Murphy's Lore: Redemption Road
Written by Patrick Thomas
Published by Padwolf Publishing
By Jon Minners
Gibson and Glover did it in Lethal Weapon. Murphy and Nolte perfected it in 48 Hours. Tucker and Chan reprised it in Rush Hour. Now, Murphy and Loki break new ground with it in Murphy’s Lore: Redemption Road. The Murphy in this tale is not Eddie Murphy, but just a lowly bartender from Bulfinche’s Pub who has teamed with the Master of Mischief, the evil God Loki for what must be the very first successful buddy book ever created and it is brought to you by Patrick Thomas and the good folks of Padwolf Publishing.
Thomas has crafted another masterpiece in the Murphy’s Lore series focusing on Murphy, a mortal who tends bar at a magical bar known as Bulfinche’s Pub, a place where legends and myths are real; a place where it is not uncommon to find Hercules and Hex, even a vampire and werewolf, breaking bread over a beer; a place where the troubled come for help and a band of extra super heroes band together for a common good and possibly to save the world. There is no job too small for this gang of Gods, faeries, satyrs and other creatures and there is not a dimension or planet they won’t travel to.
And that brings us to Redemption Road, the fifth in a succession of novels set in the Murphy’s Lore universe, and the third full-length tale in the series. Redemption Road takes place directly after the events in Fools’ Day, the second installment in the series. In Fools’ Day, the group at Bulfinche’s Pub competes in their annual April Fools’ Day competition. For these mystical creatures, April Fools’ Day is really a holiday and all the corrupt politicians, crooked individuals and low lives are fair game, as everyone competes for the grand prize. However, in this book, the group gets thrust into a war that involves fairies and nuclear weapons, as well as the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Helping to save the world is Loki, the God of Deception, whose evil deeds have led him to be imprisoned by his father Odin underneath a giant snake whose venom tortures the character Marvel Comics has cast as evil incarnate. Paddy, the owner of the bar, owes Loki a debt after the trickster presented him with the means to save his wife. Despite Paddy’s wife still dying, Paddy still feels the need to help Loki and has received permission to free him from imprisonment on Halloween and, in addition, breaks Loki from his prison so he can take part in the April Fools’ festivities.
After saving the world, Loki promised to return to his imprisonment, but took a detour along the way. Nothing was discussed about that detour until Redemption Road. In this tale, Loki manages to turn his one day of freedom into several weeks through inter-dimensional travel and other rifts through time and space, making it really just a day in our world. Got to love all that scientific stuff I can’t really explain. Anyways, joining him for the ride is Murphy on a special bike built by Vulcan with all the state-of-the-art features for interstellar travel. Murphy is there to make sure Loki returns to his sentence, but must rely on him as the two travel from one world to the next and get themselves involved in a war defending those who cannot defend themselves.
In this tale, Loki and Murphy make new friends in the form of goblins, trolls and Thunder Jack, the God formerly known as Zeus, as they fight against a race of creatures that are trying to take over the planet of Karma. The inhabitants of Karma cannot harm others or they lose weight and die. Their whole society is based on doing good deeds and the more good deeds they do, the fatter and healthier they become. This brings about a conundrum as the natives cannot fight back and must rely on others. This is Loki’s chance to redeem himself for all the wrong he has done and it is time for Murphy to prove his worth without all of his mystical friends around to help. The two end up learning from one another and Murphy’s good natured ways rub off on the testy Loki, but will it be enough to stop Loki from taking an easy way out and leaving his friends behind in his never ending quest to be free?
This is a great tale that sort of reminded me of Star Wars. I know it is a very bold move to make the comparison, but with all the planets visited and creatures involved, it is hard not to, especially when it comes to Draven, a dark planet that features a bar called The Establishment, not too much unlike the Cantina and a pit that somehow reminded me of Luke Skywalker’s battle in Return of the Jedi in Jabba the Hut’s pit. You got your Luke Skywalker in John Murphy; your Chewbacca in the form of Randor, Pace and the rest of the trolls; your Han Solo in Thunder Jack; your oversized, non-hairy Ewoks in the Karma creatures and in a strange twist, Loki as your Darth Vader who must choose between right and wrong. Sorry, no Princess Leia or her slave costume. Damn.Anyways, readers will love this tale. Fans of the series will enjoy Loki, my favorite character, filled with all his complexities and Murphy, who is his usual goofball self, but now with a bit of a hard nosed attitude. And most importantly, readers will discover who won the April Fools’ Day contest. Funny, dramatic, action packed; Patrick Thomas keeps upping the bar on the Murphy’s Lore series and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight. Redemption Road is just one stop on the road in Patrick Thomas’ continued success.
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