The K’Barthan Extras are a series of novella-length stories featuring the Pan of Hamgee – the star of M T McGuire’s funny, fantastic, thrilling fantasy/scifi series. It’s been a while since I reviewed the full length books. Those start with Few Are Chosen, which I reviewed in 2014!
Small Beginnings (K’Barthan Extras #1)
When your very existence is treason, employment opportunities are thin on the ground. But when one of the biggest crime lords in the city makes The Pan of Hamgee a job offer he can’t refuse, it’s hard to tell what the dumbest move is: accepting the offer or saying no to Big Merv. Neither will do much for The Pan’s life expectancy.
Small Beginnings is written in British English and is the first in a series, although it can be read as a stand alone story.
Estimated UK film rating of this book is: U (universal) or G (general)
This is a humorous science fiction fantasy story set in a parallel reality. [goodreads. There is also a great interview with MT at this link!]
Nothing to See Here (K’Barthan Extras #2)
It’s midwinter and preparations for the biggest religious festival in the K’Barthan year are in full swing. Yes, even though, officially, religious activity has been banned, no-one’s going to ignore Arnold, The Prophet’s Birthday, especially not Big Merv. He orders The Pan of Hamgee to deliver the traditional Prophet’s Birthday gift to his accountants and lawyers. As usual, The Pan has managed to elicit the unwanted attention of the security forces. Can he make the delivery and get back to the Parrot and Screwdriver pub in time for an unofficial Prophet’s Birthday celebration with his friends?
It’s absolutely wonderful to renew my acquaintance, except I’m sure I can call it friendship, with The Pan of Hamgee. Some characters will just not lie down when their series is finished. I am delighted to read these novella-length stories (about 70 pages) which tell of firstly, the job The Pan is asked to do for Big Merv, which is a test to see if he’s any use to the Big Man…
The second story is of another task to carry out for Big Merv, which is not quite so successfully performed. It brings us into close contact with the vicious dictators that now run K’Barth, and also various other trampled-down races who have to resort to menial tasks to keep body and soul together. The characterisation is brilliant.
As this one features the major festival of K’Barth, which of course is totally banned by the overlords, it features Not Having a Party and Not Eating Festival Pastries. Come to think of it, pastries were in the first book, too. As were the Parrot at the Parrot and Screwdriver, and the wonderful people who run the down-at-heel pub. They serve anyone they don’t like a different menu, to make sure they don’t return. It’s wonderful, and I gave it five stars.
It almost makes me want to write some more backstories for Pete and the Swede, among others.