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by Lawrence Watt-Evans

To Gudge's bride, Queen Artemisia of Hydrangea, are born a set of royal triplets. But traditional Gorgorian belief holds that triplets are a sure sign of the mother's adultery--for which the tradition Gorgorian punishment is death. And Gudge is nothing is not a traditionalist.So in secret the Queen sends her faithful servant Ludmilla on a desperate mission, to bear the girl and the younger boy to the secret forest redoubt of the last Hydrangean resistance. The oldest boy will remain, to be raised as the heir.Unfortunately, Ludmilla takes both boys instead...
Download Split Heirs epub
ISBN: 0812520297
ISBN13: 978-0812520293
Category: Fantasy
Subcategory: Fantasy
Author: Lawrence Watt-Evans
Language: English
Publisher: Tor Books (June 15, 1994)
ePUB size: 1550 kb
FB2 size: 1100 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 487
Other Formats: lit doc lrf rtf

Don't take this any more seriously than you would a Terry Pratchett novel or a Zena episode. If you like campy, punny, word-based humor, it will push the limits of what you think is too much camp, puns, and downright silliness.

Very Monty-Python, very very silly. The plot romps along, happy, saucy, and raunchy to a pleasant and yet realistic enough conclusion for a book that includes tales of crying cheeses and lots of engaging descriptions of bad smells. Not to be missed.
It's a book that I fell in love with years ago! A crazy story that's a lot of fun to read.
I had high hope for this book. I've heard good things about lawrence Watt-Evans and I'm a fan of Friesner. Unfortunately, this book does nether of them justice. The story idea is interesting enough (enough for me to shell out the money for it). A conquered queen gives birth to triplets and has to send two away or be killed, but the old retainer takes the two boys, and leaves the girl. But the actual writing makes me think its aimed for 10 year old maturity level, with a genius vocabulary level. The writing style is not captivating, and I pushed through several chapters after losing interest on the hope that it would get better... It didnt. This is the first time I've not been able to FINISH reading a book I started.
Split Heirs (1993) is a standalone humor fantasy novel. It is set in Hydrangea, a country conquered by Gorgorian barbarians. The conquerors were flea-bitten nomads and the conquered were decadent and refined citizens. Hydrangeans were so highly-refined that the wizards were useless for anything quick and nasty.

In this novel, King Gudge is now ruler of Hydrangea by right of conquest. He has beheaded the former Hydrangean ruler -- King Fumitory the Twenty-Second -- and married the daughter of the former king. Gudge then got his new queen pregnant by the usual Gorgorian practice of raping her. He hasn't stopped beheading Hydrangeans, finding it a quick way to cut off unwanted conversations.

Queen has retired to the north tower of the palace in the ancient ritual of isolation of the pregnant queen. Strangely, none other remembers this ancient custom, but who knows all the ancient rites? Currently, the queen is in the process of parturition, having just delivered the second child with one more to go.

Old Ludmilla is the queen's handmaiden. Ludmilla is older than anyone else known to the queen. She is also the midwife for these births.

Prince Helenium, Prince Helianthus, and Princess Avena are the names bestowed on the newborn children of King Gudge and Queen Artemisia. They are each tagged with miniature portraits of their royal namesakes.

Odo is a shepherd living near Stinkberry village. He keeps his sheep on the mountain over the village. Odo is almost as old as Ludmilla and has had intimate relations with the crone many decades ago.

Clootie is the pseudonym of the only surviving Hydrangean wizard. The others were beheaded. He now lives in a thoroughly dry cave near Stinkberry village. Clootie is busily developing quick and dirty methods of creating havoc among the barbarians. He will be prepared to unleash his magic against the invaders any decade now.

In this story, the Gorgorians believe that multiple births mean multiple fathers. Since the penalty for adultery is death by wolverines, Queen Artemisia is determined to send the younger children to her brother Prince Mimulus, now known as the Black Weasel, brave and dashing heroic leader of the Bold Bush-dwellers. Unfortunately, Old Ludmilla gets agitated and carries off the two boys.

On the way to the Black Weasel, Old Ludmilla becomes lost and is found by Odo. He takes her back to his hut and they renew their close relations. Unluckily, Old Ludmilla dies with a smile on her face and Odo is left with two very young children on his hands.

Odo fetches his favorite ewe to nurse the boys and then ponders the lack of names. Old Ludmilla hadn't properly introduced him to the newborns, so he comes up with two names from his past. He names the boys Dunwin and Wulfrith for his errant uncles, who were hanged in Lichenberry.

Later, Odo decides that the boys are too much for his lifestyle and sells Wulfrith to Clootie as an apprentice or maybe lunch. Clootie takes the boy back to his cave. After watching Clootie execute his magic, Wulfrith learns a little magic himself, although he tends to be a tad erratic in his results.

Meanwhile, back at the palace, Queen Artemisia sends a message off to her brother to discover what happened to the two boys. The response is less than satisfactory, since Old Ludmilla had never arrived in the forest realm of the Black Weasel. So Artemisia keeps telling everybody that the remaining child is a boy named Arbol.

Prince Arbol grows up to be an almost typical Gorgorian youngster. He can outfight -- with fists or swords -- and outspit anyone else his age. Arbol is the terror of the palace guards, having a tendency to toss them down the stairs if they get in his way.

Then Clootie misplaces Wulfrith and follows Dunwin home under the understandable belief that he is really Wulfrith. In the ensuing conversation, Clootie proves that he is a wizard by changing Bernice -- a relatively calm and peaceful ewe -- into a dragon. Dunwin leaves home pursuing his beloved Bernice as she flies away.

This tale misrepresents every imaginable aspect of heroic fantasy. The girl thinks she is a boy and outdoes all her male friends. The boys are greatly impressed by their guardians and become a wizard and a shepherd. The Bush-dwellers finally learn to fight properly, but make the mistake of fighting Dunwin.

Then Artemisia lures Wulfrith back to the palace with a mask over his head and convinces him to become Arbol's food taster. After seeing the library, Wulfrith is easily persuaded to stay. Since they look so much alike, Arbol and Wulfrith trade places occasionally without anyone else noticing the difference.

The story is so farcical that it belongs in a class of its own. It is somewhat more logical than a Monte Python skit, but not by much. Enjoy!

Recommended for Watt-Evans & Friesner fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of cultural satire, social farce, and rampant confusion.

-Arthur W. Jordin
This is a funny and twisted comedy about royal triplets separated at birth who grow up with some very odd misconceptions. I liked this book quite a lot... the characters are written well enough that they survive the normally brutal treatment of being in a farce, and a lot of fantasy cliches are thrown in for good measure. My favorite part, however, is the tragic love story of Dunwin and Bernice... it's a baaad story ewe are sure to enjoy... and it sets up my favorite line in the whole book: "I'm not a sheep any more, and you're not a little boy - it just wouldn't work!"
This is a nicely done comic fantasy book. The characters are fairly shallow, the cliches are rampant and yet the book is an well done poke in the ribs at traditional "serious" fantasy. At times it comes off like a cross between a Monty Python script and the "Who's on first" conversation.
My only complaint is that it takes a little bit (50 pages or so) to ramp up to the truly funny scenarios, and thus initially gives the mistaken initial impression of not being all that entertaining. Once it's warmed up though it's a good fun read.
Fun, Fun book about a simple case of mistaken identity between three royal children it is an excellent book to read if you into Terry P. Between boys being mistaken for girls and dragons being turned into sheep I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard while reading a book.
Split Heirs is a rarity in its genre, and even rarer in its quality writing. The fast measure of the narrative and the colourful characters never give the reader a moment to put it down. Farcical as it might be there is something quite entertaining in it all. Perhaps it's the elaborate scenarios or the comic characterisations, but in any sense it is a highly recommended book for anyone who likes the fantasy genre, but would like to read something quirkier and fresher than the usual 'run of the mill' SF Fantasy novels out there.