This is an immensely satisfying gritty fantasy adventure that follows a group of mercenaries on a mission that gets them into much deeper waters and hotter fires than they were anticipating. Grimdark (fantasy where all is dark and every outcome is, well, grim…) has become something of a cliché in fantasy recently but Lloyd undercuts this expertly. Stranger revolves around a group of characters who are wonderfully real and hence often joke and laugh. Central to the story is the tired soldier Lynx (the story behind his name is winningly mundane) but Lynx shares the page with a pleasingly diverse and gender balanced group of tough yet flawed warriors. In Lloyd’s world it is simply taken as read that women are as capable and dangerous in the field as anyone else and often have the added advantage of extra commonsense. Stranger feels fresh and welcome as a result.
The book gains added colour from the mercenary band taking their names and structure from a deck of cards that in itself is drawn from an original and fascinating mythology – it’s a lovely touch. Add to that magic that works like technology and a plot that jumps deftly between the present and flashbacks and you have a hugely enjoyable, action-filled, novel that will please fans of fantasy from Joe Abercrombie to Jen Williams.
Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Riven Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent's principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. He wants for little so bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he's not forced to rely on others or kill without cause. Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won't turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough; the mercenaries less stupid and vicious than most he's met over the years. So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine.
Publication date: 16/06/2016
Publisher: Gollancz an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
|Publication date:||16th June 2016|
|Publisher:||Gollancz an imprint of Orion Publishing Co|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Fantasy,|
Tom Lloyd was born in 1979 in Berkshire. After a degree in International Relations he w ent straight into publishing where he still works. He never received the memo about suitable jobs for writers and consequently has never been a kitchenhand, hospital porter, pigeon hunter, or secret agent. He lives in Oxford, isn't one of those authors who gives a damn about the history of the font used in his books and only believes in forms of exercise that allow him to hit something.More About Tom Lloyd