Upgrade to a better browser, please.

Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books


Added By: Administrator
Last Updated: Administrator


Purchase this book through Purchase this book from Purchase this book from
Author: Tom Holt
Publisher: Orbit, 1993

This book does not appear to be part of a series. If this is incorrect, and you know the name of the series to which it belongs, please let us know.

Submit Series Details

Book Type: Novel
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-Genre Tags: Comic Fantasy
Mythic Fiction (Fantasy)
Avg Member Rating:
(4 reads / 2 ratings)




Guy is a Mosquito pilot in World War II. He is surprised when his dead co-pilot apparently starts speaking to him as they are flying over Northern France. And before you can say 'Bomber Harris', Guy finds himself caught up in time and travel, a search for Richard the Lionheart and a damsel.


"Um," said Guy, as casually as he could. "Who was that?"

"Sorry?" De Nesle was grinning.

"That, um, lady," said Guy, "who just came in."

"Oh, that," de Nesle replied. "That was my sister, Isoud. Right, shall we be getting along?"

"Yes, yes, thank you," said Guy, not moving. "Your sister," he repeated.

De Nesle sat down on the edge of the desk and picked up the coffee cup. He took a sip and grimaced. "She's put sugar in it again," he said. "Yes, very much my sister. Makes a profoundly horrible cup of coffee, bless her, but otherwise she's better than having malaria. I take it you don't want to go home now."

Guy lifted his head sharply, and saw that there was little point in lying. He nodded.

"You would prefer," said de Nesle, with a certain degree of amusement in his voice, "to spend the rest of your life as a knight of La Beale Isoud, doing deeds of note in her name and striving to be worthy of her?"

"Well," said Guy, and then he nodded again. "The thought had crossed my mind, yes."

De Nesle smiled. "There's one born every minute," he said, "or at the outside, every ninety seconds. My sister has enough knights strewn across history to re-enact Agincourt. You may remember," he added softly, "what happened to the knights at Agincourt."


"Isoud," de Nesle continued, "is the plain one. My sister Mahaud, at the last count, had more admirers than there are Elks. Mahaud, by the way, isn't the pretty one. My sister Ysabel, she's the pretty one."


"Fortunately," de Nesle went on, "Mahaud and Ysabel are both happily married and living back in time. Furthermore, they're both putting on weight. They do that. Not that Isoud's a slouch when it comes to putting away the carbohydrates; she may look like she'd get blown away by the downdraught from a closing door, but put her in front of a dish of roast pullets and you'll begin to believe what they say about how thin the dividing line is between humanity and the lower animals. The sight of Isoud eating corn on the cob ... Sorry, I seem to have lost my thread."

"I -"

De Nesle rested his chin on his hand and looked at Guy for a moment. "When there's just one of them it's not so bad; it's when you've got three of them cluttering up the place that you've got problems. They gang up on you. They throw out shirts without telling you. They repaint the bathroom while you're out. Worse still, they repaint a third of the bathroom, bet bored and leave the rest for you to do when you get back. They make funny remarks about you to visitors. They decide that they can't bear to live with the tapestries in the hall for another day, drag you round the fair looking at tapestries, moan at you for not taking an interest, and then sulk at you when you express an opinion. In my opinion, the idea of anyone wanting to fight knights and kill dragons just to prove themselves worthy of somebody's sister is so absurd as to be ludicrous."

De Nesle finished his coffee and put the cup down. "Anyway," he said, "that's all beside the point, isn't it? I take it that all my well-chosen words have been entirely wasted?"

Guy nearly said something but nodded instead. De Nesle shrugged.

"In that case," he said, "I suppose we'd better get down to business."

Guy started. "Business?" he said.

"Business." De Nesle put a businesslike expression on his face. "Terms and the like."


"Terms. I'd be only too glad for you to take La Beale Isoud off my hands - it wouldn't be losing a sister so much as gaining five hundred cubic metres of wardrobe space - but a man in my position has to make full use of all the resources at his disposal. So, terms."

Guy swallowed. "You mean," he said, "money?"

De Nesle scowled briefly, and then, as if remembering something, smiled again. "Certainly not," he said. "My fault, should have made myself clear instead of trying to be delicate. Not money. Help."


"Look," de Nesle said, "imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery and all that, but I wonder if you'd mind not repeating every single word I say? It makes one so self-conscious. Perhaps I'd better explain."

"Yes," said Guy.

"Right." De Nesle stood up, walked round the room, and then sat down again. "Yes," he said. "Cards on the table, and all that."

Guy leaned forward slightly, to demonstrate attentiveness. This seemed to disconcert de Nesle somewhat for he got up again and walked round the room the other way. Finally he sat down, scratched the back of his head and started making a chain out of paperclips.

"You see..." he said.


"Oh never mind," de Nesle exclaimed. "It's like this ..."

Copyright © 1993 by Tom Holt


There are currently no reviews for this novel. Be the first to submit one! You must be logged in to submit a review in the BookTrackr section above.


No alternate cover images currently exist for this novel.