An incandescent debut novel about an aging group of warriors who have to come out of retirement to save the child of one of their members.
It is reminiscent of a dungeons and dragons campaign: you have the tanks (or front men), cleric (or shield), thief and wizard.
The band also featured a rotating series of bards because they kept losing them in various, horrific ways. It’s a continuing gag throughout the tale.
The humor is my favorite part of the story. Some of it is juvenile, but most of it is incredibly funny.
“Tell us a tale, will ya, Clay? About when you did for that necromancer up in Oddsford. Or when you rescued that princess from… that place… remember?” Which one? Clay wondered. They’d rescued several princesses, in fact, and if he’d killed one necromancer he’d killed a dozen.” pg 4
The warriors are past their prime. They were glorious monster killers once, now they’ve got bad backs, tricky knees and families who depend on them.
“But life, Clay knew, didn’t work that way. It wasn’t a circle; you didn’t go round and round again. It was an arc, its course as inexorable as the sun’s trek across the sky, destined at its highest, brightest moment to begin its fall.”pg 8.
In many ways, the group in this story reminded me of my own group of gaming friends. Yes, maybe we’re all getting on in years, but oh the glorious adventures we have had and perhaps will still have… if we can just manage to get out the door.
“If there was anything scarier than a Heartwyld Horde, the wrath of a vengeful ex-wife might just be it.” pg 36
The humor in this story was only matched by the clever analogy of a “band of warriors” compared to a “band of musicians”.
“Fantastic. Clay mused. A spiteful queen and a vengeful booker to watch out for. As if heading into a monster-infested forest on our way to a hopelessly besieged city wasn’t trouble enough. Whoever wants us dead should just sit back and let us kill ourselves.” pg 129
I couldn’t help but cheer them on, every step of the way.
Highly recommended for epic fantasy fans, gamers and anyone who has shared adventures, real or imagined, with a group of friends. This book has heart and I loved it.
Thanks for reading!