Lynx is done with fighting, but somehow always seems to find himself in a fight anyway. He wasn’t looking to sign up with a mercenary company, but he needs the money and he also needs to get out of town before he finds himself forcibly removed. Besides, it’s only one job and it sounds simple and honest. Maybe even virtuous. Rescue the damsel in distress, get paid and then go his own way soon after. What could possibly go wrong?
And as far as mercenary companies go, you could do worse than fall in with Anatin’s mercenary deck. Fierce, experienced and for the most part loyal, they also know full well how to enjoy their nights off. Gambling, drinking and flirting with the locals they seem like quite a welcoming bunch of violent sellswords to a man who’s been alone too long.
Tom Lloyd’s Stranger of Tempest is a fantasy adventure in the modern style, comfortably mixing gritty realism with swords and sorcery. Imagine Steven Erikson’s Malazan marines teaming up with Lara Croft for a mad dash across Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country with an unplanned detour through the forgotten deeps of Moria and you’ll be most of the way there.
The characters are a wonderful array of rogues in shades of grey – the best aren’t all that pure of heart and the worst are a far cry from pure evil – but the dialogue is natural and inclusive. The sort of characters you feel comfortable amongst very quickly, despite the large number of names and faces to keep track of. If I have one gripe, it’s that the back and forth storytelling style of the first half is unnecessary, and impedes binge reading, but it isn’t unnecessary enough to irrevocably damage the narrative.
I was sad to see the end of this book, however; although this is a stand-alone novel, there is a world left here to explore. Whether we follow Lynx onto his next adventure, stick with Anatin’s mercenaries a while longer or delve into Toil’s political machinations, I expect great things from this universe. Don’t let me down Lloyd!