I keep reading Gregory Maguire's books, and about fifteen pages into each one I start to question why that is. They're mildly interesting, but the newest, A Lion Among Men (William Morrow, 2008), just like its predecessor (Son of a Witch, my review here) consists almost entirely of backstory and reminiscences, rather than any actual events in real time. The occasional flashback is fine, but really, a whole book of them?
Here we find Brrr (we know him better as the Cowardly Lion) on a plea-bargain-mandated mission from the Emerald City to discover the whereabouts of the lost son of Elphaba (Liir) and of the Wicked Witch's spell-book, the Grimmerie. In the course of his investigation he comes to the Cloister of St. Glinda to question the old oracle Yackle. The two engage in a lengthy back-and-back sparring match of flashbacks, in which we learn much more about their pasts than is necessary.
I don't see the point anymore. And I stopped caring a long time ago. No more Maguire for me.
That said, the cover illustration, a portrait of Brrr by Douglas Smith, is absolutely delightful.