A real pleasant surprise....this one has a great story going for it, but Anthony has managed to insert two great characters (Jordan the Barbarian and Threnody the demon-spawn) that really make this tale zip through. I've come to expect a certain level of entertainment from Xanth novels, but this one was just a real pleasure to read. Interesting note at the end: Anthony says all his Xanth novels are written for adults, but enjoyed by kids. I have noticed more and more adult themes creeping into the Xanth novels the more I read them. However, Anthony is very clever about how he writes on these issues....kind of like a cartoon with adult jokes that fly right over the kids heads but crack the parents up.