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Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Twenty-nine of the coins are already in the possession of the unpleasant Pennyman. The last coin is all that stands between the world and doom, and it now belongs to ordinary Andrew Vanbergen, owner of an inn where dark magic and bizarre heroism are about to intertwine.


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Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Twenty-nine of the coins are already in the possession of the unpleasant Pennyman. The last coin is all that stands between the world and doom, and it now belongs to ordinary Andrew Vanbergen, owner of an inn where dark magic and bizarre heroism are about to intertwine.

30 review for The Last Coin

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    On the whole I like what I've read by J. Blaylock. In this case I'd be more likely to characterize my feelings on this book as "not disliking it". This is the third of the books usually grouped together as Blaylock's Christian books. This one has what I think is a "hook" or "basic idea" that would catch a lot of reader's interest. We're looking at a story built around the 30 pieces of silver payed to Judas to betray Jesus. These coins have been used by others as plot points and they are usually s On the whole I like what I've read by J. Blaylock. In this case I'd be more likely to characterize my feelings on this book as "not disliking it". This is the third of the books usually grouped together as Blaylock's Christian books. This one has what I think is a "hook" or "basic idea" that would catch a lot of reader's interest. We're looking at a story built around the 30 pieces of silver payed to Judas to betray Jesus. These coins have been used by others as plot points and they are usually seen to carry a curse. Here it's in the "legend" that they can confer some kind of power...(though this could include a curse). Sounds interesting. I've found that (I'm a Christian pastor) that there are certain verses in the Bible that "grab reader's interest" even though they aren't basic to any teaching and the Bible doesn't go into detail about them. Note the interest so many have in Hell as a main point. No where did Jesus sit down and say, "this is what Hell is and what it's like." No He and the apostles simply referenced it. Or the verse that says Jesus preached to the souls in Hell... Read past that and anyone listening will completely lose interest in the rest of the passage. The same is true here. The Bible says nothing about these coins beyond the fact that Judas threw them back at the ones who'd paid him and that they used the money to buy a "potter's field" to be used as graves for criminals. That's it. But we humans build legends around "stuff"...same here. All that's okay, even good. The problem comes with the story telling and the characters. The story telling is (as I've said about other books) yawn worthy. It almost rambles along. There's a set up for our villain and he gives us a look at his plan...to (obviously) obtain the coins (the ones he doesn't have). The book goes on attempting some humor which "sort of works". Sadly it often comes across as a little more silly that I think it was meant to be. Then there's our protagonist. He is also a bit silly. Of course he's meant to be so, I didn't miss that. If he weren't there wouldn't be any growth, but it can actually be a little hard to read the guy who so often comes across as a bit of an idiot. So...okay but not what I was hoping for nor (I think) what it could have been. Decide for yourself. I think most will find it...okay...also.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    I’m glad that there are plenty of readers out there who appreciated this book, because it was not my cuppa tea. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this was supposed to be humourous (kind of like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), but I find that I often struggle with humour on the page. I think this would be an excellent TV show—the main character Andrew bumbling along like Maxwell Smart and his wife Rose herding him in the right direction just like Agent 99 (young folks, go to YouTube and I’m glad that there are plenty of readers out there who appreciated this book, because it was not my cuppa tea. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this was supposed to be humourous (kind of like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), but I find that I often struggle with humour on the page. I think this would be an excellent TV show—the main character Andrew bumbling along like Maxwell Smart and his wife Rose herding him in the right direction just like Agent 99 (young folks, go to YouTube and search Get Smart!) It seemed to me that watching the action and being able to appreciate the story’s physical aspects would have probably made me laugh. In so many ways, I feel this story had potential. I mean collecting Judas Iscariot’s 30 pieces of silver and gaining power from them? That’s an awesome concept. Dan Brown could do something with that (whether that’s good or bad, I leave to your judgment) and I was disappointed in Blaylock’s lack of ambition with such an excellent idea. Treated seriously, this could have been an excellent fantasy thriller. It would also have benefitted, IMHO, from a focus on the villain of the piece, Mr. Pennyman, instead of Andrew. Andrew was such a bumbling idiot, that I longed for a competent narrator. Pennyman would have served, as would have Andrew’s wife, Rose, or Rose’s Aunt Naomi. Nowhere in the narrative did I discern why Rose had actually married Andrew or why she continued to put up with him. If ever a woman had a clear reason to divorce, I would say Rose did. Needless to say, despite the fact that this is the first book in a series, I won’t be continuing on. I am uncertain whether I will even be willing to try other titles by this author. This is book number 246 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Phillip

    I went through a time when I experienced a perfect love of Blaylock's works. Each one gave me exactly what I wanted out of a book at the time, and I eagerly sought out the next book after I'd finished the last. The Last Coin, The Paper Grail, and All The Bells On Earth are my favorites and I am ever thankful for the gift of Blaylock's imagination, quirkiness and humor. As happens, tastes change and I haven't been able to get back into his books as I once did. But if you happen upon them at the r I went through a time when I experienced a perfect love of Blaylock's works. Each one gave me exactly what I wanted out of a book at the time, and I eagerly sought out the next book after I'd finished the last. The Last Coin, The Paper Grail, and All The Bells On Earth are my favorites and I am ever thankful for the gift of Blaylock's imagination, quirkiness and humor. As happens, tastes change and I haven't been able to get back into his books as I once did. But if you happen upon them at the right time, they can be magnificent windows into a world just a little more magical than our own. One of the greatest things about Blaylock's novels is the unlikely heroes, and one of his best is in The Last Coin.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Jules Pennyman is searching for the last of a set of thirty magical coins: the thirty pieces of silver Judas received to betray Jesus. Unbeknownst to himself, eccentric innkeeper and would-be restaurateur Andrew Vanbergen owns the last coin, which must be kept out of Pennyman's hands. I've loved Blaylock's first couple of books, The Elfin Ship and The Disappearing Dwarf, for many years; they're set in a fantasy world but show Blaylock's remarkable ability to intertwine the mundane and the fantas Jules Pennyman is searching for the last of a set of thirty magical coins: the thirty pieces of silver Judas received to betray Jesus. Unbeknownst to himself, eccentric innkeeper and would-be restaurateur Andrew Vanbergen owns the last coin, which must be kept out of Pennyman's hands. I've loved Blaylock's first couple of books, The Elfin Ship and The Disappearing Dwarf, for many years; they're set in a fantasy world but show Blaylock's remarkable ability to intertwine the mundane and the fantastic. The Last Coin is even better at this: the book is set squarely on the California coast, peopled with seemingly ordinary people and animals, yet even the ordinary becomes the extraordinary. I'm also fond of Blaylock's oddball characters; Andrew especially is endearing in spite of (or maybe because of) his maddening vagaries and laziness.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    this is the first Blaylock's book I read and I found it really charming,not as much the story line but the style and the language, the way Blaylock describes even small details. I remember having the book on my night stand and I would just read a random page before going to bad. I am looking forward to a new book from the urban fantasy series.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Thomas

    An interesting set-up for a novel, to be sure: Judas Iscariot was paid 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus. What ever happened to those coins as they became scattered through history? Are they evil? What happens if a human being holds on to one or more of them for a long period of time? Do they become evil? Moreover, what would happen if one person were to accumulate all 30 coins? Meet present-day Mr. Pennyman, an unpleasant fellow who has managed to collect almost all the coins. Only a few t An interesting set-up for a novel, to be sure: Judas Iscariot was paid 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus. What ever happened to those coins as they became scattered through history? Are they evil? What happens if a human being holds on to one or more of them for a long period of time? Do they become evil? Moreover, what would happen if one person were to accumulate all 30 coins? Meet present-day Mr. Pennyman, an unpleasant fellow who has managed to collect almost all the coins. Only a few to go. And it's clear that having the coins in his collection has most definitely affected him. But in a small town on California’s coast, a man named Andrew Vanbergen knows nothing of these coins but instead, owns an inn and is struggling to get it off the ground. These two men are on a collision course. I’ve read one book by James Blaylock many years ago but wasn’t enthusiastic about it enough to run out and get another one anytime soon. But I’ve heard so many good things about him that I thought I owed him another try. This one, as it turns out, was just OK. I really liked the setup but was hoping for much more to actually happen with the plot. It plods along slowly and seems more interested in displaying the quirkiness of the characters rather than explore the concept of the 30 pieces of silver. Blaylock’s ability to write well is in no doubt here. His characters, though quirky are well-developed but the protagonist, Andrew Vanbergen is a bit of a dolt and lazy to boot, so the long sections of his day-to-day activities that had nothing to do with the main plot grew tiresome. Other characters affected me in much the same way. It seemed only about 10% of the novel dealt with that cool plot idea and the rest was more slice-of-life stuff. To summarize, I kinda liked it and I kinda didn’t. I may try another Blaylock title in the future but, once again, it may take me 20 years to work up to it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    "The Last Coin" begins with a reflection in the Prologue followed by a family legend in Chapter 1. In the first, a man named Jules Pennyman, in the Mideast, recalls a storm at sea near Cyprus. The crew is calling him a Jonah, ready to toss him overboard. Instead, they take a coin from him that crackles with St. Elmo's fire, casting it into the sea. A vast shadow rises from the deeps to swallow the glowing coin. The family history from another side of the world, 75 years before the events of the "The Last Coin" begins with a reflection in the Prologue followed by a family legend in Chapter 1. In the first, a man named Jules Pennyman, in the Mideast, recalls a storm at sea near Cyprus. The crew is calling him a Jonah, ready to toss him overboard. Instead, they take a coin from him that crackles with St. Elmo's fire, casting it into the sea. A vast shadow rises from the deeps to swallow the glowing coin. The family history from another side of the world, 75 years before the events of the novel, recounts a pig appearing at a farmhouse doorstep, in its mouth a silver spoon, which it leaves for the perplexed family. These scenes set the fun/mysterious tone quickly for possibly James Blaylock's most delightful novel (I've read them all). "The Last Coin" is like a best-of for familiar Blaylock templates: offbeat goings-on in coastal California; some sort of magical/mythic element; quirky, oddly charming, sometimes clueless everyman right in the thick of things; a villain who is delightfully nefarious but tends not to put our heroes through the meat grinder; strong, amusing prose with an amiably twisted take on life; weird animal connections. For this outing, breakfast cereal, in various forms, also plays a big role (contraband Weetabix!). In the animal category, Blaylock throws in the kitchen sink — and there's probably a toad in it. Playing significant roles we have the following all-star animal types in the lineup, in addition to the aforementioned pig and monstrous fish: cat, 'possum, parrot, squid, carp, seagull, tortoise and, yes, toad. Blaylock is fond of giving animals humanlike outlooks (or, more precisely, having simple characters who imagine that animals have humanlike outlooks), and the delight he takes in the writing of these creatures and, thus, transfers to us, rules out overkill. "One pig to rule them all, One pig to ..." In "The Last Coin," the villainous Pennyman has collected nearly all 30 of the mythic and now-powerful pieces of silver paid Judas Iscariot when he betrayed Christ. Judas still wanders the earth, his (extended) life's work to keep the coins apart; if Pennyman succeeds in his quest ... well ... it's not precisely clear what would happen, but it would be very, very bad. Pennyman, drawn to the few coins not in his clutches, his life extended by the influence of those in his possession, has landed in Seal Beach, Calif., as a boarder at the house of Andrew Vanbergen and his wife, Rose. Andrew also counts Rose's Aunt Naomi among the boarders. There's also a neighbor whose name Andrew never is sure of, always referred to by Blaylock as Ken-or-Ed. Andrew and his more-driven (but, of course, odd) friend Beams Pickett are convinced Pennyman is up to no good, and as they uncover gradually the story of the coins, Andrew and Beams start to watch/agitate Pennyman, little knowing just how close Pennyman is to getting the last coins. Many of the characters come to play bigger roles in the Judas-coin business than Andrew ever dreamed; the plot thickens, and Blaylock keeps the delightful weirdness coming. (Isolated comedy spoiler nearing). As Andrew comes to realize Pennyman is up to far worse than Andrew originally supposed, he can't resist needling the old man. He makes mysterious phone calls to Pennyman and sends him an envelope with a single piece of paper enclosed, bearing a cryptic, absolutely meaningless message designed to drive him crazy: MOKE DAT YIGARETTE. Whether you find this ridiculous message funny will tell a lot about whether you will like this book. (Isolated comedy spoiler over). Obviously, I think it's freakin' hilarious. Blaylock lets the tale meander a bit in the middle, but it's never less-than-fun meandering. Our heroes even get involved in some slam-bang action in the late-going, so there's a weird something for everyone. This tale of loony-but-likable Andrew and the coins doesn't get too fearsome, but readers willing to wander in Blaylock's offbeat world experience more fun than humans should be allowed to have.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kat Hooper

    Andrew and Rose Vanbergen have recently purchased a California inn which they are fixing up and getting ready for guests. They live in the inn along with aging Aunt Naomi, her numerous cats, and her companion, Mrs. Gummage. The Vanbergens have only one real guest so far — the mysterious Pepto-drinking Mr. Pennyman. Andrew has grand plans for the inn. Unfortunately, he’s also a bit of a slacker and he’s always managing to find excuses for doing anything but the actual work that needs to get done. Andrew and Rose Vanbergen have recently purchased a California inn which they are fixing up and getting ready for guests. They live in the inn along with aging Aunt Naomi, her numerous cats, and her companion, Mrs. Gummage. The Vanbergens have only one real guest so far — the mysterious Pepto-drinking Mr. Pennyman. Andrew has grand plans for the inn. Unfortunately, he’s also a bit of a slacker and he’s always managing to find excuses for doing anything but the actual work that needs to get done. While his good-natured and industrious wife is cleaning or sewing linens, he’s daydreaming about a gourmet kitchen and purchasing luxury items that aren’t really necessary. (He fancies himself an epicure). Andrew also tends to have crazy ideas that sometimes border on delusional. Sometimes he acts on these. He knows he’s being silly and that it upsets his wife, so he’s in the habit of .. Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Frustrating dreamer and compulsive liar opens an Inn, plays tremendously immature pranks on his guests and causes the death of at least one hapless coin collector, whose only crime is an innocent desire to embody some kind of wickedness. The idea is pleasant enough, but the whimsy of the (generally trivial) signs and portents is slightly annoying.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Fredösphere

    Blaylock combines two very different kinds of stories here: a magical thriller and a screwball comedy. The comedy dominates for the great majority of the book, leaving the thriller neglected. The magical premise concerns the 30 silver pieces paid to Judas. These have vast power, when gathered into the possession of one person. The villain of the book, Mr. Pennyman, after surviving for centuries, is nearing his goal. The hero is Pennyman's landlord, a schlub called Andrew Vanbergen. Andrew is not n Blaylock combines two very different kinds of stories here: a magical thriller and a screwball comedy. The comedy dominates for the great majority of the book, leaving the thriller neglected. The magical premise concerns the 30 silver pieces paid to Judas. These have vast power, when gathered into the possession of one person. The villain of the book, Mr. Pennyman, after surviving for centuries, is nearing his goal. The hero is Pennyman's landlord, a schlub called Andrew Vanbergen. Andrew is not nearing his goal. It takes him forever (past half the book) to wake up to the threat, or discover that the "spoon" in his possession is in fact the last coin Pennyman needs. (It came to him, via his aunt, out of the mouth of a pig. Yes, really.) Andrew spends much of his time pursuing hairbrained schemes and spinning insane lies to explain away the inevitable disasters that result. I really, really, wanted this story to focus on the threat and build the tension instead. Blaylock has a wildly inventive mind and I've enjoyed his writing before. ("The Pink of Fading Neon" is a short story featuring an unforgettable, mock-horrifying horde of armadillos. It's an example of Blaylock getting the horror-humor balance perfectly right.) I wanted to read more Blaylock and found this book at a used bookstore. He's won the PKD award with Homunculus; I think that's the one to read next.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    The pernicious Mr. Pennyman aims to gather the last of the thirty pieces of silver given to Judas Iscariot. Standing in his way is Andrew Vanbergen, Vancouver innkeep and cereal connoisseur. Vanbergen has to be one of the dumbest protagonists I've come across - genuinely doltish, the sort of person who thinks they're much more clever than they actually are. I had hoped for more tension in the story than Blaylock provided; the concept was certainly interesting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dan Glover

    Quirky! Humorous fantastic fiction staged in a very ordinary setting. An evil man/being seeks to bring together all thirty of Judas's pieces of silver in order to gain their special power and the immortality they bestow. Ordinary people, animals, and special 'caretakers' attempt to prevent this. Not deep or overly developed but light and fun. Could make a great Netflix series.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ben Simpkins

    I read an interview with Blaylock where he mentioned that William Hastings in The Digging Leviathan was essentially a precursor to Andrew in The Last Coin, so I immediately bought the whole "Christian Trilogy" because I loved the Hastings character and the way Blaylock wrote when things were being told from Hastings' perspective. And, that is something I truly love about how we writes. We don't just get a description of what the characters do in the world; in Blaylock's stories the characters tr I read an interview with Blaylock where he mentioned that William Hastings in The Digging Leviathan was essentially a precursor to Andrew in The Last Coin, so I immediately bought the whole "Christian Trilogy" because I loved the Hastings character and the way Blaylock wrote when things were being told from Hastings' perspective. And, that is something I truly love about how we writes. We don't just get a description of what the characters do in the world; in Blaylock's stories the characters truly shape the world Blaylock builds. Even when we get a glimpse of Pennyman's perspective, as dark as it is, we immediately feel the immensity and epic scale of things. And the whole juxtaposition of this immensity with Andrew's seemingly-simple world is brilliant. I just found myself grinning and tingling when these characters were introduced, and then began interacting. I don't know quite what highlights to bring up because this book was chock full of great moments. I feel like I would be doing the book horrible justice if I just mentioned a few, so I'll continue to speak in generalities... The charm that Andrew and Beams Pickett ('Spigot' haha!) bring to the story are what I've come to expect from Blaylock (from this period) but can't seem to get enough of. Most of the humor (and probably the majority of the charm) revolve around Andrew, who delightfully gets a kick out of certain seeming minutiae in his life. At the same time the first half of the book is peppered with a lot of Andrew's serious reflections on the world and how he feels there is something deeper going on, some magical thread that seems to elude most other folk. Blaylock's prose at this point is beautiful. I found myself re-reading a lot of these passages just to appreciate the beauty of it. As I've grown older, these kinds of things are what I love most about literature. The book is amazing. I was worried that I might find Blaylock to be a bit formulaic after reading too many of his novels, but that is indeed not the case. He certainly has a style, but that style (actually more like universe-building) goes a long way because he reveals little pieces of it in the most delightful ways, so that we're longing for more but not disappointed that we didn't get it all this time. I've read other reviews as well as interviews with Blaylock that make it clear that he is not for everyone. Blaylock is an eccentric, his characters are eccentric, as is his universe, and you have to be a bit of one yourself to truly get it. But when you get it the payoff is immense. I've recently divorced my wife of 15 years, and it has been a rough process. Work has been hard recently, as well. I've generally been going through what I hope is ultimately a rocky period. But, as silly as it seems, novels like The Last Coin somehow give me the energy to keep going. It's partly escape, but it's also partly about looking at the silly world in a different way, perhaps like how Andrew sees it, or how William Hastings or Langdon St. Ives see it. The world in these books is not really that different from ours when you boil it down. Characters are impulsive and make stupid decisions, they fight with their friends and spouses, they wake up hungover regretting the hell out of it, and they beat themselves up over and over about the same things we do day-to-day. But at the end, they push through, and it ultimately this perseverance works for them. The ending in these books is never the perfect Hollywood ending a lot of folks are always hoping for, but then again, that's not how things work. Thank you, James Blaylock.!

  14. 5 out of 5

    David Merrill

    This is my third or fourth time reading this book. It happens to be one of my favorites and I'll be discussing it with a group in a couple of days. One of the reasons it's a favorite is it isn't what one usually expects from a fantasy novel. Andrew Van Bergen is an unlikely protagonist and certainly an untrustworthy point of view character. We can also truthfully call this a "Big Fish" story. And if you've ever seen the movie, "Big Fish," I think you can justly compare some aspects of this book This is my third or fourth time reading this book. It happens to be one of my favorites and I'll be discussing it with a group in a couple of days. One of the reasons it's a favorite is it isn't what one usually expects from a fantasy novel. Andrew Van Bergen is an unlikely protagonist and certainly an untrustworthy point of view character. We can also truthfully call this a "Big Fish" story. And if you've ever seen the movie, "Big Fish," I think you can justly compare some aspects of this book to it, in particular the viewpoint of Andrew. He definitely sees magic in the world in places where most of us don't. It gets him into trouble throughout. There will be spoilers in this review, so you may want to stop here. I think one of the biggest questions we have through a lot of the book is we have to wonder whether there are really ever going to be fantastic elements to the story or if that's just how Andrew sees them. We get most of the story through his lens. There are signs and portents everywhere. Sometimes local animals, parrots, cats, possum, turtles, toads, frogs, pigs, etc., may be acting on his behalf. At least he sees it that way. One of my favorite characters is the painted turtle that's really painted-- with a landscape on its shell. It reminds me of the horse of a different color in The Wizard Of Oz movie. And my favorite quest isn't the one for the thirty coins, but the one for Wheatabix. And one of my favorite scenes is when Andrew, Rose and Aunt Naomi convene in the kitchen in the middle of the night for bowls of cereal. There's a different kind of magic going on here and there are lots of different kinds of magic happening throughout this book. Some of the less obvious magic here is the transformation of Andrew. At the beginning of the book, he can't stand a Aunt Naomi and her cats. By the end, he's accepted them and likes them. He feeds the cats goodies, bonds with Naomi and stops Mrs. Gummidge from poisoning her. She entrusts the pig spoon with him, which, given Andrew's character, seems ill advised. So, we have characters who learn about each other and themselves. They grow. Favorite scenes are the adventure with Uncle Arthur and the turtles. I like it when he stacks them in the car for transport. Any scene involving Wheatabix and the scenes where we meet people tricked by Pennyman with the coin down the face trick. I could go on about this book. It's quaint and redefines what fantasy can be. This is a great book to read near Halloween.

  15. 5 out of 5

    laurenpie

    This story makes me happy :) One of my all-time favorite books. I read it again last year, twenty years after my first reading; it hasn't lost it's sparkle. A charming, hilarious, inventive story, perfectly told. Wonderful characters, love it, love it, love it!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kari Gritzan

    Absolutely fantastic. One of my favorite books of all times. I reread it again recently, and it was just as good as the first time. Love it!!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I have only a passing interest in coin collecting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Harry

    Loosely based upon the New Testament's account of the "30 pieces of silver" and the Christian (and anti-Semitic) legend of the Wandering Jew, Blaylock spins a fantastic tale of the Caretakers who are out to collect all 30 ancient coins and thereby achieve unlimited power. Many of these Caretakers have financial sounding names such as Pfennig, Moneywort and Pennyman. Julius Pennyman is the most covetous of them all, killing off his rivals to collect all 30 coins. In his quest, Pennyman rents a ro Loosely based upon the New Testament's account of the "30 pieces of silver" and the Christian (and anti-Semitic) legend of the Wandering Jew, Blaylock spins a fantastic tale of the Caretakers who are out to collect all 30 ancient coins and thereby achieve unlimited power. Many of these Caretakers have financial sounding names such as Pfennig, Moneywort and Pennyman. Julius Pennyman is the most covetous of them all, killing off his rivals to collect all 30 coins. In his quest, Pennyman rents a room from innkeeper and hopeful restaurateur, Andrew Vanbergen. The best part of this book Blaylock's description and ongoing thinking process of Andrew. Andrew has a tenuous grip on reality, is terribly impulsive and given to mad flights of fancy. He can never complete a task because he is always racing from one hare-brained scheme to another. In other words, Andrew is certifiable. Yet a part of him knows that certain actions will make him appear foolish. At the end of the book, Andrew finds that he is a Caretaker himself and has to do battle Pennyman for the last of the coins. While I enjoyed the fast-paced zany ending, I kind of wished that Andrew's mental disability would help him in is battle with Pennyman. But perhaps a more sane person would shrink from such a conflict.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Oliver

    This is my first Blaylock, and I shall certainly be reading more. A cracking adventure, featuring a strange character trying to track down the last of the thirty pieces of silver of Judas Iscariot, Judas himself in an electric car, a weird B&B plagued by possums and pigs, and a central character who is strangely endearing in his wild schemes and disorganization. Most enjoyable. This is my first Blaylock, and I shall certainly be reading more. A cracking adventure, featuring a strange character trying to track down the last of the thirty pieces of silver of Judas Iscariot, Judas himself in an electric car, a weird B&B plagued by possums and pigs, and a central character who is strangely endearing in his wild schemes and disorganization. Most enjoyable.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Calicopete

    One of my favourite books and favourite hero! I’ve read this book probably four or five times now and still love it every time - it’s both wise and child-like, silly and grotesque, laugh out loud funny, suspenseful and moving. A thoroughly wonderful read!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    The 30 coins of Judas Iscariot are scattered to the four winds.....or are they? What would happen if someone tried to collect them for nefarious reasons? Would this adventure involve a pig, a toad, a possum, a flock of wild parrots and a clowder of cats? How about a conspiracy theorist who might actually be right for once or a bed and breakfast owner who's way too focused on helium-filled chef hats and brewing the perfect cup of coffee? Our hero, Andrew Vanbergen, is an idiot. His consistent lyi The 30 coins of Judas Iscariot are scattered to the four winds.....or are they? What would happen if someone tried to collect them for nefarious reasons? Would this adventure involve a pig, a toad, a possum, a flock of wild parrots and a clowder of cats? How about a conspiracy theorist who might actually be right for once or a bed and breakfast owner who's way too focused on helium-filled chef hats and brewing the perfect cup of coffee? Our hero, Andrew Vanbergen, is an idiot. His consistent lying and loafing might make him a less than attractive protagonist. For the first hundred pages, all I could feel was sympathy for his long-suffering wife! I rolled my eyes every time he almost got around to painting the garage. But, in the long run, there's just something appealing about a twit saving the world despite being a twit. At least to me. James P. Blaylock's whimsical style of fantasy isn't for everyone, but if you like eccentric characters, minute details that actually payoff and a decent bowl of breakfast cereal, this book might be for you. I really enjoyed rereading this, despite wanting to do Andrew an injury.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Asher Macdonald

    One of my favorite books. The pacing is just right and the book is charming and funny. It's a contemporary fantasy -- not sure if the urban paranormal label fits it just right. Here is the Publisher's Weekly summary of the book: "In Blaylock's contemporary fantasy, the fate of the world falls into the hands of a daydreaming eccentric named Andrew Vanbergen. This quick-tempered Californian is muddling through the conversion of his rambling home into an inn and cafe when he unwittingly becomes one One of my favorite books. The pacing is just right and the book is charming and funny. It's a contemporary fantasy -- not sure if the urban paranormal label fits it just right. Here is the Publisher's Weekly summary of the book: "In Blaylock's contemporary fantasy, the fate of the world falls into the hands of a daydreaming eccentric named Andrew Vanbergen. This quick-tempered Californian is muddling through the conversion of his rambling home into an inn and cafe when he unwittingly becomes one of the Caretakers who have kept the world safe for nearly two millennia. The danger is that someone like Andrew's mysterious guest Jules Pennyman will gather together Judas Iscariot's original 30 pieces of silver, thereby summoning up an apocalyptic magic. Against a lyric vision of the Southern California coast, cosmic conspiracy theories bump heads in a gleeful farce to produce another strange and wonderful book from the idiosyncratic author of Homunculus and Land of Dreams." It is just a delightful book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Fantasy Literature

    Andrew and Rose Vanbergen have recently purchased a California inn which they are fixing up and getting ready for guests. They live in the inn along with aging Aunt Naomi, her numerous cats, and her companion, Mrs. Gummage. The Vanbergens have only one real guest so far — the mysterious Pepto-drinking Mr. Pennyman. Andrew has grand plans for the inn. Unfortunately, he’s also a bit of a slacker and he’s always managing to find excuses for doing anything but the actual work that needs to get done. Andrew and Rose Vanbergen have recently purchased a California inn which they are fixing up and getting ready for guests. They live in the inn along with aging Aunt Naomi, her numerous cats, and her companion, Mrs. Gummage. The Vanbergens have only one real guest so far — the mysterious Pepto-drinking Mr. Pennyman. Andrew has grand plans for the inn. Unfortunately, he’s also a bit of a slacker and he’s always managing to find excuses for doing anything but the actual work that needs to get done. While his good-natured and industrious wife is cleaning or sewing linens, he’s daydreaming about a gourmet kitchen and purchasing luxury items that aren’t really necessary. (He fancies himself an epicure). Andrew also tends to have crazy ideas that sometimes border on delusional. Sometimes he acts on these. He knows he’s being silly and that it upsets his wife, so he’s in the habit of .. Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Margo Brooks

    Strange, quirky, absurd. James Baylock's characters are flirting with the sanity line and it is hard to tell on which side they will end up. The premise of this unusual novel, where animals are safeguarding the world, is that the 30 pieces of gold that Judas betrayed Jesus for are roaming the world; If they come together a terrible power will be at work. Pennyman has been at the task of gathering the coins for many years, and the last one can be found in a little town on the northwest coast of t Strange, quirky, absurd. James Baylock's characters are flirting with the sanity line and it is hard to tell on which side they will end up. The premise of this unusual novel, where animals are safeguarding the world, is that the 30 pieces of gold that Judas betrayed Jesus for are roaming the world; If they come together a terrible power will be at work. Pennyman has been at the task of gathering the coins for many years, and the last one can be found in a little town on the northwest coast of the United States, where we meet Andrew and Rose, proprietors of a small inn, and a wickedly excentric cast of characters who together, and unknowingly, must try to save the world. The antics of these folks, from trying to snare some cats to cooking gumbo, is so absurd that there is nothing to do but laugh. They are unlike any other characters I have ever read about before. The plot is secondary, but the characters are well worth the read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Gizbert

    "It was the trifles that signified: the cut of a man's beard, the too-convenient discovery of forgotten money in a disused wallet, the overheard conversation between two fishermen early in the fog-shrouded morning as one of them hauls out of the ocean a crab trap with an ink-stained note in it. There was a secret order to things." Sadly the rest of the novel didn't live up to the above quote. The characters were a bit juvenile and underdeveloped, there was some implicit misogyny in the passive ch "It was the trifles that signified: the cut of a man's beard, the too-convenient discovery of forgotten money in a disused wallet, the overheard conversation between two fishermen early in the fog-shrouded morning as one of them hauls out of the ocean a crab trap with an ink-stained note in it. There was a secret order to things." Sadly the rest of the novel didn't live up to the above quote. The characters were a bit juvenile and underdeveloped, there was some implicit misogyny in the passive character of Rose, and the relatively carefree nature of most of the plot felt at odds with what was at stake.

  26. 4 out of 5

    tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE

    Not the same cover, not the same edition, but close enuf. Blaylock is in that minority of SF writers who're also clearly comical. I like that combination. Other writers that spring to mind are the team of G. C. Edmondson & C. M. Kotlan, Ron Goulart, & Rudy Rucker. I'd read more by him if I ever ran across anything again. There's something about absurdist SF that's dear to my parallel dimension baboon heart. Not the same cover, not the same edition, but close enuf. Blaylock is in that minority of SF writers who're also clearly comical. I like that combination. Other writers that spring to mind are the team of G. C. Edmondson & C. M. Kotlan, Ron Goulart, & Rudy Rucker. I'd read more by him if I ever ran across anything again. There's something about absurdist SF that's dear to my parallel dimension baboon heart.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Roger

    I read this a long time ago and really liked it. I'd like to find another copy and read it again. Well, I finally did. Listened to the audio book version from Audible. It was fun to hear this story again - full of quirky characters, animal allies, unexpected bizarre and strange events set in a seemingly normal California inn where an epic struggle of biblical proportion between good and evil get played out.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alannah Carmen

    Blaylock writes a kind of small-town American magic realism, and at it's best it's lovely, quirky, and charming. This isn't my favourite Blaylock, though I enjoyed it. The protagonist does some pretty dumb things, especially in the beginning, and I got second-hand embarrassment listening in to his thoughts. And I think I prefer the ones where he's working from the Grail legends rather than from Christian mythos directly. Still a fun, light read, and Mr. Pennyman is a nicely sinister villain.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Guy Ferguson

    Most enjoyable. Reminded me of Confederacy of Dunces by JK O'Toole (I think that's who wrote it). Detail to minutaiem everyman as hero, the major difference was the supernatural element, but that did not figure too largely really. I half expected an ending that explained everything in normal terms. I look forward t reading more of this man's work. Nov 2019... sim bought at her work, like judas' coins rhis booknfinds me again. Still readable, enjoyed character Andrew with his everyday madness.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ari Sarkar

    Another master of the English language. James P Blaylock books are a joy to read, with completely insane characters who he gently mocks as they deal with day-to-day issues as well as the Plot itself. These characters seem to inhabit a Monty Pythonesque world of magical realism, but with California as a setting (that's weird in itself). The author is associated with the steampunk genre, although there's nothing particularly steampunk about this novel.

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