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Edghill, Rosemary. The warslayer; an incredibly true adventure of Vixen the Slayer, the beginning.

Baen p. 312p. c2002. 0-7434-3536-2. $7.99. JSA

Gloria McArdle is a 6' redheaded post-Olympian gymnast and phys. ed. teacher who casually tested for a background part in a TV series. Now a cult phenomenon, she's achieved world fame as the star of The Incredibly True Adventures of Vixen the Slayer, fighting supernatural evil throughout Elizabethan England decked out in a leather corset, velvet panniers and "genuine English rowan" (really plastic) stakes. Halfway through a publicity tour of talk shows, autograph sessions and photo shoots, Glory is tiring of it all and wondering what to no next when a knock comes at her dressing room door. It's three very odd, androgynous people in colored robes. The leader, Belegir, has a stave with a glowing stone, and a story about following in the footsteps of Cinnas the Warkiller to seek out a warrior to defeat a terrible power unleashed upon the Allimir. When Belegir chants, the three Allimir, Glory and the dressing room all transport together to Serenthodioal the Golden and Glory is abruptly faced with the necessity of becoming the warrior she's only portrayed. Armed with a puzzling prophecy and a magic sword, Glory now has to figure out how to defeat War incarnate--without getting herself and everyone around her hacked to pieces first.

There are very clever variations here on some long-standing plot devices. Edghill takes the fanfic formula of an actress magically transported into the TV character's story environment. She keeps a good spin on it with the actress only being able to do what an athlete could be expected to be capable of, filled with normal doubts and injuries, for while the inhabitants have some magic available, Glory certainly doesn't. In addition to the fine writing style is the honest attention to detail that Edghill has paid to the female action hero genre, including the fact that Glory lugs her stuffed toy elephant everywhere (a habit I've personally witnessed at conventions with "warrior women"). There is a prologue by a fictional author of an unauthorized book on TITAoVtS relating how Glory got the part, with backstage stories. At the end is an episode guide reminiscent of fan-generated ep lists, with commentary, ratings and familiar plot lines. While the main story is ingenious with twists, and human enough to entertain on its own merits, adding the Xena verse trappings makes it a delight. Fine for everybody, but especially fun for Xena and Buffy fans. Liz LaValley, Independent Reviewer, Mattapoisett, MA
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Author:LaValley, Liz
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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