The Free by Brian Ruckley
|The Free by Brian Ruckley|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: The start of a new epic fantasy series by acclaimed author Brian Ruckley, The Free is a fast paced ride through a dangerous and ever changing world that grips the reader due to incredibly vivid scenes of battle and warfare, strong characters, and the fact that no-one is safe...|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: October 2014|
|Publisher: Orbit Books|
|External links: Author's website|
The Free are a band of mercenaries - magical warriors who have travelled the world and are renowned for their skills in battle. Finally reaching a point where they can retire from war, their leader Yulan is offered one final contract - one he cannot refuse.
Brian Ruckley is best known for The Godless World trilogy, and this feels very similar - a wintery, bloody and treacherous land.
The characters are well written - Drann in particular is easy to root for, and is a likeable hero from the offset. I felt this book could have done with a few more strong characters, although given that it is the start of a series, these may well be further developed in books to come. Yulan could do with a little more fleshing out, but as a charismatic, enigmatic leader, he serves his purpose.
Ruckley happily acknowledges that he owes a large debt to films such as 'Seven Samurai' and 'The Magnificent Seven' with this book, and it shows - it's a revenge story about noble warriors that almost has a spaghetti western feel at times too, despite the swords, mud and armour.
To his credit, Ruckley is happy to sacrifice his characters in order to push the story onwards. Don't expect a happy ending, but do expect wonderfully composed action scenes and a thrilling climax
Many thanks to the publishers for the copy
For those who like gritty fantasy, Promise of Blood (Powder Mage Trilogy) by Brian McClellan is a must read. Likeable characters are combined with a wonderfully built world and an intriguing system of magicians and mages. Book Two is also now out, with Book Three out in February 2015.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Free by Brian Ruckley at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Free by Brian Ruckley at Amazon.com.
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