothing, stand in the way of her achievements, has taken ill. The ill fated, Laxey, who just cannot keep himself out of trouble, is tasked with travelling to a distant mountain monastery in the Aphices Mountains in search of a therapy for her ailment. Laxey’s journey is full of surprises, the greatest one being what happens when he arrives. He does, however, make it back to Maljie to enjoy another day. He brings her a tonic wine from a monk, but this does not stop Maljie from seeking her own interesting cures, including covering her painful area with a concoction made from a hot spice, called The Devil’s Pomatum. Having applied this exotic mixture, she sets off to attend a public hanging with rather unexpected consequences.
Maljie is a fascinating character as she manipulates her way through life, taking advantage of unexpected accidents and career opportunities to progress her goals. This is the first book in the Maljie series and I thoroughly enjoyed this new and spicy character, all the more because she is female and keep everyone, male and female, who crosses her path very firmly in their place. She is not past resorting to getting rid of unwanted people and disposing of their remains in the most peculiar places. Building alterations take on a whole new purpose when Maljie is around.
I recommend this highly entertaining short read for people who enjoy fantasy and a jolly good laugh and the lighter side of life … and death too.”
In this volume we stand shoulder to shoulder with Maljie as she explores the intricacies of philosophy, marvel at her mastery of pre-paid indemnification plans, and assist her in the design of foundation garments. When you read this, not only will you discover just who wears the trousers, but you can indulge in a spot of fishing and enjoy the quaint fertility rites of our great city. This book contains fashion, honey, orphans and the importance of dipping your money in vinegar to ensure it is safe. Indeed you may even learn how to teach a cat to dance.
As a reviewer commented, “I must confess that I love Port Naain and it’s characters, especially Maljie, Laxey and the Mendicants.
Their latest (mis)adventures have not disappointed me.
Each and every short story is a gem of plot, description and full of entertainment value.”
And now, a full length novel.
In this novel, recounted by Tallis Steelyard in his own inimitable manner, we discover what happens when the hierarchy plots to take control of the Shrine to Aea in her Aspect as the Personification of Tempered Enthusiasm. Will the incumbent be exiled to a minor fane in the far north? Will Tallis end up having to do a proper job? Does ordination and elevation beckon for Maljie?
This story includes the Idiosyncratic Diaconate, night soil carts, Partannese bandit chieftains, a stylite, a large dog and some over-spiced food. On top of this we have not one but two Autocephalous Patriarchs and a theologically sanctioned beggar.