Top positive review
Very impressive Xanth book
on February 4, 2003
"Crewel Lye" is the eighth book in Piers Anthony's "Xanth" series, and in some ways, it is the most impressive of the first nine. Most of the Xanth books take place in a reasonably well-define timeline that we might call the "present." This actually spans quite a long time, since the main character in Xanth-1, Bink, is 25 years in that book, but around 60 in Xanth-9. But "Crewel Lye" takes place **400** years earlier, so it doesn't have the benefit of a lot of the usual Xanthian touches that prop up other books. (By Xanthian touches, I mean things like finding out how to get into Good Magician Humfrey's castle so as to get an Answer.)
Anyway, in the "present" time, Jordan is a ghost, which means that he died with unresolved issues. When little Princess Ivy asks what happened, he tells her the story of his demise. Thus, most of the book is actually narrated in the first-person, which is different from the other Xanth books, and a nice change of pace. First-person narration forces a writer to be disciplined about observations, thoughts, etc., because only those of one person can be related to the reader. This is important for this book, because the "cruel lie" that does Jordan in actually has a different interpretation, one that Jordan doesn't realize, but the reader can figure out. It makes for a very clever ending, even if it becomes somewhat obvious.
Jordan's story -- he is a barbarian who wants an adventure -- is full of action and violence, some intrigue, some romance (or just plain offscreen sex), and even though I was concerned that I wouldn't get to read about the usual Xanth characters, I was engrossed in it.