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Literature / The Exploits of Ebenezum

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The Exploits of Ebenezum is the Omnibus name for trilogy of comedic satire Heroic Fantasy novels, written by Craig Shaw Gardner. The individual books are A Malady of Magicks, A Multitude of Monsters, and A Night in the Netherhells. They were followed by a sequel trilogy, The Wanderings of Wuntvor.

Despite the name, the most important character in the series is not the titular mage, but his newly-taken apprentice, an eager, well-meaning, somewhat bumbly youth by the name of Wuntvor. Eager to learn magic, Wuntvor's tutelage must be put aside for a moment when his master must fight the dreaded rhyming demon lord Guxx Unfuffadoo, having unintentionally summoned him to the mortal world in the first place. While Ebenezum successfully banishes the demon back to the Netherhells, Guxx places a curse on Ebenezum that causes the wizard to burst into sneezing fits whenever he is exposed to magic — like when trying to cast a spell of his own. So, wizard and apprentice must set off to find a cure to this curse.


Along the way, they encounter a wide cast of truly bizarre allies and acquaintences. Hubert, a dragon who wants to become a vaudeville star (and Alea, a damsel offered to him in sacrifice who becomes his partner). Hendrek, the melancholic mercenary who wields the enchanted club Headbasher. Snarks, a demon who has been outcast from the Netherhells because he must always tell the truth. And Norei, a skilled young hedge-witch who becomes Wuntvor's love interest.

Eventually, Wuntvor and Ebenezum's quest leads them and their motley crew to the City of 1000 Forbidden Delights, Vushta, home to the Greater Vushta Academy of Magic and Sorcery, where they hope to cure Ebenezum at last. To their horror, though, they discover that Guxx has dragged the entire city down to the Netherhells as part of a plan to conquer the world. Wuntvor must venture forth and recover the city to see that his master is cured and the world is saved...


This series contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil - The Dealer of Death is polite, cheerful and willing to talk.
  • Betty and Veronica - Zig zagged as Alea (Veronica) knew Wuntvor first. However he clearly prefers Betty (Norei).
  • Brown Note: The Horn of Wonk creates such a horrific noise when blown that anyone except the user (who is immune) will do just about anything to avoid hearing it being blown again.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Snarks' mother was horrifically frightened by demon lawyers while pregnant with him. As a result, Snarks can't tell any sort of lie... not even the whitest of lies that being polite sometimes entails. As a result, he's a very rude, unpleasant person to be around, which is part of the reason he was kicked out of the Netherhells in the first place.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Hendrek's club, Headbasher, is a huge club that not only strikes with massive force (enough to shake the earth just by tapping the head against the ground), but stuns/dazes anything that gets hit with it and survives.
  • Curse: Not only can Ebenezum not be around magic or cast a spell without sneezing, Snarks simply cannot tell tell a lie, and Headbasher causes whoever has possession of it to be eternally hounded by demons looking to collect on the rent owed for using it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Snarks.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything??: The Dealer in Death favors throttling his victims, and used to practice by strangling wild pigs. All throughout "A Night in the Netherhells", he's desperate to find one to strangle, openly declaring that he's basically gotten addicted to it and strangling demons just isn't a substitute — they're too easy to squish.
  • Enemy Mine - Dealer of Death in A Malady of Magics and A Night in the Netherhells, AFTAOMAIBAC in A Multitude of Monsters, Smilin Brax in A night in the Netherhells.
  • Faux Affably Evil - Smilin' Brax turns on the smarm when he's trying to sell Wuntvor weapons.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: When Wuntvor and his army of ferrets (long story) arrive in a deeper part of Vushta, a man asks if he's bringing a new forbidden delight to the city. In contrast, on the outer part of the city, a man quickly declared Wuntvor to be too weird for him when he heard the ferrets were "personally related" to Wuntvor.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Dealer in Death, upon their meeting "A Night in the Netherhells", is perfectly amiable towards Wuntvor and willing to help him succeed in his quest.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Brax the Salesdemon and his Used Weapons business. Having tricked Hendrek into taking possession of Headbasher, he consequently has a tendency to appear on a regular basis to try and get Hendrek's "rental fees".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ebenezum places Guxx's own curse on the demon lord, meaning he can no longer use his power-increasing rhymes.
  • Malfunction Malady: The curse on Ebenezum, of course.
  • Mundane Utility: Wuntvor turns the shreds of a magic hat that can create massive appearances of flowers, scarfs and live ferrets into a surprisingly useful tool on a number of occasions.
  • Professional Killer: The Dealer in Death is one of these, as is the whole Assassin's Guild he belongs to.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Damsel and Dragon think of themselves as budding stars of the vaudeville stage... but, really, they're terrible. So terrible, in fact, that Wuntvor discovers one damned soul in the Netherhells, a former famous dramatist, is now tortured by forcing him to watch their acts over and over again.
  • Talking Weapon: Cuthbert, appearing in "A Night in the Netherhells". Unfortunately for Wuntvor, it's vain, squeamish, long-winded and cowardly, so it tends to start wailing and ranting when the prospect of violence comes up.
  • Unicorn: One appears in the Western Woods and develops an infatuation with Wuntvor, as it wants to lay its head in the lap of a virgin. Alea tries to offer her own services, but the unicorn keeps bluntly turning her down...
  • Verbal Tic: Wuntvor and Ebenezum's "Indeed!", Hendrek's "Doom!", Brax's constant sales-speak and Guxx's penchant for constant rhymes.
  • When I Was Your Age...: In A Multitude of Monsters, a griffin complains that his son listens to Madrigals, when Gregorian Chants were good enough for him.


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