The Philosophical Strangler - Baen Books


The Philosophical Strangler


 Mighty Greyboar, the world’s greatest professional strangler, is dissatisfied with his lot in life. The work is steady and the pay is good, but what, he wonders, is the point of it all?

But when he learns that there is a Supreme Philosophy of Life*, Greyboar the Strangler is Born Again! Still, just how can a professional man in good standing pay the bills with all this philosophical exploration getting in the way?

That’s what his hard-headed agent and manager Ignace wants to know! And Ignace’s skepticism turns quickly into outright horror when Greyboar’s philosophical preoccupation leads to one disaster after another . . .

—simple choke jobs turn into ethical quandaries . . .

—a bizarre artist and a deadly arms-master turn up to complicate their life . . .

—as if their new girlfriends haven’t complicated it enough!

Before you know it, Greyboar the strangler and his disgruntled manager find themselves embroiled with an abbess at odds with her deity, heretics on the run, dwarves needing to be rescued, and then—worst of all!

Greyboar’s long-estranged sister Gwendolyn, political activist and revolutionary, comes back to town asking Greyboar’s help in an insane mission to the underworld. It’s purely a noble cause, one which no self-respecting assassin would touch for a moment. But in the pursuit of Enlightenment, anything can happen. . . .

 *What? You want the details? Hint: Entropy. For more on the secret, buy this book!


Eric Flint has already demonstrated his talent as a gifted new star of military and alternate history SF and now shows a masterful skill at fantasy adventure. His first novel for Baen, Mother of Demons, was picked by Science Fiction Chronicle as a best novel of the year. His alternate history novel, 1632, sold out its first printing almost immediately and received lavish critical praise. With David Drake he has collaborated on five novels in the acclaimed “Belisarius” series, the next of which will be The Dance of Time. A longtime labor union activist with a degree (Phi Beta Kappa) in African history, he currently resides in northwest Indiana with his wife Lucille.

Illustration by Stephen Hickman
Cover design by Carol Russo Design
Map by Richard Roach

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This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.

First printing, May 2001

Distributed by Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Flint, Eric.
The philosophical strangler / by Eric Flint.
p. cm.
ISBN 0-671-31986-8
1. Assassins—Fiction. I. Title
PS3556.L548 P48 2001
813'.54—dc21 00-066733

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN-13: 0-671-31986-1
ISBN-10: 0-671-31986-8

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form. A shorter version of "The Prologue" was published © 1993 as "Entropy and the Strangler" in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Volume IX.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.

A Baen Books Original
Baen publishing Enterprises
P.O. Box 1403
Riverdale, NY 10471

Electronic version by Baen Books

To David and Fred and Richard;
To Joanie, who fed us beer and spaghetti;
To Steve, on his couch;
And to the memory of Jerry O'Connell
Baen Books by Eric Flint


Mother of Demons
Rats, Bats, and Vats (with Dave Freer)
The Philosophical Strangler

The Belisarius series, with David Drake:
An Oblique Approach
In the Heart of Darkness
Destiny's Shield
Fortune's Stroke
The Tide of Victory (forthcoming)

The Federation of the Hub series,
by James H. Schmitz, edited by Eric Flint:

Telzey Amberdon
T'nT: Telzey & Trigger
Trigger & Friends
The Hub: Dangerous Territory