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Literature / Thraxas

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The Thraxas novels are a series of comic fantasy punk/detective novels by Martin Scott. Thraxas himself is an overweight, drunken, failed sorcerer, who also happens to be a skilled swordsman and the best (or at least, cheapest) private detective in the corrupt city-state of Turai. Aided by his friend Makri, an ex-gladiator girl who tries to pay for her education through working as barmaid, he constantly gets into dangerous situations and (in later books) embroiled in political intrigue, but a combination of luck, detective work and Makri's axe always gets him out again.

The books

  1. Thraxas (winner of the 2000 World Fantasy Award)
  2. Thraxas and the Warrior Monks
  3. Thraxas at the Races
  4. Thraxas and the Elvish Isles
  5. Thraxas and the Sorcerers
  6. Thraxas and the Dance of Death
  7. Thraxas at War
  8. Thraxas Under Siege
  9. Thraxas and the Ice Dragon (currently e-book only)

The series doesn't have a conclusion. Thraxas and the Ice Dragon has appeared at March, 2013 after 7-year pause, and the author proposes further continuation.

These books provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Makri.
    • Sarin the Merciless also, and Hanama as well, though as the number 3 person in the Assassins' Guild, the latter is rarely seen in action.
  • Another Dimension: The magic space seems to be one of these.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Makri wears one of these when collecting glasses in the bar, because it gets her better tips. When she's expecting a fight she wears a more sensible outfit.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Dandelion. Although she often turns out not to be as crazy as she sounds.
    • Also, Lisutaris Mistress of the Sky, Makri and Thraxas himself while under influence of drugs.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Thraxas again, as his normal behaviour often... doesn't look smart, but his fencing skills and sheer dogged determination often surprise opponents.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Several times with Dandelion.
  • Darker and Edgier: Starting with Thraxas and the Sorcerers as the hero gets dropped into politics - which certainly put common criminals to shame! Also, the author notes here: - that he initially planned the series to be more so... but Thraxas proved himself to be more irrepressible than planned!
  • Friendly, Playful Dolphin: The dolphins in the bay are intelligent and quite talkative. According to Dandelion, anyway, who's the only person to try talking to them.
  • Genius Bruiser: both Thraxas himself and Makri qualify: both are among the best swordsmen and quite strong - and then he is able to beat a champion player in local chess-analog, while she knows a lot of languages and is shown to be quite good in mathematics. Also, probably the local Brotherhood boss.
  • Granola Girl: Dandelion again.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Makri is half human, a quarter orc and a quarter elf. Her parents were a half-orc and a half-elf.
    • Also the sorcerer Horm the Dead, half human, half orc, and quite possibly all zombie, if his name is as accurate as he claims.
    • And Makri's half-brother appearing in Thraxas at War.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Thraxas, with a vengeance. He often insults his friends and generally acts offensive, but he refuses bribes on principle (in the city where "Easier than to bribe a Senator" is a common proverb) and several times saves his friends with a risk for his life.
  • Lampshade Hanging: When characters search a temple for a stolen item, then hide themselves when another group comes in to search, and this keeps repeating as new groups come in to search until there are several groups hiding, Thraxas comments that it reminds him of one of the sillier comedies at the theatre.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Makri again, as well as warrior monks.
  • Luke Nounverber: Many sorcerers complain that Tirini Snake Smiter has never smitten a snake in her life.
    • And Horm the Dead states that Lisutaris Mistress of the Sky, while being a strong Sorcerer, is weaker in the sky aspects than Horm himself.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Mainly avoided - they are quite traditional, except that during his travel to Elvish Islands, Thraxas discovered quite a flowering community of Elvish beer-lovers!
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Orcs in this setting have dark reddish skin and black hair, but otherwise don't seem to be too different from humans. They can certainly interbreed with them.
    • Also, Makri insists that they have a culture no less complex than that of humans.
  • Raised by Orcs: Makri grew up as a slave in the orcish gladiator pits.
  • Running Gag: Several, flowers for Makri being a prime example, especially as in Thraxas at War she gets them from several unlikely characters. Also includes several Turai proverbs such as "Easier than to bribe a Senator", etc.
  • Training from Hell: Makri passed through this as a trainee gladiator - and later subjected a young elf to this as well - with devastating results!
  • Thieves' Guild: Two of these - one old and established, one new and upcoming. Both people you don't want to get involved with.
    • Actually, subverted - there is no general Thieves' Guild, only several local gangs in Turai alone. The two strongest try to control their territories, but as Thraxas duly notes, they are not always successful in this.
  • Vancian Magic: As a magical failure, Thraxas can only carry one spell at a time and has to reload it every night. It's not clear how much the more powerful sorcerers are bound by this rule.
    • He mentions that powerful Sorcerers can carry large numbers of spells at a time. And then even Lisutaris Mistress of the Sky has to use Thraxas's outdated spellbook to memorise some spells at the moment of being "empty". Though note that lesser magics (like "cantraps" in Vance) are usable without memorising them beforehand...
  • Waif-Fu: in Thraxas Under the Siege Thraxas beats warrior-monk-trained Sarin the Merciless by taking several fancy attacks until he can get in one good punch.
  • Warrior Monk: Thraxas runs into two different groups of these in Thraxas and the Warrior Monks.