Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Demon In The Mirror by Andrew Offutt and Richard Lyon

Grainy picture of a chain mail bra
“Tiana crosses swords with demons, barbarians, vampire nuns!

On a quest to find her lost brother, Tiana of Reme, foster daughter of a pirate captain, ventures on a dangerous journey toward her greatest challenge- the Battle of the Wizards!”
–The back cover

“Tiana, warrior supreme, sails her pirate ship on a perilous quest through the mists of alien lands!”
–The front cover

Copyright 1978 by Pocket Books (this is a later publication but no date is given inside). $2.50 cover price. 189 pages. 

Demon in the Mirror packs a lot of sexy, sexy action in less than two hundred pages. This book is very reminiscent of Robert E. Howard's dark fantasy novels, which makes a lot of sense given that Offutt penned half a dozen or so Conan novels in the seventies and eighties. Plenty of detail is given when it comes to A) Tiara's heaving bosom,  B) visceral gore, and C) the combination of the two. Here are some examples:

“Bloodstains marred her garb now, but she smiled. The clothing had been calculated; Tiana knew well her looks, and she well knew men. She'd been much on display, and, if those fool Narokans had chosen to gape at her body when they should have been plying their swords, why then that was their problem.” (11)

“Maltar's opague black eyes roamed the lovely figure, but with the dispassionate interest of a farmer inspecting a pig on slaughter day. Those exquisitely formed features, the rounded thighs crowding her snug short breeks, the full perfect breasts so displayed—all, he knew comprised a death trap.” (90)

“The dressmaker was more than expert, and she commanded a small army of seamstresses. In a few hours, Tiana was arrayed in a lovely gown of scintillant green silk. She loved it, not merely because its beauty enhanced hers, but because it was intelligently made... She particularly admired the exhibition the gown afforded her fullformed breasts.” (160)

There you go: approximately 5% of the allusions to Tiana's “perfect body” made in Demon In the Mirror. Luckily, the novel isn't entirely romance fluff. Offutt and Lyon craft a well-executed and somewhat interesting plot behind all the breasts and dismemberment. Like many “low fantasy” novels, Demon In the Mirror features a group of plotting wizards who send Tiana and her crew on a series of dire quests that will require both cunning and swordplay to accomplish.

In order to find the whereabouts of her missing brother, Tiana must seek out the dismembered and scattered pieces of the immortal and pretty damn evil sorcerer Lamarred. After the initial few set-up chapters, the remainder of the novel is a violent scavenger hunt during which the reader gets to watch Tiana bounce and jiggle her way around a vivid fantasy world, outsmarting  (and usually killing) anyone or anything who gets in her way. At one point, a completely naked Tiana 'slays' a VAMPIRE NUN. Actually, she kills quite a few monsters and bandits while completely in the buff, typically after she has been captured and tied up…

I approve of this book. Bring on the rest of the scantily clad trilogy!

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