I finished the mighty tome of Lyonesse novels, and yes, I admit it, Jack Vance is brilliant. I particularly enjoyed the female characters who weren't in the least bit keen on being saved by anybody. Madouc in particular reminded me of The Paper Bag Princess*. She's going on her own quests and is going to get her own answers. I loved her, and the final book in the trilogy in particular.
There's really no element that's weak about the books. I didn't always follow where the characters were off to, geographically speaking, but I think that's a personal fault of mine. I'm really rubbish at computing that kind of information, but it didn't stop my enjoyment of the novels. The dialogue and the descriptive writing are also excellent throughout. How unusual it is to find a fantasy trilogy that's not falling down somewherew in the writing. How terrible it is to have to say that. How come we're happy to accept lazy writing in fantasy, with all those stereotypical relationships and long-winded paragraphs? Hm. Anyhoo, that's for another discussion. What I'm really interested in is, of course, the vegetable situation.
I pleased to report there are lots of vegetables to choose from. And fruit. And bread and meat, and ale. The food is nicely covered throughout, and most of the time ended up making me hungry. Like the section below, where the innkeeper Dildahl is trying to get his guests to eat the fish on the menu because he can then charge an exorbitant price for it:
'I can offer a succulent pie of crayfish tails, or a brace of fine brown trout, at their prime, sizzling in butter and vinegar.'
Harbig scanned the board. 'They are not written on the menu. How are the prices? Fair, or so I expect, with the whole lake at your doorstep?'
'When it comes to fish, we are at our best! What of two dozen pilchard, with lemons and sorrel?'
'Toothsome, no doubt, but price, man! What of the price?'
'Oh ha ha, I am not certain; it varies with the catch.'
Harbig dubiously eyed the menu. 'Lentil soup might be tasty.'
'Soup is off,' said Dildahl. 'What of a plate of splendid salmon roe, with capers and butter, and a salad of cress and parsley?'
And so continues the negotiations, but Dildahl will find these two guests are not as innocent to his thieving ways as they seem. Enjoyably, this is only the smallest of asides and not at all important to the main plot, but it gives the whole thing colour and flavour. Get it? The vegetables add the flavour. Heh.
*Thanks Alis for introducing the Munchie and me to The Paper Bag Princess! I recommend it for the parents of all little girls who develop alarming Disney fixations.