Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

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Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: A strong and memorable cast of characters combined with a quick moving, high stakes plot, make this a fun, fast, fantasy frolic.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 480 Date: June 2016
Publisher: Gollancz
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1473213173

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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. Bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded, and whilst it'll never bring a man fame or wealth, he's not forced to rely on others or kill without cause. When a kidnapped girl forces Lynx to join a mercenary company, the job seems simple enough, and the mercanaries 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...

We're really living in a golden age of Fantasy now - ten years ago, could anyone have predicted that the water cooler show in 2016 would be fantasy epic Game of Thrones? That the Sci-Fi and Fantasy sections of bookstores would grow from mere shelves into whole bookcases stacked full of bestsellers? Fantasy books are absolutely everywhere, and, as a result, all sorts of fantasy are available - from the grim bloodiness of those like George R.R. Martin, through to the more heroic fantasy of Patrick Rothfuss and David Gemmell, and those that walk a line between them like Brian Mclellan's Crimson Campaign series.

Stranger of Tempest veers more towards the heroic fantasy side of things, with large doses of humour amongst the fantastic cast of characters, and a rip roaring plot that raced at such a speed I almost felt like I was in a video game. In fact, I was reminded strongly of video games whilst reading this. Not the 2-Dimensional games of old, but of modern, engrossing games with twisting plots and characters who feel so real they can (and often do), break your heart. Not Mario or Tetris, think Final Fantasy, Dragon Age or The Witcher.

Lynx is a great lead character - not the buff young hero one often finds in such books, but a tired, paunchy, battleworn adventurer who does what he has to do in order to survive. Combine that with brilliant female characters such as Kas and Toil, and a compelling cast behind them, who are deftly drawn and provide much of the tension and humour that make this a great read.

Fun, fast and thrilling, Stranger of Tempest comes highly recommended - more please! Many thanks to the publisher for the copy. For further reading, I'd give Uprooted by Naomi Novik a try. Brilliant characters combined with a clever plot that harkens back to traditional fairy tales, yet brings them bang up to date with wonderful new twists. One of The Bookbag's Best Fantasy Books of 2015, and a personal favourite. We also have a review of Princess of Blood by Tom Lloyd.

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