Author(s): Gregory Maguire
A Lion Among Men complements the New York Times bestseller Son of a Witch in fleshing out the world of Oz, seen this time through the eyes of the Cowardly Lion-remembered from Wicked as a tiny cub defended by Elphaba.While civil war looms in Oz, an ancient and tetchy oracle named Yackle prepares for death. Before she can return to dust, however, the Cowardly Lion, an enigmatic figure named Brrr, arrives in search of information about Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West. As payment, Yackle who hovered on the sidelines of Elphaba's life, demands some answers of her own.Abandoned as a cub, Brrr's earliest memories are only gluey hazes. But his path from infancy in the Great Gillikin Forest is no Yellow Brick Road. Seeking to redress an early mistake, he tumbles though a swamp of ghosts, becomes implicated in a massacre of trolls, and falls in love with a Cat princess. Sidestepping the laws that oppress talking Animals, Brrr cannily avoids a jail sentence by agreeing to serve as a lackey to the warmongering Emperor of Oz.A Lion Among Men traces a battle of wits between adversaries distracted by the armies approaching on either side of them. What does the Lion know of the whereabouts of the Witch's boy, Liir? What can Yackle reveal about the auguries of the Clock of the Time Dragon? Is destiny ever arbitrary? Can those tarnished by infamy escape their sobriquets-cowardly, wicked, brainless, criminally earnest-to claim their own histories, to live honourably within their own skins before they're skinned alive?