Maurice has just killed a dragon with a bread knife. And had his destiny foretold... and had his true love spirited away. That's precisely the sort of stuff that'd bring out the latent heroism in anyone. Unfortunately, Maurice is pretty sure he hasn't got any latent heroism.
Meanwhile, a man wakes up in a jar in a different kind of pickle (figuratively speaking). He can't get out, of course, but neither can he remember his name, or what gravity is, or what those things on the ends of his legs are called... and every time he starts working it all out, someone makes him forget again. Forget everything.
Only one thing might help him. The answer to the most baffling question of all...WHEN IS A DOOR NOT A DOOR?
'Years ago, when he was a child, Maurice refused to go on the Uneground because he was scared of all the dead people. His father had asked him a few questions and glanced at his bedside table, and explained that the Underground wasn't the same thing as the Underworld that he'd been reading about in hus 'Myths & Legends of the Ancient Greeks' book, which his aunt Jane had given him for his birthday. There were no dead people, three-headed dogs or sinister boatmen down there, his father promised him, just crowded platforms, unreliable trains, people ins cruddy old coats who talked to themselves, a really quite small proportion of homicidal lunatics and a rather unsavory smell. He'd been reassured (though he'd secretly quite fancied seeing a dog with three heads) and withdrawn his objection. Nevertheless, even now, there was something about it -'p.1I really like this beginning. Not only does it describe the Tube in London quite well, but it also shows how deeply the main character is embedded in legend etc.
'"Take a pyramid," he said. "Turn it upside down so it's standing on its point. That's us. The rule is, the further up the pyramid you go - that's away from the point, towards the base - the less your level of activity. In other words, at the very top, you've got a great many people doing nothing at all. A bit lower down the pecking order, you've got a modern number of people doing very little."' p.121I love this teaser (I know, it's quite long) for its absolute truth. This is simple how a lot of companies work. All the people at the top who "manage" and "supervise" aren't really doing a lot.