I picked this book up at a used bookstore around 2005, but it was clearly older than that. It felt like late 70's or early-to-mid 80's. It may have been part of a trilogy or series, but I'm not sure. What I know for certain:

  • Main character was an adult man, sort of an everyman character in a fish-out-of-water situation. Might have been a football player, since I'm pretty sure he's described as fairly large.
  • The book begins with him opening either a pantry or a fridge and being attacked by a large monster that comes out.
  • He fights the monster with a baseball bat, which I'm pretty sure he breaks.
  • I think he opens the fridge/cabinet/whatever again and a a beautiful woman comes out.
  • She convinces him to cross into her world to save it- typical hero stuff. I don't remember whether he is somehow chosen, or foretold, but it's likely.
  • He crosses into the fantasy world, and it's fairly standard medieval stuff. Leather, swords, fair maidens, etc.
  • He and the woman go to a town (maybe located on a bridge?) to get supplies and weapons.
  • He asks a wizard or weapon-monger for a bat, and gets a response along the lines of "well I can't promise it will fly"
  • There are "giant dwarves"
  • Pretty sure there was some kind of evil overlord or encroaching dark power

Here's the thing: the McGuffin was a talking duck. The duck might have been a person, and it might have been someone that Our Hero knew from his home world.

The whole novel was very tongue-in-cheek, a fairly respectful send-up of high fantasy. It felt like it was borrowing a lot from Thomas Covenant, so I may be confusing details. I am almost certain the author was male.

The cover art was mostly yellow, I think, with Our Hero beating up the first monster with a bat. Now that I think of it, the monster might have been part bull or part horse. The art style was fairly classic- felt like the Hildebrants but more angular.

1 Answer 1


While I have never read the book, I came across this in a google search, and I'm fairly certain it is the one you are looking for. (Google search term was fantasy novel pantry bat duck)

Blood River Down - Book One of the Quest for the White Duck

Points that match:

  • Ex football player protagonist
  • Meadow in the pantry
  • Beats a monster with a bat
  • Lovely damsel in distress
  • Quest to find a white duck
  • Original publication date of 1986*, reissue as Kindle 2012
  • Cover art matches description

*The new cover art and the new author name are due to it being reissued as a Kindle edition, and the "new" author name is the actual authors name. Wikipedia lists Lionel Fell as a pseudonym for Charles Grant

Point that doesn't match:

  • Publication date of 2012

First paragraph of the synopsis on Amazon:

Gideon Sunday, an ex-semi-professional American Football player, goes to his pantry to retrieve an awful bottle of his (dead) sister's fruit preserves. When he gets there, he discovers a meadow in his pantry. He closes the door, takes a few breaths, and begins to investigate with as much sanity and candor as Sherlock Holmes. Upon discovering that A) no one is playing a trick on him, B) there really IS a meadow in his cupboard, and C) there is something three-quarters of ugly coming out of it, he decides to beat a monster to death with a baseball bat.

2012 Cover art:

enter image description here

1986 Cover art:

enter image description here

  • Even if this isn't the answer, it sounds absolutely brilliant.
    – F1Krazy
    Feb 21, 2018 at 15:45
  • @F1Krazy - I know, right? I think I just found my next book.
    – JohnP
    Feb 21, 2018 at 15:50
  • Yes, acto the ISFDB, Lionel Fenn is a pen name used by Charles L Grant. Seems to me you could have saved some trouble by checking the ISFDB page for that title in the first place. Do you have something against the ISFDB?
    – user14111
    Feb 21, 2018 at 16:28
  • @user14111 - No, I just rarely think of it as a resource, especially when I find it elsewhere first.
    – JohnP
    Feb 21, 2018 at 16:31
  • 2
    Christ on a bicycle you found it Feb 21, 2018 at 16:36

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