A Phule And His Money: Lacks the appealing qualities of the previous books

A Phule And His Money by Robert AsprinA Phule And His Money by Robert Asprin comedic fantasy book reviewA Phule And His Money by Robert Asprin

The first two books in Robert Asprin’s PHULE’S COMPANY series, Phule’s Company and Phule’s Paradise, were fairly amusing and worth my time, especially in the audio formats that have been recently produced by Tantor Audio. However, this third book, A Phule And His Money, which was co-written with Peter J. Heck, was sadly lacking in the qualities that made the previous novels so much fun.

The story begins immediately after the events of Phule’s Paradise. The gang has just saved the Fat Chance Casino from a mob takeover. Life for Captain Phule and his troops seems to be going well for only a brief period of time before all hell breaks loose again. The Japanese Mafia is after Sushi (the Japanese soldier), a biker gang is after Chocolate Harry (the Black soldier), the IRS is after Phule, there’s a lizard-like alien sneaking around, and there’s a batch of new recruits to train including some feline aliens, a Hindu who thinks everything is transitory, and a new chaplain with an Elvis fetish.

Phule's Company (6 Book Series) Kindle Edition by Robert Asprin, Peter J. Heck, Asprin , RobertThen General Blitzkrieg, who is intent on humiliating Phule, sends the company on a peace-keeping mission to a planet where the government is being harried by rebel forces. This happens to be the same planet where Phule got in trouble before he was assigned to captain the “losers and misfits” that are now Phule’s elite fighting force. Phule is only supposed to keep peace but of course he jumps right in to solve all the planet’s problems in his usual manner — throwing millions of dollars at them.

I was expecting A Phule And His Money to be silly and implausible but I was also expecting it to be entertaining and funny. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. I don’t know if Asprin’s conceit has run itself out or if the addition of a co-author is the problem, but this book is a sad decline from the previous books in the series. The jokes were dumb, the story was pointless, every character is a cliché, and the Elvis allusions were painful. The writing style was also annoying at times (I suspect the co-author).

I can’t recommend A Phule And His Money for the story, but I’d like to say that Tantor Audio’s new production is excellent. Noah Michael Levine gives another impressive performance. The audiobook is just over 8 hours long.

Published in print in 1993, in audio in 2017. Captain Willard Phule has whipped his troops into shape, turning Phule’s Company from the laughingstock of the Legion into… a crack team of casino security guards. Now his company is deployed to help an underdeveloped planet. And what better way to utilize their major area of expertise — goofing off — than to turn the planet into the biggest intergalactic playground ever?

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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2 comments

  1. We can’t really theorize from one data point, I know, but it seems more than coincidental that the humor and general quality flag when a co-writer is added.

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